[WikiEN-l] NPOV majorities/minorities

Fastfission fastfission at gmail.com
Fri May 5 15:50:33 UTC 2006

On 5/5/06, Cheney Shill <halliburton_shill at yahoo.com> wrote:
> I agree about the 10 fringe vs. 2 authorities.  But that has nothing to do with this scenario, in which the sources are of equal authority.  In fact, the very fact that you turned a non-ambiguous scenario into an ambiguous scenario is evidence that the process itself is far too ambiguous.  It's not just you; I have not gotten 1 straight answer on this.  Are we not supposed to be judging and reporting on the facts as they are, not as we think they should be?~~~~Pro-Lick

"As they are" in this case is a socially defined fuction, inseperable
from "as we think they should be".

It will always be semi-ambiguous. That's fine. We do our best. But
since we are all "editors" in the end discussion and fudged
compromises are what we will have to go with. Whether that is a
disadvantage or not is up for debate, but it's clearly one of the
inevitable aspects of an open knowledge-production system.

Of course, that our standards are defined by social activities does
not make Wikipedia really any different from any other aspect of
knowledge-production. But with Wikipedia that social process is very
transparent and the "hand of the author" is very obvious.

In a scientific journal, for example, those social activities are
still there, but the boundary for admission to the discussion is much
higher, and the mechanisms of how they work are hidden away from sight
(and tied up with a number of other variables as well). But in the end
it is still a social activity which produces, certifies, or knocks
down the "knowledge" itself. Since we at Wikipedia are not even making
any claims of doing the research ourselves, pointing to "the facts as
they are" as some sort of stabilizing mechanism seems even more
problematic than it already would be in something like scientific
activity, where the social structures which support "the facts" are
far less obvious.


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