[WikiEN-l] Zero information is preferred to misleading or false information

Stan Shebs shebs at apple.com
Wed May 17 17:10:06 UTC 2006

Steve Bennett wrote:

>Here's an example: [[Solo climbing]], as I found it a few months ago:
>No sources, no guarantee of accuracy. However, I found my way onto
>this page when someone told me that the crazy video I'd just seen was
>representative of "free soloing". Wikipedia certainly explained what
>the concept was and gave me some background. Would a blank article
>have been preferable? I would say no.
This is indeed an interesting example, because although I haven't
touched that article, I can vouch for every statement, at least
partly because I did a tiny bit of free soloing in my younger days
(heart in mouth the whole time :-) ). But my personal library of
climbing literature is kind of oldish and includes no references
to the practice, so presumably I learned about it by word of mouth,
or perhaps from magazines.

Right now I don't see that we have a "culture of referencing" in
the same way that we have a "culture of completeness" organized
around lists of missing articles, or a "culture of image tagging"
that has become fairly effective at searching out and destroying
bad uploads. For instance, my own library is in some areas better
than what most universities have, yet I have no idea if there are
articles that need me to go pull a book off the shelf, check the
claims, and type in the reference if OK. I could also imagine a
future culture where an unsupported claim is handled like an
untagged image, and gets a seven-day grace period before being
reverted. As with images, good faith is helped along by having
a bit of incentive and punishment.


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