[Wikimedia-l] crazy deletionists!

Andreas Kolbe jayen466 at gmail.com
Tue Jul 3 23:04:58 UTC 2012

On Tue, Jul 3, 2012 at 9:14 PM, Marc A. Pelletier <marc at uberbox.org> wrote:

> On 03/07/2012 11:09 AM, Delirium wrote:
>> 1) the sources really are *very* good in that case, not merely "ok"
>> sources like newspaper articles;
> My own (admitedly radical) point of view is that popular media - and that
> includes newspapers nowadays - are not reliable sources at all in the first
> place.  If you use that filter, you suddenly notice most of the more
> controversial articles (regarding notability) instantly find themselves
> without sources.
> I don't believe that's a coincidence.  Even at their best, popular media
> has no interest beyond what's hot and topical at the moment, and attracting
> eyeballs with sensationalism is paramount -- accuracy be damned if needed.
> -- Coren / Marc

I agree with Marc. The other day, someone said here on the list, "It's
almost as if what the press say and what the facts are in reality are two
different things that have only a very tenuous relationship."

This was in reference to reporting on a Wikimedia-related matter. In this
field, many Wikimedians recognise readily that media reporting is often
inept, and the level of accuracy of the information given to the public is
very poor. What people fail to do is to apply this insight to the wider
situation. Two of my favourite quotes:


What people outside do not appreciate is that a newspaper is like a
soufflé, prepared in a hurry for immediate consumption. This of course is
why whenever you read a newspaper account of some event of which you have
personal knowledge it is nearly always inadequate or inaccurate.
Journalists are as aware as anyone of this defect; it is simply that if the
information is to reach as many readers as possible, something less than
perfection has often to be accepted. —David E. H. Jones, in New Scientist,
Vol. 26

Actually, I'd say newspapers are more like commercial fast-food than
soufflé. It isn't just that they are prepared in haste, it is that
unwholesome additives and artificial sweeteners are added to true content,
in order to make the whole thing more tasty. No one really asks whether the
result is edifying or healthy, because it is generally consumed with a
pinch of (even more superfluous) salt. —User:Scott MacDonald


What would a Wikipedia look like that did not make use of press sources? It
would look a hell of a lot more like an encyclopedia. Thousands of silly
arguments would never arise. Thousands of apposite criticisms of Wikipedia
would never arise. These are good things.

Unfortunately, such a Wikipedia would also have vastly impoverished
coverage of popular culture and current affairs. The articles on Lady Gaga
and Barack Obama would be years behind events; the articles on the Japan
earthquakes, which I believe Wikipedia was widely praised for, would only
now begin to be written, articles on many towns and villages would lack
colour and detail.

If Wikipedia stopped using press sources, you'd have to have a news-based
'pedia somewhere else (and I don't mean Wikinews).

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