[Wikimedia-l] [Wikipedia-l] Sort it

Magnus Manske magnusmanske at googlemail.com
Fri Oct 26 12:02:51 UTC 2012

As a biologist, I'd say it's the "I need to figure this out"
mentality, which leads to frustration if the system (which you had
believed you figured out!) apparently turns against you.

My advice here is: That should not happen, but there is so much more
to do on Wikipedia; let this specific issue rest, for month or years
or forever, and contribute something else. The issue will get sorted,
with or without you, eventually.


On Fri, Oct 26, 2012 at 12:56 PM, Charles Andrès
<charles.andres at wikimedia.ch> wrote:
> Amir is right, without judging this specific case, the pattern describe here is a problem.
> Especially the massive revert attitude , it's really a challenge for retaining new specialist editor.
> Charles
> ___________________________________________________________
> Charles ANDRES, Chairman
> "Wikimedia CH" – Association for the advancement of free knowledge –
> www.wikimedia.ch
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> Le 26 oct. 2012 à 13:43, "Amir E. Aharoni" <amir.aharoni at mail.huji.ac.il> a écrit :
>> Shortened, and grossly over-simplified:
>> A biologist wrote some things about biology and they were not challenged.
>> Then he wrote some things about dinosaurs, and they were reverted. If
>> I understood correctly, the reason for the reverts was that it
>> appeared to be original research (WP:NOR).
>> And now the biologist is pissed off, possibly for a good reason, and
>> wants his previous contributions removed, too.
>> This is a story that repeats itself quite often, with surprisingly
>> similar details: an expert does some acceptable things, then doing
>> some things that turn out to rouse controversy, then wanting to retire
>> with a storm. I'm not implying that the expert is bad, absolutely not;
>> I'm just noting a pattern.
>> Whatever the details of the story are, it's not good and it may
>> justify discussion.
>> But as a meta-comment, it should be done on wikien-l or on
>> wikimedia-l, and not on this list, which is called "wikipedia-l", but
>> is not active in practice.
>> --
>> Amir
>> 2012/10/26 Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton at gmail.com>
>>> TL;DR (Too long; didn't read.)
>>> Please provide a summary that makes clear what point you are trying to make...
>>> On 26 October 2012 11:55, John Jackson <strangetruther at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Greetings –
>>>> I hope this is a good place to send a weighty message to Wikipedia.
>>>> You’ll want to read all through.
>>>> I am a scientist who has always liked the Wikipedia idea, and I like
>>>> your implementation.  Lately I’ve started making contributions.
>>>> Although I’m a cognitive scientist who taught biological psychology at
>>>> degree level for several years and have done AI research since the
>>>> ‘80’s, I’ve diverted for a decade or more to resolve a set of major
>>>> evolutionary puzzles.
>>>> Fairly peripheral but within the overall project was an investigation
>>>> of bird breathing, and I decided to piece together the research into
>>>> it, and deliver it properly to the public.  Trust me, the finer
>>>> details were obscure.  On the way I discovered why penguins’ lungs
>>>> don’t collapse even at 500m when whales’ lungs collapse by 100m; I
>>>> found out what the neopulmo did (though not why) and why penguins
>>>> don’t have it, and I changed our understanding of flow within it; I
>>>> also resolved the old chestnut of whether birds had counter-current
>>>> exchange in their lungs.  That is, completely discovered, not just for
>>>> myself.  By careful editing and addition including the long overdue
>>>> diagram the subject needed, I converted the two Wikipedia pages
>>>> dealing with bird breathing from an incomplete mire to a place of
>>>> revelation (though the German version needs starting afresh, and
>>>> Duncker agrees).  But it was an honour do so.
>>>> More central to my overall project was cladogenesis, the heart of
>>>> palaeontology and just the thing that I, as an MSc in info. sys.
>>>> engineering would be expected to get into.  I’ve written my own clad.
>>>> software, invented and implemented my own heuristic version, proved
>>>> the theorem in graph theory that resolves an issue in checking
>>>> evolutionary trees by time and rooting them, and highlighted a serious
>>>> statistical fallacy invalidating another major current of work in the
>>>> time-checking of trees.
>>>> In these activities I was almost entirely alone as regards other
>>>> workers in the overall field, since that field, dinobird
>>>> palaeontology, is notorious for its abuse of the lack of scientific
>>>> and indeed academic constraint that all historical disciplines are
>>>> prey to.  Applicants for research positions into that biological
>>>> science, which relies heavily on computer science and statistics, are
>>>> usually accepted with just a geology first degree.  Put succinctly but
>>>> honestly, the standard of science amongst professional dinobird
>>>> palaeontologists is crap, so much so that I’ve never taken the idea of
>>>> publishing formally in the field very seriously.  I do from time to
>>>> time in AI, but any scientist with something sensible to say in
>>>> dinobird palaeo will always be violating sacred errors and be blocked.
>>>> Although useless, the field is very proud and stubborn.
>>>> But there is a layer of humanity too stupid even to become
>>>> professional palaeontologists – and guess what?  They’ve established a
>>>> self-aggrandising population in the basement of Wikipedia, grooming
>>>> their egos by becoming gatekeepers.  I’m sick of the sight of their
>>>> pathetic award stars.
>>>> I wasn’t surprised; in fact I’d been surprised by the ease with which
>>>> my bird-lung editing had been accepted, which is why I’d turned my
>>>> attention to another problem page that was actually even more of a
>>>> mess.
>>>> Most people, even those interested in the subject, have no idea why
>>>> dromaeosaurs had such strange claws, teeth and tails.  Many even doubt
>>>> that the special foot claw was a weapon.  And because they have no
>>>> understanding of the vital importance of backtracking in knowledge
>>>> engineering, they can’t escape the rut of believing dromaeosaurs were
>>>> “pre” flight (“pre” of course being a very dodgy evolutionary
>>>> concept).  But solving this kind of thing was easy compared to related
>>>> subjects, and other visionaries such as Paul and Osmolska had made
>>>> their contributions and published some of the basics.  The four-winged
>>>> flight of volant dromaeosaurs was harder but I found a solution to
>>>> that too (...though you’re not going to like it; even I didn’t).
>>>> I know what you’re thinking – Original Work.  But of course that was
>>>> taken account of: much of the problem with the Velociraptor page was
>>>> balance – some theories had been simply ignored, even though works
>>>> mentioning them were already in the citation list.  Other problems
>>>> were solved by pointing out glaring illogicalities: ensuring the
>>>> explanation of a difference between two things must be based on some
>>>> other difference applying to them.  Things like that don’t need
>>>> citations, things that needed them were given them, and when necessary
>>>> I cited my own book.  That after all is very common in Wikipedia, and
>>>> there’s no point frowning on the basic principle (especially when it’s
>>>> a good book!).
>>>> As you may have guessed or already knew, anyone bringing much-needed
>>>> but unfamiliar and unwelcome science (i.e. any science) to dinobird
>>>> palaeontology is automatically put on the hate list and from then on
>>>> it’s just sociology.  Pointing out that modern science knows better
>>>> than to talk of “facts”, is the kind of thing that sets the idiots
>>>> off, but is one essential principle Wikipedia needs to take on board.
>>>> Luckily the pseudo-scientists usually give themselves away, as they
>>>> did on the Velociraptor page most bizarrely.  First, they insisted the
>>>> tail couldn’t bend vertically, alongside a picture showing the last
>>>> two-thirds bending up through 60º.  Then they insisted its prey only
>>>> had one leg whereas two could be seen even in the thumbnail.  No
>>>> accusations of original work at risk there.  Nonetheless they kept on
>>>> reversing EVERYTHING I’d written – the illogicality-busting, the
>>>> theory-balance restoration, and even corrections to their crap which
>>>> was contradicted by the images in front of their eyes.
>>>> The result?  Someone’s stopped the repeated reversals, and of course,
>>>> they chose to stop it on the lunatic side.  Irrespective of the
>>>> “Protection is not an endorsement of the current text” message, this
>>>> “temporary” status is a massive insult to science, which is why it’s
>>>> important, and a massive insult to me which has ensured my action.
>>>> I’m going to find the 100 most influential loud-mouthed Wiki-haters on
>>>> the net, show them the crucial photos, and the illogicalities, and I
>>>> hope I’m going to be able to say: “Look – some tiny-minded
>>>> pseudo-scientists started to infect Wikipedia filling even science
>>>> pages with blatant rubbish, but see how good it is?  It put them in
>>>> their place!”
>>>> I know an organisation of your size won’t bother with anything that
>>>> can’t affect it, and I haven’t time to dissolve you with charm.  I’m
>>>> considering removing all the good work I’ve done in the bird breathing
>>>> pages, and their talk pages that explain it, as a token of what you’ll
>>>> lose if you reward my kind of work with insults.  I was happy to give
>>>> it free but people can always buy the book.  Put it back if you want,
>>>> but if you don’t, the pages will lose a lot and if you do you’ll
>>>> underline my value.  And of course there’s the stuff above that could
>>>> go one way or another depending on you.  Much will be done before the
>>>> election and as much as is necessary when it’s over.  Don’t just hand
>>>> this over to another of the dinosaur Wiki-wankers, and don’t let them
>>>> keep spuriously using the word “source” to justify feeding the world
>>>> crap.
>>>> John V. Jackson.
>>>> http://sciencepolice2010.wordpress.com/2010/12/02/sciencepolice2010-launches/
>>>> http://sciencepolice2010.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/sciencepolice-14-latest.pdf
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