[Wikipedia-l] encyclopedia

Merritt L. Perkins mlperkins3 at juno.com
Sat Aug 16 16:05:46 UTC 2003

What is an encyclopedia? I expect an encyclopedia to be a reference work
where I can quickly find information on many subjects. The information
may be more or less extensive and more or less accurate. 
How would I use an encyclopedia? I would expect to use it to look up
information that I would use in my activities or for recreational
The longer our mind is occupied with a given subject the less productive
we become. We get bored. If we change to another activity for a while our
mind’s productivity will gradually recover.
The encyclopedia may tell how lady GodGifu rode naked through the streets
of Coventry more than 1000 years ago, but there may only be records that
such a person existed and the ride may only be legend. We would be
interested in this legend only for recreational reasons. We have no need
or use for the information.
We may be interested in medical information because it may help us care
for health.
Is there danger that information in encyclopedia articles would be used
by terrorists?
We can have articles about explosives and tell how to make nitroglycerin
or other explosives. Of course the articles would not tell where or how
to buy the ingredients.
How do people think? Often spoken words bring to mind a picture. Years
ago I tried an experiment to find out how different people think. I would
say is three words, "dog chase cat" and then ask the person to describe
the dog. Describe the cat. What else do you see?
A schoolgirl in England said that the dog was an English sheep dog
standing on its hind feet with its front feet up against a tree. The cat
was out of sight up the tree.
Where the tree come from? It wasn’t mentioned in those three words and
wasn’t necessary.
Writing is tricky business. The impression in the mind of the reader may
be quite different from what you intend to convey.
Different readers may interpret what you write in different ways
depending on their past experiences. A person may be able to visualize a
distance stated in feet but not in meters.
Readers may not know the meaning of many unfamiliar terms.
After you write something put away for a while. When you come back to it
later you’ll notice things that you overlooked before.
Now that you are satisfied with it, set it aside and start over new from
the beginning.
When you get tired of working on it either trash it or send it.
Do you agree with my ideas?
Merritt L. Perkins

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