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Jacob P Secrest
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 18 October 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 4068
Posted: 19 January 2007 at 11:11am | IP Logged | 1  

Why are we arguing about this?

Wikipedia has a disclaimer that states they can't guarantee their website
to have any factual accuracy, this is something Wikipedia itself admits.

There's no room for debate on this.

Edited by Jacob P Secrest on 19 January 2007 at 11:11am
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Brian O'Neill
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 05 May 2004
Posts: 742
Posted: 19 January 2007 at 4:06pm | IP Logged | 2  

The 'wiki-ruke' is, it's OK, until you're the target of the false, misleading, slanderous, etc., entry.
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todd murry
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Joined: 05 January 2007
Location: United States
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Posted: 19 January 2007 at 5:01pm | IP Logged | 3  

I find Wikipedia very helpful for quick contact information.  If someone mentions “the world’s smallest country, Sealand, is for sale,” and I want an idea of what Sealand is, Wikipedia is a good place to get a rough idea of what is going on.  As far as I’ve seen, the major usage of Wikipedia is this kind of quick and dirty info dump by people who just want to get a basic idea of something and are aware that some of the information may be false.  The Wiki user base is (I think) pretty savvy as a whole are also pretty good at smelling fake info (if an entry begins “<insert celebrity name> is a famous child molester…”, you can’t trust it).  The idea of citing it in law school is ludicrous (see the Wiki site disclaimer), and it should not be allowed as a primary reference in school research, but there is definite value in using it in school as a secondary source, not the least reason for which is that it teaches the valuable lesson that all information, even that from “legitimate” sources, is suspect, and you have to do some legwork to find out the real story.  The entries often hare extensive primary source notations that anyone can follow-up on.  And, although false information and vandalism occurs, the overall reliability (accuracy and completeness) is better than that of asking a friend, posing the question on a message board, doing an online search, or even turning to media informational outlets.  Suspect articles get marked, and additional disclaimers appear at the top of articles needing sourcing or other improvement.  The knowledge base is not perfect, but the thing is just too damn useful to dismiss out of hand.

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Dan Bowen
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 14 August 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 952
Posted: 19 January 2007 at 5:36pm | IP Logged | 4  

The bits that no-one really cares about (you know, the academic bits!) are usually accurate and interestingly written.

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Sam Parker
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Joined: 01 September 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 556
Posted: 20 January 2007 at 8:17am | IP Logged | 5  

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales on accuracy, neutrality, and the thoughtful vs. the jerks:

http://www.ted.com/tedtalks/tedtalksplayer.cfm?key=j_wales
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Brian O'Neill
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 05 May 2004
Posts: 742
Posted: 20 January 2007 at 2:14pm | IP Logged | 6  

When wikipedia decides that John Byrne is not worthy of inclusion on their site, then I'll agree that wikipedia is not worthy of acknowledgement here.

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Jacob P Secrest
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Joined: 18 October 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 4068
Posted: 20 January 2007 at 2:21pm | IP Logged | 7  

This all started with John Byrne's own article being obviously biased
against him.

Wikipedia is not a good resource, period.
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Brian O'Neill
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 05 May 2004
Posts: 742
Posted: 20 January 2007 at 2:35pm | IP Logged | 8  

Wikipedia is a good concept, marred by the fact that there are too many idiots on the Internet.

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Trevor Krysak
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 3995
Posted: 20 January 2007 at 4:07pm | IP Logged | 9  

 That video Sam linked does not make for a great case. Maybe it was just the presentation itself but I kept hearing a lot of vague descriptions of things. They talk of neutrality but also a voting process. That doesn't sound neutral to me. He talks about how everyone has the ability to affect it but then also mentions that some people have more weight in forming the content. And there was the bit about Wiki books? So they want to make encyclopedia's as well?

 I can appreciate the interest they have in giving people free access to information. I think they have a loooooooong way to go to make it work. But that's my (biased) opinion.
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Jacob P Secrest
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Joined: 18 October 2004
Location: United States
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Posted: 21 January 2007 at 4:26pm | IP Logged | 10  

WikiBooks is a collection of freely editable online textbooks.
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Don William
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Joined: 24 December 2006
Posts: 65
Posted: 21 January 2007 at 4:29pm | IP Logged | 11  

There are definitly a lot of flows with Wikipedia.  I do use it for work though.  There are a lot of entries that include further references and that is something I find incredibly useful so that I may go to a source.
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John Byrne

Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 108111
Posted: 21 January 2007 at 8:05pm | IP Logged | 12  

When wikipedia decides that John Byrne is not worthy of inclusion on their site, then I'll agree that wikipedia is not worthy of acknowledgement here.

****

I was in touch with the founder of Wikipedia some months back, and specifically asked that my entry be either permanently locked (after a housecleaning), or deleted. Neither were done.

Should be interesting to see what turns up as "facts" about me in the next week or so, untill the sad boys lose interest again.

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Michael Penn
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Joined: 12 April 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 9782
Posted: 22 January 2007 at 8:31am | IP Logged | 13  

The idea of citing it in law school is ludicrous (see the Wiki site disclaimer), and it should not be allowed as a primary reference in school research, but there is definite value in using it in school as a secondary source, not the least reason for which is that it teaches the valuable lesson that all information, even that from “legitimate” sources, is suspect, and you have to do some legwork to find out the real story. 

****

Hi Todd. There are a staggering amount of professional computer and hard-copy sources that law students can study, cite, and even question. But if I allowed my students to use something as dubious and fundamentally amateur as Wikipedia, even as deep background third or fourth level research, a host of inaccuracies would accrue in no short time that they would miss and I would have to fix. Their whole process of research would be thrown awry, and we don't need more "bad" lawyering out there! I'm not guessing -- I speak from experience.

About JB on Wikipedia, I recall an older version of his "bio" as it appeared there, something littered with quotes taken out of the original context and set into a new, artificial locus designed to be as provocative as possible. Misinformation, misdirection, and, really, pretty darned close to character-assassination.

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Neil Lindholm
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 12 January 2005
Location: Macau
Posts: 4168
Posted: 23 January 2007 at 10:21am | IP Logged | 14  

I can't access Wikipedia directly from China since it is banned over here but I can go to answers.com to get a feed from it. I find Wikipedia is useful for quick information about historical figures and geographical places but I have not really paid much attention to modern people on it. I was curious about JB's article and to be honest, it did not seem that bad, except for the superfluous material about criticisms. Then I found the link to the original article.

Holy crap, what an attack. Almost every line had a little dig or veiled comment and it was filled with useless, irrelevant information. The authors did their best to find some perceived slight with every project and the entire tone was derogatory. Absolute rubbish.

Do other modern personalities get attacked like JB did in Wikipedia or was it a random event by frustrated fanboys?
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Chris Hutton
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Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 11663
Posted: 23 January 2007 at 1:08pm | IP Logged | 15  

even MAD Magazine got into the game, calling Wikipedia "the most trusted source of information."

Hopefully sooner rather than later we will see news articles condemning the site.
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John Byrne

Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 108111
Posted: 23 January 2007 at 1:23pm | IP Logged | 16  

Or a Class Action suit…
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Matthew Hansel
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 18 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 3462
Posted: 23 January 2007 at 2:02pm | IP Logged | 17  

I prohibit any of my students from using it as a "source" in their research papers (especially after the problems encountered here).

I was amazed, though, last night as I was looking through my girlfriend's SPEECH 101 book and found a WHOLE article on WIKIPEDIA and how useful the website is for people looking to do speeches.

I shot off an email to the instructor and to the publisher of the book.

MPH

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Matthew Hansel
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 18 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 3462
Posted: 23 January 2007 at 2:04pm | IP Logged | 18  

As an addendum to the above:

I find it both sad, and I guess slightly amusing, that two individuals whom I hold in high regard (John Byrne and John Mellencamp) both have entries in which the "facts" are called into question.

MPH

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Brian O'Neill
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 05 May 2004
Posts: 742
Posted: 23 January 2007 at 2:07pm | IP Logged | 19  

I think there have already been plenty of critical news stories about the site.

As for class action law suits...are you saying wikipedia is 'legitimate' enough to warrant someone taking that action?

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Jacob P Secrest
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 18 October 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 4068
Posted: 23 January 2007 at 2:10pm | IP Logged | 20  

Matthew Hansel proves that they are.

When textbooks hail something as a good source to use for creating
speeches, it is legitimate, even if it is useless.
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John Byrne

Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 108111
Posted: 23 January 2007 at 3:03pm | IP Logged | 21  

As for class action law suits...are you saying wikipedia is 'legitimate' enough to warrant someone taking that action?

***

Slowly and ponderously, the lawmakers in this country are realizing that the InterNet is a form of publishing, and that those who publish on the InterNet should be held to the same kind of standards as those who publish on paper. Wikipedia has published disinformation about many people, myself included. When asked to do something about it, their response is a shrug. In the real world, this kind of deliberate publishing of lies would be enough to get a publisher sued.

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Randy Sterger
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Joined: 04 January 2007
Posts: 223
Posted: 23 January 2007 at 8:18pm | IP Logged | 22  

I went into a basketball player's profile and added a really long paragraph about how he likes to bake different kind of pancakes, and then wrote about it on my blog. It was obvious it was fake, and it got a lot of laughs and good fun was had by all. Oh well! lol
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Kurt Anderson
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Joined: 18 November 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 2035
Posted: 24 January 2007 at 1:52am | IP Logged | 23  

After seeing the Wike entry that named Mickey Spillaine as the creator of Captain Marvel, I lost all faith in the site.

When I dog the website at the office, I get shocked looks.  It seems that Wiki is "correct enough" for most uses.

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Michael Casselman
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 14 January 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 892
Posted: 24 January 2007 at 9:31am | IP Logged | 24  

I went into a basketball player's profile and added a really long paragraph about how he likes to bake different kind of pancakes, and then wrote about it on my blog. It was obvious it was fake, and it got a lot of laughs and good fun was had by all. Oh well! lol

++++++++++++++++++++++

In that case, you are no better than anyone who vandalized JB's (or any other) entry.

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Jacob P Secrest
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 18 October 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 4068
Posted: 24 January 2007 at 10:13am | IP Logged | 25  

Yes he is, he absolutely is, he added an entry about someone baking
pancakes, the people who vandalized JB's page added entries that were
character assassination, I hope you can see the difference between baking
pancakes and character assassination.
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