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993Re: Wikipedia

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  • G.M. Grena
    Apr 3, 2006
      > who gives somebody the right to contribute an entry

      Jimmy Wales & the Wikimedia Foundation (based in Florida) encourage
      "anyone with access to an Internet-connected computer to edit,
      correct, or improve" it. More info on contributing to its content is
      available at:


      Think of the Wikipedia as a multi-person blog that collects
      information in a format many people benefit from. I, for one, enjoy
      being able to get basic information on many subjects, with convenient
      links to related material. I always search the Internet & my local
      libraries for details on questionable/disputed content, & check
      source references for accuracy on important info.

      Most vandalism on the Wikipedia is obvious, especially since each
      edit is timestamped. If you're reading about coastal development
      along the Great Barrier Reef, & suddenly read, "hi my name is bob",
      chances are very good the page has been vandalized, & you should
      revert to an earlier version. Just click on the History tab at the
      top of each article & compare page versions; here's an example:


      Controversial topics usually carry a warning at the top of the page:


      > Have we entered into a situation where
      > anybody can "publish" anybody else's excavation?
      > Sam Wolff

      No. Look at your logic: How could somebody who, in your
      words, "does not have any connection to the excavation or the
      excavators" possibly know anything worth publishing? Where would
      they get it?

      I would submit that people working on an excavation know each other,
      & would be cognizant of the dig-director's right to the editio
      princeps. How many times in the past century has there been a big
      fight between 2 parties over ANE publication rights? The only ones I
      can think of off the top of my head are the Ebla tablets & DSS.
      Neither of those disputes involved the Wikipedia!

      Furthermore, if a renegade were to publish a significant find from a
      site before the director, that person (usually a student) would
      garner a very bad reputation & probably not be allowed on any other
      sites. For a student, there would probably be detrimental academic

      A good example of the honor code in action is the Zayit Stone with
      the astounding Paleo-Hebrew/Phoenician abecedary; it was found in
      July, but not published until the director, Ron Tappy held a formal
      press conference in November. The gentleman who discovered it
      (Michael Homan) had ample opportunities to trump his accomplishment
      last summer to the press, his blog, & the Wikipedia. He's to be

      Since you commented on my Nahal Tut entry, anyone can visit that page
      & see my references in the References section. All I did was
      condense the Israel Antiquity Authority's press-releases, which were
      extremely terse overviews to begin with:


      I added a few sentences to emphasize LMLK seals, & the entire article
      is less than 300 words. I would submit that the final report, when
      the excavators publish it some years hence, will contain
      significantly more content. The Wikipedia entry gives interested
      parties a "heads up" advantage. I believe it's going to affect
      everyone who writes about Neo-Assyrian chronology.

      G.M. Grena
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