Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [GTh] Adventures in Wikiland

Expand Messages
  • Jordan Stratford
    ... I couldn t disagree more. Some months ago, a single individual marked a dozen articles on contemporary Gnosticism for deletion. He did this out of
    Message 1 of 12 , Mar 1, 2010
    • 0 Attachment
      On 1-Mar-10, at 7:03 AM, Bob Schacht wrote:

      > The Wikipedia is a remarkable project worthy of support.

      I couldn't disagree more. Some months ago, a single individual marked
      a dozen articles on contemporary Gnosticism for deletion. He did this
      out of personal grudge. When this went to "debate" (which was really
      repetitions of the same name notability argument actually contradicted
      by Wikipedia's own standards) readers learned, among other things,
      U.S. News and World Report was not a credible third-party source, that
      multiple citations in doctoral work and course material were not
      relevant, that academic presses were just vanity presses, etc.

      Wiki editors, in my experience, participate out of ego, and to ensure
      the posting of their article on their garage band, pet hamster, or
      World of Warcraft character. So I'm hardly surprised that anyone new
      to the table would be simply ignored, regardless of the validity of
      their argument. I've seen excellent, scholarly articles decompose in
      weeks into conspiracy theories, factual errors, and "because I said
      so" rants by Wikipedia autocrats. It's Lord of the Flies over there.
      So Mike, you have my sympathies.


      Jordan
    • Judy Redman
      Jordan says: ... I couldn t disagree more. Some months ago, a single individual marked a dozen articles on contemporary Gnosticism for deletion. He did this
      Message 2 of 12 , Mar 2, 2010
      • 0 Attachment

        Jordan says:

         

        On 1-Mar-10, at 7:03 AM, Bob Schacht wrote:

        > The Wikipedia is a remarkable project worthy of support.

        I couldn't disagree more. Some months ago, a single individual marked
        a dozen articles on contemporary Gnosticism for deletion. He did this
        out of personal grudge.

        I know that the quality of articles in Wikipedia varies depending on the subject matter. Unfortunately, Gnosticism appears to be one of those areas about which (some) people feel very strongly and are prepared to go to significant lengths to ensure that their own particular biases are represented. Other subjects are much less subject to this kind of thing, so some of the material up there is very balanced and informative. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the medium there is no guarantee of quality. There is a saying amongst my daughter’s friends which reflects the problem very well:

        “Of course it’s true. You know it’s true. Do I have to put it up on Wikipedia to prove it to you?”

        I actually use Wikipedia as a starting point for many things, but I never expect it to provide me with anything more than general information, and I always check the info carefully from more reliable sources if it matters that it’s correct. I therefore don’t think it’s worth putting too much time or emotional energy into trying to stop either of the people Mike and Jordan mention. We just need to make it known that these are two areas where Wikipedia is anything but balanced and accurate. By all means state the objections, but other than taking the matter to the people in charge, I don’t see what else can be done.

        Regards

        Judy

      • Michael Grondin
        Just to give you all an example of the inaccuracies of Wikipedia, I ve just this morning corrected a sentence in the early portion of the GThom entry.
        Message 3 of 12 , Mar 2, 2010
        • 0 Attachment
          Just to give you all an example of the inaccuracies of Wikipedia,
          I've just this morning corrected a sentence in the early portion of
          the GThom entry. Referring to Codex II, it stated:

          "This ancient papyrus codex, written in Coptic ... around the year 100 ..."

          There was a footnote to the last phrase, referring to p.12 of Richard
          Valantasis' 1997 book, but in the cited passage (actually on p.13 of my
          copy), Valantasis was discussing the dating of the original text, not
          the Coptic codex. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, the Coptic
          codex was probably produced around the mid-300's. So anyway, I
          removed the phrase "around the year 100" and its associated footnote.
          We'll see if this gets blocked, but I don't think it will, since I had put
          an explanatory note on the discussion page a few days ago.

          But to balance this view of Wikipedia, consider the following article,
          which appeared in 2005 and was cited on the b-blog "Vridar" in
          support of Wikipedia:

          http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2005/12/69844

          Mike Grondin
        • Bob Schacht
          ... Mike, You are doing the right thing, to engage in the discussion. The wrong thing is to sit here, with knowledge of the evidence, and, without engaging
          Message 4 of 12 , Mar 2, 2010
          • 0 Attachment
            At 01:59 PM 3/2/2010, Michael Grondin wrote:
             

            Just to give you all an example of the inaccuracies of Wikipedia,
            I've just this morning corrected a sentence in the early portion of
            the GThom entry. Referring to Codex II, it stated:

            "This ancient papyrus codex, written in Coptic ... around the year 100 ..."

            There was a footnote to the last phrase, referring to p.12 of Richard
            Valantasis' 1997 book, but in the cited passage (actually on p.13 of my
            copy), Valantasis was discussing the dating of the original text, not
            the Coptic codex. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, the Coptic
            codex was probably produced around the mid-300's. So anyway, I
            removed the phrase "around the year 100" and its associated footnote.
            We'll see if this gets blocked, but I don't think it will, since I had put
            an explanatory note on the discussion page a few days ago.

            Mike,
            You are doing the right thing, to engage in the "discussion."
            The wrong thing is to sit here, with knowledge of the evidence, and, without engaging in the discussion, complain about Wikipedia for not providing the correct information all by themselves.

            Wikipedia is a grassroots project that depends on well-informed volunteers (like us!) to describe and analyze the topic accurately. Its editors are also volunteers. The discussions are monitored by volunteers who adhere, as much as possible, to Wikipedia standards of citing evidence and eschewing opinions. Sometimes controversial or poorly documented information is removed from the article to the discussion page, or a note such as "reference needed" or the like inserted in the text of the main article. Controversies are not new on Wikipedia. It is true that texts like GTh attract partisans with strong opinions, but these are usually managed in the discussion pages.

            I have an old copy of the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. I think it was the 1967 edition. Back in those days, we depended on Encyclopedias to manage all the controversies, and the Britannica imprimatur ensured that we could rely on the contents. But the price for that was endless delays, such that by the time the entire set was published, the information was already obsolete. With the Wikipedia, the results of a paper presented at an SBL session can be incorporated within days and shared widely. And I always look for the footnotes. Wikipedia has a fairly good policy on footnotes, and the footnotes often turn out to be hot links that take you directly to the source.

            In brief, if the GTh article in the Wikipedia isn't up to snuff, it is up to *US* to make it better.

            Thanks, Mike, for your efforts in this regard.




            But to balance this view of Wikipedia, consider the following article,
            which appeared in 2005 and was cited on the b-blog "Vridar" in
            support of Wikipedia:

            http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2005/12/69844

            Thanks,
            Bob Schacht
            Northern Arizona University
          • Michael Grondin
            ... My concern is that even if it s made better, it might not stay that way unless a knowledgeable person monitors it on a continuous basis, and who s going to
            Message 5 of 12 , Mar 2, 2010
            • 0 Attachment
              Bob Schacht wrote:
              > In brief, if the GTh article in the Wikipedia isn't up to snuff,
              > it is up to *US* to make it better.

              My concern is that even if it's made better, it might not stay
              that way unless a knowledgeable person monitors it on a
              continuous basis, and who's going to be willing to spend
              their time doing that?

              Mike
            • Bob Schacht
              ... IMHO, *we* should. It is our opportunity to influence what the world thinks about GTh. That will probably have more influence than anything else we do
              Message 6 of 12 , Mar 2, 2010
              • 0 Attachment
                At 09:23 PM 3/2/2010, Michael Grondin wrote:
                 

                Bob Schacht wrote:
                > In brief, if the GTh article in the Wikipedia isn't up to snuff,
                > it is up to *US* to make it better.

                My concern is that even if it's made better, it might not stay
                that way unless a knowledgeable person monitors it on a
                continuous basis, and who's going to be willing to spend
                their time doing that?


                IMHO, *we* should. It is our opportunity to influence what the world thinks about GTh.
                That will probably have more influence than anything else we do here.

                Bob Schacht


              • Michael Grondin
                I made over a dozen changes to the Wikipedia article Gospel of Thomas last week, including changes to the external links that were initially blocked. The
                Message 7 of 12 , Mar 9, 2010
                • 0 Attachment
                  I made over a dozen changes to the Wikipedia article "Gospel
                  of Thomas" last week, including changes to the external links
                  that were initially blocked. The current version can be seen at:

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Thomas

                  Three article-tabs of interest:
                  "discussion": The talk page for this article.
                  "history": A complete list of changes to the article, in date order
                  (my changes are identified as 'mwgrondin').
                  "watch/unwatch": A click-tab to add this article to your watchlist,
                  or remove it, if it's already there.

                  The watchlist turns out to be less valuable than I first thought.
                  Since it only lists the *latest* change to whatever articles you're
                  watching, I've missed some edits that other users put in while
                  I was working on my own. The bottom line is that one has to
                  check the full article-history from time to time in order to make
                  sure that one is aware of all the changes to the article. (It would
                  be far better if there was a way to email all changes to a given
                  article as they occur to whoever was interested, but I can't
                  find any such functionality.)

                  To give you all an idea of the kind of changes that random users
                  make, here's one that I had to fix:

                  The original wording read:
                  "[GTh] lacks references to the crucifixion of Jesus, his resurrection,
                  or the final judgement..."

                  The editor changed it to read:
                  "[GTh] mentions a prophecy of the crucifixion of Jesus, but doesn't
                  mention his resurrection, or the final judgement ..."

                  ... with a footnote indicating that the "prophecy" was in logion 65
                  (i.e., the parable of tenants in the vineyard, who put the owner's
                  son to death). Other than changing the wording so that 'or' is used
                  properly, this change doesn't have much to recommend it. Obviously,
                  L65 doesn't allude to crucifixion, but more than that, there doesn't
                  seem to be any basis for calling it a 'prophecy' (which I think has to
                  occur *before* the event in question :-). The parable is in all the
                  synoptics, but Thomas lacks the afterthought of those versions
                  that the tenants will all be killed in retaliation - probably (IMO) an
                  allusion to the Jewish Rebellion of 66-75 CE.

                  Anyway, I wanted to incorporate a little something about L.65, but
                  also remove the implication of the original wording "his resurrection"
                  that in fact there was such a thing. What I settled on was this:

                  "[GTh] contains a probable allusion to the death of Jesus in
                  logion 65 (parable of the tenants in the vineyard), but doesn't
                  mention crucifixion, resurrection, or final judgement ..."

                  Now for something completely different:
                  It should be noted that the section of the Thomas article on
                  the dating controversy is long and ragged. I did a little editing of
                  the part of it that had to do with possible John-Thomas interaction,
                  but other than that I've so far left it alone. It drew a lot of attention
                  on the discussion page back in January, and I would recommend
                  that those of you who are interested in this issue take a look at
                  that section of the article and the discussion about it. You may be
                  able to come up with some improvements in organization, wording,
                  etc. Whatever changes you make, though, be sure to conform to
                  the NPOV (neutral point-of-view) standard.

                  Mike Grondin
                • Bob Schacht
                  ... Thanks, Mike, for these important efforts. :IMHO everyone on this list should monitor the Gospel of Thomas wiki to make sure it summarizes the best
                  Message 8 of 12 , Mar 9, 2010
                  • 0 Attachment
                    At 12:54 PM 3/9/2010, Michael Grondin wrote:
                     

                    I made over a dozen changes to the Wikipedia article "Gospel
                    of Thomas" last week, including changes to the external links
                    that were initially blocked. The current version can be seen at:

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Thomas

                    Three article-tabs of interest:
                    "discussion": The talk page for this article.
                    "history": A complete list of changes to the article, in date order
                    (my changes are identified as 'mwgrondin').
                    "watch/unwatch": A click-tab to add this article to your watchlist,
                    or remove it, if it's already there.

                    The watchlist turns out to be less valuable than I first thought.
                    Since it only lists the *latest* change to whatever articles you're
                    watching, I've missed some edits that other users put in while
                    I was working on my own. The bottom line is that one has to
                    check the full article-history from time to time in order to make
                    sure that one is aware of all the changes to the article. (It would
                    be far better if there was a way to email all changes to a given
                    article as they occur to whoever was interested, but I can't
                    find any such functionality.)

                    To give you all an idea of the kind of changes that random users
                    make, here's one that I had to fix:

                    The original wording read:
                    "[GTh] lacks references to the crucifixion of Jesus, his resurrection,
                    or the final judgement..."

                    The editor changed it to read:
                    "[GTh] mentions a prophecy of the crucifixion of Jesus, but doesn't
                    mention his resurrection, or the final judgement ..."

                    ... with a footnote indicating that the "prophecy" was in logion 65
                    (i.e., the parable of tenants in the vineyard, who put the owner's
                    son to death). Other than changing the wording so that 'or' is used
                    properly, this change doesn't have much to recommend it. Obviously,
                    L65 doesn't allude to crucifixion, but more than that, there doesn't
                    seem to be any basis for calling it a 'prophecy' (which I think has to
                    occur *before* the event in question :-). The parable is in all the
                    synoptics, but Thomas lacks the afterthought of those versions
                    that the tenants will all be killed in retaliation - probably (IMO) an
                    allusion to the Jewish Rebellion of 66-75 CE.

                    Anyway, I wanted to incorporate a little something about L.65, but
                    also remove the implication of the original wording "his resurrection"
                    that in fact there was such a thing. What I settled on was this:

                    "[GTh] contains a probable allusion to the death of Jesus in
                    logion 65 (parable of the tenants in the vineyard), but doesn't
                    mention crucifixion, resurrection, or final judgement ..."

                    Now for something completely different:
                    It should be noted that the section of the Thomas article on
                    the dating controversy is long and ragged. I did a little editing of
                    the part of it that had to do with possible John-Thomas interaction,
                    but other than that I've so far left it alone. It drew a lot of attention
                    on the discussion page back in January, and I would recommend
                    that those of you who are interested in this issue take a look at
                    that section of the article and the discussion about it. You may be
                    able to come up with some improvements in organization, wording,
                    etc. Whatever changes you make, though, be sure to conform to
                    the NPOV (neutral point-of-view) standard.

                    Mike Grondin


                    Thanks, Mike, for these important efforts. :IMHO everyone on this list should monitor the Gospel of Thomas wiki to make sure it summarizes the best consensus of scholarly opinion about the gospel, as it evolves.  That can be an important legacy of this discussion group, and Mike has set a good example.

                    Bob Schacht
                  Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.