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Re: [GTh] Adventures in Wikiland

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  • 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 1 of 12 , Mar 2, 2010
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      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 2 of 12 , Mar 2, 2010
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        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 3 of 12 , Mar 2, 2010
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          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 4 of 12 , Mar 9, 2010
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            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 5 of 12 , Mar 9, 2010
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              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
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