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Wiki issues (was: Re: re: re: re: cunnan, an SCA wiki)

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  • Alastair Millar
    ... No problem ;-) ... Yes I know they do, but when you do very large numbers of Google searches (as I do) you eventually start noticing how often exactly the
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 23 9:38 AM
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      Tom writes:
      > Alastair, thank you for your response.

      No problem ;-)

      > Wikipedia has policies to handle plagerism

      Yes I know they do, but when you do very large numbers of Google
      searches (as I do) you eventually start noticing how often exactly the
      same texts that appear on Wikipedia also appears in other places. And I
      really can't believe that encyclopedias like Columbia and Britannica are
      copying from Wikipedia... Again, theory is one thing, practice is
      another. (eBay has policies for stolen property and looted artefacts,
      too, but that doesn't stop them coming up for sale, either)

      > I wish I knew what specifically was incorrect so
      > that I could go fix it for the next reader.

      It's not a question of just one or two things. This is something I come
      across very regularly.

      > Regarding accademic rigour, from the article "Replies to
      > common objections" in the section on Trustworthiness: "Note
      > that the three leading competing online encyclopedias have
      > disclaimers and provide no warranty as to their accuracy -
      > Britannica, Encarta and Bartleby. Sometimes the staff of
      > those encyclopedias forget about the disclaimers.

      Well absolute truth is impossible anyway (which means that lots of
      academics don't have to worry about suddenly becoming unemployed, I
      guess... *grin*). Basic factual errors, however, are not what I expect
      to find in an encyclopedia (dates wrong, quotations missassigned, wrong
      spouses... need I go on?). Incidentally, while the theory says that such
      errors will eventually be fixed, that's no use to someone needing the
      correct info *now*.

      > In short, quality increases over time as people contribute.

      *IF* people contribute. If one person contributes an article with errors
      and no-one else browsing feels competent enough to correct them, the
      errors remain. The danger is always the "it must be right because
      someone else would have corrected it otherwise" assumption. Most seekers
      after knowledge are NOT experts, though, and that's why they're
      seeking...

      This becomes an issue in particular where the article relates to an area
      that is somewhat 'arcane', i.e. very specialised and/or obscure. How
      many people, for example, are REALLY interested and knowledgable enough
      in the history of the Great Moravian Empire to be comfortable with the
      idea of editing/correcting an article on the subject? So the 'Great
      Moravia' entry on Wikipedia is listed as "part of the SLOVAK HISTORY
      series" (!!!). It goes on to make statements like "The probable capital
      of Great Moravia was called Moravia", for which to the best of my (quite
      extensive) knowledge there is precisely no evidence whatsoever - even
      the term "Great Moravia" is first known to have been used only a century
      after that (proto-)state's collapse, and that was in Byzantine Greek!
      (There *are* references to a few places - see my timeline at
      http://www.skriptorium.info/english/r_gmoravia.htm if you're
      interested).

      > Please accept my apologies, but I do not understand
      > what you mean by big R "Romantic" material.

      Romantic as in being a product of Romanticism or the Romantic Revival
      ("the 18th/19th century revolt against classicism or neo-classicism to a
      more picturesque, original, free and imaginative style in literature and
      art", as Chambers Dictionary rather charmingly puts it...) - in other
      words, with a lot of idealistic interpretation, a rather cavalier
      approach to facts (arising from historical records, archaeology and so
      forth), and often a great belief in the literal accuracy/truth of
      folklore, the ability of myths/legends/oral histories to remain
      absolutely unchanged for centuries etc.

      > Regarding the possible dilution of focus, I must point out
      > that the number of websites focusing on the naked human form
      > has not at all affected my ability to hunt for jobs on the
      > web. Similiarly, I propose that the profusion of clothing
      > related pages would not obscure the limited number of pages
      > on cooking, dance or weaponry.

      False analogy - we're not talking about the Internet as a whole, but
      about specific, thematically-based sites/pages. Were a Russian Knowledge
      Page, for example, to contain 50 articles on clothing and 20 on cookery,
      but only 1 article on arms/armour, then I think future contributors
      would be less likely to submit information about the weapons to that
      page, because it "wouldn't be that sort of site". Equally, someone
      looking for info on arms/armour wouldn't be likely to rate the page
      highly as a reliable source either.

      > Overall, I am trying to find a place where
      > the Slavic Interest Group has space for its
      > pages

      You are confusing two different issues here, I think. Issue 1 is HOW
      particular pages should be written/maintained (individual editors,
      moderated posting, free posting/Wiki etc.); issue 2 is WHERE they should
      be posted. My position is that Knowledge Pages should have an editor -
      which does NOT mean that ONLY the editor should contribute to them!

      > a way to contribute small amounts of time

      Research is (almost by definition) time consuming, as is article
      writing. It's the price one pays for accuracy, I suspect.

      > and a continuing ability to fight link rot

      Link rot is certainly a problem... the answer of course is to have
      knowledge pages that have articles and not just links....

      > so that large portions ot the knowledge pages do not
      > become inaccessible due to unfortunate circumstances in the
      > contributors life.

      How about backing up the pages to a zip file every so often, and having
      this stored on the mailing list's Yahoo! pages?

      Yours aye

      Alastair

      Alastair Millar BSc(Hons) - http://www.skriptorium.info
      = Translation & consultancy for the heritage industry =

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    • goldschp@tds.net
      I m a big fan of providing as much information as possible. That s why I like the idea that we have a hard copy newsletter, a discussion group, web pages with
      Message 2 of 4 , Aug 23 10:21 AM
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        I'm a big fan of providing as much information as possible. That's why I like the idea that we have a hard copy newsletter, a discussion group, web pages with substance, and web pages with links. I have no problem with adding one or more wiki's to the mix.

        Do I trust a wiki? Nope, not in your life. Do I think a wiki could be helpful? Sure, and that's enough for me.

        So, I'm offering to include a link to a SIG-related wiki (or wikis) off of the main SIG page (http://slavic.freeservers.com) but I don't see it as a replacement for the knowledge pages. In other words, I'd like to see both.

        This doesn't have to be the final word on the discussion, but I did want to clarify that I'm not going to choose one over the other. We can have both.

        -- Paul
      • Tom Cerul
        ... Yeah. I think I ll try to do what I can on Cunnan without stepping on anyone s copyrightten articles. We ll see how things look in a year. ... I thought
        Message 3 of 4 , Aug 25 7:09 AM
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          > We can have both.
          > -- Paul
          Yeah. I think I'll try to do what I can on Cunnan without stepping on
          anyone's copyrightten articles. We'll see how things look in a year.

          >How about backing up the pages to a zip file every so often, and having
          >this stored on the mailing list's Yahoo! pages?
          >Alastair
          I thought we'd used up nearly all the space that yahoo is willing to
          give us. Oh, yeah, I was/am mixing 2 issues with storage and editors.

          I'd volunteer for one of the editor jobs cause I can do the technical
          labor but I don't know enough to do the academic labor.

          Peace
        • yanagroznaia
          ... Well, the Russian Knowledge pages are backed up on my home computer. At least, the last time I did an update, I saved everything, but that was about 2
          Message 4 of 4 , Aug 25 4:03 PM
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            >>How about backing up the pages to a zip file every so often, and having
            > >this stored on the mailing list's Yahoo! pages?
            > >Alastair
            > I thought we'd used up nearly all the space that yahoo is willing to
            > give us. Oh, yeah, I was/am mixing 2 issues with storage and editors.

            Well, the Russian Knowledge pages are backed up on my home computer.
            At least, the last time I did an update, I saved everything, but that
            was about 2 years ago. So, having a backup isn't really an issue, at
            least in this particular case. And the Russian Knowledge Page isn't
            located on the Discussion Group's Yahoo account, so that is a separate
            issue.

            > I'd volunteer for one of the editor jobs cause I can do the technical
            > labor but I don't know enough to do the academic labor.

            The technical stuff isn't really an issue in the case of the Russian
            Knowledge Pages, although it might be an issue for other Pages. I am
            willing to continue the web-authoring side of things, but I can't keep
            up with the editor side of things, at least, not all by myself, which
            is the real issue. We have the webspace, we have someone to stick
            things up on the web, but we don't have enough people to edit/moderate
            (or whatever you wish to call it) the content.

            --Yana
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