29 December 2005

Wikipedia Pretty Accurate

According to a recent nature.com study of Science coverage in Wikipedia.
However, an expert-led investigation carried out by Nature — the first to use peer review to compare Wikipedia and Britannica's coverage of science — suggests that such high-profile examples are the exception rather than the rule.

The exercise revealed numerous errors in both encyclopaedias, but among 42 entries tested, the difference in accuracy was not particularly great: the average science entry in Wikipedia contained around four inaccuracies; Britannica, about three.

Wikipedia is growing fast. The encyclopaedia has added 3.7 million articles in 200 languages since it was founded in 2001. The English version has more than 45,000 registered users, and added about 1,500 new articles every day of October 2005. Wikipedia has become the 37th most visited website, according to Alexa, a web ranking service.

Due to its collaborative nature, Wikipedia will never offer a consistent written presentation of encyclopedic entries. The writing will vary vastly, in tone and in quality. But that doesn't mean on the whole, it is less accurate than an old fashioned dead tree compendium. In fact, I would point out that the millions of eyeballs and individual empowerment to create, add, update, (and delete) articles trumps the edicts of a lone editor or small annointed circle that refrain from expanding topics where controversy may erupt or plaster a sanitized Disneyesque theme across the board.

Yes, some fool can instantly commit an act of virtual grafitti, or purposefully deceive, either with serious intent or in the spirit of prankfulness. Again, the millions of eyeballs will laser in on an egregious offense if the topic has any relevance whatsoever. Just peruse all the pages on history, and if you take the time to review the meta material (i.e., history of updates, past versions, article "discussion"), it reveals far more than a dry, lifeless legacy encyclopedia article ever could. For example, this page on the USS Liberty incident that happened in 1967 — even with the stated mission of NPOV (neutral point of views), writers from all sides sqaure off, including survivors of the attack, who are able to add a perspective from thier own personal experience. Even just the reference links, pointing to books, news articles, other web sources of contrasting dispositions is invaluable, with no equivalent in any dead tree encyclopedia.

Comments

Point made, Naum. Perhaps my earlier post this morning has too much verbal gas, but books in my view will always trump the internet.
It's interesting as well comparing to the encyclopedia. It explains why I'll do my best to have my son pursue real references, rather than copy out of the encyclopedia.
Books still trump screen presentation in most matters, for now.

But that's more to do with the still feeble (in relative terms) resolution of on-line reading vs. a paper book. Plus, it's impractical (although I reckon some can use their PDA/e-readers) to use in the bathroom, at the beach, on the bus, waiting in the doctor office, etc.…

Eventually, we'll have recycleable paper w/near equivalent aesthetics to spool stuff off to for offline reading and study.
PRaise for wiki

Thanks for the article Naum, the wiki reference on the article is here, I read it about two weeks ago:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wik...

I even, after the fact, added a header to some of the articles that the nature experts had analyzed. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/i... (which has since been deleted)

A wikiuser says that the results of the wiki study/nature study, if slightly changed, would show that wikipedia is more accurate:

http://mail.wikipedia.org/p...

I love wikipedia so much, that I am building a webpage using mediawiki (what runs wiki)--I will let people from around the world help me make money, and a better, more reliable product as a result. Jimmy Wales is actually quite rich now, from advertising.

The encyclopedia britianica has a fraction of the articles too, encyclopedia britianica has no references to pop culture, and the sections are too small.

The problem with the web blog format, is that, as in this case, one person makes the rules. Whereas wikipedia is a huge collaberation (there are 700 administrators) some of the shit I pull here, I could NEVER get away with on wikipedia. My protrated (drawn out) argument with Kerry would never had been allowed on wikipedia.

In addition, what are all of us adding to the world by writing here? Very little compared to Wikipedia. Wikipedia's content is all free--anyone can host the content, including the founder Jimmy Wales (this is how he got rich by hosting secondardy sites, with wikipedia content, that had advertising on it--he gets paid per click.) Since so many sites host wikipedia, including About.com, that means the chances of any article on wikipedia being the top site is excellent--almost assured within the top 10.

Because of this, on wikipedia, I can let the entire world know about the attrocities of the Philippine-American War. Anyone who types "Philippine-American War" in google, will get back the article which I wrote 50% of the content on.

Type "Lodge committee" and the article I created, is number two:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wik...

Type "Business Plot" and it is number 2 on google. This is an article which I wrote 70% of the content on, and had huge fights with neocons about, and finally privaled because my research tactics were far better, and the facts matched my POV (point of view)
More praise for wikipedia

Wikipedia is democracy at its finest. Any person in the world can add and edit comments on wikipedia.

Most vandilism, according to some studies done, is cleaned up within minutes--I vandalized Lodge committee, too show my family how wikipedia works, and within less than a minute someone had reverted it back, and within 2 minutes, I was being warned to stop, or I would be booted.

Whereas I can argue the points of the 9/11 commission with 3 people here, I can argue the points of the 9/11 commision with the entire world on wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wik... Many really knowledgable people use wikipedia, history buffs like myself.

And it is great because if you get off topic, like I did on wikipedia, and which we all do here, you can and probably will be banned eventually. People will force you to stay on topic in the chat room attached to the article. Here is an example of a lively chat room on leftist historian Ward Churchill:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wik...

The article has 7 extra pages of archived arguments. Quite a lively debate forum.

Neocon and Mondo will mutter under their breathe "God bless America" and get warm fuzzies when they read such far right comments from such people as Pokey5945 on the page, who argue with me, saying Ward Churchill is not a real historian.

Anyway enough advertising for one night.

Ever considered making this page a wikipage Naum?

Here is a list of wiki hosts:

http://en.wikibooks.org/wik...

The sentence:
"There are companies that host Wikis for free or for a price. This means that you do not have to deal with complex programs like Ruby, PHP, MySQL, Apache. The wiki host will do this for you."

Is mine, I added it yesterday....
Correction, the link for the 9/11 commision is:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wik...
Wikiarticle: History of United States imperialism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wik...

This is a poorly named wikiarticle, which has been attacked by American apologists since its inception and which has survived 1 votes for deletion ("List of U.S. foreign interventions since 1945" has survived 2 votes for deletion)

I rewrote portions of this article trying to "clean it up" (as the tag requests people to do on top). I added the five desperatly needed sections on top:

# 1 Is the United States Imperialistic?

* 1.1 First school of thought: "US imperialism never existed"
* 1.2 Second school of thought: "Evil capatilist"
* 1.3 Third school of thought: "Imperialism was an abberation"
* 1.4 The term imperialism as a tool to analyze history

The section:

The term imperialism as a tool to analyze history

Miller concludes that the term "imperialism" recent overuse and abuse makes it nearly meaningless as an analytical concept. Historian Archibald Paton Thorton wrote that "imperialism is more often the name of the emotion that reacts to a series of events than a definition of the events themselves. Where Colonization finds analysts and analogies, imperialism must contend with crusaders for and against."

This section shows why this article is poorly named, the name of the article inspires certain emotions, which inflame crusaders for and against calling America imperialist.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up, is in the next web posting.
Does Neocon fall within the third school of thought or is he in the first?

First school of thought: "US imperialism never existed"

One patriotic school of writers has generally denied that American imperialism ever existed. Americans altruistically went to war with Spain to liberate Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and Filipinos from their tyrannical yoke. If they lingered on too long in the Philippines, it was to protect the Filipinos from European predators waiting in the wings for American withdrawal and to tutor them in American-style democracy. If the American presence was bloody initially, it was, in the end, short-lived and beneficial to the Filipinos, leaving behind better transportation, mosquito control, the work ethic, the seed of Protestantism, and the school house. This patriotic interpretation is no longer heard very often by historians.[2]

Third school of thought: "Imperialism was an abberation"

Between these two positions, another point of view admits American expansion overseas as imperialistic but sees this imperialism as a corruption of the American ideals, a beacon on the hill that would eventually light up a world in political darkness. At the end of the nineteenth century, this noble tradition became a more aggressive missionary impulse to carry the American way of life to others whether they liked it or not. But the corruption was short lived and by the Wilsonian era America had rejected formal empire. In the words of historian Samuel Flagg Bemis, this short lived imperialistic impulse was “a great aberration in American history”

I fall squarely within the Second school of thought: "Evil capatilist".
Naum are you jayjig on wikipedia? I have seen you before, I am travb. I think you voted to keep, or maybe delete my new entry:

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Promises of troop withdrawal by American presidents

Oh no that isnt you, that is userJJay...

So are you jayjig?
No.

Have never written a Wikipedia article or even made substantive alterations to one — I think I made some grammar/spelling corrections and added a few blurbs to a few stub articles at some point in the not too recent past.
"An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani, or Afghan. An American may also be a Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.

An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses. An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

An American is from the most prosperous land in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God given right of each person the pursuit of happiness.

An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need. When Afghanistan was overrun by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country. As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan.

Americans welcome the best, the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best athletes. But they also welcome the least.

The national symbol of America, The Statue of Liberty, welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who built America. Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, 2002 earning a better life for their families. I've been told that the World Trade Center victims were from at least 30 other countries, cultures, and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.

So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo, and Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and every bloodthirsty tyrant in the history of the world. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself. Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American."

Add Comment

This item is closed, it's not possible to add new comments to it or to vote on it