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For those concerned about "Wikiality"

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  • For those concerned about "Wikiality"

    AKA The continuing growth and maturation of online communities.

    Exhibit A: Citizendium: A Citizen's compendium of everything.

    It is designed to address and overcome the weaknesses inherent in the Wikipedia model of knowledge from consensus, by striking a balance between community and credentials. The system will use a combination of experts (with publicized, verifiable credentials) and constables, empowered to take action against trouble-makers. It will also use Wikipedia's current state as its base of information. Ars Technica has more on the subject.

    Also of interest to me is the natural evolution of online communities - from the free-for-all IRC days to systems (like Citizendium) which aim to synthesize the a coherent product out of a distributed and often contradictory collective human intelligence. I think the Citizendium model, in particular, is interesting because it seeks to overcome the inherent weakness of its forebears, and it does it by building virtual models of the way that actual communities work.

    [drill][medic][conduct][tg-c1][tpf-c1]
    [ma-c2][taw-c1]

    Principles of good Sandbox Etiquette:
    Assume good faith - Be polite, please! - Work toward agreement. - Argue facts, not personalities. - Concede a point when you have no response to it, or admit when you disagree based on intuition or taste. - Be civil. - Be prepared to apologize. In animated discussions, we often say things we later wish we hadn't. Say so. - Forgive and forget. - Recognize your own biases and keep them in check. - Give praise when due.

    Treat others as you would have them treat you

  • #2
    Re: For those concerned about "Wikiality"

    Meh. I much prefer logic and reason to credentials and constables. To each his own.

    Oh, and wikipedia does not rely upon consensus.
    A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

    "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

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    • #3
      Re: For those concerned about "Wikiality"

      Logic and reason are for building from premises to conclusions. How do you get your base information upon which to apply logic and reason to?

      Perhaps you mean consensus in a different way than I mean. I mean consensus as opposed to credentials - wherein a postulate is taken as fact because a community agrees upon that postulate rather than because an expert stipulates it as fact. I think that accurately sums up the Wikipedia model - unless you have some new pertinent facts about its principles that I am not aware of.

      At any rate, "Wikiality" is the concern that people believe Wikipedia to be true simply because all contributors so far have thus believed it to be true, which is what Citizendium is working to address.

      [drill][medic][conduct][tg-c1][tpf-c1]
      [ma-c2][taw-c1]

      Principles of good Sandbox Etiquette:
      Assume good faith - Be polite, please! - Work toward agreement. - Argue facts, not personalities. - Concede a point when you have no response to it, or admit when you disagree based on intuition or taste. - Be civil. - Be prepared to apologize. In animated discussions, we often say things we later wish we hadn't. Say so. - Forgive and forget. - Recognize your own biases and keep them in check. - Give praise when due.

      Treat others as you would have them treat you

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: For those concerned about "Wikiality"

        I don't think Wilkipedians take much for granted. If you read through the articles, I think you'll find much of the prose to contain heavy qualifiers. That's because people who disagree with what's written have combed through it and added qualifiers - or at least, many moons ago that's what happened. Now, people expect those who disagree with them to comb through everything they write, so they use the proper qualifiers from the get-go.

        Of course, Wikipedia also uses a neutral voice in all articles - or at least does so reasonably well in virtually all articles - and when there is disagreement, all sides of the issue are presented. And all in the same neutral voice.

        No credentials. Just arguments, rational thought, and reason.

        People often present unsubstantiated facts. When they do, people often add the *footnote required spot, flag the article as disputed, or add qualifiers. If you're reading through it and find an unsubstantiated or speculative part, by all means edit it and point it out!

        No one should accept as fact any unsubstantiated claim regardless of origin. Just because someone has credentials by no means makes them credible. I often sense that it's quite the opposite, in fact.

        Edit/Addition:

        Look at this Wikipedia article on chemtrails. Apparently, it's a total crackpot theory. Any expert in any related field would deem it such, I presume. Yet Wikipedia presents the chemtrail theory in neutral voice, presents it's arguments, then presents the 'skeptics' arguments. Since Wikipedia isn't actually taking a position on chemtrails, it can't really be wrong - it's merely providing you with information.

        I much prefer that to an expert giving me his opinion. I don't want an opinion. I want the information, and I'll make up my own mind.
        A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

        "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: For those concerned about "Wikiality"

          "Credentials" merely establish the worth of a person's opinion relative to your own prejudices. It is still possible to make up your own mind on a subject from a selection of opinions rather than data, provided the sample is diverse enough. That is the entire point of having expertise: we don't have the time, inclination, or skill to learn everything about everything ourselves. And part of expert study is not just providing good data, but editing bad data. "How much wisdom is lost in pursuit of knowledge? How much knowlegde lost in pursuit of information?"

          I don't know when it became impolitic to suggest that someone with a PhD might know something you don't.
          In game handle: Steel Scion
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          • #6
            Re: For those concerned about "Wikiality"

            Experts certainly know more about their field but that doesn't make them right or give their opinions more weight. Only positions supported with evidence and reason are worthwhile.

            Accepting someone's postion based upon their credentials is foolish.



            Edit/Addition/Fun Party Fact:


            Incidentally, the eventual founders of Wikipedia first attempted to create a Wiki-esque online encyclopedia whose contributions were made only by experts. It fell flat.
            A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

            "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: For those concerned about "Wikiality"

              Originally posted by xTYBALTx View Post
              Accepting someone's postion based upon their credentials is foolish.
              And I would not suggest that. However, accepting all contributions and opinions as equals regardless of the credibility of the source is also foolish.

              Incidentally, the eventual founders of Wikipedia first attempted to create a Wiki-esque online encyclopedia whose contributions were made only by experts. It fell flat.
              Not surprising. Most experts expect to get paid for their work. Your general Internetizen just likes to talk. :)
              In game handle: Steel Scion
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              • #8
                Re: For those concerned about "Wikiality"

                The credibility level of a source - be it high or low - is irrelevant in determining the veracity of said source's statements.
                A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

                "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: For those concerned about "Wikiality"

                  Originally posted by xTYBALTx View Post
                  The credibility level of a source - be it high or low - is irrelevant in determining the veracity of said source's statements.
                  That's a rather principled view, isn't it? I consider myself to be a bit of a stickler when it comes to fact-checking (I too prize logic and reason in a thought process), but if I were to spend my time fact checking everything I heard, I'd never get anything done (heh heh - like posting in this forum). Instead I (and everyone else too) use a series of cues to help me determine the reliability of information.

                  One of those cues is the credibility of the source. Credibility is ostensibly enhanced by credentials.

                  On the other hand - you're right in that someone with no credibility can still say factual things - they just have a history of not doing that.

                  Speaking of logic, credibility is itself a logical consequence. If someone has a high rate of saying factual things, then it is reasonable to assume (in the absence of other evidence) that the next thing they say will be factual as well. It's just inductive as opposed to deductive logic.

                  What I'm saying is that it's not illogical to listen to the experts.

                  [drill][medic][conduct][tg-c1][tpf-c1]
                  [ma-c2][taw-c1]

                  Principles of good Sandbox Etiquette:
                  Assume good faith - Be polite, please! - Work toward agreement. - Argue facts, not personalities. - Concede a point when you have no response to it, or admit when you disagree based on intuition or taste. - Be civil. - Be prepared to apologize. In animated discussions, we often say things we later wish we hadn't. Say so. - Forgive and forget. - Recognize your own biases and keep them in check. - Give praise when due.

                  Treat others as you would have them treat you

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: For those concerned about "Wikiality"

                    Originally posted by xTYBALTx View Post
                    The credibility level of a source - be it high or low - is irrelevant in determining the veracity of said source's statements.
                    I don't see how the above statement can be maneuvered around.

                    This discussion pits two types of encyclopedia against each other: one is freely edited by all, but the community surrounding it leans towards a more inclusive style, and more or less forces the use of neutral voice and the presentation of all sides in a disagreement accompanied by many of the reasons and logic behind those sides. The other type of encyclopedia relies upon experts who's positions are deemed relevant by their peers.

                    We can have processes which assist us in determining the veracity of statements - such as peer review - but that in no way gives something or someone a free pass. It is without doubt illogical to listen to the experts if you do not vet what they say. Accepting someone's unsupported statement as fact is without doubt illogical regardless of credentials or credibility. No amount of credibility or credentials will make a false statement true.
                    A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

                    "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: For those concerned about "Wikiality"

                      Originally posted by Diceman
                      On the other hand - you're right in that someone with no credibility can still say factual things - they just have a history of not doing that.
                      Originally posted by xTYBALTx
                      No amount of credibility or credentials will make a false statement true.
                      We appear to be agreeing here.

                      The other cue I (and everyone else) tend to use to resolve the suspected truthfulness of a statement is to do a quick subjective assessment of how well the statement fits into one's current world view (by this, I mean how everything fits into place for an observer).

                      For instance: If someone were to claim that earth is shaped like a box, I would tend to reject that claim outright. It strongly contradicts my world view.

                      On the other hand, if someone were to claim that there are box shaped planets out there (and the new definition of planet -necessitating roundness- had not yet been made official), I would only be highly suspicious of that claim (as opposed to rejecting it outright).

                      The reason is that the second claim doesn't fit in neatly with my other ideas of the nature of heavenly bodies, including shape. However, just because I haven't heard of it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. So, I would probably ask for a source on that one.

                      I hope I've been a bit clearer on my understanding of how a person takes a claim and weighs it subjectively for truth. At the end of the day, credibility (and thus, credentials) is important. It is not the be-all and end-all of an argument, but it is important - no matter how logical one is.
                      Last edited by Diceman; 09-20-2006, 02:29 PM.

                      [drill][medic][conduct][tg-c1][tpf-c1]
                      [ma-c2][taw-c1]

                      Principles of good Sandbox Etiquette:
                      Assume good faith - Be polite, please! - Work toward agreement. - Argue facts, not personalities. - Concede a point when you have no response to it, or admit when you disagree based on intuition or taste. - Be civil. - Be prepared to apologize. In animated discussions, we often say things we later wish we hadn't. Say so. - Forgive and forget. - Recognize your own biases and keep them in check. - Give praise when due.

                      Treat others as you would have them treat you

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: For those concerned about "Wikiality"

                        Credibilty is essential in situations where you do not have the means to independently determine veracity. If a bio-engineer has something to say about whether or not a particular protein will bond to a certain substrate, I don't have a lab at my disposal to verify that. So I just have to take their word for it, factoring in the established credibility of the person to determine if I personally can rely on their testimony. I'm not, however, going to give the same level of attention to the opinion of someone who also doesn't have a lab, doesn't know the background of the subject, and wouldn't know an amino acid from battery acid.

                        In an intellectually perfect world, we could personally verify every single datum factored into every analysis, from history to economics to science. But when those tools are denied us we have only the say-so of the learned few (and their own peer review). You may occassionally get bad decisions when relying on "experts," but you will frequently get bad decisions when relying on people who don't think they need experts at all.

                        Road... rubber. Rubber? Road.
                        In game handle: Steel Scion
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                        • #13
                          Re: For those concerned about "Wikiality"

                          I really like Wikipedia.
                          Peace through fear... since 1947!

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                          • #14
                            Re: For those concerned about "Wikiality"

                            I'm not sure why an encyclopedia would need to depend on credentials for the sake of brevity. We're not talking "intellectually perfect worlds." We're talking about different models of encyclopedia.

                            Again, "The credibility level of a source - be it high or low - is irrelevant in determining the veracity of said source's statements." I don't think anyone can talk their way around or through that statement. If you want to attack that statement, please do. I'm always curious of what human ingenuity leads to. But don't rest your argument solely on your credibility ;)

                            Diceman, it seems that we do agree after all. You're going to require evidence for statements made by experts you find to be out of the ordinary, contrary to existing beliefs, and hopefully toss in some routine checks as well. Sounds pretty reasonable to me.
                            Last edited by Nikolas; 09-20-2006, 05:02 PM.
                            A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

                            "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: For those concerned about "Wikiality"

                              Originally posted by xTYBALTx View Post
                              But don't rest your argument solely on your credibility ;)
                              No one is saying that. Can we please stop arguing about things on which we agree?

                              Simpler me:
                              1. In the absence of independent verification, the credibilty of a source carries weight.

                              2. On the Internet, verification is infrequent, therefore credibility plays a large role in community trust.

                              3. ONE way to establish credibility is through academic or professional credentials (of varying trustworthiness).

                              4. Therefore, it is not unwise to balance credentialed input with mass or populist input.
                              In game handle: Steel Scion
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