User:DGG/my view of WP
This is an essay.
It contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. This page is not an encyclopedia article, nor is it one of Wikipedia's policies or guidelines, as it has not been thoroughly vetted by the community. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.
My view of Wikipedia
- (This was written when I was new here, but has been revised from time to time on the basis of experience),
I'm a librarian, and there are some things here which seem unusual to me:
- We librarians also have a professional standard to have a NPOV, so I expect to have an eye out for POV violations, but I don't expect to fix them all immediately. There seem to be too many for that. In any case, the library way of dealing with POV is to fork, (for example: Jesus Christ--Jewish views) which is apparently deprecated here, in favor of neutered articles relying on the convenient phrase "some say." Some forks have crept in at various places, and perhaps it might be considered whether this is not a possible solution for articles dealing with opinions.
- We also have a standard for adequacy and balance. There seem to be many articles with a brief general discussion, followed by whatever happen to be the fields of interest of the editor. I don't think I can write all the missing pieces, but I can put in divisions for things that ought to be there, and hope somebody takes the hint. This includes balance in academic level. Libraries cover mathematical topics at all levels, including the elementary. That's certainly not the case here. This is an encyclopedia--but a general encyclopedia, not one intended for scholars alone.
- Many of the topics on particular groups or people or books with a strong point of view describe the subject, but then continue to give long selections of paraphrase or quotations expressing the views at inordinate length. There seems to be no practical way to remove it. The usual community procedures seem to only work on pages where there is general interest.
- We also have a professional standard about copyright and plagiarism. The standards here seem to be very different. For one thing, the necessity to meet international more restrictive codes in WP prevents much of what would otherwise be fair use under US law. For another, the ability to copy text from public domain sources and use it without attribution seems to run rampant here. I do not consider it acceptable, and I have my doubts even if attributed: it should be used as indented quotations, not the main text. When the article becomes complemented by some original material, there must be an effort to indicate what parts have been copied.
- Perhaps when WP was beginning, it was important to have content, but perhaps it is now time to have information."
- We also have a standard about intellectual authority. It is obtained from the use of the best sources, not necessarily only the familiar ones, or only the conventional ones. It is evaluated by objective accuracy standards for logic and evidence. It is not evaluated by counting heads--particularly not by counting the convenience sample of those who happens to be present working on WP at the time, or represented by the few items of documentation available, or by a count of what happens to be in Google. I approve of requiring documentation, in reasonable amounts, and covering all the bases. I don't see this much; articles either document everything, document on one side of the argument only, document by a personal prejudice, or documents selected by chance.
- We also have a standard about organization. It deprecates overlapping articles, multiple logical trees, parallel disconnected chains, and links made as one thinks of them, rather than systematically. This is much harder to organize, especially in e-space. WP seems too large to do this effectively, but I applaud the efforts of those trying to organize individual subject areas.
Part 2, notabilityEdit
A/ Verifiability just says, if you can cite it, it's in. "Nathan Nathaniel is a 27-year-old British construction worker who was featured in (insert human interest story here) (cite said human interest story)." It's verifiable, but it's not notable. Nifboy 03:31, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
- And here lies the basic difficulty, because the difference between a human interest story and an encyclopedia-worthy even is not in the least obvious, and every one of us judges differently. But we can not simple eliminate the 2 RS rule, because there are so many cases where we have to judge, and where it often does serve as a rough guide.To some, a murder case which involves claims of police discrimination between the killings of the poor and of the middle-class is not only newsworthy but encyclopedia-worthy: it illustrates the structure of society and the way it is maintained, the sort of thing every citizen must know and understand; to someone else, it is part of the routine background of life. To some, the life of a 14th century noblewoman where only the passage of the estates and the dowries can be documented is important for its documentation of the structure of power and its relationship of property; to another, it is the trivia of history without any real effect on the course of events. To some, the names of the characters in soap opera is the sort of information I would rather not exist but is in any case best forgotten; to another it is the essence of the literary forms of our time.
- In an edited work, the editor in charge can decide what to cover; for a community-based enterprise we must accommodate all of us, or exclude some by restricting the community. If we exclude the interests of any of us, we destroy the fragile alliance which lets the enterprise proceed.
- As a more precise example, at AfD the notability of some far left British political figures is being discussed: some of us could not care less what that splinter party does, and considers almost none of its leaders significant--others feel just the same way about the Conservative party. What we do not like, or do not understand, we think not notable. And that is the basis of the arbitrary 2 RS rule--we do not have to decide these questions. DGG 08:20, 12 June 2007 (UTC)