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Growing pains for Wikipedia | CNET News.com

12/05/05 | by JAdP | Categories: Computers and Internet, Current Affairs

There's been quite a bit of discussion over the recent problems with articles on Wikipedia, from Dave Winer to Dan Gillmor and News.com (see linked quotes below). Much of this discussion focuses on the authority and accountability of Wikipedia and similar open source content. Update: More folk are picking up on this, including Business Week.

"First, in a Nov. 29 op-ed piece in USA Today, a former administrative assistant to Robert Kennedy lambasted the free online reference work for an article that suggested he may have been involved in the assassinations of both Robert F. Kennedy and John F. Kennedy.

"Then, on Dec. 1, a new flurry of attention came when former MTV VJ and podcasting pioneer Adam Curry was accused of anonymously editing out references to other people's seminal podcasting work in an article about the hot new digital medium.

"To critics of Wikipedia--which, in a spin on the open-source model, lets anyone create and edit entries--the news was further proof that the service has no accountability and no place in the world of serious information gathering."end quotation
-- Growing pains for Wikipedia at CNET News.com

Dave Winer asks

... the bigger problem is that Wikipedia is so often considered authoritative. That must stop now, surely. Every fact in there must be considered partisan, written by someone with a confict of interest. Further, we need to determine what authority means in the age of Internet scholarship. And we need to take a step back and ask if we really want the participants in history to write and rewrite the history. Isn't there a place in this century for historians, non-participants who observe and report on the events?end quotation
-- Dave Winer

And Dan Gillmor answers

Yes. They're also called journalists. We need them more than ever.end quotation
-- "Observing, Reporting" by Dan Gillmor

Though recent events in main stream media has shown that the professional journalists are not always any more authoritative than the citizen journalists, or citizen encyclopedists.

The problem is with the readership. Though more than 35 years old now, I still have the text from my high school freshman year logic course. Here are the common types of logical fallaices.

Common Logical Fallacies
a - Confusion of sequence and causality (post hoc, ergo propter hoc) Here we suppose that what precedes an effect is its cause (Often called the "fallacy of false causes").
b - Argument from Modernity This supposes that what is new is true (correct) and that what is fashionable is right or correct.
c - Argument from Antiquity This supposes that what is old and has been accepted for years is true or best, necessarily.
d - Argument from Authority Here it is supposed that what an authority on the matter says is true, necessarily.
e - Argument from the Mean This supposes that the individual cases from which the mean was taken - or from which the aveerage was obtained - most conform exactly to that average.
f - Argument from History This supposes that what has been proved by documentation to be true or good of or for one country, city, person, etc, must necessarily therefore be true or good for all or many or any others.end quotation
-- Logic Notes (A Brief, Philosophical Introduction to Logic) typed, not published, no copyright

So, whether you're reading Wikipedia or Encycolpedia Britannica, a blog or the N.Y. Times, read critically, think properly, think accurately, think logically.

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I'm Joseph A. di Paolantonio and this blog has two main foci: my interest in food, and my interest in the future. This provides a look into my personal life, and is separate from my consulting work…though there will be overlap. I am an independent researcher, working as a strategic consultant and I'm an executive with over 20 years of commercial experience with a technical interest in the intersection of Internet of Things, with advanced data management and analysis methods. I view data science as a team activity, and I feel that the IoT must be viewed as a system. I am leveraging my past activities to understand the adoption and impact of the IoT; first, as a system engineer in aerospace, where I developed Bayesian risk assessment methods for systems within the Space Transportation System (including the Space Shuttle), Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, Gravity Probe B, and many more, and second, as a enterprise data warehousing, business intelligence and analytics professional. Between my aerospace and IT careers, I indulged my hobby of cooking by starting a food company, Montara Magic, centered around my chocolate sauces. My education combined chemistry, mathematics and philosophy. I performed research into molten salt fuel cells in graduate school, and in photovoltaic materials for a short time in industry. The lure of bringing the human race into space was strong, and when I was offered the chance to combine my chemistry and mathematics skills to develop new risk assessment and system engineering methods for space launch and propulsion systems – I couldn't resist. I perform independent research and strategic consulting to bring value from the Internet of Things, Sensor Analytics Ecosystems and data science teams.I am a caregiver, a lover of science fiction and speculative fantasy, and my passion to learn has led me to a pilot's license, an assistant instructor in SCUBA, nordic and alpine skiing, sea kayaking, and reading everything I can, in as many topics as I can.

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