Sunday, May 26, 2013

What's wrong with wikipedia

The reason wikipedia, for all its usefulness, is absolutely wrong for scholarship in the humanities is not the fact that it's crowd-sourced.  Contrary to what some people imagine, the problem is not the lack of a recognized editorial authority:  to the contrary, the problem with wikipedia is precisely that its explicit editorial policy gets the authority of evidence in the humanities wrong.

I can't say it more succinctly than wikipedia itself does.  I took the following screen grab today from the wikipedia article on "RDF Schema." If it's hard to read, here's a larger version.  The text reads, "This article relies on references to primary sources.  Please add references to secondary or tertiary sources."


This is not just slightly misdirected:  it is 180 degrees off target.  There is no way to misunderstand more completely the logic of an argument using evidence in the humanities.

2 comments:

Matthew Mueda said...
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Ivan Pylat said...
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