• Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    So, basically, long story short, a big bunch of no-nothings can create knowledge by writing a Wikipedia page, yes?Bartricks

    Empirical investigation says otherwise. Your assertion is false. Most Wikipedia pages are well-written, reliable and accurate, so those who wrote them are presumably reasonably knowledgeable. In contrast, your comments don't seem to be accurate, well-written or true.

    Wikipedia - 1
    @Bartricks - 0
  • Michael
    10.2k
    Ah, I think you've been drinking. Wikipedia is written by people who like pub quizzes, not experts. For instance, consider something you know a lot about. Look up a wikipedia entry on that subject, whatever it may be. Then notice all the mistakes.Bartricks

    The trick is to look at the references section to see where the information is coming from.
  • Wayfarer
    14.6k
    Wikipedia is written by people who like pub quizzes,Bartricks

    Nothing like The Philosophy Forum, which is an assembly of experts from all over the world, whose opinions are invariably supported by profound insights into that of which they speak.
  • SophistiCat
    1.8k
    You have very naive, black-and-white notions both about academia and about open-access publishing. The best of open-access journals are very much a part of the academic world that you so despise, just with a somewhat different business model than pay-for-access journals. The worst are crackpot publications like Journal of Cosmology, and what must be by far the largest open-access sector, so-called Predatory publishing - fake online journals with no real editorial or peer review that, for a modest fee, will publish pretty much any submission from naive authors who don't bother to check the journal's credentials, or unscrupulous grad students and young careerists who just want to pad their publication lists. (Do take a look at the second Wiki link for some sobering perspective.)

    Like , and said, there are good and bad sides to Wikipedia and open-access publishing, as well as academic publishing and institutional science. Neither condemning them in toto nor unconditionally endorsing anything "open-source" like a bright-eyed fanatic is reasonable. You need to get informed and use good judgement.
  • Galuchat
    792
    Beliefs that are not expressed in language or not possible to express in language are ineffable. They are not part of knowledge. You must be able to express the belief, or else it is not knowledge. Hence, legitimate knowledge can always be represented by using language expressions.alcontali

    Tacit (implicit empirical) knowledge is difficult to communicate because it is only partially codifiable, or uncodifiable. It is processed in an automatic, or intuitive (as opposed to a controlled, or cogitative), manner. Types include motor sequences (e.g., driving a car), skills (e.g., hammering a nail), and schemata (e.g., primary social interactions).

    So tacit knowledge (which is ineffable) is not actually knowledge, or better: is illegitimate knowledge?
  • alcontali
    1.3k
    Tacit (implicit empirical) knowledge is difficult to communicate because it is only partially codifiable, or uncodifiable. It is processed in an automatic, or intuitive (as opposed to a controlled, or cogitative), manner. Types include motor sequences (e.g., driving a car), skills (e.g., hammering a nail), and schemata (e.g., primary social interactions).

    So tacit knowledge (which is ineffable) is not actually knowledge, or better: is illegitimate knowledge?
    Galuchat

    Well, it is obviously legitimate. I should have said that they are not part of "formal knowledge".
  • Galuchat
    792
    Well, it is obviously legitimate. I should have said that they are not part of "formal knowledge".alcontali

    Fair enough.
    Obviously, tacit knowledge is not beyond the capacity of AI (e.g., self-driving vehicles, robotic manufacturing, etc).
    So, I'm surprised that we are not dropping JTB as a general definition of knowledge, and substituting it with something after Floridi (e.g., factual and/or logical semantic information).
  • boethius
    922
    Like ↪Bitter Crank, ↪StreetlightX and ↪unenlightened said, there are good and bad sides to Wikipedia and open-access publishing, as well as academic publishing and institutional science. Neither condemning them in toto nor unconditionally endorsing anything "open-source" like a bright-eyed fanatic is reasonable. You need to get informed and use good judgement.SophistiCat

    This seems like a reasonable thing to say, moderation in all things, but I think is insufficient to properly address @alcontali's concerns.

    Granted, the little waskel has spiwit -- I said spiwit! Bravado, a touch of derring-do. He dares to raid us. But I think such passion for the truth and it's sharing should be first commended and any counter arguments fleshed out in the flesh.

    I agree there are serious problems with many of @alcontali's position -- such as believing bitcoin is some serious threat to government currency schemes and that bitcoin itself is somehow independent of governments being so gracious as to maintain a global internet, as well as believing logical rules and theorems somehow imply inevitable empirical affects in the real world such as mass-automation (again, that depends on governments being so gracious as to maintain a sophisticated global economy) -- and if your claim of naivity is focused on these aspects, then I agree; rarely do I come across a branch not only so close to being cut by the person resting atop it but doing the cutting so vigorous a fashion.

    However, these things mentioned in the above paragraph, as much as they betray a fool's completely misunderstanding and ignorance of the real world, are adjacent to the core contention of @alcontali's grasp of formal arguments and, though unstated, Kantian moral argument.

    I will do my best here to state this unstated argument, for the benefit not only of alcontali but your own, so that you too may emerge from a naive black and white view of the world where things are either in moderation, and so good, or then not, and so naive.

    Is fanaticism for justice a moral blemish? Is thirst for the truth savagery?

    For if we bring in a moral theory, such as Kantianism, then alcontali's position becomes very understandable. He is not saying all open source material is by definition is good, he is saying academia has failed in their duties to society insofar as they create knowledge through occulted schemes of copulation with corporations. The academic claims to have a duty to the truth and society, to teach and to guide, and the corporation claims to have a duty to money, for themselves, and to take value from society whenever possible. True, some academics see this as intrinsic tension, and some do not. But what is the argument of those academics that say "there is nothing to see here" and to put their money where their mouth is, we won't even let you see for you to judge for yourself.

    For instance, certainly, many an economist sees no problem with a private central bank with an ambiguous and opaque connection to the public sphere with the power to create money backed by the government. And, though I doubt bitcoin is going to change this, is this really a well reasoned position? Or, is the real position of the status-quo economist "well, at the end of the day, central bankers rub me the right way, so I rub them the right way, we all come into a lot of money; it's an exchange, I service them and in return look out for their interests, and that's what economics is all about; QED little padawan, QED".

    In other words, status-quo economists, the "experts" appealed to whenever the status quo comes into question, have no "document 2" in the parlance of alcontali.

    However, where alcontali diverges from the true-true about this social story, is that it's not resolved in formalism alone. Though the formalism of the claim and the justification for the claim, is the context, unjustified claims of experts do have a "document 2" which is just appeal to their own expertise; which alconti's aware of, as references their reference to their own papers, but just is not so astute in the ways of logic to realize these papers can always substitute for "document 2"

    The real issue is whether a "document 2" of just citing their own expertise is a valid justification for whatever they claim.

    Sometimes yes, but nearly all these cases that I can think of (and exceptions don't justify much hidden research), will have time constraints involved, and the expert and their document 1, the claim, and their document 2, paper trail of expertise of some sort, is the best we can do.

    But if there is no time constraint, such as justifying a claim where we can sit all day waiting for the document justifying it to accumulate both argument and empirical data, then as soon as the academic starts citing papers that are not accessible to the general population, the general population can reasonably doubt whether such research is carried out honestly by people who feel a duty to the truth and duty to society and a duty to tell the truth to society. If we can doubt their motives, then we can doubt the quality of their expertise.

    For, formalism, that we can fortunately come to understand apart from any experts claims about it, informs us another important thing, that from any contradictory statement anything can be proven. And although networks of empirical evidence may have more robustness to such errors than formal mathematics, we are well-suited to doubt that the subtlest mistake can be used to arrive at, not only a false conclusion, but a verifiable absurd conclusion. If those mistakes are hidden behind paw-walls, and there is simply not enough honest people that have access to be able to spot such mistakes, then we cannot be sure that the expert is making a recommendation that has a coherent document 2 (one that we can at least check for internal consistency) or even any document 2 other than their own expertise (which has no special relationship to their claim in question but can be attached to any and all claims).

    Why do experts tolerate and provide non-evidence, non-good-reasoning based arguments for occult research, research that is not accessible and occulted by pay-walls, is I believe for exactly the reasons alconti is proposing: anyone can check. If data is analysed to come to a conclusion, it really is as alconti says: anyone with a computer can check if that analysis was done correctly. Statistics is difficult, it's not even an expectation that most academics can even properly wield statistics as otherwise there would only be a handful of them around, almost statistically unnoticeable, so the best that can be done is to open up research and data so that anyone can check, with few exceptions.

    Why isn't this done? To shift liability to unaccountable panels of experts to arrive at public policy driven by ulterior motives than what is true.

    For instance, corporations want to put their products on the market as soon as possible, then set the bar of "proving the product is for sure dangerous" as high as possible both in terms of scientific evidence and legally. But to get permission from the government, some sort of indication that it's safe is required, if "experts" can be called on to give an unaccountable, perhaps biased by explicit or implicit conflicts of interest, this is the best scenario; the second best scenario is being allowed to submit studies that have improper statistical analysis or that are straightup fraudulent and no one bothers to check for both internal inconsistencies as well as conflicts with other published papers, as no one has time for that. In terms of profit motive, these are the plans we'd reasonably expect to be executed. The problem in this system of getting society's approval to put a product in the environment or people's bodies is that if "someone, out there" does have time to check.

    A recent scandal that shows just how vulnerable this system of occult research and expert opinion is, is the opioid crisis. How many experts from government, to hospitals, to every doctor being themselves a supposed expert, adopted the claim that opioids can be prescribed in abundance without a second document justifying this, other than other experts seeming to claim this? It turns out the precious "peer reviewed research by a high-credibility and therefore costly and pay-walled journals" justifying opioids for wide use didn't even exist. Ok, sure, science eventually caught up and realized whatever experts were involved in creating the crisis were full of shit and had no document 2 justifying the policies (other than their supposed expertise), but far after the fact, after far more money was made than will ever be recovered or commensurate with the social damage, and arguably more financial damage than would cost to just "buy the universities into open publication and open data" for if it's money they want why not just give them their 40 pieces of silver if it would avoid things like the opioid crisis.

    More serious, the excuse "well, science will catch up even if there are systematic weaknesses in the system" itself has only the document "well, experts say so" to back it up, and there is no time constraint where this is the best we can do. If such systemic weakness lead not only to things like the opioid crisis but to the destruction of civilization, perhaps all of humanity, how will science "catch up and correct the problem eventually"?

    And such catastrophic damage can come from two directions from this system. First, like as above, inconsistencies in "document justification for claims" that are not noticed because academics are too busy or too cowardly to verify important expert claims upon which critical public policy is based. Formalism informs us the implications of a single mistake is, if not proving all statements, is at least unknowable to it's extent of proving further false statements. Now, we cannot avoid all mistakes, but we can avoid avoidable mistakes by maximizing the checking of claims for, at at least, internal consistency. For instance, experts hatch a plan for geo-engineering that goes horribly wrong that turns out, though science is no longer around to learn from it, had subtle analytical mistakes in it's formulation, that unfortunately for us could have been spotted but weren't spotted due to a history of making such spotting as difficult as possible.

    The second catastrophic damage that can occur is that due to the occult nature of enlightenment based science today, avoidable mistakes are made due to conflicts of interest and people lose faith in the whole system and so even when there are documents that really are open to justify a claim, such that climate change is happening and is a serious problem, people are so in the habit of doubting experts, because they've seen the ulterior motives play out before that they apply the same (completely reasonable expectation) to these new claims. The claim that climate scientists have ulterior motive really is backed up by scientists having ulterior motives before (cough, cough, tabacco). In other-words, systemic weaknesses in institutional science undermine the public trust in institutional science overtime and scientists shouldn't complain about that because they only have themselves to blame. They want to classify all such criticism as word salads ... but they don't want to apply the same standard to their grant proposals.

    What can the scientist do to separate themselves from the reasonable suspicion of ulterior motives. There is only one thing: open data and analysis accessible to anyone who wants to check.
  • SophistiCat
    1.8k
    This seems like a reasonable thing to say, moderation in all things, but I think is insufficient to properly address alcontali's concerns.boethius

    Is fanaticism for justice a moral blemish? Is thirst for the truth savagery?boethius

    Fanaticism for truth and justice sounds very fine and romantic. Who could object to that? The naked truth used to be allegorically depicted as a beautiful and (obviously) naked young woman, apparently in order to ensure that the visceral (or whatever) truth of the allegory would be felt by every (or at least every male) viewer:

    the-truth-1870.jpg!Large.jpg

    But the naked, unadorned truth is that truth in most nontrivial matters is far too messy and ambiguous and not infrequently unattractive (if not to say ugly), belying the seductive allegory. Passion is a double-edged sword (there is that dull moderation and evenhandedness again...) What a "fanaticism for justice" and "thirst for truth" often stand for is a passion for simplistic but attractive narratives - like conspiracy theories about corrupt whoever and big bad whatever - and easy fixes - "open source" this and "blockchain" that (or, to quote an earnest cri du coeur of a John Dos Passos character from much further back in time, "Why not social revolution?")

    Me, I would prefer mealymouthed on-the-one-hand/on-the-other-hand, or barring that, admit ignorance and impotence, than be taken for a ride by phantoms. Maybe I am revealing my age too much here. But hey, if conspirology and populism feel right to you, then sky is the limit - or at least the so-called "most powerful office in the world," as has now been demonstrated.

    Why do experts tolerate and provide non-evidence, non-good-reasoning based arguments for occult research, research that is not accessible and occulted by pay-walls, is I believe for exactly the reasons alconti is proposing: anyone can check. If data is analysed to come to a conclusion, it really is as alconti says: anyone with a computer can check if that analysis was done correctly.boethius

    The thing is, those who have the qualifications and the interest to check published research, for the most part can already do this, through their affiliation with institutions that provide subscriptions and library services. It's been a long time since I was at a university, but even back then I could get just about any paper, even from some obscure typewritten conference proceedings, if not from our own library or an online subscription, then through inter-library copy service. What makes modern science an "occult" institution is not so much physical access to scientific publications as the often high bar of competence and professionalism that is required to be even a good critic, let alone a good practitioner. Lacking that competence and professionalism, we get these "citizen scientists" posting detrended temperature graphs to prove that global warming is a hoax. (That's not an argument for hiding science from the unwashed masses behind paywalls, by the way.)

    I am well aware that there exist legitimate criticisms of scientific institutions and of the publishing industry, but, for better or for worse, those criticisms usually aren't easily packageable into slogans and don't invite easy solutions.
  • boethius
    922
    Fanaticism for truth and justice sounds very fine and romantic. Who could object to that? The naked truth used to be allegorically depicted as a beautiful and (obviously) naked young woman, apparently in order to ensure that the visceral (or whatever) truth of the allegory would be felt by every (or at least every male) viewer:SophistiCat

    Nice card to pull out in a completely irrelevant context. But duly noted, you do have this card to play in a game where it doesn't matter.

    My aces beat your ... snake eyes? I guess that's a good move when you're lost anyways.

    Passion is a double-edged sword (there is that dull moderation and evenhandedness again...)SophistiCat

    Completely agree, never said it was a single edge sword.

    What a "fanaticism for justice" and "thirst for truth" often stand for is a passion for simplistic but attractive narrativesSophistiCat

    Often, but not always by your own definition.

    For those blindly following a priest or guru or a leader promising nice things without critical thinking, I agree they should be focused on the often part of your message. For others, perhaps the not always part is the more useful extension of your message.

    Me, I would prefer mealymouthed on-the-one-hand/on-the-other-hand, or barring that, admit ignorance and impotence, than be taken for a ride by phantoms.SophistiCat

    Well, I don't see any mealymouthed on-the-one-hand/on-the-other-hand arguments, so, yes, please go ahead and admit ignorance of the subject matter and impotence with regard your truth symbolism.

    But hey, if conspirology and populism feel right to you, then sky is the limit - or at least the so-called "most powerful office in the world," as has now been demonstrated.SophistiCat

    You really believe a completely corrupt buffoon occupies "most powerful office in the world" as you say, and there was no conspiracies along the way, no conspiracies since, no conspiracies right now to defraud the public purse, dismantle oversight, undermine the rule of law, and many other things?

    Though I'm not so conspiratorial minded to believe Trump works directly for Putin and a couple of hundred thousand dollars spent by Russians in advertisement to an American firm operating under American regulation (and anything else Putin maybe imagined to have done) is significant compared to the billions of dollars of advertising freely provided by the American media operating under American regulation and hundreds of millions spent in "money is speech / corruption is de facto legal" election framework, but I do wonder why there are "conspiracy" laws on the books if they never happen and any case ever brought involving a conspiracy charge we should understand to imply that the judge and / or jury are "conspiracy theory" quacks and the detectives just over-imaginative hacks.

    This isn't really relevant here, but if you want to sling this sort of mud, I'm willing to get a little dirty to clear the air.

    The thing is, those who have the qualifications and the interest to check published research, for the most part can already do this, through their affiliation with institutions that provide subscriptions and library services.SophistiCat

    There is about an order of magnitude, possibly 2 or 3 orders of magnitude, more people that could contribute to evaluating data and analysis than have free access for being a student, much less the researchers themselves.

    All these people's potential contributions aren't relevant to you?

    What makes modern science an "occult" institution is not so much physical access to scientific publications as the often high bar of competence and professionalism that is required to be even a good critic, let alone a good practitioner. Lacking that competence and professionalism, we get these "citizen scientists" posting detrended temperature graphs to prove that global warming is a hoax. (That's not an argument for hiding science from the unwashed masses behind paywalls, by the way.)SophistiCat

    Ok, you don't actually have an argument against my point. I meant occult to mean simply "hidden from view behind a paywall". I used this particular word to also place in relief the ideals of the enlightenment, fighting against occult religious organization of society, and the current system, likewise wanting to organize society from an occulted place.

    As to your meaning, even if you really do believe the high bar of competence and professionalism provided by university education is a pre-requisite to check documents for internal consistency, I am not arguing the untrained will be able to do much. I believe the untrained should be welcome to try, but if you ask me "who's able to do this extra checking" it is exactly those competent professionals you're referring to that are now outside the university system: highly educated people doing management jobs, teaching yoga, rock climbing or photography, or, indeed, the retired, who could contribute gladly spare time to minimize the gaming of the system by those in the system who are susceptible to corruption, incentivization or censorship in one form or another working in networks large and small to slip-in profit maximizing premises, omissions or spin to serve private interests in political processes rather than true premises for public interest in political processes.

    You are very wrong to assume students and other researchers have a big incentive to point out shoddy work of the big shots. Random people on the internet, however, this is who they fear, and why the paywalls stay even if there is simply no argument to place public funded research behind private paywalls.

    I am well aware that there exist legitimate criticisms of scientific institutions and of the publishing industry, but, for better or for worse, those criticisms usually aren't easily packageable into slogans and don't invite easy solutions.SophistiCat

    Many political problems the solutions aren't easy and the slogans misleading at best and absurd at worst.

    However, in this case the solution is pretty easy, get rid of the pay-walls, open the research, disregard the interests of corporations that profit off the system in favour of the public good (which is a simple case of passing legislation that any publicly funded research must be made publicly available - the data and the analysis) one country at a time; and in the meantime, put pressure on researches (by making the coherent moral arguments and making sure they know there's people out there like @alcontali that disdain them; i.e. that they really are losing the trust of society that they require to be relevant, and not just "the idiots" but people who know a bit about formal reasoning too), to practice open research anyways (even if it's inconvenient because the incentives aren't setup that way, there is a categorical imperative to not be a dick).

    "Public funds for public data" simply makes a lot of sense to me, but prey tell explain why it's a step towards Trumpian populism. Extra marks if you realize our current system didn't prevent Trump and climate denialism and many other insane policies (we've run the current system straight to Trump and you want to use the specter of a potential Trump to scare people away from criticizing too harshly the current system?) and so maybe it's partly to blame.

    Game, set, match — checkmate.
  • SophistiCat
    1.8k
    Ok, you don't actually have an argument against my point. I meant occult to mean simply "hidden from view behind a paywall".boethius

    Yes, that was what I understood you to mean. It isn't so much paywalls that separate the masses from the latest scientific research, but years of training and immersion in the field. I take your point about people with some scientific education, some even degreed and with a bit of professional experience, who at some point left universities, research institutes and R&D departments where they had access to scientific publications in their field (indeed, I am one of those people). But I think you overestimate their numbers and their willingness and ability to actively engage in reviewing the latest research. Very few retirees, decades out of practice, would be able to polish their rusty education, however much of it they had in the first place, get up to speed with everything that's been done and published in the intervening years, and get back into the thick of it. (And, by the way, those who live close to a good university can often get a library access for their personal research, free of charge, not to mention municipal and national libraries. I have taken advantage of that at some point.)

    And this is leaving aside the absolutely bonkers conspiracy theory that you have going about scientists hiding their research behind paywalls so that outsiders, untainted by special interests, would not be able to check their work. For one thing, scientists don't have much to do with the publishing industry. They don't get to decide the business model of the journals in their field, and few of them even care. Generally, they'll try to submit their work to the highest-profile journal that will accept it, other considerations being secondary (and among those secondary considerations are publication fees, which can be much higher in open access journals, for obvious reasons). The only examples of authors exhibiting a preference among traditional vs. open access publishing that I know are actually in favor of the latter, driven by grievances against traditional publishing or ideological considerations along the lines of alcontali's.

    And then of course there are all the reasons why such an insanely massive conspiracy, involving millions of researchers and even more students all around the world, working together and in absolute secrecy for many decades, could not possibly hold together. Honestly, I feel silly even arguing about this.
  • boethius
    922
    I will come back to the "how many people are there really" question in my next post, as it's just irrelevant apologetics: doesn't actually lead to a conclusion that public funded research, and research affecting public policy, should not both be publicly available.

    Moreover, it's not a scientific argument! We can't emperically compare a global knowledge system with the least amount of barriers possible to one with the current barriers. As I said, these arguments supporting the current system are all just reducible "nothing to see here".

    I'll focus for now on your strawman:

    And this is leaving aside the absolutely bonkers conspiracy theory that you have going about scientists hiding their research behind paywalls so that outsiders, untainted by special interests, would not be able to check their work.SophistiCat

    I do not say there's one giant conspiracy, I say there's an incentive structure which does not exclude local conspiracies on occasion.

    This is why the opioid crisis is blowing up: there was no basis in science for it! it was not an honest mistake yet there is massive harm to the public. The "experts" with "years of training and immersion in the field", from the researchers on opioids to the government oversight to the doctors themselves.

    Consider one aspect of it, the policy to outsource the licensing of fentynol prescriptions (who gets to prescribe fentynol) to the pharmaceutical companies themselves who outsourced it to a pharmaceutical distributor.

    How do you explain this decision as "the best expertise can come up with".

    If you don't, then:

    If it was obviously corruption of the government why didn't experts in academia sound the alarm and make some protest to stop it? Or, why didn't doctors themselves "self-organize" to mitigate the affects of this corruption (police themselves)?

    If we don't expect our experts to have any expertise (i.e. people prescribing opioids don't know anything about opioids) or then we don't expect them to overcome incentive structures that promote self-censorship, then how do you avoid the conclusion:

    Making knowledge systems more open so that ordinary people can check the basis of policy decisions is an additional safety backstop to avoid poor policy decisions and accelerates awareness when the affects of poor policy decisions start to be felt.

    In my next post I'll get into the positive reasons why we should expect transparency to have large affects (that expert networks are vulnerable to corruption, self-censorship, insufficient time to police themselves for mistakes, incentivization of various other kinds, and group-think), and it's a question of both availability and barriers to access, and any fixes to these problems must come, by definition, from outside the expert-networks themselves. Now we can't know what lowering the barriers to checking will do, but we don't know the cost of errors going unnoticed: if one such error is an existential threat then open research is justified as opening publicly funded research is neither difficult nor an existential threat (it's just basic risk-analysis).
  • Thomas Bailey
    3
    Thank you for such a valuable information. I was looking for a long time detailed explanation. Really appreciate your reply!
  • jgill
    1.7k
    There doesn't seem to be any current interest in this topic, so I'll make a few observations, then let the thread fizzle away.

    I have some expertise in two areas: mathematics and a certain outdoor sport. Articles I have read in Wikipedia of advanced topics in math have generally been very good, excellent at times. Usually these are written by experts in the areas, and when they make mistakes other experts chime in. Articles on more elementary topics, however, sometimes demonstrate the limitations of amateurish contributions. And articles on advanced topics of very limited interest may also be less dependable than one would hope.

    I have published papers in a number of international refereed math journals, and I have found that peer review has its limitations as well. Topics that are popular in a particular clique, particularly breakthroughs, are usually well-vetted, but those not as popular might receive cursory reviews. Also, if the researcher is respected in a community their paper might not be as rigorously inspected as an unknown, reviewers assuming the known colleague has a history of making few if any mistakes.

    Every day between 100 and 135 new math research papers arrive at ArXiv.org . Lots of them have errors. Eventually some will be corrected. Most are destined for publication.

    As for the outdoor sport, Wikipedia is much softer and too often relies on books and articles on both the sport and its participants for verification, when these references may have numerous flaws. Rumor may become fact over time.
  • Agent Smith
    1.2k
    Wikipedia is ok. It's not the best I'm told (very often) but hey, something's better than nothing, right?

    Plus, who knows, its detractors, the anti-Wikipedia brigade, may be on the payroll of for-profit encyclopedias. Cui bono? Follow the money (trail).

    Free knowledge is what Wikipedia and its ilk (free encylcopedias) stands for and in this regard it is a philosopher and not a sophist which other paid-for knowledge sources are.
  • Bret Bernhoft
    37
    I attended an anniversary party for the tenth year since Wikipedia's founding, where I met the inventor of the Wiki. That night I understood how powerful and important Wikipedia (and the Wiki more generally) had become/was, remains and will be.

    Wikipedia represents (as a single instance) the general global population's (humanity's) attempt to educate and fortify itself through open and accessible information. An effort that has not only been successful, but has been integrated (as a foundational VIP) into other everyday technologies; such as Google Search.

    It's fine if other (more exclusive) bodies of information don't want to participate with Wikipedia, it always has been okay. That isn't what Wikipedia is for. Wikipedia is (free) for the average person. There are as few barriers to entry and is feasible and sustainable for the platform.

    Of course it would be a dramatic improvement if other (more exclusive) bodies of knowledge wished to merge with Wikipedia, or offer their data and expertise. But that is a topic for another thread. What matters is that Wikipedia is an open, useful, reliable and outwardly referencing body of knowledge; some might even say wisdom.
  • Wayfarer
    14.6k
    Indispensable. I donate monthly. Of course it is fallible but it's also editable, which has to make up for that. It's incredibly useful even if only because you can harvest all of the references for many of the articles. One of the great ideas of the Internet.
  • Agent Smith
    1.2k
    I'm sure everyone here knows the value of knowledge, a teacher, Wikipedia is both.

    However, ignoring the cost of an internet connection, the cost of Wikipedia = $0.00.

    The Paradox of Value.

    Something doesn't add up.
  • jgill
    1.7k
    Something doesn't add upAgent Smith

    All of us who use Wikipedia should contribute some $ now and then. It will continue to exist but may have to start accepting ads.
  • Agent Smith
    1.2k
    All of us who use Wikipedia should contribute some $ now and then. It will continue to exist but may have to start accepting ads.jgill

    That'll spell doom for Wikipedia, if the fate of the old philosophy forum is anything to go by.
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