Me in the New Yorker

I made it into a recent article in The New Yorker. Predictably enough its not about science, but about wikipedia. Whats interesting about it is how hard internal wiki “politics” are for outsiders to understand. Despite talking to the author several times, and a fact-checker, the overall tone of the piece is wrong, as it concerns my bit. I doubt I can explain…

So… I wasn’t a victim of an edit war, it was various articles that were the victims. Curiously enough, it was the greenhouse effect article that ended up as the chief battleground, and quite bizarrely not over any kind of anthropogenic stuff, but over whether greenhouses warm by the greenhouse effect (they don’t).

Connolley believes that Wikipedia “gives no privilege to those who know what they’re talking about,” is true but misleading… its pretty well policy, and mostly it works. The reason its still true is mostly that it mostly works, also that people are suspicious of having to bow to experts, and also because there is no obvious procedure for certifying “experts” or any consensus on what is an expert. I wrote Experts_and_wiki which is rather out of date now, and was always a mess.

Mind you, if you want an example of something thats wrong with wikipedia, then Wikipedia_talk:Articles for deletion/Anthropogenic global warming would do nicely.

One thought on “Me in the New Yorker”

  1. The article goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on about wikipedia politics.

    It does this to such an extent that I have no idea what the aim or purpose of the article is.

    For heavy wiki editors, does it:

    Inform? No they know the politics better than that article.
    Does it suggest improvementsor solutions? No it just rants away.
    Annoy? Yes: none of the benefits, some of the problems so that there is no balance or possibility of deciding the benefits outweigh the problems.

    For light editors, does it:

    Inform? Doubtful and even if it does there is lack of balance.
    Provide useful ways of avoiding such problems? No
    Annoy? Yes

    For someone who hasn’t edited, does it:

    Inform? Possibly but doesn’t convey the important side.
    Encourage to be an editor? Absolutely not would tend to make potential editors avoid it like the plague. What good does this do?

    So what on earth is the point of the article other than to allow the author to have a good old rant and winge?

    [Well, fair comments I guess. I don’t know what the purpose was -W]


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