<CPOV> Some articles for further thought

Seth Finkelstein sethf at sethf.com
Fri Jul 16 00:27:01 CEST 2010

> Juliana Brunello
> This article presents a very optimistic view concerning crowdsourcing
> and wikipedia in general. Seth Finkelstein responded to it and has
> used, once again, the word 'cult' to describe WP.

	Indeed I did. But do note more of the context:

Quoting the author: "Trust the Crowd; Its Smarter than You"

My brief riposte: "Nonsense. Crowds are notoriously dumb. Wikipedia is not a "crowd" - it's a cult.

	So, I was responding to the idea of a "crowd" which is a
"smarter than you", where the characterization "cult" seems quite
fitting alongside that idea.

	But rather than noting that in a brief comment I "once again"
used the c-word, I think it more significant to draw attention to,
well, let me say that portions of the article seem quite at variance
with my understanding of events, and I do not think the author will
respond to my challenge to substantiate part of her account. In
specific, in the aftermath of the scandal about a very high-ranking
Wikipedia administrator falsely claiming to be a professor, including
lying about it to the _New Yorker_, this claim is made:

"In fact, in the months that followed, I found the community became
 self-correcting by encouraging the use of real names and identities.
 It found a way to help prevent this type of issue from happening again."

	I said: "Please provide some evidence this in fact happened
broadly, as opposed to a few extremely narrow contexts. There are
several examples that gainsay it."

	One could perhaps carefully parse and redefine the above
claim, but it seems to me at best extremely overreaching in terms of
the meaning an ordinary reader would take from it.

	FYI, in a second comment, I recommended the column I wrote
about that scandal:

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive"

"Frequently, what is naively viewed as spontaneous generation is in
fact the product of a relatively small number of people who have been
induced to provide a huge amount of unpaid labour. The lifeblood of
Wikipedia is selling heavy contributors a dream that their donated
effort will give them the prestige of an academic."

Seth Finkelstein  Consulting Programmer  sethf at sethf.com  http://sethf.com
See _Guardian_ columns at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/sethfinkelstein

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