|WikiProject Books||(Rated Stub-class)|
"Authority" of the Micropædia
There seems to be a disagreement about the following clause
|“||Since the authorship and bibliography of these articles are unknown, the Micropædia is less authoritative than the Macropædia||”|
On the one hand, Bramlet Abercrombie feels that this is a tautology, since the "authoritativeness" of an article is defined by its ability to cite references in support of its claims and/or appeal to well-recognized experts. He also feels that calling attention to the Micropædia's scholarly shortcomings might come across as POV, even if a Wikipedian's intentions are fair and honest.
On the other hand, while I agree that the "authoritativeness" of an article derives from its ability to appeal to recognized authorities (such as published references and professors/experts), I feel that the extra clause (reproduced above) is needed to clarify for lay-readers the scholarly significance of asserting facts without references or named experts. Some lay-readers unfamiliar with scholarship might not recognize how much their absence damages the credibility of an article. It's not that a Micropædia article isn't correct without sources; it's just that the lay-reader cannot have confidence that it is correct.
It's important to distinguish "authoritative" from "accurate". An article can be accurate even if it cites no reliable sources. Nevertheless, no article can be called authoritative if it does not base its assertions on recognized authorities. By that criterion, the Macropædia articles are authoritative whereas most of the Micropædia articles are not.
It would be best if we could decide on a fair wording by consensus; other editors are heartily encouraged to offer suggestions! :) Willow 01:41, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
- (more from the peanut gallery) I'm not sure about the word 'authoritative' here; to the extent that lay readers do or do not trust the Micropedia articles, Britannica itself is the authority, and their willingness to publish the articles confers 'authoritativeness'. (We can still call, say, government publications 'authoritative' even when they lack a specific author list.) As I understand it, the Micropedia in particular does not cover very recent or widely disputed material (true?), so explicitly citing sources or referring to expert reviewers is unlikely to be necessary for it to function as a reference work. (Also, I'd think the major deficiency of Micropedia articles from a reader's perspective is their lack of depth, not their lack of references.) Less well-documented is the best replacement I can think of at this point in the
middle of the nightvery early morning, but that's surely tautological. Do you know of a critic that has commented on the Micropedia's lack of references? Then the point could be made without trying to walk the line between actually saying something in this sentence, and saying something too definitive. Opabinia regalis 08:08, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Authorship of the Micropædia articles?
I do not believe that it is "speculation" that the Micropædia articles are written "in-house" by the editorial staff, given the absence of any reasonable alternative. However, I will try to provide a reference before re-reverting. However, I hope that we agree that, once a reference has been found, the burden of proof will then fall to those who wish to prove that they are not written in-house. Willow 21:14, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
In Wikipedia's point of view
So Micropædia is actually an encyclopedia full of stubs. Meursault2004 08:51, 23 April 2007 (UTC)