User:Mark R Stoneman

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Editor, German Historical Institute, Washington, DC, USA

Adjunct Professor of History, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA

Stoneman's Corner (blog and primary internet address).

Historians and Wikipedia[edit]

I often find myself cautioning students about the limitations of Wikipedia as a research source, yet I often use the thing myself for quick fact checks in everyday life, and sometimes I even link some terms to it on webpages for students. It strikes me that maybe scholars should be involved in this project too, even if there are no academic laurels to be had, and despite the fact that one's own words are subject to editing by any other reader. This is a different ball game than the peer review process we go through in the academic world, but it does not mean I should reject it outright, even if no professional rewards are involved.

I was also inspired by an assignment one professor gave his Western Civ students. They must write an article for Wikipedia, and then follow what happens to it throughout the course of the semester. This strikes me as an excellent way to gain an appreciation of Wikipedia's strengths and weaknesses, and perhaps it can help make Wikipedia stronger.mrs 14:10, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Concern about Wikipedia[edit]

I have recently noticed how it is possible to hide racism behind the mantle of Wikipedia's attempts to remain neutral, and I am wondering what can be done about it. Here is a comment I made elsewhere in Wikipedia with regards to the problematic Arthur Kemp entry:

There must be a way to clearly state how objectionable Kemp's views are in neutral language that does not fall into the trap of condoning his views or rendering them respectable. The fact that he understands "race" in biological terms and sees it as the dominant narrative element with which to explain history needs telling, as even his supporters must agree, since this central aspect of his thought is what attracts them to him, and since this fact is clearly stated in the title of his main self-published book and is prominent throughout the text. What makes it difficult, however, is he distances himself from many elements of white supremacy, thus trying to have his cake and eat it too. If someone could lay out these clear facts, one would hope the informed reader would understand them for what they are, though it does bother me greatly that racism is allowed to hide behind the mantle of neutrality here. Has anyone got other examples of how this issue was handled on WIkipedia, whether successfully or not? Or am I to conclude that this is a fatal weakness of this crowd-sourced project?

mrs (talk) 15:28, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

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