From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

"Reliability" is a pipe-dream - or why WP is and should not be about (binary, absolute) reliability[edit]

(well, yeah, WP is about being a reliable as possible source of information ... but not about the binary and excessive "reliable source: Yes/no" mumbojumbo WP editing work has degraded to in the last many years, building up useless and repulsing towers of policies and usless friction heat only bureaucracy can love, which lost the overarching real aim years ago.)

Introduction ....[edit]

Wikipedia is one of the major success of a community driven development model, to the surprise of everyone, also of unsuspecting founders. Around 2006, WP tried to tackle the suspicion of the traditional media and academia who perceived and called WP unciteable and unreliable, ending the golden times of embracing and "Wild West" content grow [source]. Successful? maybe, it seems the amount of included sources and citations increased significantly and the verifiablity was significantly improved, we became more transparent and clear what WP is and what not. [source] Suspicion of academia and traditional media, while not fully overcome, is at least not as loud as before. Maybe also only due to missing of alternatives (while first glances already are visible with current improvements of google, FB etc in their algorithms and AIs, striving for making authors or communities bypassable).

So, great is there a problem? Also since 2006 we see a continuously decline in authorship [source] (and following to that the readership). I (and others) believe it is serious problem that WP has lost the embracing capability of the original days, it is practically impossible to start as fresh author anew and contribute to it. Very often an bureaucrat, knowledgeable mostly in the byzantine complexity of the WP policies, will shut good faith contributions down, discouraging any further and future contribution. The policy "don't bit the newbies" seems mostly ineffective. Result is that the authors of WP gets older and seems mostly focus on managing the existing base. Going back to the very origins of WP when a more or less balanced fight between two schools, inclusionists and exclusionists, about the direction of WP raged. Strangely, this fight is not as visible as it was before while having more and more impact on the policies and article work decisions.

  • [the 5 pillars: what is WP about]

- Citation 1:

- citation 2: - good criteria and qualities and bad secondary/dervied ones

  • [secondary properties- shifted to primary properties by intermixing: reliability]

- are there reliable media? (no) - what is reliabiltiy? (spectrum) - just a weak metric which should encourage of using better sources when avialable. - now misused as exclusionist mehtod to keeping stuff out: exclusionist love binary metrices which can be checked and keep stuff out

  • [the love for binary / digital metrices of the excluionists]
  • [reliablity is weakly defined, yet it is pushed as major criteria]
  • [Reliability is not verfiability: why mixing both is bad idea]

- circular refferecning of the polcies - secondary quality, presented reliabilty as binary quality (yes/no), overapplied

Confusing Means and Ends[edit]

One of the confusions current policy enforcement orthodoxy fails for, is mistaking means for the ends. Understandable, on one hand having simple clearly applicable policies is charming, simple, clear cut and a personally rewarding activity therefore. Deletion of 20k content on a Wikipedia page created by some other author in long nights work, rewarding...and all to the benefit of WP. Is it ? If we look back to the very origin, the intend and origianl vision of WP was (and is) to provide a reliable source of all information. Plain and simple. The ways to achieve that are plenty. In the beginning, the approach for reliable information was the very Wiki principle, also called Linus' law, "given enough eyes all bugs are gulped" ... or just "trust the crowd". Gather enough authors and no bullshit and crap will survive long under their gazing eyes... plainly, trust the crowd, no complicated policy bulls*it. And it worked well, wikipedia grew successfully... until there traditional media fought back, by accusing WP being unreliable. Now WP, got nervous in their approach "trust(s) the same community to self-regulate and become more proficient at quality control." ...

This phase of uncertainty in the life of WP could have ended in 2005 with an happy end when Nature (and before 2003, when IBM concluded that Wikipedia had "surprisingly effective self-healing capabilities".[1] "vandalism is usually repaired extremely quickly—so quickly that most users will never see its effects"[2]) concluded "Wikipedia comes close to Britannica in terms of the accuracy of its science entries".[3] Maybe this should have been taken as serious sign "we are on the right track", the core concept "trust the crowd" can and should be trusted. "Great, Reliability, as good as possible in this universe, already achieved , let's work on expansion, towards our goal becoming the biggest encyclopedia in breadth and depth!".

To stress the point, before the excessive policies focus & extension, Wikipedia won in in a direct evaluation by the highest reputed scientific journals against the highest renowned alternative on the world. What more could we ever hoped for to achieve?

Still, accusation and pressure fueled from individual cases of wrong facts in articles (or outright fabricated ones) increased the pressure to "change" something on the winning model. The kind of foggy WP model "trust the crowd" to achieve reliability of WP was "refined" with a better verifiable and enforceable approach, the typical managers dream. First, sources were requested for WP content, instantiating the "verifiability" policy. Aim for were WP authors pushing original work by gaming the WP system. Break of the "trust the crowd" trust. Second step was the observation that not all sources were equal, knowledgeable authors could still game the system utilizing fabricated or misquoted sources. The bureaucracy responded to an ineffective policy as a bureaucracy responds commonly, with an additional policy on top. To achieve the goal of an reliable WP, it was therefore encouraged "to strive for reliable refs". Quite foggy. What are reliable sources? Are their overall reliable sources? More policies were stacked up was later trying to sharpen what was not clear cut from the beginning, mixing up also verfiablity and reliability aspects. (own chapter)

Here is the thing, the reliable sources policy was never intended as core policy for the creation a reliable "encyclopedia of all human knowledge". It was meant as side policy, quality control, hinting for the use of better sources prevention of the inclusion of biased and malicious content by knowledgeable WP authors. And I would argue a quit ineffective one. It was an mistake also here not to trust the community that they will find other ways of handling such situations.

Now, what is the common practice ? WP authors routinely enforce a policy while mixing up the end, achieving a reliable WP, with the mean using reliable sources: but reliable sources only enforcement doesn't equate with the creation of a reliable encyclopedia at all. I would argue quite the opposite, very often the prevention or even destruction of good WP content. This overly eager enforced weak, secondary and quality hinting policy is used as binary mark for controlling the inclusion, the very creation of WP, massively hindering the grow and even worse the inflow of new authors and the contribution of IPs, the amateurs,[4] who build up WP. Not the policy knowledgeable and enforcing bureaucrats who dominate the authorship now. Collateral damage of this enforcement of this ineffective policy , which is accepted even praised, is the destruction of an broad and numerous authorship. Which brought and could still bring content and provide the eyes for Linus' law... achieving really the creation of a "reliable encyclopedia".

[Reliability and notability: ]

Wikipedia another exmaple of the "iron law of bureaucracy"

(in progress)

counter measures[edit]


"A common misconception when improving an article, particularly towards Good Article status, is that everything must be cited to an inline source, which leads to comments such as "the end of paragraph 3 is uncited", without specifying why that is an issue. In fact, the Good Article criteria merely state that inline citations are required for "direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and contentious material relating to living persons"." -> not required for the rest

Wikipedia:Inline_citation#When_you_must_use_inline_citations Required:

  • Direct quotations,
  • Any statement that has been challenged
  • is likely to be challenged.
  • Contentious material, whether negative, positive, or neutral, about living persons

"Technically, if an article contains none of these four types of material, then it is not required by any policy to name any sources at all, either as inline citations or as general references. For all other types of material, the policies require only that it be possible for a motivated, educated person to find published, reliable sources that support the material, e.g., by searching for sources online or at a library."

WP:PRESERVE "Preserve appropriate content. As long as any facts or ideas would belong in an encyclopedia, they should be retained in Wikipedia."

Good material on inclusionism and decline of WP

Other stuff[edit]

A Google Custom Search engine is available at

hastemplate:"Infobox software" insource: "Public-domain"

video game preservation[edit]

copyright / digital right[edit]

problematic deletions[edit]

Red Eclipse Experimental Gameplay Project Gaming on Linux


Cross-platform weak article.-...

  1. ^ Fernanda B. Viégas, Martin Wattenberg, Kushal Dave: Studying Cooperation and Conflict between Authors with history flow Visualizations. Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, 575–582, Vienna 2004, ISBN 1-58113-702-8
  2. ^ history flow: results IBM Collaborative User Experience Research Group, 2003
  3. ^ Giles, J. (2005). "Internet encyclopaedias go head to head: Jimmy Wales' Wikipedia comes close to Britannica in terms of the accuracy of its science entries". Nature. 438 (7070): 900–1. Bibcode:2005Natur.438..900G. doi:10.1038/438900a. PMID 16355180.  The study (which was not in itself peer reviewed) was cited in many news articles such as this: "Wikipedia survives research test". BBC News. BBC. December 15, 2005. 
  4. ^ Anthony, Smith, Williamson (2007) [2005]. "The Quality of Open Source Production: Zealots and Good Samaritans in the Case of Wikipedia". Retrieved 2007-11-05. We find that quality that is associated with contributor motivations ... Registered users' quality increases with more contributions ... Surprisingly, however, we find the highest quality from the vast numbers of anonymous 'Good Samaritans' who contribute only once. Our findings that Good Samaritans as well as committed "zealots" contribute high quality content to Wikipedia suggest that it is the quantity as well as the quality of contributors that positively affects the quality of open source production.