Saturday, September 8, 2012

More Wikipedia Idiocy

In a recent Open Letter to Wikipedia Philip Roth relates his experience, trying to remove false information from an entry about him.
"I recently petitioned Wikipedia to delete this misstatement, along with two others, my interlocutor was told by the “English Wikipedia Administrator”—in a letter dated August 25th and addressed to my interlocutor—that I, Roth, was not a credible source: “I understand your point that the author is the greatest authority on their own work,” writes the Wikipedia Administrator—“but we require secondary sources."
They require "secondary sources." It does not matter whether the secondary sources are reliable or not, as long as they are secondary.

This policy turns all good rules of scholarship and—I suppose—journalism (not to mention encyclopedia editing) upside down. Primary sources are ... well ... primary sources and secondary sources are secondary to primary sources. Unless there are very good reasons to go with what is secondary, you should rely on the primary sources. In the case at issue, the burden of proof is on Wikipedia, not on Philip Roth. If only Jonah Lehrer had had the gall of the Wikipedia people!

What has become of Wikipedia because of their so-called "experts" who lack any common sense is despicable.[1]

1. It definitely seems that lack of common sense and, come to think of it, lack of intelligence are necessary condition of the possibility of becoming a Wikipedia cop.

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