As is sometimes the case with highly insular organizations, Wikipedia has developed an elaborate jargon, incomprehensible to outsiders. It has been made even more bewildering to the uninitiated by being expressed almost exclusively in the form of acronyms. Increasingly, this serves to defend the project against newcomers who actually believe that “anyone can edit”; in content disputes, it gives the advantage to entrenched persons who can cite policy with great facility (and greater selectivity.) Here is a survey of some of Wikipedia’s most popular acronyms, with some jaundiced commentary on the definitions:
AGF (WP:AGF) – Assume good faith.
In theory: come on, people now, smile on your brother. We’re all in this together to provide accurate information to a benighted world. If someone seems to be applying policy in an oddly
…continue reading Taking the Alphabet Soup with a Grain of Salt
The basic reality is, (Wikipedia) is no more or less error-prone than other sources of information,” Jay Walsh, former director of communications for the Wikimedia Foundation, says.
— How technology has redefined knowledge, Angela Hill, The Oakland Tribune, from San Jose Mercury News Education section
Really, Mr. Walsh? While there are some excellent science articles on en.Wikipedia created by editors who understand how to write accurate, well-sourced, up-to-date articles with readable prose, this is not the case for a lot of bad science which appears on en.Wikipedia’s main page.
The basic reality is that the crowd-sourcing format coupled with anti-elitist hostility favors a main page that highlights inaccurate science articles written and promoted by mostly male, Western, technology-savvy editors who do little but edit en.Wikipedia. These editors use jargon without understanding, jumble up word order to create the opposite meaning, simply guess at the science they
…continue reading Bats!
Having used a bra for some decades, I thought I knew a bit about them. That was until I hit the Wikipedia page for bras, called Brassiere (T–H–L), which, incredibly, is perceived as one of Wikipedia’s best articles, and gets viewed 1200+ times a day.
As of this writing, the article looks like this. As I read it, my eyes just became larger, and larger … at the end they felt like the size of an LL-cup. The article is filled with statements about bras which make them sound like modern-day torture instruments, which women only wear because of social pressure or vanity.
Where to begin? Let’s start just at the introduction: “other research has shown that going braless may also eliminate pain,” it proclaims.
Really? Perusing the article, I find a section entitled Bra-free relief from pain, citing a hodgepodge of studies.
For instance: According
…continue reading Everything you never needed to know about bras (but Wikipedia will tell you, anyway)