QUOTE(projectphp @ Sep 15 2007, 10:46 AM)
Can you rewrite that in English?
English is not my first language but I've felt zero stress in communicating with you. While your embarrassing attempt at an insult seems desperate, if it is true that my English is poor, thanks for tolerating me!
Realize now that the logs I spoke of are the evidence and the record of a LOT of listening and asking people. I'm honestly not being sarcastic here when I say that you don't know what you're talking about when it comes to this. This is good information gathered and analyzed by a very reputable market research firm by experienced people who do this for a living and take it seriously - not Wikipedia consensus. I was surprised by some of the other things found as well and wish I were able to share them.
And how often do people upgrade? The vast majority of people either:
1. Have no encyclopedia.
2. Have a really, really, really old version (1951 is the one we had at school).
3. Have a CD they never installed.
Regarding #1 - when they are using Wikipedia, they still don't have a encyclopedia with vetted research/sources. This is not to say that they don't have access to a useful resource.
I and others have been talking about credibility, not popularity. I agree that Wikipedia is relatively strong in popularity, and it's relatively weak in credibility. If you're talking about the most popular singer, resort to the rubbish of "American Idol". If you're talking about the best singer that has stood the test of time, you might want to use additional and better criteria. Wikipedia hasn't really been around long which is one contributing factor to its relative lack of credibility. If/when it grows up enough in the right way to have earned such credibility it will have a couple fundamental differences from where it is now and it will have more in common with what you say is "useless" now. I am optimistic that it will continue to improve as you are.
In which case, my analogy stands
The word analogy doesn't mean what you apparently think it means. Citing a 1951 version of encyclopedia (the one you have used) does not constitute an "analogy" (look up the word in Wikipedia), you cited a poor example in attempt to make things easier for yourself; so what you said earlier might still make sense. Secondly, the 1951 example is dated and not relevant no matter how you try frame it. Just as this wouldn't be an acceptable reference in Wikipedia for this subject, it damages the credibility of your case here too.
Travel outside your town to mainland China (about 1.3 billion people) sometime for an eye opening experience of their version of internet access. Besides that, many parents, universities, and libraries have encyclopedias installed in their computers for this very reason. There are a lot of "locked down" computers out there for research.
That said, your use of sweeping phrases like "vast majority" are amusing but realize now that a "vast majority" of people don't use Wikipedia either! Pop that thought bubble.
EVERYONE with internet has access to both the present and historical Wikipedia. So the comparison is a known (Wikipedia) to an unknown.
Rubbish! An offline encyclopedia, with no hyperlinks, in a book format, is 100% useless, and the proof is in the pudding: no one uses them, as your decision to not answer my multiple choice question shows.
Reading well researched books is not very "popular" - does that mean books are less credible? Popularity is one indicator to be considered among many, but it is a sad state of falling standards these days when such things are equated. As for an encyclopedia in book format (which you of course failed to mention digital format which has links) being 100% useless, that statement is too absurd to waste a response on. I didn't answer your specific "multiple choice" question because 1. you are not in any position to give an exam and 2. it has to do with popularity, not quality. 3. I am not limited to your limited number of "choices" that you are able to think of.
If all an encyclopedia is is a starting point, game, set, match Wikipedia.
What "game" are you speaking of? You don't seem aware of what you're disagreeing with. Rather you are more concerned with winning some sort of "game" which you are playing with yourself.
Who cares? He is a nobody, whose friends change his entry. So what? That is like arguing that Al Qaeda, because of 9/11, is proof that terrorism is the biggest cause of deaths (it isn't, and never has been).
If he is a "nobody" why does he have his own Wikipedia page? You are unwittingly criticizing Wikipedia not him. A lot of people care when pages about themselves are being edited by others in an inaccurate way. If you are someday significant enough in your field for a Wikipedia page about yourself (which doesn't take much considering the "nobodys" that are in Wikipedia according to you) you will care when people are editing your page in an innacurate manner you don't like.
And the thing is, if users are smart, they can look at a page's history, and actually see every change. That, combined with the links, makes Wikipedia vastly, infinitely, both more absolutely useful (as in better fullstop) and also more practically useful (as in people actually use it) than any comparative knowledge repository ever.
"If users are smart"? This is condescending to a lot of people you've never spoken to and is an illustration of the particular mental bubble you're living in. For two weeks, I was lucky enough to work closely with a Nobel Prize winning (yes, the real Nobel Prize) neuroscientist who has broken new ground and made the lives of many people with MS to be bearable (according to many of them). All I did was help him in his research for one project. He did not have a clue about such details regarding Wikipedia because he refers to professionally researched/vetted digitized Encyclopedias often in areas he does not specialize in as a starting point (both Medical Encyclopedias and general ones). Does this mean he's "not smart"? Rubbish. To summarize, someone can be far more intelligent and contribute more to the world than you and I put together and not know anything about how Wikipedia works. Fortunately, he knew enough not to use it as a starting point when people's lives are at stake (or at least his own reputation when peers review his work).
It certainly is not perfect,
Oh really? What an amazing admission. No encyclopedia is "perfect" either let alone Wikipedia. You admit it's not perfect but when someone points out a fundamental imperfection you defend it like you defend a family member who has some dirt on you. Divorce yourself a bit emotionally, crush some tin foil over your antenna, and you'll get better reception. Wikipedia won't warm you on the next cold night. If another person or pet doesn't, a professionally researched/designed/vetted furnace will.
but given it is evolving, and getting better all the time, you can take your encyclopedias that I have absolutely no need for, and I'll keep my Wikipedia.
You've made it clear that you have no need for it, but some people actually do have a need for an encyclopedia with vetted research and sources by professional standards. And all I'm saying is that until Wikipedia has higher standards in this area (which I believe it will eventually), it correlates to a lot of needless harm. As much as I like Wikipedia just as much as you do for some of the reasons you've stated yourself, this is the truth whether you can swallow it or not.
I have to agree with Michael Martinzez here that Wikipedia suffers from credibility issues for well documented reasons. Do you still disagree with this? I'm amazed this is actually controversial.
Anyway, while I think overall this discussion was good, time is a precious currency so you are welcome to the last word in your Wikipedia game. Have at it and take care.
Edited by bluenote, 17 September 2007 - 12:48 PM.