What is the real problem with wikipedia?

It’s not the inaccuracy of the articles although this is a problem.

It’s not the lack of meta-accuracy in the sense that one has no way of knowing that the articles have been vetted by other than a mob of snot-nosed convenience store clerks and unemployed programmers working as greeters at Walmart.

It is the lack of any conception of what constitutes knowledge, and therefore no conception of “the news that’s fit to print”.

Popular culture is over-represented for this reason, but the real problem is the exposure, in wikipedia’s articles on computer author Herbert Schildt and South African restaurant Mzoli’s, of quite run of the mill people and businessmen based on completely random and undiscussed criteria, including personal canards and (in the case of Mzoli’s) racism.

Initially presented as NPOV and even laudatory, these articles are in some cases (and apparently in the case of Schildt and Mzoli’s) created as frameworks for abuse.

In the case of Mzoli’s, the article was created by Jimbo Wales. One can only speculate why he did so, but the facts about a restaurant do not constitute important human knowledge unless that restaurant is otherwise notable in other media.

Nobody apart from a Seigenthaler, that is to say the connected and powerful, has real privacy rights. Indeed, wikipedia’s strange fulmination against “legal threats” shows a stunning contempt for a way, in addition to politics, for people to stop the world from being run by the rich thiefs of their intellectual production.

But even if the articles about Schildt and Mzoli’s constitute useful information, the information in wikipedia as a whole is completely unstructured. This allows any kind of petty, cultish, or childish concern (such as a computer game) to get treatment equal to Homer and Shakespeare, and the meta-lesson is an abomination…child abuse if we are to take seriously wikipedia’s proclaimed eleemosynary goal of being a worldwide resource for children doing their homework.

A traditional reference book’s chapter and section organization constitute a structure which in my teaching experience is untaught today: the hierarchical, multi-leveled outline, numbered academically with Roman numerals for the top level, capital letters for the next, and so on…or, in legal and engineering documents with structured “Dewey Decimal” style numbers.

Instead, it appears that at some time in the 1960s or 1970s, a teacher declared that the multi-level and hierarchical style outline was “confusing” (based on the narcissistic authoritarianism of declaring that what adults in their corruption find confusing, children surely shall).

The hierarchical structure puts confused souls in mind of traditional military command and control … although today’s American military seems to prefer the mess you can make in Powerpoint, and non-hierarchical general graphs with strange loops, and has made bloody messes of two wars thereby.

Therefore the “mind map” is preferred, and it’s just as confusing and dishonest as the military power point screen.

Wikipedia is at best a mind map from hell, with no organization. Its structure mirrors the rather frightening images of wikipedians I’ve come across on the Internet: they seem vacant and doughy-faced and this impression is reinforced in my experience by their behavior.

“In the matter of Herb Schildt” I have managed as a so-called “blocked user” or monstrum horrendum to get a Delete case and a confused debate has erupted, from which I have resigned in disgust after the usual foul abuse. But some of my opponents seemed to have discovered that according to wikipedia’s own standards, there is no solid material on Herbert Schildt other than his own publisher’s normalized puffery and self-published Snarky Tirades starting with and often based on Seebach’s “C: the Complete Nonsense”.

Since wikipedia, with a right wing, shop owner and lower middle class outlook and bias, refuses to accept material based on the lived experience of employees (such as my observations on the control of keypunch operators in the mainframe era), ordinary experience being “original research”, it in fact is tertiary with respect to the very sources it is destroying: the Oxford English Dictionary, the New York Times, the Encyclopedia Britannica. It is a scam and the theft of not only intellectual property but also something more important: the intellectual production of people being made helots by “gods in the clouds”.

Wikipedia is a world where the Father has been slain, along with the memory of his trust in or betrayal by the hierarchies of armies and corporations. But the Horde of guilty sons can’t make anything other than horror.


4 Responses to “What is the real problem with wikipedia?”

  1. Walmart Greeter Says:

    “from which I have resigned in disgust after the usual foul abuse.”

    Let me correct that for you: You “resigned”, then a day later posted a screed with your usual foul, yet wackily over the top, abuse. And I’m sure will continue to do so as you have for several years, despite “resigning” many, many times.

    Revision as of 16:10, 30 April 2010

    If I change the Rand page as I did yesterday, this is not vandalism. It is
    impossible to vandalize the work of Vandals, Goths, and other Barbarians. My serious research has been shit upon by technical barbarians, mathematicians pretending to know zip about English, and snot-nosed convenience store creeps, so as Rome burns, I am what’s left of civilization here, and you are not. You’re a mob. You are filth.

    Edward G. Nilges, Hong Kong (come and GET me, motherfuckers)

    • spinoza1111 Says:

      Well, it’s like this, Walmart Greeter: if I resign the decision is “constitutional” in a similar manner to Parliament’s supremacy in British legal theory: I retain the right to change my law, since with respect to some life decisions, I am my own constituent and legislative assembly. In this case, I decided on a parting shot.

      If I were you, I would not project your addictions onto me.

      You, “Uncle Dick”, and “Barsoomian” are the trolls in the only satisfactory definition of that contested word.

      The original meaning predated the Internet, and referred to someone who would deliberately post inciting opinions he did not actually possess simply to get a rise out of other workgroup members.

      The unsatisfactory current Internet definition is speaker dependent: it means “someone who I and my maladjusted loser friends don’t like”, and can have a wide range of referents, from some genuinely weird people to someone who writes, as I do, well.

      But the most precise and useful Internet definition is provided in Jaron Lanier’s new book, “You Are Not a Gadget” (Allen Lane 2010).

      It is an anonymous person who uses Internet anonymity to assault another.

      By this definition, you, “Barsoomian”, “Uncle Dick” and your ilk are Trolls, and non-anonymous Nazis like Hans Adler are your enablers.

      You post anonymously, often under multiple accounts, accusing me of “trolling” and “sock puppetry” when I am usually careful to say who I am and where you can find me. The one “Lilith” sock puppet was created on the recommendation of a prestige Wikipedia editor because Wikipedia is in fact completely corrupt. She was hot and very intelligent but she has gone to some wilder shore and will not come again.

      The fact is that Wikipedia is the Marching Morons, and an Atlantic Abomination.

      And…note that I do not censor you, whereas you creeps can’t stand anyone who has a complex thought.

      The reason I am indeed suspending my participation has nothing to do with respect for Wikipedia. I have nothing but contempt for Wikipedia; we have good encyclopedias, and encyclopedias themselves are consulted most often by uneducated and uncultured people. It has to do with the fact that I have better things to do.

      Hans Adler seems at this point to be smart enough to realize that the Herb Schildt article cannot be properly sourced. His publicity level is the minimum value it would be for any author of a practical book, be it on C programming, learning English as a second language, or car repair. The only computer authors of note are people, usually academic, with a separate, independent set of data points showing their notability, such as tenure at a good university, peer-reviewed journal articles containing genuine advances, and exposure in responsible media.

      Kathy Sierra is worth an article because she courageously blew the whistle on the death threats she was receiving after non-anonymous posters criticised her work, thereby enabling trolls; what Lanier misses is the social psychology, where the anonymous trolls are “enabled” in the co-dependent sense of that word.

      The rest of us deserve to be left out of your silly encyclopedia.

      You are mob members; it is an impertinence for you to use the subject first personal pronoun. Come and GET me motherfucker.

  2. Walmart Greeter Says:

    “I retain the right to change my law”

    Of course you do. When you make a promise, you don’t have even the slightest intention of keeping your word. You just do it to make a dramatic exit. Then come back a few hours later and start posting “You’re a mob. You are filth…” etc, etc. It’s one reason you have no credibility. You demand that your anecdotes and opinions be part of Wikipedia, unchallenged, yet you show in simple cases like this that you are not a “reliable source” in any sense, certainly not in that used in Wikipedia.

    On the one hand you rail because your words are deleted, on the other you complain words not deleted have been stolen.

    There is a pattern here. You simply want to do and say whatever you like, and everyone else just agree with you. Anyone who points out the lack of logic or self contradictions, hypocrisy, is a “fascist”, “convenience store clerk”, “middle class”, etc., etc. Incidentally, your choice of epithets reveals rather a lot about you, all unpleasant.

    “Come and GET me motherfucker.”
    It doesn’t take balls to be a tough guy on the Internet. All it takes is a big mouth. But you ARE an obsessive crank, so I remain anonymous. I have no fear of you in the real world, but I’ve seen you hound Seebach in every venue you can online. He’s got a thick skin, but I’m not inviting the same treatment.

  3. spinoza1111 Says:

    Yes, I would like people to agree with me. I don’t have any time for passive aggression. Most of the time, I’m right, because I do my homework. Whereas the current list of “references” added by you clowns to the Schildt article is a complete joke which shows that you don’t have a clue.

    As to Seebach. People who use the Web for most of their education tend to read only recent posts in exchanges like this. Therefore, you don’t have a clue how ready Seebach was to start the name-calling in January of this year, in response to my request that we spare clc a flame war and that he contact me by email.

    He is a very disturbing character. As I have said, he made newbie errors (a single line strlen() that was off by one, vanity C idioms including the unnecessary use of unstructured fallthrough, defining a preprocessor symbol and then not using it, an important variable left uninitialized, and a search for %s that was in actuality a search for %, etc.)

    What was disturbing was that he said that he has ADHD in what appears to be an implicit excuse and some weird sort of request for understanding and charity, which we’d all be ready to extend, but for his vicious 1997 attack on Schildt…which listed 20 “errors”, only 14 of which were errors, and none as significant as the Seebach errors, enumerated above.

    It’s weird, and there is something daemonic about it…something rather spooky, like the attorney who’s making millions by filing nuisance lawsuits against the Catholic Church for not locking up a few abusive priests for life to be preyed upon in prison. According to his International Herald Tribune profile, he confesses to ADHD and “breaks his anonymity” wrt AA membership, a major violation of Alcoholic Anonymous rules. The senselessness of this person reminds me of Seebach.

    It’s a smirking incompetence which I saw grow in my thirty year programming career that started when the best programmers of the 1960s were marginalized and hounded by the computer thugs. The weird thing about it is that it uses Quality as a mere symbol, but always explains the actual appearance of Quality in an unexpected place as deviance.

    The classic example would be the reading of a document with correct grammar and accurate spelling as “verbose” when the document comes from a subaltern source. Another would be the reaction one often sees to neatly formatted computer code with literate comments.

    In Lacan, the phallus is simultaneously destroyed, and worshiped. Wikipedia is the phallus absent in its actual authors.

    Anyone who’s not post-human in this sense is OF COURSE a disobliging crank in the New World Order. He’s also the Father who was absent, I’d hazard, whether physically or emotionally, in the bimbo-feminist homes of many male wikidweebia “contributors”. This is the origin of the rage, the hatred that I’ve been subject to.

    Welcome to my spam queue.

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