Search results for "newyorkbrad"

Wikipedia: Some Concluding Thoughts and an Invitation:

A few years ago, as the promised Information Superhighway was growing into the Internet that we know today, no one (to my knowledge) predicted that a collaboratively written, free-content, mass-linked website aspiring to cover all areas of human knowledge would become one of the most prominent information sources in the world. Still less did I anticipate that I would eventually play a role helping to administer such a site.

Eugene inspired me to volunteer this series of posts, now drawing to a close, by discussing a series of cases in which courts have either cited to Wikipedia for information, or asked themselves whether they can take judicial notice of the content of a Wikipedia article.

My own take on the reliability of Wikipedia articles is consistent with that suggested by some of the commenters: articles on non-contentious topics are usually accurate; articles on highly contentious articles are usually accurate on basic facts, but can be subject to bias and dispute with respect to the matters in controversy. It’s an overgeneralization, but in essence, if debating a subject could lead to a fist-fight in a bar, or to a heated dispute in academe, then sooner or later the subject will be involved in a content dispute on Wikipedia. This is really not a surprise.

(The surprise comes from how many additional petty matters we also argue about. The people who sometimes refer to Wikipedia administrators and experienced editors collectively as a “Hivemind” may have overlooked the amount of bickering that goes on every day on the Administrators’ Noticeboards.)

However, a strong article with more than the most basic content should contain citations of sources where information in the article was drawn from. Checking the sources, and where appropriate citing to them rather than the Wikipedia article itself, may often resolve the […]

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Wikipedia: Some Responses to Comments:

My thanks to everyone who has read my guestblog posts this week on the subject of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia where I am an editor, an administrator, and an arbitrator (User:Newyorkbrad). Tonight I should address some of the comments on my earlier posts, which I will do in no particular order. (I’ve already implicitly addressed some comments on my earlier posts in later ones, so I won’t duplicate that; and please understand that in limited time and space I can’t possibly cover everything.)

In response to my posts about problems regarding Wikipedia articles involving biographies of living persons (“BLPs”), the suggestion was made that when an issue arises concerning whether a biographical article should be kept on Wikipedia or deleted, there be a presumption in favor of deletion unless there is a collective decision to keep it, rather than the other way around. (In Wikiparlance: when a BLP is AfD’d, “no consensus” would default to delete. In an ordinary deletion discussion, by policy, “no consensus” defaults to keep.)

This suggestion has been advanced and discussed on-wiki, and has won wide endorsements, but not quite enough to be adopted. A main sticking point is that a BLP can be nominated for deletion for reasons having nothing to do with defamation, privacy violation, or undue weight — say, a dispute whether an athlete or a performer is quite notable enough to warrant coverage. In many of these instances, ironically, if the article subject were asked, he or she might prefer that the article remain. (we sometimes get complaints from people whose articles are deleted; there may well be more people who are unhappy that they are excluded from Wikipedia than people who are unhappy that they are included.)

I advanced a compromise proposal suggesting that deletion discussions on BLPs default to delete […]

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Wikipedia and the Biography Problem:

My thanks to everyone who has commented on my first two posts about Wikipedia, the collaboratively edited online encyclopedia. (For those coming in late, I’ve contributed to Wikipedia for about three years and am an administrator of the site and a member of the in-house Arbitration Committee; my username there is Newyorkbrad, after New York, where I live, and Brad, my middle name.)

Tonight I’m going to continue discussing the impact that the content of Wikipedia’s biographical articles can have on their subjects. (By the way, I’d like to thank those Wikipedians, and Wikipedia critics, who have helped me hone some of my thinking in this area. I would thank them by name, or at least by Internet pseudonym, but since I may not be in full agreement with their recommended solutions, they might not appreciate being named.)

As is widely recognized, if someone notable enough to have a biographical article about himself or herself on Wikipedia (and doesn’t happen to have a very common name or a name that is also a word), that article will be one of the very top Google hits on a search for that person. Indeed, the Wikipedia article will very often be the highest-ranking Google result for anyone who is the subject of an article. The most common exception is if the person has his or her own website, in which case that site will often be number one, with Wikipedia right behind it.

Let’s try the experiment with a randomly chosen well-known person … how about, say, Eugene Volokh. I’ve just typed Eugene’s name into Google, and the first two hits are pages from this site, which counts as Eugene’s website; the third and fourth hits are his faculty bio and publication pages at UCLA; and the fifth hit is [[Eugene Volokh]], […]

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Some First Thoughts on Wikipedia

Hi. Eugene introduced me earlier, and some of you may recognize my name from a recent comment thread or two. As Eugene mentioned, I work as a litigation attorney at a firm in New York City … and I first met him at a summer school mathematics program (which, I would like to remind him, we were carefully coached not to call “math camp”) thirty years ago.

I’ve been reading the Conspiracy faithfully for five or six years now, and recently I’ve noticed Eugene’s series of posts about court decisions that discuss or mention Wikipedia, the free-content, mass-written, ever-growing online encyclopedia. I’ve also noticed that in unrelated posts and comments, many Conspirators routinely link to relevant Wikipedia articles and seem to operate from the basic assumption that they will generally be factually accurate. So I infer that there is at least some respect for Wikipedia among some Conspirators. At the same time, I saw the comments on the thread where Eugene introduced me this afternoon, so I know there is some skepticism too.

Eugene’s posts, and everyone’s comments, have interested me because I’ve contributed to Wikipedia myself, and I’m an administrator on the site and a member of the in-house Arbitration Committee. (Wikipedians may edit under pseudonyms, and until this point I hadn’t mentioned my real name on-wiki, although a determined critic managed to “out” my real identity about a year ago. For anyone curious, on Wikipedia I’m known as Newyorkbrad, Brad being my middle name.)

I hope to do two things this week. First, to explain to Conspirators a little more about how Wikipedia operates and address a couple of aspects that may not have occurred to casual readers. (I might even recruit a couple of new Wikipedia contributors — but in fairness, I’m going to link to a […]

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