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Re: Wikipedia and Wikispecies



> And that's the problem.  There's no assurance the information's trustworthy,
> nor is there any way to know whatever you write there won't be deleted or
> altered by someone who knows less.  Makes the whole venture worthless in my
> mind.

The point is that it is free, not worthless.  Professional journals,
encyclopedias, and textbooks are expensive, inaccessible to many, and
usually not written in, say, Esperanto.  (There are even a very, very
small number of Wiki articles in Klingon.  Yes, Klingon.)  Have you
seen how expensive children's books are these days?!  I can't afford
many of them, and I'm a working adult!

I'll continue with children's books as an example.  How many kids'
books are there with terrible illustrations, inaccurate info, and high
price tags?  Lots, though, thankfully, fewer and fewer with the former
two.  So just because a kids' book is published with some
inaccuracies, does that make the venture of reading worthless?  No one
would say it would.  And unlike kids' books, you can change Wikipedia
if inaccurate info is entered.

Now, wikipedia is not a peer-reviewed journal, and nor should it be. 
But if some of those peer-reviewing professionals shared their basic
knowledge for free in this community, it probably would not be
deleted.  Wikipedia has been around since the late nineties and has
seen its share of edit wars.  (One founding member told me about the
huge edit wars between German and Polish members over proper names of
certain towns!)  The vast majority of members strive for accuracy, and
if you'll notice, there are no creationist ideas in any entry.  People
with less-than-ideal stances on education and knowledge are weeded
out.  Smart people who know what they are talkign about are generally
not weeded out.  That's why the entry on Dinosaurs actually uses terms
like "non-avian dinosaurs" and seems to responsibly present ideas
gleaned from paleontology.

Imagine a journal peer-reviewed by the world.  Would you add or edit
entries on Victorian period British aristocrats?  No, but the
14-year-old who does has produced historically accurate and
well-written articles that have been fact-checked by historians. 
Where else could a 14 year old easily have the ear of the world to
share their passion?  What about the braniac 14-year-old dino
enthusiasts?  SVP is expensive, Wikipedia is not.

Anyway, the rest of this belongs off-list.  Please consider sharing
your (plural) expertise with the world.

Goodnight,

Demetrios