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The Tate Uses Wikipedia for Artist Biographies, and I’m OK W 
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Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:50 pm
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Just posting this to show Sashi where the new (expert) perspectives on any Wikipedia issue already covered elsewhere, can easily be found (i.e. not on Wikipediocracy!)

The Tate Uses Wikipedia for Artist Biographies, and I’m OK With It
https://matthewlincoln.net/2018/09/09/t ... -bios.html

The mistake this person has made, or course, is in assuming that a simple task like writing a three paragraph biography for an artist, is harder and more time consuming to do from first principles (a "secondary literature review"), than it would be by simply consulting Wikipedia and reusing their product.

There is no time/cost benefit once you appreciate two basic facts......

1. You cannot reuse any content from Wikipedia without first checking every single fact you reuse against the provided source, and indeed check the source if you are not familiar with it

2. A person capable of properly verifying a Wikipedia article is suitable for re-use, necessarily has to have the same research skills and access to sources than would be required to write it from first principles

He correctly identified that performing a secondary literature review is all Wikipedia is doing. He's fails to recognise they are all too often incapable of such a task, and can offer no guarantee that when they do somehow manage this, it remains that way.

The only way you save time/money by using Wikipedia this way, is if you are stupid enough to assume Wikipedia can be trusted to have verified their own content is accurate, neutral and comprehensive. Because of how Wikipedia works, this is such a dumb thing to do, not even the Wikipedians say this is not how they should be used, certainly not in their legalese. Seriously, check the disclaimer. You are meant to check every word against the provided source. And to be sure the article is comprehensive and neutral, you need to go much further.

As such, it is the height of idiocy to assume you save anything in terms of time and effort. The world is full of idiots, you would just hope museum staff are not in that group. The pervasive propaganda about and general misunderstanding of Wikipedia, is sadly challenging that assumption.

For reuses like this, it is even pretty laughable to assume Wikipedia is remotely capable of ensuring a standard tone of voice, consistent terminology and general accessibility (reading level), across thousands of artist biographies.

All that he has done here, is make the argument that museums, or indeed any cultural institution, that requires content like this, would be advised to pool resources and make use of Creative Commons licenses. He just falls into the trap of assuming Wikipedia should be viewed as a cultural institution. It is not. Like, not even close.

The trap that GenderDesk fell into here, which this author debunks, is that somehow the Tate has replaced "expert" produced material with wiki-junk. This goes to the heart of the tragic fraud that is Wikipedia. They could be what they claim to be, if the editor base were the sort of "experts" as referred to here, i.e. simply students with the basic skills and access to sources needed to do a secondary literature review, certainly one where the odd mistake is highly embarassing, but not an existential threat.

If there is an expert involved for things like this task in museums, it is at the stage their material is checked before hitting publish. Relatively speaking, it isn't that hard to resource or even perform, skill/knowledge wise. It just takes time. But because of what Wikipedia is, you still aren't saving time or money. There are some students in the editor ranks, sure, they just operate with no oversight, and if they don't want to use their relevant skills in relevant areas, they don't have to. And obviously, famously, on Wikipedia, you can claim to have whatever expertise you like.

In this context, issues like citogensis and gender bias, while important, really aren't the main reason people should be saying, 'wtf, they did what now?'

There's your blog Jake. I accept Visa or Mastercard.

Any Wikipedia critic not named Wikipediocracy or GenderDesk, feel free to use any of the above on your own platforms. No credit/permission required.


Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:44 am
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Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2017 6:01 pm
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CrowsNest wrote:

There is no time/cost benefit once you appreciate two basic facts......

1. You cannot reuse any content from Wikipedia without first checking every single fact you reuse against the provided source, and indeed check the source if you are not familiar with it

2. A person capable of properly verifying a Wikipedia article is suitable for re-use, necessarily has to have the same research skills and access to sources than would be required to write it from first principles


For #1, I don't think the idea is actually to be fact-checking. As the article you cite mentions, they outsource that to their readers (if you see an error... click here).

For #2, I'm not convinced by the force of the argument. Sure, they'd have to have access to the expensive subscription bouquets, but they probably would only need to do a few quick fact checks given their general expertise, no? Wikidata & Wikicite may be the WMF's most important projects.

That's a good article.


Sun Sep 16, 2018 12:14 pm
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