Confirming Two Things for Wikipedia

Hopefully that will help them. 

Also, apparently Wikipedia also needs confirmation that the hero of The Android’s Dream is named after the street I live on. This is true.

39 Comments on “Confirming Two Things for Wikipedia”

  1. I’m reminded of the effort to correct Wikipedia’s article on the Haymarket case. The “common wisdom” is that no evidence was presented in the trial. A researcher actually read the transcripts of the trial, which recorded the evidence presented. When that researcher tried to correct the Wikipedia article, he couldn’t because all of the published commentary stated that no evidence had been presented. Obviously, since there were more commentaries than transcripts, the commentaries were correct.

  2. In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, “What a maroon!”

    Like you’ve never heard that joke before.

  3. Don’t be too disappointed when the hit-back from wikipedia on this essentially boils down to your not being a “reputable source” about, ya know, you.

    Wikipedia is just bizarre at times with what it considers “factual confirmation”.

  4. I saw Paul Giamatti on tv last week and decided he should play you in the movie about your life (yeah, so he’s a little older than you, but he’s a little younger than me so it all evens out) and so now Wikipedia has this comment as a source to verify that Paul Giamatti will play you in “Gamma Rabbit,” the movie about your life.

  5. Mr. Monroe has done much better at taunting Wikipedia, Mr. Scalzi. You’re really not a reliable source about yourself or your works. It’s one of those bizarrely strange-but-true things!

  6. Wikipedia is like sausage, it can provide sustenance, but you definitely do not want to see how it’s made.

    The admin cliques are horrendous.

  7. Ozzie — Wikipedia makes no claim to any level of truth or accuracy at all. It does strive to become reliable (that is, everything it says was said by a Reliable Source, preferably a tertiary level source.)

  8. @htom

    Puh-lease, WP has more astroturf than the Astrodome! The editorial cliques act out their internal politics when someone brings enough attention to an article for an edit war (or at least skirmish), but most articles glide by right under their radar, which is a mixed bag for the truth because they as often correct articles from the truth as to the truth. Fortunately, there’s milk hope!,_in_9_Easy_Steps

    That said, WP is a splendid resource provided you recognize it’s limitations and don’t treat it as a final reference. For all it’s flaws, I donate a modest amount every year because it’s a wonderful experiment in the wisdom of crowds. What I don’t do wade into the trenches myself. Better men (and women) have fallen before the obsessive-compulsive hordes. The single biggest problem is the almost religious faith many editors apparently entertain in their own pure objectivity.


    More like hotdogs. You can fill a growling stomach on it, and it can be addictive, but building a diet around it is hazardous to your health.

  9. i followed the links provided by our resident math teacher, one of which lead to an archived page which mentions a follow up to The Android’s Dream…

    what ever happened to that? if i may ask?

  10. Gotta love Wikipedia, not my first go to place for real research unless it is pop culture type of stuff in which case it has stuff you just cannot find anywhere else.

  11. Encyclopedia: 90% of the content, 100% accuracy.

    (Spits milk out). No. The error rate in encyclopedias is really quite impressive.

    You’re really not a reliable source about yourself or your works.

    Reliability (despite Wikipedia’s assertions) is not a binary value. Scalzi’s a useful source about his life and works, just as are third party sources. Both have their elements of unreliability, but eliminating one in favor of the other leads to ridiculous situations like the above. If someone other than JS had made the video, it would be “reliable.” He makes it? Right out.

  12. I stopped supporting Wikipedia financially because their policies are so absurd that I think Dada would have been weeping with joy to observe them.

  13. Also … for some reason WordPress has assigned my standard “global glyph” to be a clever and lovely Quilted Swastika. Is there a simple and reasonable way to fix this?

  14. Alternatively, foomf, you could look at the blue as field and the white as figure. I had to work hard to do the opposite process, because it didn’t look like a swastika to me.

  15. foomf: You could just take it as it is, a quilted good luck symbol. Took me a while to see even a hint of a swastika in it. It seems to be more of a sun-symbol to me.

  16. and finally Foomf: it’s my understanding that it generates based on your email address (I can tell when I’ve misspelled my email when I see a different glyph). You could use an alternate address.

  17. Foomf – I like this game. I think yours looks like 4 snails circling a set of jumping jacks.

    I really like Zero’s though. It looks like 4 cats staring at a mouse on a linoleum floor.

  18. These are all gravatar images. Just upload something you like better at The default ones are all hashes of your email address so it has a sort of ‘universal’ quality across all websites. Think of it sort of like a QC code for your email.

  19. I don’t remember enough details to find it, but there was an enjoyable episode about five years ago: a celebrated author had been repeatedly frustrated over the years that certain statements that were accurate and were occasionally part of his Wikipedia page kept getting deleted for lack of a published, citeable source substantiating them. Even his own assertions of their accuracy were insufficient! He therefore convinced The New Yorker describing the situation and asserting these statements as fact, so that a usable citation would exist.

  20. I often wondered about Wikipedia’s notion of “authoritative” and whether an author could post something that they know about their work (like the name of a sequel or intent behind an event or person) and cite themselves. I would think that would be the best source but apparently not.

    Wikipedia is awesome for finding a collection of proper citeable links or for lists of things (I prefer the Wikipedia pages for bibliographies or discographies when I’m looking for series order or album order since they are – usually – formatted similarly) but it’s not a great source for facts if you aren’t going to check them elsewhere for validity. Case in point: I was looking up special forces units one day and I landed on the world page of special forces units. Seeings as the Vatican came right after the US, I clicked to see who guards the pope and was shunted to a picture of Godzilla. For two hours that day, Godzilla was the special force unit for the Vatican until someone corrected the link. So as time goes on, Wikipedia gets more accurate but at any given single snapshot of an article it can give you Godzilla.

    I think my icon looks like a top down view of 4 robots playing table checkers.

  21. I use Wikipedia a lot, but not for much beyond spellings of less common medical terminology (and learning a little about what they are since most of the articles in that category seem to be lifted straight from manufacturers’ labels) and biographies of not-commonly-known royalty (who owned a beautiful tiara that I’ve just been admiring — what can I say, I’m a real magpie when it comes to looking at incredible jewels). I’ve even done a bit of minor editing here and there, when I found a typo or, in one case, updated the membership of a board of directors of an organization I do contract work for occasionally, which I guess makes me an independent third party. But when they won’t accept someone well-known’s own information about themselves? That’s carrying their desire for factual accuracy just a wee bit too far. I hope your video works. I doubt it will, knowing their odd point of view.

  22. John: I suspect that this would count as original research.

    Warren Terra: Are you thinking about the edit war between, ahem, John himself and everyone else, over the death of Fred Saberhagen, in 2007?

  23. [[WP:SPS]] Self-published source. Needs to be published in an authoritative publication.

    I can play wikipolitics if I want to.

    They really should allow for SPS for things (e.g. motivations) where there is no alternate source possible.

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