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Humanist Archives: Jan. 17, 2019, 6:33 a.m. Humanist 32.351 - Wikipedia and...

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 351.
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    [1]    From: Robert Delius Royar 
           Subject: Wikipedia and the center cannot hold (was Re: [Humanist] 32.340: centre to periphery) (18)

    [2]    From: savoye@eapoe.org
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.314: thoughts on Wikipedia (30)

        Date: 2019-01-16 12:17:34+00:00
        From: Robert Delius Royar 
        Subject: Wikipedia and the center cannot hold (was Re: [Humanist] 32.340: centre to periphery)

The center may not exist. Perhaps humans imagine an infinite space of
knowledge. Surely it has never been possible for anyone to all that there
is to know in the time of one life; therefore, what is to know is in a real
sense infinite. The infinite has no center. I reference an aging poem, "The
Second Coming" written 100 years ago:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Second_Coming_(poem). Yeats' body of work
(and this poem in particular) stands as an emblem of the crisis of time.

Well, there is also the fact that the population of those educated to a
professional life that continues or perishes on the discussion of
knowledges and its (dis)contents became much broader than it had been (at
least in the United States) within the period that Willard has noted the
change from center focus to periphery.

               Robert Delius Royar
 Caught in the net since 1985

        Date: 2019-01-16 10:14:23+00:00
        From: savoye@eapoe.org
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.314: thoughts on Wikipedia

As I think others have suggested, I find that Wikipedia is very useful
as a summary and a staring point for deeper research. For many
superficial questions, such as who is this or that celebrity of whom I
have never heard previously, it is extremely helpful. (I understand that
the general lament has been that with wikipedia and a cellphone, bar
betting has been mostly eliminated, which, I suppose, might bother me if
I frequented bars or placed such bets in them.) The chief caveat is, as
has also been suggested, controversial topics. I know several people who
maintain specific wikipedia pages, and they generally have a good grasp
of the material and how to present it. (There is, not unexpectedly with
such a large and disbursed effort, considerable variation in the quality
and details of presentation.) In general, it should be remembered that
wikipedia's expressed policy is to act as a digestion of already
produced scholarship and information, actively discouraging new research
or material that has not been published elsewhere in some form. (In
theory, every main point should have a reference to accompany it.) While
concerns about accuracy are valid, I note that in putting numerous
scholarly books online, I find that pretty much all of them contain
major errors in points and minor errors in spelling or references.
(Oddly, newer books often have more troubles of this sort than older
ones, although older ones have the problem of being behind in terms of
content.) The advantage of wikipedia is that such errors can, at least
in theory, be corrected. (On the other hand, the same mechanism also
allows for the creation of new problems.)

Jeffrey A. Savoye
The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore

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