On Wed, 7 Mar 2012 09:10:17 +0000, geni <geni...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 7 March 2012 07:23, Amir E. Aharoni <amir.ahar...@mail.huji.ac.il>
> wrote:
>> I'm taking a hint from Clay Shirky's books here: What most people
>> would consider high quality published sources - in this case, by
>> railway companies, governments, standards institutions or engineering
>> colleges - simply don't have the capacity to go into that much detail.
>> The Polish (Russian, Israeli, American, Indian) volunteer railway
>> geeks do have this capacity, and quite possibly the quality of the job
>> that they can do is just as good as that of the above institutions.
> I don't know about the polish rail geeks but the british ones have
> been nice enough to spend the last few decades churning out book after
> book (along with journals and magazines) that qualify as reliable
> sources.

I was about to reply the same. The problem with a wiki is that (unless it
is premoderated) noone can guarantee the quality. Even if the wiki founders
are qualified geeks who are able to distinguish on a short notice what is
correct and what is not, if they are monitoring quality in real time, they
must be able to remove wrong statements relatively quickly, but only if the
wiki is small enough. This is actually something we all know about -
several years ago, we could still ensure there is nothing wrong in
Wikipedia by monitoring new edits, now even monitoring new pages becomes a
challenge. (And here we could start again talking about flagged revisions
and what they are good to - but I will better not divert the original

The way out as I see it is (possibly in addition to wiki) to publish an
online journal or maintain a website, which would guarantee that everything
in there is quality stamped (may be as Amir suggests one could formally
asked an authoritative institution to do it). I know an example of a
Russian narrow-gauge railways geek, who is basically recognized as someone
who knows everything about narrow-gauge railways in former Soviet Union. He
sometimes publishes books (which he funds himself, so strictly speaking
they would not qualify as an authoritative source), and he maintains a
website which is again a self-published source, but since often his books
and his website are the only available information on the subject, they are
widely cited in Russian Wikipedia articles, and also I sited him several
times in English Wikipedia. Of course someone can always show up, remove
these references and require that other references have been added (and
then PROD the articles), but fortunately this did not occur so far. If this
occurs my motivation to participate would indeed decrease (though not be
completely killed at this point). 

On the other hand, if we let this go for railways, then next we will have
the fantasy, computer games, and anime fans at our doors, asking to
recognize fanfic and such as sources, and I am afraid this may be like
opening the Pandora box. Whereas I am pretty sure what I am doing about
railways is correct, I would not know how to respond to the fantasy fiction


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