Re: [Wikimedia-l] new report on Wikipedia sources

2012-08-10 Thread Ocaasi Ocaasi
Heather,

Thanks for a fascinating read.  You managed to capture the crazy, chaotic, 
collaborative world we sometimes inhabit, especially during events like the 
Egyptian Revolution.  In all, it was a truly fascinating and consuming event to 
be a part of, and it got me briefly hooked on the rush of working articles on 
'current events', an area I've many editors avoid due to the flood of attention 
they receive and the challenge of finding seasoned secondary sources.  Working 
on that article with EgyptianLiberal and Lihaas and Abrahzame and SilverSeren 
and others truly felt like we were relaying messages to the rest of the world 
as events unfolded.  That might be slightly grandiose but I think it's not that 
far off given how often the Wikipedia article was used as a go-to source for 
information about what was happening.

I'm very much interested by your page 50 chart on using social media as primary 
and secondary sources, respectively.  The notion that--a re-tweet by a 
journalist, a photo of a political cartoon in a rally, or amateur video footage 
on NYTimes website--will probably rub many editors the wrong way.  What is 
lacking in the mere republishing of that type of primary content is an 
indication that it has been vetted, fact-checked, or otherwise investigated 
through the typical channels which work towards ensuring reliable media 
reports.  If a journalist retweets a message from the ground, did he confirm 
that the original poster was where and who he said he was (if we know either of 
those details).  Perhaps the retweeter is just acting in that sense as only an 
amplifier rather than a journalist.  The picture of a political cartoon in a 
rally could be considered a secondary source, but for what exactly?  That the 
cartoon was present in at least one protest?
  A true secondary source would be able to make a broader claim that, for 
example, a particular photo was an 'iconic' image of the protests.  Merely 
capturing one instance does not provide the benefits that we expect from 
secondary sources, namely fact-checking, and perspective.  I think the same 
concerns would apply to an NYTimes republishing of an amateur video.  
Mainstream news media wants to social these days, yet I do not think they have 
yet solved the puzzle of what their role should be with respect to ireports, 
tweets, on-the-ground cellphone footage, etc.

Last, I just want to acknowledge the particular vulnerability one feels from 
having an ethnographer evaluate their heat-of-the-moment comments.  You were 
indeed fair, but even with Wikipedia's wide-open transparency, it's a little 
uncomfortable to be the *subject* of the reports rather than the one who 
summarizes them ;)

Cheers,
 
Jake Orlowitz
Wikipedia editor: Ocaasi
http://enwp.org/User:Ocaasi
wikioca...@yahoo.com
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] new report on Wikipedia sources

2012-08-10 Thread Ocaasi Ocaasi
*sorry, my last response was so full of confusing errors I've rewritten it*


Heather,

Thanks for a fascinating read.  You managed to capture the crazy, chaotic, 
collaborative world we sometimes inhabit, especially during events like the 
Egyptian Revolution.  In all, it was a truly fascinating and consuming event to 
be a part of, and it got me briefly hooked on the rush of working articles on 
'current events', an area many editors avoid due to the flood of attention 
those articles receive and the challenge of finding seasoned secondary sources. 
 Working on that article with EgyptianLiberal and Lihaas and Abrazame and 
SilverSeren and others truly felt like we were relaying messages to the rest of 
the world as events unfolded.  That might be slightly grandiose but I think 
it's not that far off given how often the Wikipedia article was used as a go-to 
source for information about what was happening.

I'm very much interested by your page 50 chart on using social media as primary 
and secondary sources, respectively.  The notion that a re-tweet by a 
journalist, a photo of a political cartoon in a rally, or amateur video footage 
on NYTimes website qualifies as a secondary source will probably rub many 
editors the wrong way.  What is likely lacking in the mere republishing of that 
type of primary content is an indication that it has been vetted, fact-checked, 
or otherwise investigated through the typical channels which work towards 
ensuring reliable media reports.  If a journalist retweets a message from the 
ground, did s/he confirm that the original poster was where and who he said he 
was (if we know either of those details)?  Perhaps the retweeter is just acting 
in that sense as only an amplifier rather than a journalist.  The picture of a 
political cartoon in a rally could be considered a secondary source, but for 
what exactly?  That the cartoon
 was present in at least one protest?  A more valuable secondary source would 
be able to make a broader claim that, for example, a particular photo was an 
'iconic' image of the protests.  Merely capturing one instance probably does 
not provide the benefits that we expect from secondary sources, namely 
fact-checking, and most importantly some context.  I think the same concerns 
would apply to an NYTimes republishing of an amateur video.  Mainstream news 
media wants to be 'social' these days, yet I do not think they have yet solved 
the puzzle of what their role should be with respect to ireports, tweets, 
on-the-ground cellphone footage, etc.

Last, I just want to acknowledge the particular vulnerability one feels from 
having an ethnographer evaluate their heat-of-the-moment comments.  You were 
indeed fair, but even with Wikipedia's wide-open transparency, it's a little 
uncomfortable to be the *subject* of the reports rather than the one who 
summarizes them ;)

--Ocaasi
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] new report on Wikipedia sources

2012-08-10 Thread Heather Ford
I so appreciate your thoughtful note, Ocaasi :)

The chart is meant be a little provocative - a thought experiment based on an 
application of current policies to new media like Twitter and YouTube - and I 
should add that I'm not asserting that just because something is secondary or 
primary doesn't mean it should be seen by editors as reliable. This is the good 
thing about the RS (reliable sources) policies right now - there are constant 
reminders that secondary sources are preferable but that this characteristic 
isn't sufficient to determine whether something is reliable or not. More 
below...

On Aug 10, 2012, at 3:18 PM, Ocaasi Ocaasi wrote:

 *sorry, my last response was so full of confusing errors I've rewritten it*
 
 
 Heather,
 
 Thanks for a fascinating read.  You managed to capture the crazy, chaotic, 
 collaborative world we sometimes inhabit, especially during events like the 
 Egyptian Revolution.  In all, it was a truly fascinating and consuming event 
 to be a part of, and it got me briefly hooked on the rush of working articles 
 on 'current events', an area many editors avoid due to the flood of attention 
 those articles receive and the challenge of finding seasoned secondary 
 sources.  Working on that article with EgyptianLiberal and Lihaas and 
 Abrazame and SilverSeren and others truly felt like we were relaying messages 
 to the rest of the world as events unfolded.  That might be slightly 
 grandiose but I think it's not that far off given how often the Wikipedia 
 article was used as a go-to source for information about what was happening.
 
 I'm very much interested by your page 50 chart on using social media as 
 primary and secondary sources, respectively.  The notion that a re-tweet by a 
 journalist, a photo of a political cartoon in a rally, or amateur video 
 footage on NYTimes website qualifies as a secondary source will probably rub 
 many editors the wrong way.  What is likely lacking in the mere republishing 
 of that type of primary content is an indication that it has been vetted, 
 fact-checked, or otherwise investigated through the typical channels which 
 work towards ensuring reliable media reports.

Certainly. I'm not suggesting that a retweet necessarily means that it has been 
verified etc, but on the other hand, the medium itself is not a sufficient 
rationale for saying that it has *not* been verified. Just because its on 
Twitter, in other words, doesn't mean it hasn't been verified -- in the same 
way that just because its on the New York Times doesn't necessarily mean its 
true (hint: WMDs). 

Following this logic, then, if it is possible for there to be reliable Tweets 
on Twitter, how can we use Wikipedia's methods for determining reliability 
using the secondary vs primary source analogy (which is not in and of itself 
the only way of determining whether someone is accurate or not, but it is one 
way of helping us to determine what reliable experts believe happened)? One 
could argue that the process that a traditional journalist follows in 
choosing which sources to quote during a rapidly evolving news story equates 
with the process of choosing which sources to retweet in the coverage of a 
particular event. 

  If a journalist retweets a message from the ground, did s/he confirm that 
 the original poster was where and who he said he was (if we know either of 
 those details)?

We don't always know these details, but as with media reports used for the 2011 
Egyptian revolution article, editors verify sources using whatever means 
available to them -- for example by finding two sources that say the same 
thing. Traditional journalists sometimes withhold the identity of their 
sources, singling out an identifying characteristic that will keep their source 
anonymous but prove to the audience their expertise. For example, the phrase: 
a source from the White House who would prefer not to be named might be used 
in a story about the president of the united states. The source's position in 
relation to the subject is used here to warrant their expertise.

  Perhaps the retweeter is just acting in that sense as only an amplifier 
 rather than a journalist.  

I definitely agree that you'd need to look at the reputation/goals of the 
Tweeter, but using the example of NPR journalist, Andy Carvin again, there 
might be little difference between a  journalist telling us what is happening 
using local expert sources to tell the story vs a retweeter (who might also be 
a journalist) retweeting someone (or in textual terms, perhaps just quoting 
them?) They are certainly amplifying the voice of the Tweeter but doesn't this 
have the same effect as any traditional news article in which a source is 
quoted?

 The picture of a political cartoon in a rally could be considered a secondary 
 source, but for what exactly?  That the cartoon
 was present in at least one protest?  A more valuable secondary source would 
 be able to make a broader claim that, for