> Federico Leva (Nemo) wrote:
>> First, let's make one thing clear: the reader doesn't exist; it's just a
>> rhetorical trick, and a very dangerous one. For more:
>> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Stupidity_of_the_reader


While I think we may have broadly similar views of the WikiWorld, I sharply
disagree with Mr. Leva's analysis of various Wikipedia participant

The notion that today's Wikipedia writing process in any way resembles the
idealized massively expanding 2 sentence [[Alan Alda]] article cited by the
late Aaron Swartz in his 2006 essay "Who Writes Wikipedia" has very little
to do with reality. Articles today do NOT start with two unsourced lines
before being crowdsourced into finished pieces by a cast of hundreds.

Instead, Wikipedia articles today start the same way that the "Stupidity of
the Reader" essay itself started: through the mass contribution of a single
person (Federico Leva), tweaked and polished by several others leads to the
dangerous idea that everyone who touches Wikipedia in any capacity is an
equal "User," with those participating frequently a "Power User."

This is the conception of the paid bureaucracy, who would like nothing
better than to declare the universal set to be hundreds of millions of
equal "Users" who can thus be deferred as a "silent majority." In this way
any and all decisions made by the 10,000 or so person volunteer community
can be cast aside as statistically insignificant — thereby assuring that
what the 200-or-so person professional bureaucracy says, goes.

In reality there are various levels of contributors, ranging from the IP
who casually corrects one random spelling error, to the dedicated and
devoted people who guard the gates at Recent Changes or who systemically
put the work of others to style or who write new esoteric content.
Certainly, turning casual contributors of a short article about something
local or personal to them into regular contributors of editing work of
various kinds is vitally important.

Mr. Leva's argument that "The user can (and should) turn from a reader to
an editor, and vice versa, at any time." might sound good on paper, put it
is actually provides the ideological basis for unfettered site rule by a
professional caste.

We are not "power users." We are the volunteer community.

Tim Davenport
"Carrite" on En-WP /// "Randy from Boise" at WPO
Corvallis, OR  (USA)


Aaron Swartz article: http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/whowriteswikipedia

Frederico Leva essay:


A Dissident View of Crowdsourcing

"It must be said that Wikipedia does not make it easy to play nicely. Its
basic set-up is a bit like having people try to draw a copy of the Mona
Lisa in the sand, while herds of children and strangers walk through the
emerging picture, leave their footprints, or try to blank or improve bits.
And you're required to assume they are all doing so in good faith. It would
drive anyone mad.

"Received wisdom is, too many cooks spoil the broth. Crowdsourcing wisdom
is, the more cooks, the better. But in practice, every featured article in
Wikipedia is the work of one writer...or a small team. Crowdsourcing does
not result in excellent articles." —JN466, on Wikipediocracy, July 2012.
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