Hello people, thanks for the reactions!

I actually did not mean conservative in a strict political sense, and I am
a big fan of Reagle's book. It seems to me
that some people in the movement identify strongly with the (political)
term "progressive", and, depending on their personal
circumstances, that can be very understandable. The risk is that their
thinking about WP, WM and knowledge is very much
predetermined by these political views.

On the other hand, I see the risk that some other members of the movement
think that they - and the movement - are
automatically "modern" because they use wikis. With this attitude they may
not see much need for change.

Allow me some comments between the - very interesting - lines. See below

Kind regards

Am Fr., 29. Mai 2020 um 09:43 Uhr schrieb Amir E. Aharoni <

> Aspect1: Fact-checking, trust, and reliability
> In non-wiki encyclopedias the writers
> are selected by the publisher: the publisher trusts the writers, and the
> readers trust the publisher's brand.  [...] The Wikpiedia attitude
> to sources, known as "Verifiability" in the English Wikipedia, solidified
> around 2005. It makes a lot of sense for a wiki encyclopedia, and it is one
> of our cornerstones, at least in the larger languages. (The details of the
> policy in each language may be different, but the general idea is the same.
> If it's significantly different in your language, please tell me.)

Indeed, cornerstone is a great word here. We don't check the contributors
as persons,
therefore we have to externalize the truth-question. So what does a
co-contributor check when seeing
the edit of a contributor? Not whether the contributor has thematic or
scientific competences but only whether she
has "publishing" or wirting competences - meaning, whether she is capable
of selecting good literature, using it
and writing accordingly an unpersonal encyclopedic text.

Within the wiki, it would be difficult to check whether she has scientific
competences. But it is possible to
check within the wiki whether she has writing competences, because we see
these writing competences in her previous
edits. So in Wikipedia, it works that we only care for the "wiki identity"
and "wiki status" of a contributor.

By the way, it would be an interesting research question: are there
Wikipedias that significantly differ from this cornerstone
(and other cornerstones)? In my own comparison between WP in EN, DE, NL, AF
and FY I did not find such a difference.

no access to academic publishing? Some people propose relaxing the demand
> for external reliable source for such topics, and while I'm totally on
> board with the social justice aspect of this attitude, it doesn't suggest a
> solution to the trust problem: some people will use it to enrich Wikipedia
> with information that can't be found elsewhere, but some people may abuse
> it to add made up stuff.

Yes, indeed. My thought was: if we allow sources of probably lesser
quality, e.g.
"grey literature" for marginalized people as an article topic, what would
that mean? That we
find it okay that a Wikipedia article about a woman is less reliable than
an article about a man?

> I have a proposed solution for this problem, and although some people would
> disagree, I call it conservative: Keep the demand for verifiability, and
> help people who have been historically disadvantaged get access to trusted
> academic institutions and conduct and publish their research outside of
> Wikipedia first.

Interesting. Some might ask whether this is a task of the Wikimedia
movement. (It all would depend on suitable partners and what the
role of the movement would be.)

If we see there a tunnel like this: reality - primary sources - secondary
sources - tertiary sources, then the
solution would not be at the final stage (tertiary source = Wikipedia and
its rules), but earlier, at the stage secondary sources
where there is a social filter.

> Aspect 2: Technology
> reasonably modern design principles and implementations. We are outdated in
> some ways: [...] We shouldn't be *too* progressive, though [...]
Talk pages are a particularly curious kind of disaster. Many Wikipedians
> tend to be very conservative about them and don't want any technology
> changes in them, but talk pages are not a continuation of any previous
> tradition of encyclopedic writing or of Internet culture—they are
> Wikipedia's own invention.

Good point, Amir. This is a dimension I have not looked at very thoroughly
in my research.
It blends in with the general question how software is interconnected to
content and to
the behaviour of the contributors. Maybe the current state of the software
used has for
some Wikipedians the function of a cultural marker or element of

> Aspect 3: Presentation style


> Like the bold font, it is also a typographic tradition. It
> has gotten out of hand in Wikipedia thanks to otherwise good things like
> the diversity of writers and the availability of fonts for various
> languages. Should we just kill it? Probably not, because this tradition is
> also mostly good, but we should move the excessively long stuff from
> parentheses to footnotes or infoboxes.

Good observations - I remember indeed that there were some statements in the
"strategy recommendations" that were a good starting point for discussion,
but no
conclusion on which we can build a strategy. Like the statement that "young
don't read anymore". Written text has always have and will always have
certain advantages
(and disadvantages) in comparison to non-text.

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