Author Topic: Wikipedia  (Read 6976 times)

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Offline lgbeno

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Wikipedia
« on: July 24, 2014, 12:13:16 am »
I was on Wikipedia today just like many other days and noticed the banner asking for donations.

I stopped and thought about how much Wikipedia has helped me over the years and finally made a donation. 

I thought that I would post a message on the forum and remind everyone how great Wikipedia is and consider a donation. 

Comment with thoughts!
 

Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Wikipedia
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2014, 12:29:26 am »
 :-+ Yes, absolutely. I send them a significant chunk of $$ every time they ask for additional contributions.
That kind of management, storage, and bandwidth isn't free, but they don't charge anybody and they don't run ads either.
 

Offline Prime73

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Re: Wikipedia
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2014, 01:25:18 am »
 

Offline bwat

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Re: Wikipedia
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2014, 05:44:43 am »
Comment with thoughts!

Wikipedia is fairly useless to me and I cannot remember the last time I went to it for information. The web is filled with knowledgeable people sharing information. If I want to know about something, let's say ALU design for example, I've got many links to university lecturers offering information that I can compare and contrast. There's so much information out there I can safely avoid Wikipedia and all it's drama and politics. There's plenty of criticism of Wikipedia on the net. Unfortunately there's a lot of hurt egos creating the sort of criticism that should probably best be kept private, however, there are some good points being made but people who seem to be more objective. Personally, I just avoid it.

Just out of interest, the WIkipedia ALU article is a bit of a nightmare. I found the following:
Quote
The ALU is a fundamental building block of the central processing unit of a computer, and even the simplest microprocessors contain one for purposes such as maintaining timers.
ALU maintaining timers? Obviously the meant the CPU no? This is some very bad writing.

Quote
The arithmetic, logic and shift circuits introduced in previous sections can be combined into one ALU with common selection.
They weren't introduced in the previous section - a cut and paste error.

 
Quote
An ALU must process numbers using the same formats as the rest of the digital circuit.
Why the "must". There is no "must" about it. I can't see why that was written. You could easily surround the ALU with encoders and decoders if there was an internal format that was more suited to your calculations.

Quote
They make the ALU powerful enough to make the processor fast, yet not so complex as to become prohibitive.
Eh? How does one measure ALU power? The timing of the ALU can influence the clock frequency of the CPU and the type of instructions that can be created using the ALU can influence the number of instructions needed to complete a computation, and these two together can influence the latency of computation. But saying a "powerful" ALU makes the processor fast? A "powerful" ALU can lengthen the clock period and slow down non ALU operations.

"Who said that you should improve programming skills only at the workplace? Is the workplace even suitable for cultural improvement of any kind?" - Christophe Thibaut

"People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware." - Alan Kay
 

Offline nessatse

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Re: Wikipedia
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2014, 07:11:58 am »
Just out of interest, the WIkipedia ALU article is a bit of a nightmare. I found the following:

...


Are aware of the fact that you can actually edit pages on Wikipedia?  Alternatively,  just click on the 'Talk' tab and add a comment for the authors.



 

Offline bwat

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Re: Wikipedia
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2014, 07:21:18 am »
Are aware of the fact that you can actually edit pages on Wikipedia?  Alternatively,  just click on the 'Talk' tab and add a comment for the authors.
I'm not a slave working on someone's vanity project.

[99% sure I posted a copy of this 10 mins ago but it just seemed to disappear]
"Who said that you should improve programming skills only at the workplace? Is the workplace even suitable for cultural improvement of any kind?" - Christophe Thibaut

"People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware." - Alan Kay
 

Offline GeoffS

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Re: Wikipedia
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2014, 07:23:27 am »

I'm not a slave working on someone's vanity project.


If you're not willing to help correct the problem then don't complain about it.
 

Offline bwat

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Re: Wikipedia
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2014, 07:35:51 am »
If you're not willing to help correct the problem then don't complain about it.
But I avoid Wikipedia so it isn't a  problem for me.
"Who said that you should improve programming skills only at the workplace? Is the workplace even suitable for cultural improvement of any kind?" - Christophe Thibaut

"People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware." - Alan Kay
 

Offline steve30

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Re: Wikipedia
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2014, 08:50:00 am »
I use Wikipedia a lot and am grateful for it. I only use it for personal use though. I didn't use it for 'academic' use, as its 'encyclopaedia' nature meant that that wasn't appropriate.

I don't normally donate to any organisation as I usually can't afford to, but I did hear a while back that Wikipedia actually has a lot of money and doesn't really need donations. Unfortunately I can't remember the source of this off the top of my head. I'll have a look around later.
 

Online Wytnucls

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Re: Wikipedia
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2014, 09:12:48 am »
Wikipedia is an invaluable source of information. What is really amazing is that it's free for all and free of advertising.
I like the way editing works, in a scientific manner, editors having to submit to the scrutiny of peer reviews.
Of course, as far as controversial subjects are concerned, the value will depend on the reviewers' impartiality.
In general terms, the procedure works and a majority of people will be happy with the results, which is what matters.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 10:45:36 am by Wytnucls »
 

Offline Tac Eht Xilef

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Re: Wikipedia
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2014, 10:22:24 am »
I like the way editing works, in a scientific manner, editors having to submit to the scrutiny of peer reviews.

Err, no. Far from it.

In general terms, the procedure works and a majority of people will be happy with the results, which is what matters.

Slartibartfast: "I'd much rather be happy than right any day."
Arthur: "And are you?"
Slartibartfast: "No. That's where it all falls down, of course."

As a general resource, Wikipedia has its moments. As a starting point for further research, it's frequently useless or even actively deceptive. Pick an article with so-called 'references' that aren't all popular media, and follow them up to see how few of them actually support the citation in the article...
 

Offline magetoo

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Re: Wikipedia
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2014, 11:57:29 pm »
Wikipedia is a weird creature, being simultaneously a great place to quickly look things up, and Drama Central for people who want to fight over trivia.

The root of the problem of quality seems to be that it is so easy to make minor edits and additions, like changing "X runs on modern operating systems" to "X runs on modern operating systems such as GNU/Linux"; or point to specific small issues that are mentioned in Wikipedia's policy, but comparatively hard to do major overhauls, restructure and rewrite the whole thing, and throw out the cruft.

Even though people who contribute are called "editors", it's exactly the lack of editors in the traditional/publishing sense makes it such a pain to use.


As a side note, do you recall when a bunch of sites blacked out their pages in protest over SOPA last(?) year?  Did you notice that all the mainstream reporting of the event was that "Wikipedia goes dark"?  That should tell us something about where it is that journalists go most often for background information...
 

Offline XOIIO

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Re: Wikipedia
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2014, 12:52:13 am »
If you're not willing to help correct the problem then don't complain about it.
But I avoid Wikipedia so it isn't a  problem for me.

Yet you complained.

Offline magetoo

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Re: Wikipedia
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2014, 12:54:12 am »
Well, I found it a little disconcerting that of all the sites that participated, Wikipedia was the only one that was judged worthy of mentioning.  In my experience, it's not that big of a deal for "normal people".

Surely, if this was an issue that affects "people on the Internet" (abnormal people?), one should mention places like Reddit, where "people on the Internet" go?  (Didn't even Google participate, by blanking their logo?  Memory is a bit fuzzy..)

So it's partly the bad reporting, partly the realization that so much information comes from a source that everyone sort-of-knows isn't really all that great past the initial few minutes of looking something up.
 

Offline bwat

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Re: Wikipedia
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2014, 05:48:04 am »
If you're not willing to help correct the problem then don't complain about it.
But I avoid Wikipedia so it isn't a  problem for me.

Yet you complained.

I looked up Wikipedia as part of an experiment to see if my proposed claim, that claim being several sources found on a search engine were better than Wikipedia, held water. I was currently building an ALU for a 32-bit CPU and decided that would be as good a topic as any. So, in the spirit of fairness, I checked out Wikipedia. Criticism of the car crash that is Wikipedia's ALU entry was given as an interesting demonstration supporting my claim.

Now, the difference between my criticism and yours (and that of GeoffS) is that I'm trying neither to censor nor control. I'm quite happy to let the Wikipedia folks do what they want to do. This is why I described it as not being a problem for me. You two on the other hand either want to censor me or force me to work on the Wikipedia entry - in the words of GeoffS: "If you're not willing to help correct the problem then don't complain about it". Let me assure you both that you have no influence over my actions and I'll continue my life as a free man who makes an effort to respect the freedoms of others.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2014, 09:28:58 am by bwat »
"Who said that you should improve programming skills only at the workplace? Is the workplace even suitable for cultural improvement of any kind?" - Christophe Thibaut

"People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware." - Alan Kay
 


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