Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Most Disputed Wikipedia Articles

If you have a bunch of people with different views writing the same article, there will be disagreements. No place like Wikipedia to make people aware of that. Since anyone can edit the articles there will be cases in which there will be attempts to sabotage, or that they will just post flat out wronf info. The good thing is that the users themselves regulate each other. Also, anyone can see the history of an article.
Unlike other reference sources, you can know when you are reading a disputed "fact".
It is possible to make a better decision, or have a better understanding of an issue when you can read the progression of an article. Most times is not so exciting. I guess common sense must be used before you can quote Wikipedia in, let's say, a Research paper. Ummm, maybe that's why I didn't get such a good grade on mine.....

By the way, if you didn't guess it already, I did my paper on Linux. What else? Still, my Proffesor did not like it. I am not sure why, but I am going to get a straight answer, he was evasive when I aproached him, I know that grading somebody else's writing is subjective to the grader's opinion. I know that TA's get overloaded with work and nobody wants to read all 20 pages of "research" on beat-up research topics. But still, I spent all summer making my papter perfect and some guy looked at it for 10 minutes and decided that a C+ was good enough, I am not bitter or anything, anyway, on with the list.

The following is taken out of a Wired magazine article:


Example: Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. Are Ani and Respirator Breath actually two separate characters? When someone decided no and merged the two pages, a Forceful hullabaloo ensued. In time, the Jedi's bio was shortened to just one terse sentence and a link to the Sith Lord himself.

Other contested entries: Should the fiery Balrog in Lord of the Rings have wings? Does the novel/videogame Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire deserve as much prominence as the six films even though it never actually was, you know, a film?


Example: Scientology. Even before Tom Cruise's on-air meltdown, this "pseudo-science" - as it has been called on Wikipedia - has long captivated site regulars. Three separate links are dedicated to -archived discussions on topics ranging from whether it's a cult to which celebrities are followers. Long story short: John Travolta still in, Jerry Seinfeld not so much.
Other contested entries: Is creationism credible? And (yikes!) are there examples of pedophilia that are legitimate relationships between adult and child?


Example: Celebrity birthdays. Nothing gets people's blood boiling like whether J.Lo was born in 1969 or 1970. After some vehement back-and-forth, fans dug up the true date from the police report filed after her infamous Manhattan nightclub shooting incident. (Answer: '69.)
Other contested entries: Was André the Giant actually 6'10", 7'5", or somewhere in between? Should the entry for Al Gore's new Current TV network be allowed to read like a press release?


Example: Ajax (programming language).In August, one user launched an all-out assault on this entry for asynchronous JavaScript and XML. If that is, indeed, what it is. The term was coined earlier this year by engineer Jesse James Garrett, and what it means (or should mean) is still unsettled. Eventually the assailant was temporarily blocked and stopped contributing.
Other contested entries: Is a blog a Web-based application or a static file? And is Web 2.0 old news or a new paradigm? If so, can it be explained in simple English?

Credit goes to Erik Malinowski who wrote the article for Wired magazine, I copied without his permission, I'm sure he won't mind the free publicity.


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