posted on May, 9 2014 @ 09:12 PM
originally posted by: Hellhound604
a reply to: EvillerBob
If I refer to an obscure article in an obscure peer-reviewed journal here on ATS, that nobody would be able to get hold of, would it contribute
anything to the discussion? I dont think so. Take for example a discussion on insects, and I refer you to a peer-reviewed article in the "Norwegian
Journal of Entomology". Would that contribute anything to the discussion? On the other hand, if I refer to Wikipedia, anybody who has some interest
can read more, and if they really are interested they can follow the references in the wikipedia articlle.
You make many excellent and valid points.
Would citing that article add anything? Yes, I believe it would. It might not to me, but to the people who are in a position to give a more critical
analysis, it is more likely that they too will be able to access it.
In fact, even if I had
access to the article, there is probably very little that I could get from reading it as someone with no subject-matter
knowledge. It is the fact that you can
provide a reference that provides the validity to your statement.
I must admit, I approached the initial question without really considering it within the framework of ATS. Your point is well made and I'm not sure
if I can readily think of a decent counter to it. If we consider Wikipedia as a useful summary tool - a public-facing and public-accessible front-end
to the world of academia - then it certainly has a very useful place on ATS.
I also think that most people would be able to recognise Wikipedia as an "untested summary". The problem lies with the people who are not able to
distinguish it, thereby preaching Wikipedia entries as gospel truth. The general dislike of Wikipedia as a source certainly helps to limit the damage
caused by those people, but at the expense of greater flexibility for all.
Is that an appropriate trade-off? Perhaps it is.
Wikipedia has its place - I believe that many of the issues raised here actually have their roots in situations were a person hasn't understood what
Wikipedia's place actually is. Perhaps the way forward isn't to look at allowing or disallowing Wikipedia as a source, but to encourage people to
recognise it for what it is - an unvetted second-hand information aggregator.