Wednesday, May 04, 2016

#Wikimedia - [[citation needed]]

Our articles in any #Wikipedia can be trusted when an effort has gone into providing sources. Sources or citations are very much needed because help us distinguish fact from fiction. Finding sources exposes an origin and it helps us debunk fiction. The result of this continued effort is content that can be trusted as a sincere attempt to achieve a neutral point of view.

There are very practical problems. Sources are not always easy to find and they do not exist in every language. Sources are often behind a "pay wall” making access to the body of knowledge is very much restricted. Sources, particularly sources on the web do not exist forever. The consequence is that sources are problematic and, not everybody is equally able to help us with sources for the content we have.

When we are to improve the current, unsatisfactory situation we have to address multiple problems.
  • Once sources are lost we rely on the internet archive for an historic view. It has policies that allow for the removal of content and this is often the content that is controversial and removal is often intended to rewrite history. What to do?
  • Access to restricted sources is provided to the privileged few who have access to libraries. The WMF has a program that enables some of our editors access to a few pay-walled sources.
  • When this proves insufficient, it is great to know that  Sci-hub among others provides “illegal” access to any and all sources.
Open access to sources is very much what we as a community care for. One of our own died in the struggle for this access so I do not think we should be deferential to an industry that is despicable. We should teach people how to find sources and ignore licensing as much as possible.
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