Comments: Wikimedia head: Wikipedia "policy "verifiability, not truth" is stupid"

Truth is unobtainable.

Falsehood is obtainable (qv falsifiability) - we can demonstrate something to be untrue.

Instead of truth, we have consensus - widespread agreement as to what we believe the truth to be (probably). And unfortunately for scientists, faith has to be admitted to the table here (if enough people believe something to be true even without any evidence, and even in the presence of conflicting evidence, it can still be accepted as the truth - and fatwas issued against gainsayers).

Consensus is not entirely democratic, but largely based upon authority: scientific or religious. Humanity divides itself along this line, i.e. pursuers of discovered truth vs guardians of received truth. Each has contempt for the other.

Where Wikipedia is creaking at the seams, if not miserably failing, is in its poor ability to represent authority in terms of what stands or falls within its pages.

Just because knowlege can be collectively assembled by supposedly altruistic all-comers does not mean that all contributors must be given equal authority, nor that any authority they already possess must be ignored.

Wikipedia could be forgiven for requiring all contributors to demonstrate and accrue authority according to their fields of expertise, but it cannot be forgiven for ignoring it, let alone doling out arbitrary or disproportionate authority.

Wikipedia can be fixed.

The schism between science and faith cannot, thus we probably need N+1 Wikipedias. Wikipedia 0 being science based and hosted on a primary 'A' archive, and Wikipediae 1..N being faith based and hosted on a larger, secondary 'B' archive. The latter archive including knowledge passed to us from extraterrestrial/future civilisations via select humanoids on Earth. The B archive, or 'B Ark' for short, will no doubt require extra special security, probably one day needing to be remotely hosted on a satellite in high earth orbit - to keep it out of harm's way.

Posted by Crosbie Fitch at February 11, 2008 09:20 AM

I agree with Seth that a Wikipedia policy centering on truth, superior to verifiability but still incorporating verifiability where possible, would be a better construct.

However, what is completely unacceptable at present is a policy for verifiability on all things that don't make Jimbo Wales look bad (the Red Sea, asteroids, King Louis XIV, etc.), and a policy for truth-set-by-the-involved-parties on all things that make Jimbo Wales look bad (Openserving, Carolyn Doran, the ties between Wikia and the WMF, etc.).

That, to me, would be a disgusting solution, but I'll bet you it's the one we get.

Posted by Gregory Kohs at February 12, 2008 02:01 PM

Digital restrictions protest photos. Boston Public Library

Posted by the zak at February 13, 2008 12:36 AM