Proposal talk:Create Scientific, Popular and Hobby encyclopedia levels

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From Strategic Planning

If the intent is to split off a "scientific, state-of-the-art encyclopedia, " within Wikipedia, a key question here is what mechanisms would be required to attain this "scientific, state-of-the-art" level?

Or in other words how does this proposal differ from 1) Academic Peer Review-layer, 2) Peer review by academic institutions, 3) Academic_web2, etc? - Brya 08:35, 29 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Brya, thank you. I'm putting your links into the proposal main page for comparison. The difference is that I'm not looking for peer review. Peer review would mean an Citizendium approach and re-introducing a Sanger-Wales type conflict. I want to remain within the wikipedia concept where, in principle, every user is each other's peer.
This proposal is meant to stress two features:
  1. User interest. Contributing users as well as readers will have very different interests, so over time quality questions will become incomparable. In fact, they have already become incomparable. For sports items, results need to be well documented, but Bolt's 9:58 world record cannot be disputed. For an item that describes man's evolvement from certain apes, the conditions need to be defined very differently. My proposal is that a sports user won't decide on criteria needed for specialist science subjects.
  2. Reader interest. We will solve the eternal conflict about Harry Potter, Pokemon and gaming items instantly when we make clear that they have their own section of the encyclopedia. In that section, all articles are welcome and they need to be neutral and well-written just like every other article. On the other hand, we can clear the presentation subject right away. Readers that visit Wikipedia for hobbies can be welcomed by a different style and a true-to-their-interest presentation. You should be able to make a decision on the quality of new cars or decide which museum to visit in this section.
  3. I'm trying to conceive a middle-of-the-road section, where popular knowledge is the norm. You will be able to get more-than-basic knowledge about anything you'd like to know, from antiques to medicine. Here too, the basics of Wikipedia will have to be acknowledged: neutrality, controllability, no original research, no advertisement and your input can be corroborated by others. In this section, you should get a quick view of everything there is on earth and beyond, and be able to choose which way to go when you want to deepen your knowledge. Thanks, - Art Unbound 19:21, 29 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Citizendium differs from Wikipedia in requiring real names, not in the level of expertise. The "scientific, state-of-the-art encyclopedia, " in the proposal is unlikely to spring into existence spontaneously. Some kind of mechanism needs to be put in, to make this happen. - Brya 19:36, 30 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If it doesn't, if we don't have such a mechanism, we won't have a state-of-the-art encyclopedia. We will have an encyclopedia that tries to reach the best possible level on an amateur basis. Still, it would be intriguing to have a quality encyclopedia that delivers the best of amateur knowledge in all kinds of science.
It might be better if we had the best professionals in all science fields, and they put their best products in those fields, and they would not be disturbed by all kinds of amateurs when they produce their best articles.
A superb professional will be able to persuade an adamant amateur with the right arguments, that their presentation of the facts is the right one. If not, then either the amateur is to blame for blindfoldedness, or the professional for not producing their arguments to full profit.
If all that Citizendium requires is use of real names, I don't quite see where their claim for corroboration of knowledge comes from. Never mind, as long as Wikipedia requires the five pillars there's no need to ask, or? - Art Unbound 20:19, 30 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I see. I agree that "if we don't have such a mechanism, we won't have a state-of-the-art encyclopedia." and as you are not proposing such a mechanism the levels you are proposing will not differ from each other in any way. Or in other words, the proposal is cosmetic only, dealing only with appearances. - Brya 10:27, 31 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Would Japanese video games (most of the articles that I created under English Wikipedia) fall under "Scientific," "Popular," or "Hobby?" GVnayR 18:54, 6 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So sorry I missed your question, GVnayR. The point here is that you write your articles with the utmost care, heeding the Five Pillars and they are perfectly encyclopedic. Now it wouldn't be very fair if your articles went under scrutiny of a professor of science who said they aren't scientific enough? Or, if you go criticize one of his articles? What I'm trying to propose is that both of you have their own field of knowledge. You don't need to criticize each other because your criteria are so different.
It's not important now to decide to which part your articles belong. The point is: do we apply the same criteria to every article and discuss them all at the same level?
Even if we all apply the Five Pillars, we might get a very different encyclopedia. Which one exactly is to decide later. It's not up to me to decide which (part of) encyclopedia your articles belong to. But thanks very much for thinking with me. - Art Unbound 20:49, 12 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Personally, I like to think of myself as a professor of Japanese video games. I have played Famicom games, Super Famicom games, Sega Mega Drive games, Game Boy games, Game Gear games, and Sega Master System games that are Japanese in origin. In fact, I know so much about Japanese games that I will only get Japanese games if I get a PlayStation 3 for Christmas this year (I'm from North America by the way). GVnayR 03:27, 15 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Some proposals will have massive impact on end-users, including non-editors. Some will have minimal impact. What will be the impact of this proposal on our end-users? -- Philippe 00:07, 3 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The impact of this proposal would be huge, if thought out to its full extent. That would be so even if, as Brya states, this is "just a cosmetic change".
  1. It would attract experts to their specialist items in the state-of-the art 'scientific' part. Probably, it would also put off amateur writers and popular science readers, who would prefer the middle-of-the road encyclopedia to know the basics of anything.
  2. Writers and readers of sports and games subjects and the like, would on the other hand not be bothered by the kind of quality issues posed by scientifically trained users.
  3. Hopefully, this would resolve the kind of asymmetrical discussions between users of different dimensions that are inevitably spoiling our working ground now.
To summarize: this proposal would not define a "state-of-the-art scentific encyclopedia" all on its own. Rather, it would create a working ground to make that happen, by collecting expertise in that part of wikipedia. Other users (writers/readers) are not excluded but the climate would be such that contributors understand each other better. Same goes for the "popular-science part" and for the "hobby" part: people who meet there both als contributors or readers, would understand each others language better, which would help to avoid the typical kind of conflicts that I would call "multi-dimensional". Can you put a professor of physics in a room with a fourteen-year-old and talk about the latest findings on the same level? There are some exceptions, of course. Would a discussion between them about the latest pop music breed a good article? Equally improbable.
What I mean to say, if people can't argue at a relatively equal level, then better don't try. Let people work and read at a level they are happy with. It could all be facilitated and produced by the Wikimedia Foundation and even be incorporated within the same encyclopedia. Welcome everyone at the gate and show them the yellow road, the green, the red or the blue one.
This is the Realm of Knowledge, the vastest this planet has ever seen. We cannot afford to see quarrels in every street before you ever get in. We cannot afford either to put signs like "Take heed! This information might not be as reliable as it seems!" on every article. We cannot afford to burn out our best people by fruitless discussions with nobodies (which is what happens in Dutch at a regular basis). We just have to think and rethink our ways to spread the knowledge to everyone that has a dearth of knowledge. We have to think and rethink the best ways to discuss and work together to improve this encyclopedia.
So yes, this is a revolutionary idea within the Wikipedia concept. And yes, we need all the creative thoughts we can get to make it work. - Art Unbound 20:24, 12 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I might add an argument that I stated somewhere else:
The divide would have to be an informal one, because of the very reasons you're stating here.
Expert users might choose to work at the "state-of-the-art scientific" level, but also at the more popular level. On the other hand, good non-academic editors will have the same choice. At the expert level, they will face academic debate and respond at that level.
At a more popular level, both experts and experienced amateurs might work on the same subjects and work together to explain complex subjects for a broader public. Thus, you might want to describe DNA research at a state-of-the-art level or at a general-knowledge level.
At some point, we cannot maintain the whole of Wikipedia at one and the same level any more. It will become too difficult to reach those quality assignments for all subjects and for all users. I believe, we have reached that point.
So, both to save quality and to save user involvement, we might better redefine our ways. The ultimate goal will remain the same, but the ways to reach that goal might see a change.
Thank you, - Art Unbound 00:32, 14 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


User:Brya proposed a merger with Proposal:WhiteWiki, BlackWiki, GreyWiki. I left a comment on the talkpage there for the simple reason there was none yet. I will however repeat the main questions here, for the sake of a discussion which I feel is necessary.

    1. Is this going to be a peer reviewed encyclopedia, yes or no? Which part, and how?
    2. Do we think that we can sustain a 3 mln article encyclopedia where all that is written is reviewed by exactly the same quality criteria?
    3. Can we assemble wiki encyclopedias for very different public groups while maintaining our five pillars? Neutrality, controllability, no original research, no selfpromotion, free content?

Please consider these questions, whether or not these proposals are being merged, and whether or not they are going to be part of a Task Force case load. In my opinion, these are strategic questions that need to be answered.

- Art Unbound 19:02, 26 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Different Suggestion

See Proposal:Add or redesign tab for original research for a different suggestion that address some of the problems. 18:55, 6 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]