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A couple of conversation starters

I think this is a very valuable point. I think that Wikipedia has expanded exponentially, meaning that more people contribute each montht than are possible to socialize into the Wikipedia way. When I first registered, I got into plenty of conflicts utnil I really "got" NPOV. There are articles I wrote or contributed to back then that I later had to revamp to comply with NOR. But when I registered Wikipedia was dominated by a relatively small comunity of people who really understood the issues raised by NPOV and to which NPOV was a response. Back then, too, the number of people active on the listserve was relatively small but highly representative of the then-small Wikipedia community. People could easily argue their interpretations of "NPOV" or "vandal" or "troll" and reach the kind of "global" consensus FT2 above points out is now practically impossible to achieve.

I think the number of newbies whho do not understand or care about our core policies seriously degrades the quality of articles and increases the number of conflicts. I believe the problem is ignorance, not bad will. So I agree that early mentoring or very user-friendly wizards or tutorials is a great idea. This is a very constructive suggestion.

As to sources ... I think this is something to be decided by the comunity via those who work on NOR or adjunct policies.

But my personal view is that it is easier to explain them backwards:

Wikipedia is a tertiary source: it provides people with a balanced, proportionate, and accurate account of the state of knowledge on a particular topic. It is not a means for forwarding new analytic or synthetic arguments, or interpretations.

Wikipedia is based on secondary sources. These are reliable sources that DO present new analysys, synthesis, or interpretation, but are considered reliable according to the criteria of specialists in that topic.

Secondary sources are based on primary sources, that is, whatever it is that they are analyzing, synthesizing, explaining, or interpreting.

I see this is a kind of functionalist way of defining sources, i.e. as functions of one another. One value of this approach is, it explains why something can be both a brimary and a secondary source. For example, when Marx or Freud were originally publishing their books, they were secondary sources and in some cases we can still use them as secondary sources. But since they have died, many schools of interpretation of their works have developed, and there is a vast body of scholarship analyzing or interpreting Freud (e.g. Juliet Mitchell, Leo Bersani, Jacques Lacan) or Marx (e.g. Althusser, Thompson, etc.) and in some articles, it is these interpreters who are the secondary sources, and marx or freud the primary sources. Slrubenstein 14:09, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Slrubenstein14:09, 8 December 2009