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Re: [ARSCLIST] Whacky-Packia outed for what it is -- Amateur Hour in Siberia

see end...
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tom Fine" <tflists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> "So imagine Keen's delight in learning about an adjustment to last summer's
New Yorker article about
> Wikipedia. The article's author prominently cited a person identified as
"Essjay," described as "a
> tenured professor of religion ... who holds a Phd in theology and a degree in
canon law." Essjay had
> contributed to more than 16,000 Wikipedia entries, and often invoked his
credentials to argue for
> changes in various articles. But as The New Yorker abashedly informed its
readers some months after
> the story appeared, Essjay was not a religion professor but a 24-year-old
college dropout. What's
> more, Wikipedia's cofounder Jimmy Wales said, "I don't really have a problem
with it." (Wales
> subsequently recognized that fraudulent misrepresentation is not a great idea,
and removed Essjay
> from his position of trust at Wikipedia.)"
> I thought that New Yorker article was far too sympathetic to the "army of
typing monkeys".
> Hey, call it arrogant or elitist or whatever, but REAL knowledge is not
something that just flows
> off the top of your head. People who are really expert in any field ARE elite
and are so because
> they have invested great amounts of time and effort into becoming expert. Just
because "anyone can
> publish" or "anyone can be a star" in today's idiotic Internet universe
doesn't mean most of that
> material has any validity or is anything more than media pollution. This
"everyone should express
> themselves" culture creates a haze of noise that masks real facts and real
knowledge and is
> destroying the notion of truth in our society. The erosion of civility and
functionality that
> follows the eroision of truth and facts is obvious and on-going.
> One man's opinion, etc. I think Steve Levy's conclusions are too optimistic,
BTW, and lean more
> toward Keen's thinking. Posted on this forum because I believe one of the
great services of proper
> archiving is storing and preserving factual knowledge and cultural
The problem is, however, that these "real experts" either never make their
knowledge available...or do so in large and prohibitively-priced tomes whose
availability is seldom announced to the public! Thus, we, as "the general
public," have to choose between possibly-inaccurate information which is
readily available (i.e. the Internet, the daily papers, e-mail lists...)
and totally accurate (one assumes...!) information which is extremely
difficult to access IF we are even aware of its existence!

As well, I personally feel the "dumbing down of the masses) can be blamed
on television...if not its predecessors (TV didn't exist when H. L. Mencken
made his famed and incisive comment...!) The problem with the Internet is
that it arrives in a form which replicates television...and is thus assumed
to be equal by most of its accessors!

And the "erosion of civility and functionality" has more to do,
at least IMO, with the vast and rapid changes that have occured in
society...particularly "western" society...in the last 50 to 100
years than any inaccuracy in available information sources. Civility...
and to a certain extent functionality...first appeared as a way of
preventing us from bashing one another to death with our stone axes!
Someone(s) or something (a supreme being? a person, or people, with
both superior intelligence and persuasive skill? I don't know...I
wasn't there...!) gave us a few rules to discourage that sort of
thing, and that was successful in overcoming our primate-species
instinctual reliance on a "dominance hierarchy!"

Beyond that, I defer to the experts...sociologists, anthropologists,

Steven C. Barr

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