Thursday, April 17, 2008

Whose Shenanigans?

Instapundit links don't always make a clear judgement, but here the Reynolds verdict is in - Wikipedia has engaged in Shenanigans.

So let's click through to Lawrence Solomon's complaint.

The thought police at the supposedly independent site are fervently enforcing the climate orthodoxy

No punctuation because this is the subtitle of his article. He doesn't settle down much further on, but he does get more specific. Some of his wikipedia edits have been reverted:

When Oreskes's paper came out, it was immediately challenged by science writers and scientists alike, one of them being Benny Peiser, a prominent U.K. scientist and publisher of CCNet, an electronic newsletter to which I and thousands of others subscribe. CCNet daily circulates articles disputing the conventional wisdom on climate change. No publication better informs readers about climate-change controversies, and no person is better placed to judge informed dissent on climate change than Benny Peiser.

For this reason, when visiting Oreskes's page on Wikipedia several weeks ago, I was surprised to read not only that Oreskes had been vindicated but that Peiser had been discredited. More than that, the page portrayed Peiser himself as having grudgingly conceded Oreskes's correctness.

Upon checking with Peiser, I found he had done no such thing. The Wikipedia page had misunderstood or distorted his comments. I then exercised the right to edit Wikipedia that we all have, corrected the Wikipedia entry, and advised Peiser that I had done so.

I read the article, then clicked over to the discussion page. There is no misrepresentation of Peiser's views in the current article - or discussion. You wouldn't think it from Solomon's article, but the discussion page explains a lot. There seem to be two major policies at issue. Wikipedia has established a rule that self published material (such as a blog or personal website) can't be used as a source. That rule may not be perfect, but there is a logic to it, because otherwise anyone could write something on any other page besides wikipedia and use it as a footnote. Also, an editor can't use 'personal research' in an article for much the same reason. Of course, if Peiser wrote a letter or article of complaint in anything not self published, that would be different.

Since Solomon doesn't link to the discussion page or the article in question, I will, although this version reflects discussion after Solomon's article was published. This is just a short quote, there are also defenders of Solomon's viewpoint.

Now to comment further - Peisers comment on Naomi Oreskes paper in Nature is a self published source. To be more specific: it hasn't been printed in a reliable source (in fact it was rejected by Nature), but only on Peisers own website. Despite this we include a mention of his critique, because its notable. It is presented in due weight and in accordance with WP:BLP.
The edits of Mr. Solomon changed that - and introduced a significant bias towards an unpublished critique of a scientific paper, and (might i mention) a critique that the author (Peiser), according to the ABC source - doesn't support anymore. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 15:58, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't know if the link has been posted, but the article referencing this page is Wikipedia's Zealots. Joshdboz (talk) 16:16, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

He didn't even get Kim's gender right. So much for fact checking... Raymond Arritt (talk) 16:49, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
As if this was an indication of anything... It kinda happens. --Childhood's End (talk) 17:59, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm impressed that it does... specifically as he makes a point out of it in the article "She (or he?) is an editor at Wikipedia" - had he done any decent amount of research on my userpage and profile as he says in his article - then its in rather plain sight there. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 18:45, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Another rather interesting detail - he starts by using the name tabletop, which was a user who has made exactly one edit (not related to Solomons at all) here [8], and then he continues on to claim that he is me.
Hmmm - rather sloppy research methinks. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 19:16, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
You'd think "This user is male" on your userpage would be a hint, but maybe that's too obscure for some people. Raymond Arritt (talk) 19:40, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

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