Wikipedia on par with Fox News

wikistapo-banner

Go looking for the reasons why users of an IP range can be banned from editing their own user pages on Wikipedia, and the waters become deep and murky really fast. In the end you have to conclude that it’s an American mind-set now so deeply ingrained in many of its citizens that the astonishing crypto-fascism of it is no longer apparent to its propagators.

The journey quickly changes from being a search for coherent explanations of Wikipedia policy to being a an exploration of a mass psychosis in Amerikaner society.

Continue reading “Wikipedia on par with Fox News”

Why Wikipedia is doubleplus ungood

Wikipedia-Goebbels

Searching for wiki software, I came across unrelated links to articles on Wikipedia that intrigued me, if only because as a harsh critic of the confoundingly popular propaganda site I had not seen these items before.

The first is an open letter to Wikipedia by award-winning writer Philip Roth, published by The New Yorker in 2009. It chronicles his arm’s-length attempts to correct a completely baseless assertion about his novel The Human Stain, with all efforts to do so being rejected because the source of the baseless assertion is a secondary source, while Roth himself is the primary source.

The lesson here is pretty simple: a rule decreed and enforced by cretins unable to form independent judgements appropriate to specific circumstances make it more easy for a contemporary Joseph Goebbels, via any kind of publishing outlet, to be cited authoritatively on a great number of topics than any expert, or any subject of propaganda lies.

Continue reading “Why Wikipedia is doubleplus ungood”

Ontological closure

ontological-closure

Online discussion is today what the original neckbeards made it centuries ago. If neckbeard can be accepted as a derisory term for a youngish man who is socially awkward, physically unappealing-to-repulsive (because of hygiene habits more than physique), and personally obsessed with nerdery emanating from computing and escapist cultural fads, then the progenitor of that species must surely be a monk of the Dark Ages. Obsessed with scholastic but pointless logical debates about smartarse new ways to win the argument that god exists, must exist, and is better than your own shitty conception of a deity. A scholasticism that encapsulates almost all online arguments, because these are overwhelmingly not about discovering something new, rather than establishing the ‘correctness’ of each neckbeard participant.

That thought, coming at the end of a train of thought described below, offers me a deliciously funny imagined visualisation of half-pissed, fat, unwashed, and unruly monks burbling bullshit over rough wooden refectory tables laden with more wine than food. Something from a Monty Python sketch.

Continue reading “Ontological closure”

Rationalisations for inertia

INN332 – Information Retrieval

WEEK FOUR: Liturgy on social media technology.

reference-desk

The Whatley & Collard paper reiterates information I am already acquainted with via INN533: that library users typically don’t know how to use search tools to their best advantage. So, OK. What can be done about it? Whatley & Collard don’t really have any revelatory insights, apparently implying only that reference librarians are needed to explain stuff to idiots. Not a terribly sophisticated proposition.

It seems that adding detailed help files and how-tos is not a preferred option, even if it seems the most obvious one to me, and certainly my preferred option; I’s much rather read written instructions on using search engines than having to wait for a reference librarian to be available and on my wavelength. But I suppose I’m in a minority here.

Continue reading “Rationalisations for inertia”

Schumpeter and the corporate
Montessori sleight of hand

Reading the Schumpeter column in the latest Economist (possibly restricted content) had me rifling through my dim recollections of once having attended the Montessori-like Rudolf Steiner Schule in Munich, nowadays also known as the Waldorf Rudolf Steiner Schule (where Schule just means school).

Rudolf Steiner, ca 1905.
Rudolf Steiner, ca 1905.

Unlike Schumpeter’s implied assumptions about some kind of kumbaya-kind of hippie love-in, my recollection is of a much more disciplined approach somewhat antithetical to the anything-goes hippie philosophy that Schumpeter seems to snipe at contemptuously here and there in the column.

My days at Rudolf Steiner included being kept in the same physical classroom for most of my lessons, not as an exercise in open plan chaos, but to emphasise the notion that separate disciplines of knowledge are nevertheless interrelated – art, history, languages, sciences – to produce a well-rounded individual. In my case I must have been a distinct disappointment to my teachers because even then I was never going to be the model of the redoubtable Christian man Rudolf Steiner had in mind. I do think, though, that my ideas about the desirability of education aiming at facilitating the development of a well-rounded person who has not just technocratic grasp of skills, but insight and wisdom about knowledge, balanced by an ethical dimension, and at least respect for the idea of duty and honour as well as rights and entitlements, might all have originated at that school. Or at least in that era. And my subsequent brutalisation by the masters and some of the boys in the English schools I attended didn’t quite succeed in beating those ideas out of me.

In contrast, it seems, the principally North American examples cited by Schumpeter have far less to do with encouraging ethics, honour or duty, and much more to do with promoting an aggressive, anything-goes culture of exploitative, extractive, and ultimately nihilistically self-destructive capitalism. If that is a symbol of anything ‘progressive’, the meaning of that term has changed in my lifetime, and left me behind.

Continue reading “Schumpeter and the corporate
Montessori sleight of hand”

Schumpeter and the corporateMontessori sleight of hand

Reading the Schumpeter column in the latest Economist (possibly restricted content) had me rifling through my dim recollections of once having attended the Montessori-like Rudolf Steiner Schule in Munich, nowadays also known as the Waldorf Rudolf Steiner Schule (where Schule just means school).

Rudolf Steiner, ca 1905.
Rudolf Steiner, ca 1905.

Unlike Schumpeter’s implied assumptions about some kind of kumbaya-kind of hippie love-in, my recollection is of a much more disciplined approach somewhat antithetical to the anything-goes hippie philosophy that Schumpeter seems to snipe at contemptuously here and there in the column.

My days at Rudolf Steiner included being kept in the same physical classroom for most of my lessons, not as an exercise in open plan chaos, but to emphasise the notion that separate disciplines of knowledge are nevertheless interrelated – art, history, languages, sciences – to produce a well-rounded individual. In my case I must have been a distinct disappointment to my teachers because even then I was never going to be the model of the redoubtable Christian man Rudolf Steiner had in mind. I do think, though, that my ideas about the desirability of education aiming at facilitating the development of a well-rounded person who has not just technocratic grasp of skills, but insight and wisdom about knowledge, balanced by an ethical dimension, and at least respect for the idea of duty and honour as well as rights and entitlements, might all have originated at that school. Or at least in that era. And my subsequent brutalisation by the masters and some of the boys in the English schools I attended didn’t quite succeed in beating those ideas out of me.

In contrast, it seems, the principally North American examples cited by Schumpeter have far less to do with encouraging ethics, honour or duty, and much more to do with promoting an aggressive, anything-goes culture of exploitative, extractive, and ultimately nihilistically self-destructive capitalism. If that is a symbol of anything ‘progressive’, the meaning of that term has changed in my lifetime, and left me behind.

Continue reading “Schumpeter and the corporateMontessori sleight of hand”