[Smt-talk] wiki

Michael Gogins michael.gogins at gmail.com
Mon Aug 1 05:33:17 PDT 2011

On Sun, Jul 31, 2011 at 3:20 PM, Sheehan, Paul <Paul.Sheehan at ncc.edu> wrote:
> Dear Colleagues,
> Elaphant in the room:  the entries in Wikipedia are anonymnous.  Rhetorical
> question:  don't we demand that our students cite peer-reviewed works?  The
> implications are enormous, involving, e.g., the rules of research by which
> we play.

Thanks for raising this important issue. Obviously there are pros and
cons for anonymity on the Wikipedia and similar online discourses.

I have to say I do not care for the anonymity of so much online
discussion. In my experience it leads to dishonesty, entrenched anger,
and refusal to accept correction. One could argue that we would all be
better off if anonymity were simply not permitted anywhere on the
internet at all, even if that comes at the cost of depriving us of the
voices of those who fear, sometimes with very good reason, to reveal
their names.

But, by what logic is Wikipedia itself not peer-reviewed? If a peer
has something to say about a contribution, of course they can comment
on it or redact it. Anonymity is not REQUIRED by Wikipedia. If you
create a user account, you can share information about yourself.

I think it would be helpful for contributors to music theory articles
to identify themselves. Then users would be able to see what
contributions and edits come from professors, from students, from
amateurs, and so on. I think this would go a long way in the right
direction. I don't think this would be to the detriment of amateurs
such as myself, either.

Probably in the long run, the problem of anonymity is best resolved by
creating a public ethos or more that anonymity should be avoided if
possible, and reserved for the use of whose who would be endangered
without it.

Michael Gogins
Irreducible Productions
Michael dot Gogins at gmail dot com

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