Colbert and Wikipedia

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Jux, Feb 2, 2007.

  1. Jux

    Jux Please, call me Steve. Veteran

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    I still find Stewart far more entertaining, but I got a good laugh out of this, and it's another showcase about Wikipedia's sterling credability.

    YouTube video


    I love the Wikipedia's Protected Titles stemming from the Colbert Report.
     
  2. TheIncredibleHulk

    TheIncredibleHulk Find Gary Busey!

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    :lol  thats great!
    tempted to check if anyone's changed Reality's definition :lol 
     
  3. Omnibus Prime

    Omnibus Prime I'm too old for this shit TFW2005 Supporter

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    Reality no longer exists!

    I saw that episode. I'm assuming the reality entry was blocked shortly after.
     
  4. Cheebs

    Cheebs Well-Known Member

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    That was awesome!
     
  5. Pravus Prime

    Pravus Prime Sorcerer

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    Heh.
    That was pretty good.
     
  6. Gort

    Gort Klaatu barada nikto TFW2005 Supporter

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    Colbert is the man!
     
  7. TreKain

    TreKain Made of Sterner Stuff TFW2005 Supporter

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    Ok... Wikilobbying...a term made up by Colbert, was deleted, then re-created, and protected as blank. I can understand them calling the changing of existing entries as vandalism, but if Colbert makes spawns a new entry, how is that a problem. I see that "Truthiness" is still standing.
     
  8. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    I think the funny thing about Colbert's analysis of Wikipedia is that it is, in a way, a double-edged sword for the encyclopedia site.

    On one hand, Colbert pointed out what was a relatively fundamental flaw in the way the site was setup originally and yeah, he was correct - just about anyone could pervert the facts of the encyclopedia as they saw fit. The old phrase "history is written by the victors" comes to mind, except that in this case, "the victors" become just about anyone who is faster with a mouse and a keyboard than the other person.

    On the other hand - and this is what miffs me - Colbert's analysis of Wikipedia and the subsequent fallout from it have really gone a long way towards pulling the rug of credibility out from under the site's feet. I kind of assume that this is a "yeah, me too" trend, but I've heard a lot of folks (both online and off) recently begin to claim that wikipedia is "full of lies" and "a bullshit site" and etc.; their complaints essentially boiling down to the idea that wikipedia has NO facts.

    ...but it does! It's a fantastic reference site for anything general that the casual internet user doesn't have any information about. Granted, Colbert made the wiki community jump and shuffle when he started joking about wikilobbying for the lie about the African Elephant, but how many people out there are going to be committing one-sentence-lie or multiple-sentence-lie subterfuge on like EVERY wikipedia article out there? If I needed to know about, say, sticky pads, I could wiki them and probably come up with a nearly accurate description of a sticky pad's purpose, origin and the company who currently produces them. AND, more than likely, I wouldn't have to worry about too much "truthiness" in the article.

    What I find ironic and funny about wikipedia, though, is that, before them, other encyclopedias WERE becoming free and available online. Wiki just got the press it needed - both from Colbert and from its owner pushing the site through word-of-mouth - that it needed to drum up some public recognition.
     
  9. Streck

    Streck <B><FONT COLOR="#FF0000">QED</B></FONT> Veteran

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    :lol 

    I love that he's created a mob willing to do his bidding. Their latest stunt on his behalf was hilarious.

     
  10. Omegatron

    Omegatron Mandatory Fun. Buy it now TFW2005 Supporter

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    I rarely trust Wikipedia, just knowing that nearly anyone with a computer can edit it. And Colbert is right- reality is a democracy. What most people agree to be the way things are is the way things are. If I insist that the sky is purple, many would say I'm crazy, or at the very least, a liar. Even if the sky really was purple, it wouldn't matter, because you all agree it's blue.
     
  11. Jux

    Jux Please, call me Steve. Veteran

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    Yeah, but the sky isn't blue because we say it's blue. It's blue due to the science involved of sunlight interacting with our atmosphere.
     
  12. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    Building off of that, I'd say that's the other amusing thing about doomsaying Wikipedia. If a student, individual, etc. is using Wikipedia as their PRIMARY and ONLY reference source, then yes, both their credibility and their facts could be in jeapordy. However, if you, the casual researcher, use wikipedia as part of a series of references, then you can begin to whittle down what is and isn't common to the information on your subject, what is fact and what's not, and what to use or cut from your final interpretation of the subject.

    ...and yes, that goes for any research, from "OMG let me go look up a fact to pwn somebody on the message boards" to "I've almost finished my dissertation, let me just double-check these last few things." Cross-referencing is full of win.

    Truthiness is only in the eye of the beholder. If you actively seek truth, instead of relying on truthiness, you'll actually know what's fact and what's not.
     
  13. Deefuzz

    Deefuzz Beard On! Beardmaster! Veteran

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    I think Colbert is great, I will have to watch that clip when I get home.
     
  14. Streck

    Streck <B><FONT COLOR="#FF0000">QED</B></FONT> Veteran

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    Undoubtedly Wikipedia has facts, but when I read it, I must do so with an immensely strong bullshit filter. Since no professional qualifications are required to edit its articles, it cannot be considered a scholarly resource, so I take apart literally every sentence that doesn't link to an external reference, thinking "Hmm, ok, that seems reasonable, I'll double-check that just in case... hah, there's a red flag right there... no, that seems like an unsubstantiated opinion." Ad infinitum. I have to do this to ensure that I'm not filling my head with crap, and I fucking hate it. After I distill the article, I'm often left with a very poor ratio of trustworthy to untrustworthy information. And it doesn't depend on the article; if I do it for one, I do it for all, and at that point I might as well use another resource.
     
  15. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    I hear what you're saying here, and I acknowledge that you're right. In terms of a "thinking man's reference," Wikipedia is hard to turn to for total legitimacy.

    I wonder if Wikipedia will become the one-stop High School History Report website. It's got just enough facts, per most articles, to be the supporting points for a few paragraphs of a paper, but it certainly isn't the be-all-and-end-all of reference materials, no matter how much it would like to be.
     
  16. Foster

    Foster Super Mod

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    Your bullshit filter should be used when researching anything, anywhere. I can't imagine making it through life successfully without one. Wikipedia should be a freshman requirement for Thinking For Yourself 1001.
     
  17. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    My problem is, I like the idea behind wikipedia. I like the premise - there are a variety of experts on different fields in the world, some of whom are hard to access, others of whom will only come out of the woodwork for their subject matter. The opportunity for healthy, fact-based information exchange is there, and that's really cool, at least to me.

    But I acknowledge that I can't go there and rely on it, at least any more. There's two sides to the story - for every Nevermore, there's a Walky. Fact-checking can just as quickly be trumped by a faster mouseclick and a snarky tone.

    ...and that sucks.
     
  18. funkatron101

    funkatron101 TFW2005 Supporter

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    The more I watch Colbert, the more I realize how much Jon Stewert has resorted to laughing at his own jokes, doing the "Bush giggle", and his old jewish guy voice.

    The Daily Show is no longer funny. Gone are most of what made the show great. Instead of great side peices and slice of life stories that mock the individuals involved, we get more of Stewart's voices, and sarcastic comentaries from "the Arab guy." John Oliver is good, John Hodgeman is ok, the rest are just absent. Samantha Bee doing This week in God is awkward. It just doesn't fit.

    Meanwhile Colbert is taking off like a wildstorm. He is ingraining himself into pop culture. He has better delivery, WAY better interviews, and his segments are consistantly funny and popular. To me, he should have been the Time magazine "Man of the Year," far more than "Me." What the hell did I do to deserve it? :wink: 
     
  19. Streck

    Streck <B><FONT COLOR="#FF0000">QED</B></FONT> Veteran

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    Of course. Anyone with sense reads everything critically. But with Wikipedia you have to hunker down and put the damn thing in overdrive, and it's a chore.
     
  20. Ktulu

    Ktulu Whoosh TFW2005 Supporter

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    I agree to an extent, but don't count The Daily Show out just yet. Perhaps it'll have another upswing in quality.

    Anyway, up to a point I like Wikipedia, and in general you can usually detect the bullshit on there pretty quick, and it's not really that hard to find other sources about the same subject elsewhere. It is quite unnerving though how much a lot of other sites with articles about various subjects are just ripping a Wiki article directly, leaving a bit of gap in what's available, but oh well, that could be a positive too, give some people a reason to get the fuck out of the house sometimes, or teach them to just look harder.
     

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