OASIS Mailing List ArchivesView the OASIS mailing list archive below
or browse/search using MarkMail.


Help: OASIS Mailing Lists Help | MarkMail Help

[Date Prev] | [Thread Prev] | [Thread Next] | [Date Next] -- [Date Index] | [Thread Index]
RE: [xml-dev] Recent allegations about me

Does a topic have rights?

O  Is it more important for a biography to be correct versus a mathematical

O  Given a theorem such as information loss at the event horizon of black
holes, is it important that all points of view be represented or only those
for which their exist viewable and testable mathematical proofs?

I think citations are a) important because they enable multiple points of
view to be found and b) when timestamped, they are the main support for the
chain of assertions used to adjudicate property rights.  You can curse that
one all you want, but as my friend at the patent office told me after the
EOLAS patent was granted, "You software geniuses need to learn to date your
documents."  It is a fact of law.  Failing to acknowledge that is to fail to
acknowledge the primacy of current law or the imperative to change it.

Democracy and community have their strong characteristics, and I don't
completely dispute your points.  I think some of the confusion in this is
equating the plutocracy of wealth with the plutocracy of knowledge.   I
don't accept that all plutocracies are equally ineffective or harmful or
good.  I don't accept that democracy is the means to determine all
questions.  As I said before, you don't get to vote on the boiling point of

The democracy of ideas as a voting process, as I have pointed out before in
commenting on the 'wisdom of ideas' means that we accept the existence of
God(s), the likely existence of extraterrestrial sources for UFOs, and that
British cuisine is far inferior to the French or German cuisine, or even
American Mexican restaurants.   

In fact, we need to determine if topics have equal value and equal rights if
we go down that line of reasoning.  I don't think the fact of someone being
paid to do a job is the razor for determining their ability to do it.  I
think the need for them to be paid may be a determinant of their

Shared values are the most powerful determinant of sustainable success.  But
these cannot be purchased even where they can be demonstrated.  Nor can we
prove that purchase of a service determines its value, only its


From: Michael Kay [mailto:mike@saxonica.com] 

> <strong>The hard question:  what is the process for 
> determining the truth, falsity and/or applicability of an 
> edit to a topic?</strong>

If you're asking what is the process for determining what Wikipedia says on
a subject, then we know the answer: it's a democratic process moderated by
benevolant dictators. We also know that the process is imperfect; but I for
one believe that it's nevertheless as good as or better than the process for
determining what appears in other more traditionally authoritative media
such as academic papers, history books, and newspapers.

In fact I think Wikipedia pushes the case for traditional citation of
sources too strongly. One of its great strengths compared to traditional
processes is that it allows someone with personal knowledge to challenge the
inaccuracies that have become accepted truth by being repeated often enough.
To me, "I was there" is much stronger evidence than "I read it in a book",
and Wikipedia often allows history to be written by those who were there. 

Yes, there's plenty of rubbish in Wikipedia. But you can spot the rubbish.
To me, it's a brilliant resource, and proves to me that the democratisation
of knowledge is possible. 

I see no harm at all if some of the participants are paid to participate, so
long as the usual ton of bricks falls on them if they abuse their
privileges. After all, we don't usually consider academic research to be
devalued just because it was sponsored by industry or by government.

Michael Kay


XML-DEV is a publicly archived, unmoderated list hosted by OASIS
to support XML implementation and development. To minimize
spam in the archives, you must subscribe before posting.

[Un]Subscribe/change address: http://www.oasis-open.org/mlmanage/
Or unsubscribe: xml-dev-unsubscribe@lists.xml.org
subscribe: xml-dev-subscribe@lists.xml.org
List archive: http://lists.xml.org/archives/xml-dev/
List Guidelines: http://www.oasis-open.org/maillists/guidelines.php

[Date Prev] | [Thread Prev] | [Thread Next] | [Date Next] -- [Date Index] | [Thread Index]

News | XML in Industry | Calendar | XML Registry
Marketplace | Resources | MyXML.org | Sponsors | Privacy Statement

Copyright 1993-2007 XML.org. This site is hosted by OASIS