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Is it just me or is Wikipedia unreadable?

Syl

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Feynman has a good quote that seems applicable:
"We can't define anything precisely. If we attempt to, we get into that paralysis of thought that comes to philosophers... one saying to the other: "you don't know what you are talking about!". The second one says: "what do you mean by talking? What do you mean by you? What do you mean by know?"

It seems many wiki topics go down this road.
 

Douglas

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Originally Posted by why
Wikipedia's format is probably the most democratic of any.

I fail to see why "democracy" is of value when it comes to writing clearly.

Ultimately, FLMM is right.
 

Contingency Plan

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Originally Posted by stevester1
Math concepts are hard to grasp over wiki (imho).

Better to use wolfram alpha if you're in need of some math help.


This.
 

XenoX101

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Originally Posted by why
Scholarly articles and books are equally inaccessible to people outside the field of study, and often more so because they don't have hyperlinks to explain difficult concepts and terms.

If you don't understand something, try to understand it. Read more about the subject. It takes time and effort, but there's no way to avoid the work so there's no need to become frustrated. Different people have different amounts of knowledge regarding different subjects, and Wikipedia's format is probably the most democratic of any.


I was going to make this point but instead as a criticism to wikipedia. Because yes it does read like scholarly articles and books on the topic of relevance, but this makes it inaccessible to the layman who might want an insight on a topic, whilst being accessible only to people who more than likely are already well versed enough on the topic to know what the terminology means. I don't see why they couldn't do something more in the line of this as an introduction to socialism rather than what they have now, and obviously if the person would like a more in-depth, academic understanding of the topic they can read the article further, which can then work to explain concepts such as 'use-values' and what not.
 

why

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Originally Posted by Douglas
I fail to see why "democracy" is of value when it comes to writing clearly.

Ultimately, FLMM is right.


The writing is clear. It's a quick gloss on a complex subject, and its ability to be comprehended is dependent upon the reader -- hence why I described Wikipedia's format as democratic.

N.B. I'm not using 'democratic' in the context of political institutions or ideologies. Turn off CNN.
 

why

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Originally Posted by XenoX101
I was going to make this point but instead as a criticism to wikipedia. Because yes it does read like scholarly articles and books on the topic of relevance, but this makes it inaccessible to the layman who might want an insight on a topic, whilst being accessible only to people who more than likely are already well versed enough on the topic to know what the terminology means. I don't see why they couldn't do something more in the line of this as an introduction to socialism rather than what they have now, and obviously if the person would like a more in-depth, academic understanding of the topic they can read the article further, which can then work to explain concepts such as 'use-values' and what not.

It's perfectly accessible, it just requires prerequisite knowledge. Your frustration is solely your own. Wikipedia's topics have no set depth of complexity, and its stated goals are to be as informative and accurate as possible. If you want an introductory lesson that ignores the inherent complexities of a subject such as socialism, then don't use a resource that attempts to explain every complexity if you're not willing to put time and effort into understanding them.
 

XenoX101

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It can explain every complexity, just not in the introduction. Even in my philosophy classes when we do evaluations we aren't allowed to presuppose the person reading it has a full understanding of the philosophy and terms, and are required to explain them somewhere if we refer to them, it doesn't mean that you are being less academic, it just means that you are catering more to your main audience by being a bit less succinct (and therefore making fewer assumptions about the reader's understanding of the topic).
 

why

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Originally Posted by XenoX101
It can explain every complexity, just not in the introduction. Even in my philosophy classes when we do evaluations we aren't allowed to presuppose the person reading it has a full understanding of the philosophy and terms, and are required to explain them somewhere if we refer to them, it doesn't mean that you are being less academic, it just means that you are catering more to your main audience by being a bit less succinct (and therefore making fewer assumptions about the reader's understanding of the topic).

Wikipedia is not selling a product, nor is their audience as uniform as your Philosophy 101 class. The articles are not written specifically to appease you, your classmates, or people like you. They are aggregated information, and the broader and deeper the subject, the more information an article will contain. If you want introductory, abridged information, find a resource written specifically for introduction (I suggest the texts assigned by your professor).
 

Douglas

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Originally Posted by why
The writing is clear. It's a quick gloss on a complex subject, and its ability to be comprehended is dependent upon the reader -- hence why I described Wikipedia's format as democratic.

N.B. I'm not using 'democratic' in the context of political institutions or ideologies. Turn off CNN.


I knew exactly what you meant... so there is no need to be a douchebag about it, though I know how that's very difficult for you.

I still disagree completely. In the case of "Socialism," for example, 99.9% of people who need to look up socialism on Wikipedia are not going to be looking for arcane, complete information. People who do want a deep, thorough, complete history of Socialism are likely to already have good sources for that kind of information... or are the ones more deserving of your snide recommendation to ask a professor for a text.

Instead, Wikipedia gets cluttered up by aspiring grad students who want to make their mark on things and feel it's necessary to add to the definition with something obscure that they've whipped themselves into a frenzy over. "It's outrageous that xyz text and the implications of the abc uprising have been ommitted!"

It's actually exactly the opposite of democratic, as it ends up a masturbatory playground for a select few.
 

hamish5178

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If you're simple read the Simple English Wikipedia.

I love how at once people bitch about wikipedia being "written by idiots" and "totally unreliable dude, seriously," as well as "too complicated to read."

wat.
 

XenoX101

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The simple english is the other extreme, http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism while it does do a better job of explaining the ideology, it only hints at how it is used (in fact it uses hypotheticals more than anything) and doesn't have anywhere near as much information as the normal wikipedia article. Perhaps the introduction of simple english wikipedia made normal wikipedia wikipedians feel more inclined to jargon it up? Who knows.
 

javyn

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No different than any college textbook in that regard. So I voted easy. Sometimes there is some prerequisite knowledge required when trying to learn a new concept.

Ya wouldn't get upset at an Algebra textbook for failing to go over multiplication tables.
 

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