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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Tony Rees Wikipedia's value for Mudcatters (48) RE: Wikipedia's value for Mudcatters 18 Jan 17


Steve Shaw wrote:

"Mudcat is a wondrous resource and so is Wikipedia".

Wise words - but did not stress that they are also different animals. On Mudcat, people can express their own opinions as well as ferret out facts. However, nobody then tries to synthesise the latter into a coherent whole (very much) - to get an overview of a subject it is generally necessary to trawl through all previous posts, sometimes in multiple related threads; also there is not much internal linking (start here, go somewhere else to explore a point or fact further). Wikipedia is not a place for personal opinions but it is a place for coherent information summaries, including lots of cross-page links, which (at least in principle) have their various sources cited so the reader can check for themselves. Any cited opinions have to be sourced as well (xxx says Bob Dylan is the greatest songwriter of all time *here*), and non neutral-point-of-view assertions can be challenged and removed.

It's not an either/or choice: I use both, accepting their limitations. If I want encyclopedic overviews I may well start with Wikipedia, then follow up with the cited sources especially if they are available on line. If I find an error on WP I can also suggest a correction, or correct it myself. Nothing is error free but at least the information is freely available, and the more eyes look at it the more likely wiki elves will spot any issues. If I want more multiplicity of opinions or some information not yet in Wikipedia, I will go to Mudcat. In an ideal world Wikipedia pages will also link to relevant Mudcat threads where more info is available, and vice versa (I already placed 2 Mudcat links in the W.M. Doerflinger article previously cited). So in my mind the 2 systems both work pretty well and even better when in synergy.

Just my 2 cents of course,

Regards - Tony


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