Monday, February 21, 2011

Academics say Wikipedia is Unfair

Academics are taking a hardline position on Wikipedia citing that, "Easy access to information on the internet is yet another troublesome demonstration of the decline of Western culture."

As one Professor in the English Department at the University of Chicago said, "It's unfair if some kid from the projects can, in five seconds, have access to information that took me eight years in grad school to acquire... I mean Wikipedia has to contain incredible inaccuracies by the very fact that it makes information so available."

Other academics have taken a moral stance on the issue by stating, "Knowledge should be difficult to acquire. If at a keystroke you can access any and all of human knowledge then there's the possibility that people will not respect experts in the field any more. Besides Wikipedia is cutting into our territory and that means a lot of academics might be out of a job... outsourced to some independent intellectual writing for free on Wikipedia."

A professor of political science at Cornell further commented on the issue of accuracy by stating, "The very fact that Wikipedia has an online community that critiques and corrects their entries is troublesome... not only does it bear a remarkable resemblance to the peer review process academics rely upon for accuracy but the people reviewing this material might not be constrained by issues of bureaucracy, tenure seeking, and the politics of academia that university professors like myself are consistently burdened by. This could result in truly independent thought, which is simply unfair to those of us who've earned the right to be intellectuals by spending years in classrooms being told what to think."

Many believe that what's at stake is far greater than merely leveling the playing field. One Harvard English professor commented, "It's as simple as this: the clearly and concisely written articles on Wikipedia ipso facto reveal the mendacious and specious nature of the ostensible authority of those presuming to be authorities. It assumes a priori understanding within common human beings who have yet to be properly educated in dense, over-written, abstractions that are the very bread and butter of academia. In effect, if what you're reading is not written in incoherent academese then it must follow that Wikipedia is patently false. For knowledge and truth should, by all means, be shrouded in language that obscures that very knowledge."

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