Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Erudite Wikipedia

by Robert L. Gisel

 Wikipedia is becoming unusable by the bulk of the people that have need of discovery through an encyclopedia.

 The subjects are being written, evidently, as something like PHD Doctorate Thesis papers. Or as scientific studies. The articles defining terms are increasingly post graduate studies level discourses. In order to understand one I have to clear up one or two dozen definitions, each of which has multiple words also having to be cleared. All this just to get to point where I can explain it to someone else in lay terms, and I am well educated.

 A layman to a subject, even an educated man in other subjects, will get swamped in misunderstood terms fast. This is specifically so on any terms listed having any relationship to any branch of science.


 -- Acne: You have to be a physicist to read the textual nomenclature.
 -- Anti-oxidants: For scientists only: technical nomenclature defines nomenclature endlessly.
 -- Free Radicals: Redirects to Radicals, collapses the definitions amid scientific terms.
 -- Aloe Vera: Contains false and conflicting data, apparently someones attempt to discredit a millennium of healing support.
 -- Blood Vessels: Call for a forensic pathologist or biologist as soon as you go to Anatomy.
 -- Internal Elastic Lamina: Why not just call it straight -- everyone has heard of Spandex.

 Get my point?

 A straightforward explanation that can be easily understood would make the Wikipedia accessible to nearly anyone. Then you can cut into the erudite scientific treatise for those who are doing graduate studies. 

 Evidently no one is monitoring its public input against a consistent standard. There is no consideration of its general usability and workability.

 I'm smart enough when I am patient enough to slog through links and get a basic understanding of terms, enough to get a conceptual understanding. Many of the people of whom I know would have trouble wading through an increasing number of the listings. Is this simply the product of lofty intellectuals who want to impress their fellow atomic scientists? Or is it deliberate to make the encyclopedia works worthless to anyone not holding a PHD?

 Time to bring out the old Encyclopedia Britannica. I just want to do research for a blog, not write a dissertation.

 Last year I put up a blog post to forward their message to help with donations. This year I'm considering retracting it. It is getting to be no longer feasible to use the Wikipedia as a first stop on a research trail.

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