Thursday, January 19, 2012

Citation not required


So, where were you when Wikipedia went off on its 24-hour strop? The inevitable one-liners about journalists and students suffering emotional meltdown in the absence of their fountain of facts did raise a few questions. I mean, is it OK to use Wikipedia as a source provided you attribute and cite appropriately? Or has the haranguing pedantry of the Wiki editors forced us into a state of neurotic overcitation?

I’ve succumbed to this foible in the past, desperately ploughing through some arcane text that I haven’t really read so as to give a vaguely credible sheen to my inane ramblings. A little Adorno or McLuhan goes a long way. But Simon Reynolds has a better tactic, acknowledging that something is moderately interesting, but not important enough for a full-blown footnote. As he says in Retromania: “‘Plus/and’, a philosophical term of uncertain origins (I’m told Deleuze and Guattari used it), is the buzz concept.” The vague “I’m told...” is the clever bit. The Wikipedants would insist that he identify the person who told him.

5 comments:

Rog said...

I'm glad I didn't bother with that game of top trumps.

Billy said...

I liked the Encarta jokes.

Fat Roland said...

I used Wikipedia: I got round the block by pressing Esc as the page loaded or by typing 'mobile' into the URL.

In fact, that kind of thing should be encouraged, to foster a more interactive ownership of our web browsing. Every site should require a complicted sequence of key-strokes as the page loads, or require you enter a word summing up your emotional state in the URL for the page to work. If you lie about your emotions, your internet shuts down.

If I ran the internet, it'd be so much fun.

Tim Footman said...

You'd have enjoyed it, Rog. Marshall McLuhan won, thanks to his impressive boot space.

I feel old too, Billy.

Twazmuppedia, FR!

tenderhooligan said...

We've taken to cutting off a finger every time a student uses (and/ or cites) wikipedia. Their fingers, not ours, obviously. The deterrent effect so far has been patchy.