As Michael Fischer observed elsewhere on the OAC, Wikipedia coverage for anthropology is dismal in comparison to other disciplines due to lack of participation by anthropologists. As Rex noted at Savage Minds some time ago, the same holds true for Citizendium. Any ideas as to why this might be the case?

Citizendium even has a program, Eduzendium, where they partner with university programs to create high-quality entries by allowing students, under teacher supervision, to write public entries about key terms pertaining to their discipline. This would be a great project for undergraduate anthropology courses.

Tags: citizendium, wikipedia

Views: 177

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Huon that was very funny about the rest of us extracting surplus value from Marx.

I've actually heard J. Beck's position articulated by profs at my institution -- they are incredibly worried, and angry, about the possibility that the university might eventually do away with all of us and replace us with proprietary websites from which syllabi and course notes can be downloaded for a fee. Their counter-move is an insistence on copyrighting everything possible so as to prevent the uni from getting its paws on it: syllabi, course notes, what have you. They are quite vociferous that we should all pee on everything we produce so as to keep the other wolves at bay.

I'd be all for it -- territorial marking for all! Produce more pee! -- except that pretty much everything I know doesn't belong to me; certainly nothing I teach does. I just can't see how the buck should stop with me and go into my pocket when it started with Marx's surplus labor, or Durkheim's, or Kant's... I also think if we get into a fight about profits we are going to lose every time to the people who are really, really good at profit-making: generally, not us. That's why it's better for us to fight on the territory of not-profit; it's our home terrain! We know its nooks and crannies. The terrain of profit? Not so much.
Huon

there is nothing Peruvian or Brazilian about this - BUT on that issue, sorry, but this is the conceit that comes out of Europe all the time now - that we (your others) have to deal with on a daily basis - people making derogatory asides using countries from the south as examples. Look at the British economy now - it is shot! Also Britain has one of the most oppressive government regimes in the world. Why not use it as an example dodgy financial and unregulated financial structures and big government? Brazil by contrast is an emerging economic power and more over the superannuation systems used in first world countries to direct harbour investment were actually developed in South America. I don't say that Australia or Brazil are better than Britain, somethings they are, somethings definitely not,but why use them as the example?

Also you do not need big Government but you do need government, you need effective legislation and regulation, which is not impossible. Australia survived the GFC precisely because it is a heavy regulator of the banking sector - but our Government is quite small by standards of other countries.

The point is people try anything on the Internet and thats fine - but somethings work very well, and appropriation of labour - without payment, is one of them.

Also a note to the free science lobby. A cousin of mine works in nanotech as a physicist and she says that anything of any worthwhile value, economically or intellectually, is well tied up and not available on the Internet anyway. That makes perfect sense. What irks me is that there are those people out there who will say for example, advocate that cultural information should be made accessible while being comfortable with other information such developments in nanotech being kept from public view. Again it is those with less power to protect their interests who will suffer.

Also to Kathleen Lowry and her peeing everywhere - the mind boggles and I was eating breakfast when I read that so I think that was not a very nice image. Anyway Kathleen, I suggest we all move into your house - territorial markings and all, eat all your food and use up all your monthly Internet quota to boot. We only have clam that you don't really own the land you live on because after all you only paid money for it?



I am not against this site or social networking but I like to call a spade a spade - but I probably do need more experience in these matters
J., I am a bit lost. Why is it derogatory to compare what you are saying to the ideas of Hernando de Soto and other economists? I thought I was being complimentary. I now know that you are proudly Australian - good for you. Your ideas are odd, though. My question was how you propose to regulate these bad apple University professors and likeminded evildoers who insist on giving away other people's ideas for free.





there is nothing Peruvian or Brazilian about this - BUT on that issue, sorry, but this is the conceit that comes out of Europe all the time now - that we (your others) have to deal with on a daily basis - people making derogatory asides using countries from the south as examples. Look at the British economy now - it is shot! Also Britain has one of the most oppressive government regimes in the world. Why not use it as an example dodgy financial and unregulated financial structures and big government? Brazil by contrast is an emerging economic power and more over the superannuation systems used in first world countries to direct harbour investment were actually developed in South America. I don't say that Australia or Brazil are better than Britain, somethings they are, somethings definitely not,but why use them as the example?

Also you do not need big Government but you do need government, you need effective legislation and regulation, which is not impossible. Australia survived the GFC precisely because it is a heavy regulator of the banking sector - but our Government is quite small by standards of other countries.

The point is people try anything on the Internet and thats fine - but somethings work very well, and appropriation of labour - without payment, is one of them.

Huon you miss understand me, I'm talking regulation of privatized Internet to allow greater equality of access especially to those who will be in the slow lane vis-a-vis high speed private internet services which will take over the bandwidth. I think privatization is a sure thing. I wasn't talking about regulating content, activities, storage etc. My point about wikis is that they run an ideology of community spirit - free for everybody content type of thing and then build up data bases which they will semi privatize and so on - its appropriation of people's labour for no money yet people need money to live. Wikis engage in this ideology and they get their data for free from often from unsuspecting and well meaning contributors. The myth with Wikis is to think there are not major interested players behind them. This aspect of the Net is all about information. These wikis compete with private sites which do often pay people. There are drawbacks to Wikis which are becoming more apparent such as that there is a lot of rubbish that gets posted and its most often not up to date or even sufficient. You are still better off buying books or visiting specialist blogs of "known" writers. BTW I am not Australian LOL - I study here only - going home next year. But I do like this country. I especially urge schools and universities not to link to Wikis and even be wary of the open source movement as well.
Also I want to add Wiki groups and Open Source groups run this ideology of community precisely at the time when many people around the world engaged in working and raising families etc fear a loss of community of tribal connection sort of thing. They try to promote online communities as a replacement but they are not they only take your labour. Also I am talking only about Wikis and OS, not dating sites, interest sites etc. At some point in the near future Wikipedia for instance will become super linked with google and others and packaged via ISP products. Anyway thats my view.
Beck J -- what is your position on the existence of public libraries? Do they shock you to the core?
Hi Kathleen,

One thing I would argue is not to view libraries and the Internet as comparable - at least in the sense I am talking about which, is that Wikis are about the work of actually producing written texts and appropriating labour. Libraries, public or private, catalogue and harbour texts but don't produce them - not yet anyway, and they usually pay their staff - even for lowly tasks of stacking shelves. I think this urge to compare the Internet with everything already existent is understandable, especially in the older generations of academics who didn't grow up with the Internet. I think younger people don't do that as much, though that is obviously a problem as well and I am generalizing way too much. Daniel Miller's ethnography of the Internet remains to my mind the standout text on anthropology and the Internet and in that text he reminds people that if you want to understand the Internet you must approach it from where it used, from the perspective of those who use and are affected by it - in other words he stays pretty true to that tradition of Malinowski that anthropologists like to adhere to. I agree with him on that. I am not sure I answered your question so let me know if I havent
Cheers
Becky
but people can go and learn from the hard work of authors for free! Without buying their works! Don't authors have to eat? Sure, the library buys their books but one copy can be viewed by an essentially infinite number of patrons. I would think you would consider this scandalous.
Gee that was quick I just signed back in

No I love libraries - especially capital city ones, but you illustrate precisely my point, about the fallacy of comparing libraries and the Internet, you end up hurtling down the road of the old collective is better than the individual argument and missing altogether getting at the real nature of Wikis - which is what I am on about. I didn't bring up public or private libraries into this discussion, I tried to respond to your inclusion of public libraries as being "somehow comparable to Wikis" by saying that they are not comparable because Wikis are about appropriating people's labour and not paying them while producing incomes for those running them or those who will include them in future products. Wikipedia for example gets the perfect advertising through its linkages with Google - very soon it will be google something and you will get Wiki first up - oh well we already do, lol.

On your other point about the relationship between author's eating and libraries. Plenty of research shows that sales of author's works are enhanced by distributions through libraries and indeed the Internet. I have friends and even I myself prefer to buy books from say Amazon or wherever, for often under 10 dollars rather than go through the traumas of university libraries. Even if digital books take off, some estimates put the increase in author incomes as at least tripling.

These constructions of the Internet as akin to another Gutenberg machine or a library etc are situated and designed to give life to old theory. Nothing wrong with that but Im not doing social theory here, I'm in the anthropology and I am being taught that we should think with the people we are studying, find out what is happening to them on the ground, in the real world. Right now we are all being encouraged to Wiki and I am saying be careful because Wikis are about getting your labour for free and they purport to be about a collective sort of ideology somehow opposed to a supposed neo-liberal individualism. Sort of like the old communist collective myth lol. They prey on people's concerns regarding the competition aspect of capitalism which, as I said above needs to be more highly regulated. In other words its just people making money out of other people's ears and insecurities.
I meant ears, fears and insecurities
I am just a little concerned about the direction this thread is taking. I am sure people are not interested where I as a person stand on things - I am a very small fish in a very small pond and I like it that way. Just to clarify, my response was to Justin Shaffner commenting on Michael Fischer's observation about dismal levels of anthropology on Wikipedia. My take on that was that if you searched through subject matters you would actually see quite a bit of anthropology related material - its not just all there collected under a heading of anthropology. However I wanted to also challenge the notion that having anthropology via wikis was desirable in the first place in that Wikis are rather clumsy tools with which, to examine an anthropological problem. The object of my critique is Justin's comment about Educendium being a great project for undergraduate anthropology courses - as though undergrads don't already have enough to do and adding to wikis is not anthropology training and obviously the point I raised about them appropriating labour for no money. Hope that helps.
Well, it still turns on the idea that contributing to wikipedia is 'labour' because it has a monetary value of some kind for someone. Presumably some folk, like the publishers of Encyclopedia Britannica and so forth have lost money, as have publishers of out of copyright books and so on and so forth because of wikipedia; and some people have made some money out of it. But your 'belief' is sitting on a zero sum game notion of human relationships. Any activity of any kind can be construed as 'labour' and hence as a 'commodity', in your view. Or you can simply call it a 'commodity' without talking about it as labour if you prefer. Put the other way round, you are saying that people who contribute to wikis are squandering a resource, wasting their own 'savings' on something from which they derive no capital in return. But what does their capital consist in? It consists, negatively, in the profit someone may make out of it, according to you. So, why just Wikipedia and not this site? This networking site also 'exploits' people's words which could in the future be sold by someone ingenious enough to work out how. This is why people find what you are saying intriguing and, frankly, quite ominous. I can't help thinking of Rousseau - 'The first person who, having enclosed a plot of land, took it into his head to say "this is mine" and found people simple enough to believe him was the true founder of civil society'. You have already decided in favour of enclosure.

Here is a different, but perhaps related, hypothesis; the reason anthropologists' ideas don't figure much on wikipedia is that anthropologists typically have a contextual and dialogical view of knowledge that doesn't fit the format of knowledge as a list of facts.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Translate

@OpenAnthCoop

© 2014   Created by Keith Hart.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service