Wikipedia talk:Reference desk
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Video game publisher
- Transferred to Entertainment desk
- I have some doubts about the quality of the above discussion. Note that wikt:americano, per my old Spanish instructor, says that the main meaning of "americano" is "an inhabitant of the Americas". Also, as far as I know, the Americas were called "the Indies" not out of some confusion about landing in India as we define it, but because traditional European scholars called literally anything far to the east India, no matter how far it might be. (While we're at it, the Indus River, for which all are named, is a central feature of Pakistan). True, Columbus - not being known for ethics of any kind - did oversell his case on this one, since the East Indies were indeed prized trading partners. Wnt (talk) 01:23, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
The ultimate purpose of the reference desks, in my opinion, is surely to improve the pedia. The only reason,I think, people access the reference desk is to seek out information that cannot be gleaned easily from the existing pedia pages. The desks should not be used as a source of amusing interchanges tween rd vultures soaring on high ready to pick to pieces any unsuspecting questioner. Constructive comments welcome . 18.104.22.168 (talk) 23:38, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
- The reference desk also offers insight into the kinds of information that, de facto, isn't trivial to find elsewhere in our encyclopedia - or elsewhere on the internet. In that respect, the questions and the content on the reference desk comprise, metaphorically, the boundary between the set of all human knowledge that is easily discovered, and the set of all human knowledge which is not easily discovered.
- To confound this metaphor of "all human knowledge," we naturally have a huge and diverse demographic. Information that is "easy to discover" for some is difficult for others. Additionally, some of our questions come from people who have not put in a good-faith effort. Many questions are answerable in a few seconds; so we may honestly wonder whether the person asking is really doing so in good faith.
- I would love to see us enforce, more stringently, the Wikipedia guidelines on requiring competence from our participants. In specific, as Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, I would love it if more of our participants actually read it - and read other encyclopedias, for comparison - more frequently. We live in an amazing era in which it is so easy to find so much high quality written knowledge. I wish more people took advantage of this privilege! But, as I wrote in our 2013 discussion on this topic: "We don't vet newcomers; so that means some newcomers are troublemakers, and some are just idiots."
- And yet...
- "This is not the end of the world. New contributors, fresh with enthusiasm, dynamically enter (or re-enter) the contributor-pool, and they are able to tolerate all the undesirables; and we reach a sort of steady-state or equilibrium: old contributors "burning out" and new contributors coming in with fresh ideas and higher tolerance levels. Wikipedia is over a decade old, and is widely regarded as a successful hallmark of the proliferation of free information. This model works, and anyone who is actively trying to disrupt it is failing badly."
- I wrote that many years ago, and if anything, I think it is even more relevant today. We surely do have issues, problems, and disagreements; but we have reached a steady-state condition in which the perennial problems are counterbalanced by equally-powerful perennial solutions.
- Nimur (talk) 02:14, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
- As a fun fact, in the very earliest days of the Reference Desk, people would often "answer questions" by creating a new article on the topic that was asked about. The assumption was that if someone asked a question, it could only be because Wikipedia was missing an important article.
- For instance, the "Coprophagia" article was created when someone asked why dogs eat their own poop. ApLundell (talk) 00:26, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
- There is no "Universal List of Notable Topics" from which Wikipedia progressively crosses off items as articles get created. We have various Articles for Creation lists, and many individual editors maintain their own private lists (I do), although not all of these would necessarily pass our notability test. So, in a sense, the community is constantly "remembering" topics that were always notable but which had not been at the forefront of people's minds - until some event caused them to get there. Or maybe a topic had been very much on someone's mind but they had other demands on their time in the real world. Also, some topics, while notable, are boring to write about, so it takes a special effort of mind to tackle them at the best of times; and since this project is entirely voluntary and there are no deadlines, much notable (but boring) stuff falls by the wayside where it remains, forgotten, abandoned, unloved. But one day ... -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 22:16, 15 May 2019 (UTC)