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General Modelling Forum => General Modeling topics => Topic started by: seadude on May 05, 2019, 05:23:15 pm

Title: Do you use/trust Wikipedia for modeling?
Post by: seadude on May 05, 2019, 05:23:15 pm
I try not to rely too much on Wikipedia for information on aircraft, ships, etc. when I am modeling as that information/website can be edited too much by too many people. I'd rather rely mostly on good old fashioned books to get whatever information I might need.
How often do you use Wikipedia? Do you trust it as a credible source or not?

Case in point as an example:
I was browsing the Wikipedia article on Project Habakkuk
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Habakkuk
.......tonight when this sentence caught my eye:
Quote
Habakkuk II was closest to the COHQ model and would have been a very large, slow, self-propelled vessel made of pykrete with steel reinforcement. The size would have been a length of 1200 meters and a width of 180 meters.
Hate to say it, but..........FAKE NEWS!  :angry:
The Habakkuk was NOT that big. After doing some calculations on a scale conversion website, 1200 and 180 meters would be the following:
1200.0000 meters at 1/1 scale equates to 3937.0000 feet at 1/1 scale.
180.0000 meters at 1/1 scale equates to 590.5500 feet at 1/1 scale.

The REAL and ACTUAL dimensions of Habakkuk that I have found through extensive research were 2000 feet long and 300 feet wide.
2000.0000 feet at 1/1 scale equates to 609.6012 meters at 1/1 scale.
300.0000 feet at 1/1 scale equates to 91.4402 meters at 1/1 scale.

Title: Re: Do you use/trust Wikipedia for modeling?
Post by: sandiego89 on May 05, 2019, 07:19:00 pm
I use it quite a bit for casual reference, and find it reasonably accurate for many historical items including measurements, horespower, weight etc, timelines, etc. but if I am building something I will check other references as well. Generally the more popular the subject, the more and complete it seems. Since the Habakkuk was never built, and references are scarce, perhaps not a surprise. 

Wiki is often a cut and paste of other source references- and sometimes those are not accurate either!
Title: Re: Do you use/trust Wikipedia for modeling?
Post by: kerick on May 05, 2019, 07:29:26 pm
I use it for looking up the story behind something and finding pictures.
Title: Re: Do you use/trust Wikipedia for modeling?
Post by: AS.12 on May 05, 2019, 09:55:43 pm
I gave up on it some years ago after an 'edit war'.  I was trying to correct some entries using data from the manufacturer's publications, but they were constantly reverted by some self-elected Guardian of Preferred Truth. 

I didn't have to time argue with a 14yo sitting in his bedroom, so I dropped Wikipedia into my hosts-block file and moved on.
Title: Re: Do you use/trust Wikipedia for modeling?
Post by: Dizzyfugu on May 06, 2019, 01:05:37 am
I frequently use it as a cross-reference for book sources, and also a lot for my background stories. However, the "fake news" criticism or lack of trustworthiness is not a wikipedia problem, it's the topics that cause the trouble and authors who do not check their sources themselves - I am not too familiar with the Project Habakkuk, but I assume that, due to its strangeness, there's a lot of speculation and unconfirmed rumor around that authors, who take themselves more serious than their material and the respective sources, post with glee. And there's the "preferred truth" topic - even if you can add something that actually expands the information of a post with new material, you still have to get by the moderators. If you have a yeoman nerd on the other side, things can become quite complicated and frustrating.
Title: Re: Do you use/trust Wikipedia for modeling?
Post by: Weaver on May 06, 2019, 01:34:22 am
I use it as a starting point for casual research, but then since nothing I do has any consequence, any problems don't bother me that much. If I was doing something serious, I'd cross-check a lot more.

It's always worth going to their sources if they're still available. Those dimensions in the Habakkuk entry, for example, come from an extremely shallow 'listicle' on Der Spiegel's website, which isn't the sort of thing I'd regard as a source on anything.

AS.12: did you go on their forums to make the case for your data, and is your data available online so that it can be checked by others and linked as a source in the entry? Both of these points, rightly or wrongly, go a long way in carrying the day in such disputes.
Title: Re: Do you use/trust Wikipedia for modeling?
Post by: PR19_Kit on May 06, 2019, 03:08:30 am
I use it quite a lot as a start point but as almost all my modelling these days is in Whiffworld it doesn't have much final relevance really.

But I've been more than a little tee'd off at the attitude of some of the moderators on there over some of my attempted corrections to my specialist subject, tilting trains.

One of the many Wiki articles on the subject has it totally and categorically WRONG, and I tried to correct it, stating my position as the guy who actually did it. This apparently isn't good enough for those who run Wiki, and unless I write a whole paper on the subject, AND GET IT PUBLISHED, they're not giving me any credence! I've suggested they look me up on the various books and TV programmes to see if I am who I say I am, but oh no, they know so much better. I asked them to give me similar evidence that THEY are qualified to comment on my qualifications but of course I had no reply, grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  :banghead: :banghead:
Title: Re: Do you use/trust Wikipedia for modeling?
Post by: scooter on May 06, 2019, 03:20:18 am
I've used it as some reference points (particularly the Republican/Imperial Roman army references), but but what I've really used it for, in depth, is not so much the technical side of things, but the soft-science side; i.e. the scholarly articles.  You know the ones with 50-100 references footnoted and hyperlinked at the bottom of the article.
Title: Re: Do you use/trust Wikipedia for modeling?
Post by: overscan on May 06, 2019, 03:26:35 am
Yep, Wikipedia rules privilege secondary sources over primary sources and specifically disallow argument from authority. Therefore the only way to correct mistakes made in published books is to publish your own book, then cite it. Articles on subjects you don't know intimately look very convincing, but often when you look at articles where you are an expert, they are often full of errors. It does vary by subject - aviation is in general very poor.

Wikipedia is basically broken by design - it can never be better than existing published books.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Ten_simple_rules_for_editing_Wikipedia
Title: Re: Do you use/trust Wikipedia for modeling?
Post by: PR19_Kit on May 06, 2019, 03:56:45 am

Yep, Wikipedia rules privilege secondary sources over primary sources and specifically disallow argument from authority.


That's a patently ridiculous attitude for them to take, who ever do they think they are? Madness!
Title: Re: Do you use/trust Wikipedia for modeling?
Post by: zenrat on May 06, 2019, 04:01:06 am
Use, yes.  Trust, no.  But it is closer to the sofa than the bookcase is.
Title: Re: Do you use/trust Wikipedia for modeling?
Post by: NARSES2 on May 06, 2019, 05:54:11 am
Use, yes.  Trust, no.  But it is closer to the sofa than the bookcase is.

Same here. It can be a useful source of non critical information or as a starting point for something that is new in your sphere of interest. My primary source will always be the written word however, preferably from at least two sources one of whom I have grown to trust.

The most important thing I've discovered over the years is that anything can and will change. Even historical "facts" that I have held sacrosanct for years. I do sometimes find that difficult to accept, but I am learning.
Title: Re: Do you use/trust Wikipedia for modeling?
Post by: kitnut617 on May 06, 2019, 07:53:49 am
The internet these days, is just a trove of misinformation ----
Title: Re: Do you use/trust Wikipedia for modeling?
Post by: Hobbes on May 06, 2019, 09:19:40 am
Yep, Wikipedia rules privilege secondary sources over primary sources and specifically disallow argument from authority. Therefore the only way to correct mistakes made in published books is to publish your own book, then cite it. Articles on subjects you don't know intimately look very convincing, but often when you look at articles where you are an expert, they are often full of errors. It does vary by subject - aviation is in general very poor.

Wikipedia is basically broken by design - it can never be better than existing published books.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Ten_simple_rules_for_editing_Wikipedia

Wikipedia does not allow original research. Like every other encyclopedia, they collate information from other sources.

The problem with arguing from authority is verification: people can claim whatever they want on the internet.


Quote
secondary sources over primary sources

That surprised me, so I checked. You're right. But they make a distinction that I think is important. Primary sources are acceptable as a source for facts. Any interpretation of those facts requires a secondary source - one that should be independent of the primary source.

Title: Re: Do you use/trust Wikipedia for modeling?
Post by: Nils on May 06, 2019, 09:26:41 am
i use wikipedia all the time for research (well, just the basics), the great thing about it is that its an open source, which means if you find a mistake or error, you can edit the page with no registration required (at least to a certain extent).
Title: Re: Do you use/trust Wikipedia for modeling?
Post by: PR19_Kit on May 06, 2019, 09:31:37 am

Wikipedia does not allow original research. Like every other encyclopedia, they collate information from other sources.

The problem with arguing from authority is verification: people can claim whatever they want on the internet.


I told them where to look, in two published books and nine television programmes. They couldn't be bothered, so stuff them!

I KNOW I'm right, after all I was there and I did it.
Title: Re: Do you use/trust Wikipedia for modeling?
Post by: Hobbes on May 06, 2019, 10:27:14 am
yes, that is a big problem with Wikipedia: editors claiming ownership of a page and then arguing with everyone that tries to improve it.