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Re: Wikipedia


From: Mark Holmquist
Subject: Re: Wikipedia
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 08:59:26 -0700
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.20 (2009-06-14)

On Wed, Apr 23, 2014 at 06:48:28PM +0200, Solal wrote:
> Wikipedia have an amoral approach of what is an encyclopedia.
> For example, Wikipedia rejects the use of the real name "GNU/Linux" in
> articles about this system because GNU/Linux is often called "Linux".

Actually they call the article "Linux" because the system is *commonly*
called Linux, as referred to by WP:COMMONNAME[0]. If you disagree, you
need to come up with citations that show consensus in the broader public
that the system is called GNU/Linux by a broader audience. The archived
talk page on this topic has lots of evidence to support the reverse case.

You'll note that Wikipedia happily redirects from [[GNU/Linux]][1] to
[[Linux]], so you can use either one in URLs and wikilinks.

But I fail to see how this is "amoral". What you're describing seems to
simply be a *different* set of morals from your own, or a different set
of priorities that encompass many of the same morals. They have decided
that their mission is to provide a neutral, understandable encyclopedia
to the greatest number of people possible. For this purpose, they use a
name that the most people possible will understand.

> Non-free software is an example of that amoral approach and thrives on
> it. Thus, in the long run it would be self-defeating for freedom to
> adopt that approach. Wikipedia uses this amoral approach, and makes it a
> rule.

How is the linked policy ([0] in this email) at all amoral? Wanting e.g.
"Bill Clinton" as the article title instead of the unrecognizable "William
Jefferson Clinton", even though the latter is more precise, seems like a
very reasonable thing. Even if you could describe the policy as "lacking
morals", that would be a positive thing in the context of providing a
neutral point of view for the article, so people are not swayed by one
form of the argument or the other.

> This amoral approach is similar to the amoral "open source" approach of
> the FLOSS community.

Again, I would love to see any support for your claim that the open source
movement is amoral. Again I think they're simply focusing on different
parts of the same philosophies, and it's unfair to so negatively brand
them. We don't need to follow an identical path with them, but that doesn't
mean we can't be civil and work towards a better world together.

The free software movement isn't here to beat down everyone who disagrees
on every little point. Please try to avoid rattling sabres at everyone
in sight.

[0] 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:COMMONNAME#Use_commonly_recognizable_names
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=GNU/Linux&redirect=no

-- 
Mark Holmquist
Associate Member, Free Software Foundation
address@hidden



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