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Criticism is Not an Insult

INTRODUCTION

Hi, there! I don't use this account much, but today I thought I'd try a little experiment. Basically, whenever I have an issue related to how a Wiki is handled that can't be resolved for whatever reason, I'm going to start opining about it here, & we're just going to see where that takes us. Hopefully farther than "You can't actually do this, stop." I eventually did find the blog policies, but they were a little vague.

So, until I have a better idea of the limits, I'm going to keep the subjects of this topic anonymous. Of course you can find these quotes through Google, so it's not TRULY anonymous, but welcome to writing on public websites.

I promise that I'll get to the point soon. First, to set up the background, I was browsing this forum topic & came upon a discussion that I can only sum up as "being asked to not cite yourself is apparently an insult." There are a lot of criticisms that I wanted to point out, but I was kind of banned a long time ago for "disrespecting the site." You may be seeing a pattern. Or you might say that I was probably just being a jerk. Truth is, it's a bit of both, but that's a story for another day. Anyway, today's story all started out when somebody said that:

THE STORY

"using the wiki page is not all that good of evidence, the wiki made by lots of people who sometimes uses speculation... if you could kindly direct us to a manga chapter or episode I would be grateful."

Understandable complaint, right? From what I've seen, most Wikis & Wiki editors acknowledge that people aren't going to take their word at face value all of the time. Well, apparently, this was deemed "insulting" by an admin because:

"Considering there are super strict rules here (more then any wiki site i know of) and over 2000+ pages of referenced material that can be looked up at any site that hosts scans or translations, where anyone can see that the content is exactly reflected. Then the claim that we sometimes use speculation. You really have some nerve. Maybe we can do you one better and kindly direct you to another site, you know not so speculative, where your ignorance can be appreciated."

The source of this disagreement turned out to be a simple problem of the browser not displaying the references properly. You'd think that would have been the end of it, right? It's an honest mistake. You can't know that something is there if you don't see it. Well I guess it was this guy's fault that he wasn't psychic, or something? I don't know:

"References that dont show up in your browser is your problem. If your going by the anime which is a secondary source and not even done by the creator your already off to a bad start of your own accord. We are proud to take a stand against any user making erroneous and baseless claims about the site we work so hard on. Instead you decided to insult the credibility of the site when the issue was on your end. We have provided alot to make the site as accurate as possible, you do everyone here a disservice claiming otherwise."

Now, whether or not this criticism is valid is not actually the point. It's fine to be proud of your work. It's fine to be frustrated that people don't trust you. It's fine to correct baseless claims. I would argue that it's even fine to be rude when doing all of that. But when you say that the mere claim that you are sometimes--SOMETIMES--inaccurate is figthin' words, then it's time to step back & ask yourself a question: Are you actually making your site more accurate, or do you start from the assumption that it already is & work towards making other people see how right you are?

The reasoning is provided by another user:

"Strict rules [such as copious references] is what makes this site credibility.

Unlike some less strict "offical" wikis with pages/sections like "possible users of powers".

Just because you don't like strict rules don't mean they are not credibility."

IS THIS REALLY CREDIBLE?

Well, credit where it's due, referencing is important, this Wiki has become very good at it, & a lot of Wikis don't have nearly as many references as they should. But there's more to credibility than that. Having a ton of references doesn't mean that you never make unreferenced statements, or that all of the references say what you claim that they do. And it doesn't matter how strict a rule is if it's biased.

And a rule that says that questioning your credibility is an insult? Pretty biased.

Especially when you consider the power difference. You see, a sort of convenient side-effect to that is that incivility is against the rules, so if you don't toe a fine line to avoid bruising people's egos, then you can get banned because you don't agree with their conclusions. Without even resorting to blatant insults, lies, or other malicious tactics. The admins can even claim that Wikia requires them to do this, which is blatantly & demonstrably untrue, but there are no penalties for saying so, so who cares?

Anyway, encyclopedias are not just a list of events. They are a reference source to the known information of a topic, which includes clarifying how that knowledge was reached & how certain that information is. Here are a few excerpts from Encyclopedia Brittanica:

"...The cosmic microwave background is believed to be a ghostly remnant of the fierce light of the primeval fireball reduced by cosmic expansion to a shadow of its former splendour but still pervading every corner of the known universe...

The simple (and most common) interpretation of the Hubble law as a recession of the galaxies over time through space, however, contains a misleading notion. In a sense, as will be made more precise later in the article, the expansion of the universe represents not so much a fundamental motion of galaxies within a framework of absolute time and absolute space, but an expansion of time and space themselves.

In 1610 the German astronomer Johannes Kepler provided a profound reason for believing that the number of stars in the universe had to be finite. If there were an infinity of stars, he argued, then the sky would be completely filled with them and night would not be dark!"

You get the picture. What's this?! "Believed to be"? "Interpretation"? Arguments based on indirect reasoning? What speculative language! Are we really going to say that some random anime Wiki is "more professional" than Encyclopedia Brittanica? I don't think that's very likely. More likely, that random anime Wiki is misinterpreting speculation. Acknowledging that there are limits to your knowledge & that controversy can be genuine is not endorsing wildly making things up. This is the fallacy of false dichotomy; that you're either completely devoid of value-&-interpretation-driven editing, or your site's a useless rag.

CONCLUSION

In reality, not only is accuracy a matter of degree, but it's frankly impossible to entirely avoid matters of interpretation on any major topic. ESPECIALLY literature. If you don't believe that, try taking some kind of actual research course. Just one class in whatever field that you believe is the most objective. I guarantee that nobody is ever going to tell you that, by following a few simple steps, you can have complete access to the 100% factual truth, completely free of bias, interpretation, or possible alternate explanations.

The key is to limit your bias as much as possible. And part of that is to welcome dissenting opinions. The obvious caveat is "within reason," but for an anime fansite, it should be sufficient to just make sure that the edits are not malicious & kept out of the main articles.

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