Join 3,427 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


"What did they talk about all those days?"
March 3, 2012 5:00 PM   Subscribe

"The 'Undue Weight' of Truth on Wikipedia" - When historian Timothy Messer-Kruse attempted to edit the Wikipedia article on the Haymarket Affair he ran up against the project's policies and editors. Besides the coverage by Messer-Kruse about his two years trying to edit the article in The Chronicle, linked above, the story has spilled out into other media outlets. An article in The Atlantic, an NPR segment with Messer-Kruse and Andrew Lih, a Reddit thread, Bigthink, and others have chimed in on the situation. Lengthy discussion, and a "good article reassessment", has resulted on Wikipedia.
posted by IvoShandor (92 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Aren't these academics the same people who forced wikipedia into a reliable sources mode in the first place. I for one remember when sources never mattered.
posted by Rubbstone at 5:06 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is a unique problem with Wikipedia and conventional historical articles; there is this huge hangover from really bad but popular sources, especially secondary school history books, but a lot of that history turned out to be really, really terrible and has been thrown out of academic circles for decades now. I ran into this when I was researching Robert Rogers, as I found that the Wikipedia article on him was extremely inaccurate, and totally contradicted by recent historical accounts. That turned out to be largely due to how he had been depicted in American history books in the 50s and 60s. Unfortunately a lot of that junk is still in circulation and taught in schools today. It doesn't surprise me that this problem is widespread on Wikipeida.
posted by mek at 5:07 PM on March 3, 2012 [21 favorites]


Wikipedia stopped being a research project and started being a massive alternate reality game a long time ago.
posted by silby at 5:08 PM on March 3, 2012 [22 favorites]


Wikipedia editors don't have any means to distinguish the minority expert that's correcting a majority error from the minority expert that's actually a moonbat crank. The only reasonable WP policy is to defer to the majority expert consensus, and sometimes that's going to be wrong, but they don't have any other defense mechanism against cranks trying to use Wikipedia to promote fringe theories.

There are a lot of times when Wikipedia editors are dogmatic bureaucratic idiots, but this isn't one of them.
posted by 0xFCAF at 5:11 PM on March 3, 2012 [58 favorites]


I remember reading about this controversy last month, and I remember thinking that this guy apparently doesn't actually know what Wikipedia is for. It's not for "truth", per se, it's for summing up human knowledge, which may or may not be "true" in an empirical sense.

That makes it an imperfect information source, but what isn't?
posted by downing street memo at 5:18 PM on March 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


from article: “‘Explain to me, then, how a 'minority' source with facts on its side would ever appear against a wrong 'majority' one?’ I asked the Wiki-gatekeeper. He responded, ‘You're more than welcome to discuss reliable sources here, that's what the talk page is for. However, you might want to have a quick look at Wikipedia's civility policy.’ I tried to edit the page again.”

This bit made me laugh out loud. 'Civility? HELL NO! I WILL EDIT THE PAGE AGAIN!'

Congratulations, Mr Messer-Kruse. You just failed at communicating in a civil way with other human beings.
posted by koeselitz at 5:19 PM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


This bit made me laugh out loud. 'Civility? HELL NO! I WILL EDIT THE PAGE AGAIN!'

Congratulations, Mr Messer-Kruse. You just failed at communicating in a civil way with other human beings.


Then again, Be Bold.
posted by Jpfed at 5:21 PM on March 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


And if you actually look at the civility policy, editing the page again does not count as incivility.
posted by Jpfed at 5:23 PM on March 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


On the other hand, if he wants a crowdsourced editable encyclopedia where majority expert opinion is regularly discarded in favor of a minority that says they're doing research from primary sources, that option is already available.
posted by 0xFCAF at 5:26 PM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


This bit made me laugh out loud. 'Civility? HELL NO! I WILL EDIT THE PAGE AGAIN!'

Congratulations, Mr Messer-Kruse. You just failed at communicating in a civil way with other human beings.


Are you kidding?
posted by jayder at 5:27 PM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Is this something that I'd have to climb the Reichstag dressed as Spiderman to understand?
posted by radwolf76 at 5:31 PM on March 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


What exactly was wrong with actually talking with Wikipedians about this? Was that too distasteful for Mr Messer-Kruse? Was it too beneath his dignity as an expert to actually have a conversation about reliable sources?
posted by koeselitz at 5:31 PM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am amazed that Wiki policies don't differentiate between primary and secondary sources. Citing the actual transcript of the trial should have more weight than sources that are regurgitated and re-regurgitated "facts" whose original source can sometimes be hard to even track down.
posted by parrot_person at 5:34 PM on March 3, 2012 [22 favorites]


I tried to rea the Messer-Kruse piece when it first came out, but I kept hearing it in Cartman's voice, with occasional interjections of "RESPECT MAH AUTHORITAY!!!!"
posted by LarryC at 5:37 PM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wikipedia editors don't have any means to distinguish the minority expert that's correcting a majority error from the minority expert that's actually a moonbat crank. The only reasonable WP policy is to defer to the majority expert consensus, and sometimes that's going to be wrong, but they don't have any other defense mechanism against cranks trying to use Wikipedia to promote fringe theories.

A policy is an overarching design that attempts to implement a best-fit for the most cases. When it breaks down you need to find content-neutral ways to draw new lines that fit that piece of the landscape without breaking others in the process. So the question becomes, how do you allow for minority expertise to equal or override the inaccurate majority without leaving the bard door open for fringe theories & cranks?

Sounds to me like an excellent case for applying some kind of reputation system that recursively calculates expertise in a field, ala PageRank, & weights contested claims accordingly. Not an easy design job but it'd eliminate a major source of conflict, or at least redirect it to a new field of battle that gives truth an advantage over nonsense.
posted by scalefree at 5:41 PM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sounds to me like an excellent case for applying some kind of reputation system that recursively calculates expertise in a field, ala PageRank, & weights contested claims accordingly. Not an easy design job but it'd eliminate a major source of conflict, or at least redirect it to a new field of battle that gives truth an advantage over nonsense.
Roughly speaking, this is what academia does already. PageRank was explicitly inspired by research into academic citation networks. Wikipedia can be annoying but their response was the correct one here: let the “field” figure out, then Wikipedia can belatedly reflect the new consensus.
posted by migurski at 5:55 PM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


What exactly was wrong with actually talking with Wikipedians about this? Was that too distasteful for Mr Messer-Kruse? Was it too beneath his dignity as an expert to actually have a conversation about reliable sources?
posted by koeselitz at 5:31 PM on 3/3
[+] [!]


He did have a conversation with them. What are you reading?
posted by jayder at 5:57 PM on March 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


The human hand has five fingers. [citation needed]
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:06 PM on March 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


So can we create a wiki page about this controversy and link to that from the actual bombings page? Then the whole issue can metastasize into some kind of metatruth!
posted by Chekhovian at 6:07 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The underlying problem here is that crank theorists are highly motivated, and in some cases well funded, and they put real tine into trying to make their message indistinguishable, in all objective ways, from the accepted messages, so that people coming into a discussion from the outside cannot tell which side has the "normal" viewpoint.

You need a secondary source to make your flat earth theory seem respectable? That's easy. You need an expert to back it up? Create your own accreditation body, or else get some guy hired to a college faculty for something he's good at, but smuggle in a crazy idea he carries in an odd corner of his cerebrum. Can't get it on the news? Fox it! Is your idea reprensible? Invent an alternate system of morality that excuses it, and for irony value name it Objectivism!

There is no end to this trail. The problem is that truth itself is not objective. But we can get close to it with scientfic reasoning. That's what will save us, and they know it, which is why the sciences are under attack right now.
posted by JHarris at 6:08 PM on March 3, 2012 [14 favorites]


That turned out to be largely due to how he had been depicted in American history books in the 50s and 60s. Unfortunately a lot of that junk is still in circulation and taught in schools today.

And 70s and 80s and 90s and probably still today. cf the more-interesting-than-it-sounds Lies My Teacher Told Me. Most of the inaccuracies in primary and secondary educational textbooks are not accidental.
posted by DU at 6:14 PM on March 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


It is also possible that this guy is a crank.
posted by humanfont at 6:42 PM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is your idea reprehensible? Invent an alternate system of morality that excuses it, and for irony value name it Objectivism!

Or "Traditional Values".
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:48 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am amazed that Wiki policies don't differentiate between primary and secondary sources. Citing the actual transcript of the trial should have more weight than sources that are regurgitated and re-regurgitated "facts" whose original source can sometimes be hard to even track down.

That sort of thing falls into the category of original research. If you're an academic and you do it for a living, the way to get your findings into Wikipedia is to write a book or publish articles. Then get your students to post summaries that cite you. From a coffee shop. In another city.
posted by clarknova at 6:52 PM on March 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


There are a lot of times when Wikipedia editors are dogmatic bureaucratic idiots, but this isn't one of them.

Yeah, exactly. I have a hard time understanding why this article has gotten any traction at all, since it's so obviously based on total discomprehension of what Wikipedia is and how it works even on the FAQ level of obviousness. There are plenty of good, thoughtful critiques of Wikipedia's explicit policies and implicit cultural problems, but this piece is nothing like that. All this is is a single, rather whiny data point in the "expert retention" debates about how to keep academics happy and get them to contribute —  and "respect mah authoritah" is exactly right. It's a case study in how Wikipedia culture can bruise the fragile ego of someone who believes himself entitled to great deference for his expertise. (Not that this ego-bruising is a good thing, mind you — but it's in no way surprising to anyone who knows anything about Wikipedia culture.)
posted by RogerB at 6:54 PM on March 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


The underlying problem here is that crank theorists are highly motivated, and in some cases well funded, and they put real tine into trying to make their message indistinguishable, in all objective ways, from the accepted messages, so that people coming into a discussion from the outside cannot tell which side has the "normal" viewpoint.

That sort of thing falls into the category of original research. If you're an academic and you do it for a living, the way to get your findings into Wikipedia is to write a book or publish articles. Then get your students to post summaries that cite you. From a coffee shop. In another city.


I can appreciate that Wikipedia, like the US government, might need a cooling saucer before the latest hot shit gets research cut and pasted into the word of godWales, but isn't this really an argument for a formal appeals process? If someone comes to Wiki and says "I am an expert in this field, the article is in error, here are some primary sources that demonstrate why" why couldn't there be a "higher court" as it were to turn to to evaluate that claim? Say have a wiki-centric screening process to prove "standing" e.g., that they really are an expert in the field, and if they are have the primary source material be evaluated by someone who knows what they're on about, who can say, "yeah, according to the trial transcript the the Thingamabob was introduced as evidence, the current Wiki is wrong and should be changed" or "no, this lunatic is off his chump."

I mean, sure, make it a pain it the ass --- make people hesitate before embarking on an appeal, that's a good thing. But I can't really see an argument for not having one, because just as with the law, mistakes on Wiki have big consequences. And this one doesn't even sound like it was really even controversial, except for Wiki's ban on primary sources --- the article said "the prosecution did not introduces evidence on" blah, and in reality the transcript shows there were 180 witness, many of whom talked about blah.

As the historian pointed out, this whole thing got started when a kid in his class asked a question about the trial, and he looked into it an discovered clear evidence that the received wisdom on this point was wrong. The sum of human knowledge was added to, and in general, while acknowledging that it will never be perfect, trying to accurately reflect that sum should be a goal for the world's foremost encyclopedia, n'est-ce pas?
posted by Diablevert at 7:06 PM on March 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


jayder: "He did have a conversation with them. What are you reading?"

Giving a snarky one-line challenge to a deletion reason and the ignoring the response to that challenge is not having a conversation.
posted by koeselitz at 7:08 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I find it really depressing that people now routinely refer to 'Wikipedia' as 'Wiki'.
posted by motty at 7:15 PM on March 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


There are a lot of times when Wikipedia editors are dogmatic bureaucratic idiots, but this isn't one of them.

Oh, they are ALWAYS dogmatic bureaucratic idiots, don't you worry.
posted by Artw at 7:19 PM on March 3, 2012


I find it really depressing that people now routinely refer to 'Wikipedia' as 'Wiki'.

Referring to Wikipedia that way is now a running joke on The Best Show on WFMU.
posted by steinsaltz at 7:20 PM on March 3, 2012


Diablevert: "I can appreciate that Wikipedia, like the US government, might need a cooling saucer before the latest hot shit gets research cut and pasted into the word of godWales, but isn't this really an argument for a formal appeals process? If someone comes to Wiki and says 'I am an expert in this field, the article is in error, here are some primary sources that demonstrate why' why couldn't there be a 'higher court' as it were to turn to to evaluate that claim? Say have a wiki-centric screening process to prove 'standing' e.g., that they really are an expert in the field, and if they are have the primary source material be evaluated by someone who knows what they're on about, who can say, 'yeah, according to the trial transcript the the Thingamabob was introduced as evidence, the current Wiki is wrong and should be changed' or 'no, this lunatic is off his chump.' I mean, sure, make it a pain it the ass --- make people hesitate before embarking on an appeal, that's a good thing. But I can't really see an argument for not having one, because just as with the law, mistakes on Wiki have big consequences."

Hrm. I am not a Wikipedian, so I don't know if this is something that's been dealt with before, but I can see a very good reason why an online encyclopaedia might want to avoid screening and certifying people as "experts" - because expertise doesn't have much bearing on whether someone is or is not correct about a given thing.

Think about it: this is emphatically not how science works. Theories are not given more or less weight based on whether the purveyor of that theory is more or less of an expert. Scientists actually have to come to the table and objectively demonstrate that their theories have weight. It's the same with history; there are certainly great historians, but their theories and ideas are not accepted because those historians have good reputations as experts; they're accepted because they present evidence which supports their ideas.

And I have a feeling most of us can point to experts who were very wrong. My favorite is the great physicist and chemist Linus Pauling, one of the few scientists to win the Nobel Prize in two different categories; he was brilliant, but he also believed that Vitamin C could cure cancer, and publicly declared this, giving a lot of cancer patients some extremely false hope. There were plenty of people who believed him because he was an expert, and a very well-regarded one at that. But his expertise didn't mean he was right about Vitamin C.

The only situation I can think of where science relies on reputation is in the peer review process; but even there, that process only calls in experts to try to verify that a ratonal argument was presented, not to verify that the author's reputation is good.
posted by koeselitz at 7:25 PM on March 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


mek: "There is a unique problem with Wikipedia and conventional historical articles; there is this huge hangover from really bad but popular sources"

It's not unique at all. In all realms of knowledge there are obsolete "facts" that get recirculated continually by being cited and re-cited. It's very frustrating, isn't it?
posted by Red Loop at 7:28 PM on March 3, 2012


I gave up on Wikipedia some time ago. Years ago I uploaded a photo a friend of mine took of Glen Cook (I cropped myself out of the photo). It was there for years. Then one day it was gone. Not replaced with something better, but gone. There was some kind of "warning" on the talk page that that said I needed to email the original media to an address with the rights I was giving up and I had to state my ownership of the photo. Or I could verify it some other way.

There was no, "This photo was challenged," or anything else. It was some fucking rules lawyer saw that a photo didn't meet their criteria for inclusion and removed it, even though I bet $100 my photo predated these rules.

I also have had nearly every edit I had ever made reversed. Even on the few topics I am pretty sure I know more about than pretty much anyone else on this planet.

I work at a place that requires frequent research. Wikipedia is discouraged as even a starting point for information and is forbidden as a resource.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:30 PM on March 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


Wikilawyers. Lol. It's not even worth bothering to edit an article.

That said, ultimately there are going to be flaws in any system run by people. Wikipedia is a great resource -- it's has it's downsides if you want to edit an article, but it provides a great resource.

One huge problem, IMO is the dominance by "exclusionists". You would think that most people are inclusions, and want to put everything in the 'pedia, but the people who spend the most time wikilawyering (i.e. arguing about the byzantine ruleset) tend to be exclusionists. And of Course Jimbo Wales runs Wikia, which does for profit wikis about other topics (starwars, adventure time, etc) and makes money.

Ah well.
Think about it: this is emphatically not how science works. Theories are not given more or less weight based on whether the purveyor of that theory is more or less of an expert. Scientists actually have to come to the table and objectively demonstrate that their theories have weight. It's the same with history; there are certainly great historians, but their theories and ideas are not accepted because those historians have good reputations as experts; they're accepted because they present evidence which supports their ideas.
Yeah, that's not really true at all People who have introduced new paradigms have suffered greatly with non-acceptance for a long time. Science ultimately gets things right, but there's no way to tell if a crank is a crank who you should waste your time on if they come up with cranky sounding stuff -- even if it turns out to be right. The stuff that's decades old and "settled" science has gone through that process. But when you're talking about 'new' stuff it does matter who's talking about it.

Keep in mind "Science is about what's really right, not about what the experts say" is something Michael Crichton wrote when claiming global warming was a hoax.
posted by delmoi at 7:34 PM on March 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


That said it probably isn't that good of an idea to defer to 'experts'. Since they love acting like lawyers, what they should do instead is have some type of trial process where you can introduce the evidence you think proves your point, and if enough people who have read pro-and anti material agree with you then you get to have your way. If no one can be bothered to come up with a counter argument then you should only be rejected if your evidence doesn't meet basic standards.
posted by delmoi at 7:36 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Wikipedia is not a game where the most knowledgeable win, but rather a game where the neckbeards with the most time on their hands always have the upper hand.
posted by scruss at 7:43 PM on March 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


a Reddit thread, --- Reddit?! Well, why didn't you say so? Of course we will change the way Wiki articles are edited!
posted by crunchland at 7:55 PM on March 3, 2012


I am amazed that Wiki policies don't differentiate between primary and secondary sources.

Oh, they do. Just not the way you might think:
Wikipedia articles should be based on reliable, published secondary sources and, to a lesser extent, on tertiary sources. Secondary or tertiary sources are needed to establish the topic's notability and to avoid novel interpretations of primary sources, though primary sources are permitted if used carefully. Material based purely on primary sources should be avoided.
John Siracusa had some good discussion about this in two recent episodes of the podcast Hypercritical.
posted by designbot at 7:57 PM on March 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


[citation]
posted by designbot at 7:58 PM on March 3, 2012


Wikipedia has all the flaws and virtues of any encyclopaedia. No serious student of any subject ever turned to Britannica for more than the roughest outline as a preliminary step. The very reason for Wikipedia's success is that it replicates the mediocrity and conservatism of most people's available information until about 5-10 years ago, albeit on a broader scale. This is fine. Mediocre and conservative is perfectly fine for most of the information most of us need about most things, despite the obvious downsides. None of us have the time or tools to get to grips with truth itself on most topics. In those topics where we do, we don't need Wikipedia.

Complaining that Wikipedia isn't true is a bit like complaining that the #72 bus doesn't get you home as fast as a private helicopter would. One has to consider the energy investment required to make the helicopter go anywhere at all.

So yeah. He's complaining about it being an encyclopaedia. Should've made the inference from the name. Bit of a grandstanding cock, really.
posted by howfar at 8:08 PM on March 3, 2012 [15 favorites]



So yeah. He's complaining about it being an encyclopaedia. Should've made the inference from the name. Bit of a grandstanding cock, really.


In the olden days, encyclopedias were written by finding smart guys with time on their hands who knew some shit about stuff to jot down what they knew for other people's future reference. Under those rules, being a smarter guy who knows more shit about stuff than the guy who wrote the piece does actually count for quite a bit, and it's rather un-encyclopedia-like of Wiki to not play by those rules.
posted by Diablevert at 8:28 PM on March 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


What kills me about it is that the trial transcripts are available, but for some reason that's not an acceptable source. I don't see any possible reason why that should be the case.
posted by empath at 8:29 PM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Over at the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association, we are having a colossally hard time getting any fuel cell- or hydrogen-related Wikipedia pages to reflect the current state of the industry because one guy--who is affiliated with Joe Romm, who made up his mind about H2 in 2005--polices it. Wikipedia is a lot like the U.S. Senate. It preserves the rights of the minority, even if the minority is abusing those rights to obstruct legitimate progress and the introduction of new information.
posted by oneironaut at 8:42 PM on March 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


In the olden days, encyclopedias were written by finding smart guys with time on their hands who knew some shit about stuff to jot down what they knew for other people's future reference. Under those rules, being a smarter guy who knows more shit about stuff than the guy who wrote the piece does actually count for quite a bit, and it's rather un-encyclopedia-like of Wiki to not play by those rules.

Those rules only applied if the relevant smart guy got the person who published the encyclopaedia to employ him. Wikipedia continues in the same grand tradition.
posted by howfar at 8:45 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


empath: "What kills me about it is that the trial transcripts are available, but for some reason that's not an acceptable source. I don't see any possible reason why that should be the case"

It's because Wikipedia is deathly allergic to primary sources. Somewhere along the line the "No Original Research" rule got broadened to include *anything* that cites a primary source. To any academic, the idea that citing primary sources makes you *less* credible is ludicrous, but on Wikipedia it's gospel. It's pretty much the type specimen for how rules lawyering has completely replaced productive contribution.

0xFCAF: "Wikipedia editors don't have any means to distinguish the minority expert that's correcting a majority error from the minority expert that's actually a moonbat crank."

They do when the minority expert directly cites a primary source. All they have to do is *check*, but that would be "Original Research", and therefore verboten despite its obvious superiority to leaving in verifiably wrong "facts".
posted by Proofs and Refutations at 8:46 PM on March 3, 2012 [17 favorites]


What kills me about it is that the trial transcripts are available, but for some reason that's not an acceptable source. I don't see any possible reason why that should be the case.

Even assuming there's some weird disease that should make transcripts inaccessible to be cited in Wikipedia, the plain fact is that the assertion that the trial found no evidence is demonstrably incorrect; as the professor's student pointed out, if that was indeed the case, then why did the trial in question go on for that long.

All this discussion about Wikipedia and its culture and rules and all that ignores this basic fact: that the gatekeepers at Wikipedia simply haven't thought their article through.
posted by the cydonian at 8:53 PM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


This episode shows Wikipedia is a terrible place for experts. It is fundamentally anti-intellectual. The co-founder of Wikipedia, Larry Sanger, has been saying this for years and even started a whole new project Nupedia to try and address this problem (and some others, but this is the big one).
posted by stbalbach at 8:58 PM on March 3, 2012


Sorry meant Citizendium
posted by stbalbach at 8:59 PM on March 3, 2012


Much of this discussion seems to revolve around a misunderstanding of Wikipedia's source policies. Wikipedia discourages users from relying on primary sources, but it does in fact allow them: "A primary source may only be used on Wikipedia to make straightforward, descriptive statements of facts that any educated person, with access to the source but without specialist knowledge, will be able to verify are supported by the source."

If Messer-Kruse's edits did not interpret a cited primary source, but merely recounted easily verified facts contained within it, then the edit should have stuck.

The actual problem is this: He doesn't appear to have cited the primary source in the edits -- at least not that I can tell from looking at the page history. Nowhere on Wikipedia had he "cited the documents that proved my point, including verbatim testimony from the trial published online by the Library of Congress." Instead, on the talk page he linked to a blog post that elaborated on the rationale for his edits.

Yes, the blog post seems to have been correct. But I have a hard time faulting an editor for not reading a blog post linked off a talk page, changing his or her mind on the prevailing POV, and then teaching a new user how to write a well-cited edit.

The irony here is that while Messer-Kruse is arguing that primary sources are given short shrift, what really happened is that a Wikipedia editor ignored a link to a blog post.

Grah.
posted by compartment at 9:17 PM on March 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


So Mr Messer-Kruse never actually cited a primary source in the first place? That's pretty obnoxious.
posted by koeselitz at 9:25 PM on March 3, 2012


stbalbach: "This episode shows Wikipedia is a terrible place for experts. It is fundamentally anti-intellectual. The co-founder of Wikipedia, Larry Sanger, has been saying this for years and even started a whole new project [Citizendium] to try and address this problem (and some others, but this is the big one)"

Citizendium has had its own problems, the biggest one being the near takeover of articles on subjects like homeopathy and chiropractic by alt-med cranks.
posted by Proofs and Refutations at 9:30 PM on March 3, 2012


So Mr Messer-Kruse never actually cited a primary source in the first place? That's pretty obnoxious.

This is the record of his reverted edits. It is late and I am tired, so maybe I'm missing something, but I see no links to primary sources. On the talk page he cites his blog -- a secondary source. And that's all I can find.

"Good faith but wholly unsourced" describes the deleted revisions perfectly. It does not describe his comments on the talk page, which Messer-Kruze seems to be confusing or conflating with the article itself.

Wikipedia's rules allow for exactly the kind of edits that Messer-Kruze wants to introduce. In fact, the current version of the article on the Haymarket Affair relies almost entirely on primary sources to recount the prosecution's evidence. (Here's just one example.) You can argue that rules are too hard to follow, or that it's too difficult for new users to introduce citations, but you cannot argue that Wikipedia categorically disallows such edits.
posted by compartment at 9:59 PM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Citizendium has had its own problems, the biggest one being the near takeover of articles on subjects like homeopathy and chiropractic by alt-med cranks.
Heh, that's exactly the problem with trying to certify 'experts', you run up from the problem of knowing which data id most reliable to running into the problem of knowing which people know which data is reliable. In fact, that seems like a more difficult problem.
Over at the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association, we are having a colossally hard time getting any fuel cell- or hydrogen-related Wikipedia pages to reflect the current state of the industry because one guy--who is affiliated with Joe Romm, who made up his mind about H2 in 2005--polices it. Wikipedia is a lot like the U.S. Senate. It preserves the rights of the minority, even if the minority is abusing those rights to obstruct legitimate progress and the introduction of new information.
Wikipedia is supposed to cover disputes. But I can see how that would be really difficult in a niche field.
posted by delmoi at 10:00 PM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


My favorite event along these lines happened when David Chalmers tried to make suggestions about how his own name was being invoked on the consciousness page. Apparently being an expert on yourself is "not in the spirit of Wikipedia."
posted by painquale at 10:21 PM on March 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


It'll be very interesting to see whether & how hypothes.is (previously) gets integrated into WP (once it's finished being designed & implemented - details, details). It's one of the more intriguing & promising reputation systems being developed at the moment & has the potential to play pretty much the role I described above, weighting contested statements according to expertise.
posted by scalefree at 10:38 PM on March 3, 2012


Apparently being an expert on yourself is "not in the spirit of Wikipedia."

Unless you own the place. Then all bets are off.
posted by scalefree at 10:47 PM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Haha, David Chalmers making an Annie Hall quip by calling himself Marshall McLuhan and being told it was against Wikipedia policy is hilarious, thanks :)
posted by iotic at 11:43 PM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


This thread is like a litmus test for identifying the Wikicultists in our midst.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:29 AM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


The crux of the issue here is that mostly the people patrolling new changes to wikipedia are young OCD teens looking to be admins. They have no subject knowledge, and are the Alchemists dream, being as are incapable of determining bullshit from gold. For the patrollers process, the minutia of rules, and policies are everything.

The editors are no better, very few have subject knowledge. Mostly they are copying chunks out of some other work andthen trying to rephrase it so that they don't get accused of plagiarism. The recasting process results in a mangling of the source and the introduction of falsehood. The system has no mechanism other than chance to correct that.
posted by lilburne at 2:12 AM on March 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Can someone explain *why* Wikipedia prefers secondary to primary sources? That seems like the opposite of how you arrive at truth to me, but am I missing... something?
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 2:31 AM on March 4, 2012


If citizendium only has 100 active users* who's up for a metapedia? I'm sure our dear mods have enough spare time to act as editors for the project. [citation-needed]

* I've forgotten where I read that, so it's probably wrong.
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 3:11 AM on March 4, 2012


I would assume the logic behind the secondary source preference is something like this:

If you link to a 3,000 page primary source medieval document and say, "a full reading of this shows that Charlemagne was an alien", it is relatively impossible for any non-expert to verify or refute this.

If you link to a 3 paragraph article from a secondary source considered credible which summarizes the argument, anyone off the street can check up on it. "According to this 1902 New York Times article, the Bhnnbarhn Text shows that Charlemagne was an alien."

If that's the case, it has nothing to do with whether the claim is true or false, or whether the secondary source was written by an expert or a lunatic who happened to get an article in a newspaper. It's about the capability others have to easily check up on your citation.
posted by kyrademon at 4:11 AM on March 4, 2012


Wait a minute the Wikipedia talk and edit history conflicts with the professors account of the events. Perhaps someone should point this out to the editors and demand the correct the article.
posted by humanfont at 4:43 AM on March 4, 2012


The real problem with Wikipedia at the moment is that it's that much easier and more rewarding to rule lawyer and meta edit than it is to actually edit articles, bar correcting obvious errors and tyops. Which is why so many articles have banners at the top stating that references need to be cited for something or other, or that this is just a stub and needs fleshing out or some other rule infraction, where if you read the date the warning had been put up it has been there for a year or longer...

Doing substantial edits -- creating new articles, fleshing out or correcting existing ones, adding new sections -- has been made so much more difficult by all the rules and regulations you have to keep yourself to, while at the same time it has been made that much more easy to undo this work by every twerp that comes along with a basic grasp of Wikipedia vocab, that it's just not worth bothering.

If you're an experienced Wikipedian it's bad enough already, but I got the impression from the original article that the guy in question was new to the whole experience and got quickly told off for his troubles, rather than engaged with in a constructive manner.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:20 AM on March 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Can someone explain *why* Wikipedia prefers secondary to primary sources? That seems like the opposite of how you arrive at truth to me, but am I missing... something?
Wikipedia's core sourcing policy, Wikipedia:Verifiability, defines the threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia as "verifiability, not truth."
posted by designbot at 5:31 AM on March 4, 2012


William Cronon, president of the American Historical Association, recently suggested that professional historians colonize Wikipedia the way he believes scientists and musicians have. If it's true that scientific articles are of a higher quality on Wikipedia what explains this? I would imagine historical sources are more accessible to the average non expert than scientific ones. Could it be simply the level of involvement by historians?
posted by Tashtego at 6:01 AM on March 4, 2012


Just don't try to add material from academic journals in an article on an Indian guru.
posted by goethean at 7:22 AM on March 4, 2012


> I work at a place that requires frequent research. Wikipedia is discouraged as even a starting point for information and is forbidden as a resource.

When I was in high school we were forbidden from using encyclopedias. It is an encyclopedia. What do you want eggs in your beer?
posted by bukvich at 7:34 AM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you think about it, online book repositories and e-publishing actually hurt wikipedia. Since Wikipedia relies on the preponderance of evidence gleaned from secondary sources to determine what is verifiable, then keeping old/wrong books and editions online indefinitely makes it that much harder to shift the status quo on wikipedia.
posted by desiderandus at 7:37 AM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


desiderandus: "If you think about it, online book repositories and e-publishing actually hurt wikipedia. Since Wikipedia relies on the preponderance of evidence gleaned from secondary sources to determine what is verifiable, then keeping old/wrong books and editions online indefinitely makes it that much harder to shift the status quo on wikipedia."

That doesn't seem to make sense, given that Wikipedia happily uses primary sources if they're cited well and used correctly.

Tashtego: "William Cronon, president of the American Historical Association, recently suggested that professional historians colonize Wikipedia the way he believes scientists and musicians have. If it's true that scientific articles are of a higher quality on Wikipedia what explains this? I would imagine historical sources are more accessible to the average non expert than scientific ones. Could it be simply the level of involvement by historians?"

Well, if this case is any indication, maybe historians just aren't good at properly citing their sources the way that scientists are.
posted by koeselitz at 7:43 AM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


ThatFuzzyBastard: Can someone explain *why* Wikipedia prefers secondary to primary sources? That seems like the opposite of how you arrive at truth to me, but am I missing... something?

I don't know the history of this preference on Wikipedia, but I do think it's a little more complicated than you say here. In many fields it requires expertise to interpret evidence well, and expert interpretations are presented in secondary sources.
posted by stebulus at 8:20 AM on March 4, 2012


This is getting comical. The only outbound link Messer-Kruse introduced was to his blog, and it wasn't even accessible. From the talk page:
"When I reviewed his explanation in Talk to defend his changes, I saw that he was citing a blog -- which is also not acceptable as a WP:RS. Even worse, when I tried to follow his link to the blog, it was a subscription-only link."
Searching for his linked page on the Wayback Machine seems to confirms this: The page was crawled once in 2011, and the archived page redirects to a Wordpress login.

What's more, the talk page contains a record of an instance where a Wikipedia editor consults an already cited secondary source and corrects the article per MK's criticisms:
"Fair enough. You might also consult the citation provided in the article for the McCormick deaths, that of Green, pp. 162-171. Note that this cited source does not claim that six men were killed, only that August Spies claimed that six men were killed in his Revenge leaflet. Thus, the source cited does not actually support the fact alleged.MesserKruse (talk) 18:02, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

I checked Avrich and corrected the number of fatalities at McCormick. Thanks for bringing the error to our attention. — Malik Shabazz (talk · contribs) 03:40, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
To sum up: Messer-Kruse introduced uncited edits to the main article. He attempted to justify the edits in the talk page by linking to an inaccessible blog post. He was then told that blogs are not reliable sources, but was not told that his link was inaccessible. After a little back and forth, other Wikipedians corrected a verifiable error that he pointed out. Messer-Kruse then went away for two years, during which he seems to have forgotten exactly what happened.
posted by compartment at 9:02 AM on March 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


> Doing substantial edits -- creating new articles, fleshing out or correcting existing ones, adding new sections -- has been made so much more difficult by all the rules and regulations you have to keep yourself to, while at the same time it has been made that much more easy to undo this work by every twerp that comes along with a basic grasp of Wikipedia vocab, that it's just not worth bothering.

I agree with this up until the end. It has indeed become much more annoying to edit articles, and even more so to create them—it's a crapshoot whether your creation will sit there happily in the shadows or some rules lawyer will happen upon it and decide to make an example of it. I stopped creating articles for quite a while after one was proposed for the "Did you know..." section, which apparently means it has to be a showcase of perfect rule-following, with every single statement referenced; after the pedants got through with it it looked like a pincushion and I've tried not even to think about it since.

But of course it's worth bothering, if you care more about human knowledge than a little inconvenience. I've made thousands of edits, only a few of which have been disputed or reverted, and I'm quite happy with the result of my efforts. (Anyone who says "all my edits have been reverted" is either lying, has made only a couple of edits, or is a spectacularly bad editor.) I went into this thread prepared to see it filled with crowing from the usual gang of "Wikipedia sucks" ideologues; fortunately there isn't much of that, and I appreciate the thoughtful discussion.
posted by languagehat at 9:20 AM on March 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


Considering one of the five pillars of wikipedia is to Ignore All Rules, it is disheartening that so much contribution is lost due to the sort of lawyering that seems rampant within its community. The life-blood of wikipedia is contribution, but its Byzantine system drives away people who want to help in good faith.

I think there should be some sort of policy that a reversion should not be made in situations where the contribution cannot instead be improved by editing.
posted by jamincan at 9:27 AM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Can someone explain *why* Wikipedia prefers secondary to primary sources? That seems like the opposite of how you arrive at truth to me, but am I missing... something?"

I think of wikipedia more like an index to published material on a subject than a place I go to read people's direct interpretation of primary sources.

"This thread is like a litmus test for identifying the Wikicultists in our midst."

Oh you can count me in, certainly. I don't get the wikipedia hate. I mean Google has its limitations too but I remember a time when these things didn't exist. I had a '72 Brittanica that occupied a whole shelf of my precious bookshelf space. Losing either of these things would be like losing an appendage.
posted by Manjusri at 9:52 AM on March 4, 2012


I tried to find out how old Rupert Murdoch was, because I wanted to see how many years he was past his expiration date. I googled it, which linked to a Wikipedia page that had this warning at the top: "Please try to keep recent events in historical perspective."

Orwell would be proud!
posted by cjorgensen at 12:31 PM on March 4, 2012


So the idea is that secondary sources demonstrate comprehension of the primary material? But they don't! Worse yet, a secondary source is where distortion can easily flourish, while a primary source citation can be checked by anyone. I can believe that this particular professor didn't go about making his corrections as well as he claims, but this whole policy seems like a pretty good demonstration of why Wikipedia is significantly less reliable than, say, Brittanica, which typically demanded some expertise and primary sourcing.
And yeah, the comment above about Wikicultists seems just right. I mean, maybe this guy didn't satisfy the admins, but he's accurately citing both a major flaw in the Wikipedia entry and Wikipedia's inability to fix said flaw... And then half the people here respond with "Well, it's not like Wikipedia has anything to do with truth." If it's got little to do with truth, what freakin' good is it, except as an echo chamber for popular misconception?
Oh, and to pre-empt... Metafilter: An echo chamber for popular misconception.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 1:53 PM on March 4, 2012


ThatFuzzyBastard: “I mean, maybe this guy didn't satisfy the admins, but he's accurately citing both a major flaw in the Wikipedia entry and Wikipedia's inability to fix said flaw...”

No. That is emphatically not what happened. This guy didn't even accurately cite his own freaking blog post, much less a primary source. He is lying when he says he cited a primary source – see the comments above, which reveal that the only thing he actually linked to on the Talk page was his own blog, and even that was behind a paywall so that nobody else could see it. If he had simply cited even one single primary source, this would not have been an issue, because Wikipedia embraces primary sources.

Please note: virtually everything Timothy Messer-Kruse said about this whole debacle is incorrect.
posted by koeselitz at 4:40 PM on March 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


If he had simply cited even one single primary source, this would not have been an issue, because Wikipedia embraces primary sources.

Wait, Wikipedia expressly says "no original research." So what you mean by "embraces primary sources" is unclear; do you mean "embraces primary sources to the extent that they form the basis for third-party research that you are actually allowed to cite on Wikipedia"? Because that seems the only basis for saying Wikipedia embraces primary sources.
posted by jayder at 6:15 PM on March 4, 2012


jayder: “Wait, Wikipedia expressly says ‘no original research.’ So what you mean by ‘embraces primary sources’ is unclear; do you mean ‘embraces primary sources to the extent that they form the basis for third-party research that you are actually allowed to cite on Wikipedia’? Because that seems the only basis for saying Wikipedia embraces primary sources.”

That's not quite what "original research" means, actually. Here is Wikipedia's definition of the term:
The term "original research" (OR) is used on Wikipedia to refer to material—such as facts, allegations, and ideas—for which no reliable, published sources exist. This includes any analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position not advanced by the sources. To demonstrate that you are not adding OR, you must be able to cite reliable, published sources that are directly related to the topic of the article, and directly support the material being presented (and as presented).
Please note further the policy stated on that very page regarding primary sources:
Policy: Unless restricted by another policy, primary sources that have been reliably published may be used in Wikipedia, but only with care, because it is easy to misuse them.
Interestingly, you can kind of see how Mr Messer-Kruse's edits were against the guidelines, and I think it makes sense that they were. He came in and edited the page, with the rationale that the primary sources stated the trial went on for a number of days, so it makes no sense to say that no evidence was presented. This is an inference, and constitutes original research. (Incidentally, I also see little basis for it, considering the fact that plenty of trials where no evidence is presented have gone on for many days.) However, if Mr Messer-Kruse had merely cited a primary source which explicitly stated that evidence was presented – a court record, for instance – then that citation would have held, because it would not constitute original research.

I think the doctrine against original research makes a lot of sense when viewed in its context; for example, you couldn't make edits based on some interviews you'd done privately, since these could not be verified unless they were reliably published. Nor could you make edits based on an inference you've drawn based on your knowledge of the subject and an implication in an original source; someone has to go to the trouble to make that implication explicit and examine it, and that's not something that should happen within the confines of an online encyclopedia – it's original research that should happen elsewhere.
posted by koeselitz at 6:37 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Incidentally, I also see little basis for it, considering the fact that plenty of trials where no evidence is presented have gone on for many days.)

Are you aware that witness testimony is evidence?
posted by jayder at 6:50 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Absolutely. People do lots of things at trials. The Supreme Court often dekiberates for days based solely on arguments from counsel and an overview of how the case fared in lower courts, without hearing evidence presented at all. I don't know how cases go in courts in the European Union - maybe cases go on for days without evidence. Who knows?

That was just an aside, anyhow, and doesn't really impact the point. To conclude that a long time in court means that evidence was prevented, you have to make an inference, and that inference has to be based on some knowledge of the time period and how court cases work. That clearly constitutes original research.
posted by koeselitz at 9:19 PM on March 4, 2012


He initially made an inference which he then confirmed by looking at court records and seeing that witnesses testified etc. For what it is worth, Wikipedia's policy on no original research actually explicitly permits primary sources in cases where no specialized knowledge is required to interpret it. Verifying that court records show that people did in fact testify at a trial does not require specialized knowledge.
posted by jamincan at 3:21 AM on March 5, 2012


Absolutely. People do lots of things at trials. The Supreme Court often dekiberates for days based solely on arguments from counsel and an overview of how the case fared in lower courts, without hearing evidence presented at all. I don't know how cases go in courts in the European Union - maybe cases go on for days without evidence. Who knows?

Maybe you consider it "an aside," but it's sort of at the heart of what this post is about (it's the headline of the post...). And by definition, "trial" involves putting on of evidence. Supreme Court oral arguments are not trials, they are oral arguments. (It is exceedingly rare for there to be a trial in the US Supreme Court, and when there is one, guess what ... it involves putting on evidence.)
posted by jayder at 7:35 AM on March 5, 2012


jayder: “Maybe you consider it "an aside," but it's sort of at the heart of what this post is about (it's the headline of the post...)”

Okay. So what's your point in mentioning this?
posted by koeselitz at 7:55 AM on March 5, 2012


I'm responding to what you said because it was untrue. That's my only "point."
posted by jayder at 12:58 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


So I'm not all that up on the proper reading of Wikipedia edits, but from looking at the revision page... It looks like he changed "no evidence" to "some evidence', which is so obviously true that it's hard to believe anyone objected. And it seems to my admittedly not-that-up-on-procedure eyes that he linked to the trial transcripts, not a blog.

In this thread, people seems to be bouncing between "Wikipedia is supposed to be about secondary sources, not truth" and "Wikipedia is good, this dude is a liar", without noticing that those statements are somewhat contradictory. I'd say the Wikipedia defenders here have made me more dubious about Wikipedia than I was when this all started.

Krause may have cited an accurate fact incorrectly (though that's not what it looked like to me). But the Wikipedia entry is *wrong*. I'm appalled that the Wikidefenders regard that as less important than citation procedure.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 6:31 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


people seems to be bouncing between "Wikipedia is supposed to be about secondary sources, not truth" and "Wikipedia is good, this dude is a liar", without noticing that those statements are somewhat contradictory.

What is even somewhat contradictory there? Wikipedia can be good, not about truth and Messer-Kruse can be a liar all at the same time.

Krause may have cited an accurate fact incorrectly (though that's not what it looked like to me). But the Wikipedia entry is *wrong*. I'm appalled that the Wikidefenders regard that as less important than citation procedure.


There are very few universally accepted truths, if any. Who among us should decide which version of reality is presented in an encyclopaedia? No-one, I would suggest. It is preferable for an encyclopaedia to give an account of what is broadly accepted as true by the majority of recognised experts, even though this account will, inevitably, be untrue. But this requires us to bear in mind the fact that an encyclopaedia is a resource, not an authority, and should be treated as such.

Effective citation is vital to Wikipedia, because it has no publisher's or academic reputation to fall back on. If things aren't cited properly, they can't be admitted, not because they aren't true, but because they aren't verifiable. The perfect Wikipedia article would both present its reader with an accurate account of the subject, and enable her to make up her own mind about the topic by providing effective citations. The goal must be to best empower the read. Wrongly cited contributions are disempowering and leave the reader unable to find out how to make up her mind about what is true.

Wikipedia is far, very far, from perfect. There are social and systemic factors that sometimes lead to very substandard articles where excellent ones are wholly possible. However, an overemphasis on correct citation and use of sources is not a significant one of these factors.
posted by howfar at 9:17 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


ThatFuzzyBastard, can I trouble you to provide a link to the edit record where he cited a trial transcript? I definitely want to know if I'm in the wrong here. See my above posts for a link to Messer-Kruse's reverted edits that lacked citation.
posted by compartment at 7:27 AM on March 6, 2012


ThatFuzzyBastard: “Krause may have cited an accurate fact incorrectly (though that's not what it looked like to me). But the Wikipedia entry is *wrong*. I'm appalled that the Wikidefenders regard that as less important than citation procedure.”

How is anybody supposed to know they're wrong if somebody else doesn't actually show them? That's what's at issue.

I am not going to change my opinion about widgets just because you come up to me, grab me by the shoulders, shake me, and shout "YOU'RE WRONG!" The way you tell me I'm wrong is important because otherwise I won't be able to tell the difference between you and a crazy guy.
posted by koeselitz at 7:45 AM on March 6, 2012


According to Wikipedia's policies on sources, you can cite primary sources as long as you're just reporting the source says what it says. What you can't do is add analysis based on the primary sources, that needs to be published somewhere, and then you can cite that to say what it says. (I'm simplifying a bit, but that's basically the deal.)


Messer-Kruse's 2009 edit to the section about evidence is here.

Original version:
The prosecution, led by Julius Grinnell, did not offer evidence connecting any of the defendants with the bombing but argued that the person who had thrown the bomb had been encouraged to do so by the defendants ...
Messer_Kruse's version:
The prosecution, led by Julius Grinnell, offered some evidence and witnesses connecting some of the defendants with the bombing but argued that other defendants were guilty because the person who had thrown the bomb had been encouraged to do so by the defendants ...
Based on what Messer-Kruse has said elsewhere about the trial transcripts, this appears to correct. However, he did not include any citations for this.

He said in a discussion about the edit that he had done some research and linked to a blog post where he discussed his research. In the discussion, he said he had sources, but when asked, did not actually provide any.

The rest of Messer-Kruse's edits are here. (Click "diff" to see the history.) Messer-Kruse also made several edits without logging in. These would show up under his IP address, rather than his user-name. I didn't try to hunt for those.

I think he would have been OK citing primary sources in a case like this, if what he was saying they said was uncontroversial. Trial transcripts are a reliable source for who testified a trial and who said what. However, for new research that contradicts what almost all historians writing about the topic have ever said about it, you do want to see something published in a peer-reviewed journal, and see what other historians have had to say about this research.

In a case like this, Wikipedia's policy (ideally) is to explain what the established view is, explain that there's new research that contradicts it, and explain what the evidence is and what the controversy is about.

As it turns out, Messer-Kruse had published an article about the Haymarket trials in an academic journal that he could have used as a source explaining his research. But the in the discussion he had with other editors, he didn't tell them that. And later, of course, he could have cited his book. And he could have cited specifics from the transcripts as well, if he been willing to go about it the right way.

Nobody told him he couldn't cite his book.


As I read this, Messer-Kruse made some edits that raised some red flags for admins that were keeping an eye on the page. Apparently realizing he was a new user (and a legitimate historian) and that his edits were well intentioned, they were very polite to him and tried to be helpful. For just how helpful, see the discussions on Messer-Kruse's user talk page. He got mad and quit.
posted by nangar at 9:11 AM on March 6, 2012


Hm, I may have just misread the edits page---I thought the Chicago law links were to transcripts, and I'm wrong about that.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 10:36 AM on March 6, 2012


« Older MIT's beloved professor Walter Lewin is famous for...  |  They screamed and shouted, beg... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments