Why secondary reliable sources matter

I think most readers know the answer but in my current wanderings I keep see the question being asked: why does Wikipedia not like primary sources? After all, aren’t primary sources what historians value the most when collecting evidence?

An encyclopedia entry is not meant to be a research project or an essay. It is meant to sum up what other people have already found out. Wikipedia aims for (and often misses) a standard of verifiability for its articles: i.e. claims made in the article can be traced to a reliable secondary source. Somebody else has researched the topic and reported on the answer.

Everipedia is an online encyclopedia that has more relaxed rules than Wikipedia. Rather like other attempts to improve on Wikipedia, it started out as a fork of Wikipedia’s content (not unlike the ill-fated Citizendium or the execrable Voxopedia). Everipedia’s gimmick is something-something-cryptocurrency-something-blockchain-etc. I’ve read over the idea a few times and I still don’t get it: basically it costs you money to edit but the money is free?

So, I thought, here’s a challenge: write a Wikipedia like article that is genuinely sourced and referenced to several sources that I don’t control but with additional links to this blog. But who could I write about? Hmmmm. It would need to be somebody with enough web-presence but also somebody who might not have a clear relationship with reality…

There’s only one possible candidate: https://everipedia.org/wiki/lang_en/timothy-the-talking-cat

Apologies to everybody who ends up being referenced.

8 responses to “Why secondary reliable sources matter”

  1. Hmm, what does File 770 need to do to get a neato icon like the other cited publications?


  2. Having perused some of the FAQ.

    1) Blockchain technology is being used to implement a distributed database. This justification for this is that it doesn’t have a single point of failure with regards to censorship or other loss of service hazards. I do wonder how robust this is.

    2) They’re using IQ points to attempt to automate a reputation system. People who make or support bad edits (as determined by weighted majority vote) have their participation throttled. I think that this is eminently gameable – and that it can be gained to effectively gain ownership of a page you particularly care about.

    The View History button doesn’t seem to be very cooperative. Is that because I’m not logged in to the account I don’t have, or is the functionality limited here?


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