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It's literally possible to change history (the danger of unintended consequences)

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by soulgeezer, Aug 7, 2017.

  1. Endless Mike

    Endless Mike Friend of Leo's

    Nov 2, 2016
    Arlington, Texas
    Then, eventually, those who knew it was a lie die off, and we're left with those who believe it to be true, and don't have any access to the facts. Unless someone left it written down somewhere, and someone eventually finds it. This happens occasionally, but not often enough to mitigate the sea of lies, deception and untruth we're drowning in.
    Toto'sDad likes this.

  2. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Friend of Leo's

    I was thinking older history. For instance, I read Caesar's Gallic commentaries a while back. AFAIK that is the only first person account of that war, and Caesar depicts himself as the leader of a noble war freeing the good people of Gall from their savage rulers. I wasn't there, so for all I know that is exactly how it went down. However, I suspect Caesar's opinion was skewed.

    So to answer your question, no you will not be the victor as soon as the book is published. However if your book is the only one on that subject left in existence in 2,000 years, yes you will be. Only time will tell...

  3. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

    Apr 17, 2008
    Port Moody, BC
    Yeah, when people repeat that statement that history is written by the victors, they usually mean accounts of battles and wars. But history is much more than that.
    Piggy Stu likes this.

  4. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    I tend to favor the concept of Wikipedia over the long haul, in the same way that open source software has changed the development and computing landscape. For the better, IMO.

    But the forces are somewhat different. A primary premise behind the success of open source is "social credit" I guess you'd call it. You don't need cash for your contribution. You solved a tough little problem, in a way that was useable by others, and simply having your name attached to the work is enough. Also, you won't last very long in that world if you don't know squat, or your skills are not up to par.

    I'm beginning to wonder if something like Wikipedia will not, cannot, benefit from similar social characteristics. First, the barrier to entry is not nearly as high. And because it's not, neither is there much "credit" to having your name attached to a change.

    Then there's the unrelated, but difficult issue of circular sourcing. If I go to any popular finance site, I find linked articles and "news" that have the stamp of legitimacy, but turn out to be from similarly non-accredited sources like GuruFocus and SeekingAlpha. Anyone can toss an article onto SA. I've read some stuff there that fries my brain, it's so dumb. But often with the appearance of being smart. And increasingly, this type of stuff is being taken as gospel, and the historic sources for "quality" information, in this case market specialists (watch their incentives, though), and financial newspapers, are having trouble selling anything. The more page views these questionably legit sources receive, the more legit they are assumed to be.

    Makes me think of Homeland season 6, and the underground social media boiler room. Fake news indeed.

  5. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 16, 2003
    Arlington, VA
    Wikipedia, like any reference encyclopedia, is a mixed bag. On the whole, for my field (history) it's neither more nor less accurate than textbooks. It certainly contain errors, but so do/did textbooks. It's not really a reliable tool for research, but neither were textbooks. They were a starting point or a reference for less central points of information.

    Wikipedia is massively more comprehensive than any textbook, of course, and it's linked, so it's much easier and faster to check the sources. If Wikipedia has a quotations, I can very quickly check that quotation against, say, Google books.

    Nobody should ever take a text like Wikipedia as entirely authoritative--nobody should take ANY text uncritically. But on the whole it seems to me Wikipedia is a boon to mankind on the order of movable type.

  6. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 16, 2003
    Arlington, VA
    I'm an extremely skeptical person, personally and professionally. It's a deep and somewhat annoying habit.

    But skepticism is useless without a commitment to reasonable evidence. Skepticism isn't about believing nothing; it's about critically assessing everything so you can get the most reliable evidence. If skepticism isn't accompanied by a commitment to careful evidence, then it just turns into an excuse to dismiss everything you don't like as fake." Skepticism is a critical stance, not an excuse for nonbelief.
    PacificaChris and Harry Styron like this.

  7. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Friend of Leo's

    Clearly, like the history of Toronto's subway.
    kelnet likes this.

  8. radiocaster

    radiocaster Friend of Leo's

    Aug 18, 2015
    Certain pages and articles get reposted on other sites on the internet, often without permission, and there are sites which make money off of that from searches. It's somewhat illegal but apparently not many people care, as it appears to be a pretty widespread phenomenon. Also known as "content theft", but there are other names more specific to the exact methods used.

  9. AJ Love

    AJ Love Friend of Leo's

    Jul 10, 2005
    Madison WI
    Highly doubtful. From what perspective would one be writing about the game? You going to interview every player & coach who participated and get honest quotes from everyone? What about the ones whose memory is a little fuzzy? You going to analyze every strategic decision made? It would be extremely difficult to be "completely accurate"

  10. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

    Apr 17, 2008
    Port Moody, BC
    Completely accurate doesn't mean exhaustively detailed. It just means that whatever is on the page is accurate. I could write that the New York Rangers defeated the Vancouver Canucks, and I would be completely accurate. You're talking about something else.
    Larry F likes this.

  11. AJ Love

    AJ Love Friend of Leo's

    Jul 10, 2005
    Madison WI
    Every single thing ever written, in history, is incomplete and thus slanted whether intentional or not... Writing about a single day in life with complete accuracy would take thousands and thousands of pages

    This is one of the things that is exhaustingly boring about historians, especially when they over-intellectualize their importance. They are mostly just story tellers who lack the creativity to come up with their own stories... At worst they harm entire cultures with their re-writing of history

  12. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

    Apr 17, 2008
    Port Moody, BC
    Again, you are confusing accurate with detailed. Accuracy just means the quality of being correct or precise. Precise is also not the same as detailed.

  13. Stringbanger

    Stringbanger Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Jan 18, 2013
    West O' Philly, PA

  14. thesamhill

    thesamhill Tele-Meister

    Dec 20, 2010
    Harrisburg, PA area
    From what I've seen, I bet that the overall body of information on Wikipedia is around as accurate as the standard statistical significance threshold of p<.05. Seems pretty workable to me.

    Also, I think it matters that it didn't matter. Somehow I managed to believe for 20 years that daddy long leggers were the most poisonous spider in the world, but they just couldn't bite you because they had little teeny fangs. That happened without Wikipedia and it only persisted that long because it didn't matter in the slightest- I never thought about it, I never changed my behavior about it, and I never talked about it for 2 decades... when I said it out loud and realized how silly it was.

    So yeah, don't source Wikipedia in your term papers, because you never know if some preteen got into the article right before you got there and changed "John Smith" to "Harry Bewbs." Or, I guess, if Soulgeezer has been around lately. Also, don't source neighborhood 8 year olds in your dissertation about creepy crawlies. From where I sit, Wikipedia is as correct as it needs to be for stuff that doesn't matter and it's good for when you wanna learn something new but you don't have access to a library in the time you have available.

    And yeah, textbooks are wrong all the time. Even more wronger if you count when they are wrong by omission.

  15. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Nov 5, 2006
    Iowa City, IA
    When I was teaching theory and history courses in music, I prohibited encyclopedia citations. Like Wiki today, encyclopedias were good for an intro, overview, some dates and specifics, but, most importantly, they provided citations from the sources.

    A few years ago, I was showing off for my wife and her friend by editing something on wiki, then changing back. While I was explaining to them how cool I was for being able to do that, I got a message on screen from a guy who said "Don't mess with my page. Use a test wiki."

  16. edvard

    edvard Tele-Holic

    May 15, 2016
    Bremerton, WA
    I worked with a guy who was taking a journalism class at UW. He interviewed some of us at work, the topic being "What's the weirdest thing you found while cleaning?" He later showed us the article he'd written, and the fact that he'd gotten a high grade for it. NOTHING in the article was as it was told to him verbatim. Names were changed. Details were changed, omitted, or added. Stories were swapped (an answer from a woman was changed to have been told him by a man). After that, I thought to myself "This is how people are being taught how to report events, in the progress towards a journalism career." Ever since then, I keep a jumbo salt shaker handy when I read "News".

    My experience with Wikipedia: I made a small edit on the Wikipedia page of an obscure punk band that had re-formed almost 20 years after their last album. I had first-hand information because a good friend of mine was hired as the drummer. Now, every article I see on the band has the information I added to their Wikipedia page. That's intoxicating.

  17. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Holic

    Excellent experiment, and proof that we now need a revision to the term "history" because, you cannot change the truth, or create an event or account that didn't happen - but you can change "history" and its easier than ever. Which now means, that "history" doesn't have to be accurate to be accepted, taught, defended, or fought over. So we must now contend with "reliable" history, and "questionably inaccurate" history. We now have to realize that "history" can be a victim of systemic, prevalent lying. Another example and subset of history is the news or media. In that case, we have a new term for inaccurate accounts - fake news. You've proven that it is very easy to change or create fake history.

  18. P Thought

    P Thought Poster Extraordinaire

    Dude's original name was Santa P. Claus.

  19. SURF

    SURF Tele-Holic

    Jan 23, 2010
    Just want to add some words about Titanic that I heard recently. The people could be saved if Marcony was not that ambitious. This guy while failed to be the first to invent radio, tried to invent his own radio code. Titanic radio guys transmitted that code and nobody around replied. The help came only when they started sending common SOS code.

  20. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 15, 2014
    LOL, I just found this thread. It made me think of back when our Moms would warn us not to make funny faces because it might get stuck and stay that way.

    Hey, if someone went into Wikipedia and changed the story about the Titanic, would those people come back to life? That would be cool.
    SURF likes this.

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