Leutha Blissett on Thu, 7 May 2009 12:00:49 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> what makes a notable life? [wikipedia]

Hi all,

Yes, I certainly think these points take the debate much further.

a) The question of a "Neutral Point of View" (or NPOV) is perhaps one
of the most ideologically laden concepts - and perhaps constitutes
an oxymoron. However, I don't think it implies a notion of absolute
truth, but more that some sort of combination of different points of
view, can approach "neutrality" more like mathematical asymtote, an
absolute which is never reached but always approximated too. This
of course touches on the question of limits which has bedevilled
philosophy from Isaac Newton to Charles Peirce.

b) As regards the relative importance of Dragonball and the Treaty
of Guadalupe Hidalgo, I think you make quite an interesting point.
Rather than try and puzzle the relative sizes of the English language
articles, I compared the Dragonball pages in 40 languages for Dragon
ball compared to the 16 for the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. So I
think this confirms your point. However as this analysis is ore
concerned with the mass of contributions from a range of contributors
working in 16 - 40 different languages, perhaps it reflects a
sociological character of people who have spare time and access to the
internet as much as anything specific to Wikipedia. Perhaps Wikipedia
evinces features about the internet in general rather than "geeks",
unless that term is meant to include you, me and the rest of nettime.

C) I am afraid that I am not particularly familiar with the situation
of the indigenous people of Bolivia. However I did read of the Amayara
language spoken by some of such people, following references in
Umberto Eco's "The Search for the Perfect Language". Wikipedia does
have an Aymar Aru version in this language (http://ay.wikipedia.org).
I have had a quick look at it, and much of it is quite perfunctory,
but I suspect this is due to the fact that the number of Amayara
speakers is so small compared to English language articles.

d) I certainly agree that wikipedia is as much a product of
imperialist relations as the internet, of which it is a product.

e) As regards the complete failure to mention the "Modern
Khemetic Calendar", clearly this is an important ommission
from wikipedia, and indeed it is necessary to go to
http://www.unpopular.org.uk/lpa/elpan018/018mkc.html for a good
explanation of this:

"How can we expect the working class to take us seriously when we
still use the superstitious calendar of the Christians imposed by the

However, when I checked the date of your e-mail, I noticed that it
included the self same assumptions about time and the structure of the
judaeo-christian calendar which you criticise. However, I would rather
assume that this is a product of your pragmatism, rather than any sort
of hypocrisy.

Personally I found the information about the Ethiopian calendar and
its relation to the Coptic Calendar very useful. It puts the 11th
September in a new perspective!

all the best


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