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August 11, 2008

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Hey! Let's not let a little things like a complete lack of knowledge of the culture, history, and current events in the region keep us from getting our war on with the Russkies. Look how well Iraq has worked out? How could you not double down on that sort of success? And its not like the Air Force has anything better to do right now. I say: bomb 'em.

I've got the "South Ossetia" and "Ossetia" Wikipedia articles on my watchlist since adding a bit to the discussion pages about pronunciation, and I'm actually surprised at how little edit warring has been going on. I mean, there's been a fair amount, but I'd've expected more, considering what's been happening with blog comment threads.

Why? Didn't Conservapedia have enough content?

How would the Pacific Northwest Arboreal Octopus handle this situation?

Since plagiarism doesn't violate the norms of political speeches this seems like a particularly poor scandal of the day. Unless the issue is supposed to be sourcing from wikipedia, but obviously McCain uses much less reliable sources than wikipedia all the time.

What will Stephen Colbert say?

Washerdreyer, the point isn't the plagiarism but the indication of how superficial the knowledge is. But I agree it's a silly "scandal" to devote time to.

McCain's just lucky he's not a student in the UVa summer at sea program.

Somebody on his staff was aware of this Internet tradition.

Maybe this is really just a clever way for the McCain campaign to dispel concerns about his technological illiteracy.

It may be a "silly" scandal, but could you imagine what would be said about this if Obama had given a speech on the Georgian/Russian conflict, in which took parts of from a wikipedia article? I can see the headline/attacks... "Obama too inexperienced to deal with foreign policy." "Obama's foreign policy comes from wikipedia."

I mean seriously???

This is supposed to be John McCain's strength, and yet he's copying whole phrases from wikipedia?? Yet it's only "silly" because we all KNOW John McCain is a foreign policy expert... of course....

How do you know that someone on McCain's staff didn't write the Wikipedia entry to begin with? Huh? Answer me that, smart guy.

And how do you know that it wasn't John McCain himself? Huh?

And how do you know that it wasn't John McCain himself?

Assuming this wasn't satire...

a) Because we've heard McCain speak; b) because McCain has admitted he doesn't know how to get arounf on the Teh Tubez; c) because we've heard his "experience".

Next?

Well, not satire per se, but I thought it would be fun to try some right-wing trolling.

So what does Conservapedia say about Georgia?

Besides, you know, all the peaches....

I'm probably fighting a losing battle to make this point, but content on Wikipedia isn't low-quality per se. In fact where well-sourced, Wikipedia articles can be valuable tertiary sources.

The problem in WP articles is when "facts" crop up that are poorly sourced. (According to WP guidelines, those items should be removed if in contention.)

Now, that said, if McCain's staff is cribbing verbatim from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Brittanica it would still reflect pretty badly on them. But this ranks in the low 1000s on the list of things that worry me about John McCain becoming President.

yeah, but McCain has military experience, and he says he knows how to win wars, and Obama isn't 500 years old, and the press won't dispute that.

so, this is good news for McCain.

Now, that said, if McCain's staff is cribbing verbatim from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Brittanica it would still reflect pretty badly on them.

Not when you consider that McCain probably contributed to it in the first place.

Now, that said, if McCain's staff is cribbing verbatim from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Brittanica it would still reflect pretty badly on them. But this ranks in the low 1000s on the list of things that worry me about John McCain becoming President.

I think it's pretty telling actually, the man claims to be the foreign policy expert, but in fact the level of knowledge is derisory. The Wikipedia cribbing, packaged as old man wisdom explaining Georgian history back to the beginnings of time to an America sitting on his knee, is as good a metaphor I've seen yet for his entire candidacy.

Not to mention it's really funny, and I hope he's humiliated for it.

Yeah, and I like how if you go to Memeorandum right now, this "controversy" over what McCain did or did not plagiarize is at the very top, as if this is the MOST IMPORTANT angle of the Russian-Georgian conflict.

Yeah, and I like how if you go to Memeorandum right now, this "controversy" over what McCain did or did not plagiarize is at the very top, as if this is the MOST IMPORTANT angle of the Russian-Georgian conflict.

Yeah, and I like how if you go to Memeorandum right now, this "controversy" over what McCain did or did not plagiarize is at the very top, as if this is the MOST IMPORTANT angle of the Russian-Georgian conflict.

This is ignoring the much more important controversy over whether McCain is plagiarizing his foreign policy from Anthony Eden circa 1956.

I read the three "plagiarized" quotes in the linked page, but I've got to be honest...I just don't see it.

Are they similar? Sure. But plagiarized? No way. I was an English major in college, and many times earned extra credit helping a professor read and grade reports. I've seen plenty of plagiarism and attempts to disguise plagiarism, but these three examples don't seem to fit the bill. Plagiarism usually rears its head when somebody copies word-for-word from a source, or else changes a word here or there to prevent it from being a complete quotation. The last one omits and adds entirely too much information from the Wiki sources to be considered plagiaristic. Historical events and facts need to be written about in a clear and precise manner, especially for a speech, and are usually presented in chronological order as they are in the speech here.

The first accusation is a joke in and of itself. How many different ways are there of saying that Georgia was one of the first countries in the world to adopt Christianity as their official religion, honestly? If you want to re-state that fact, about all you can do is grab a thesaurus and start looking up alternate words for "country" and "religion" and "adopt".

I'm no conservative, I'm no McCain supporter, and I want nothing more than to see Obama to win in 2008. But this seems like nothing more than a joke to me in the grand scheme of politics.

With the many papers I've had to write for history classes, I've learned a thing or two about Wikipedia. The most important one? Never use Wikipedia as a source! Yeah, there's some good info on there, and you can usually get a good overview of a subject. But you never quote it, unless you want the professor to laugh at you. If someone has this much trouble finding good academic sources, I'm terrified of what kind of intelligence they'd find about Iran.

My advice to the McCain campaign: Read the article then use the external links. If you're going to use Wikipedia, use it as a starting point. I really thought that was self-evident.

The notion of "Bombs Away" McCain as President scares the bejesus out of me, but criticizing his staff for using Wikipedia seems awfully petty, unless in the course of doing so they got some important historical fact wrong (which doesn't seem to have happened).

Even if McCain actually had the in-depth foreign policy expertise he claims (and for which the MSM gives him unjustified props), it would be unrealistic to expect him to have at his fingertips all the historical details of every conflict area on the planet.

Since Presidential candidates presumably can't demand briefings from State Department experts, consulting general reference books to get the history straight is hardly a mortal sin. Making a big deal about it just diverts attention from the real issue: no matter where McCain got his facts, does McCain's policy makes sense?

McCain seems much to eager to start a fight with Russia. Unfortunately, Obama's statement is not that much better (more designed to prove that he's "tough enough" to be Commander in Chief, than to outline a wise policy for dealing with conflicts with large potential for escalating out of control). Day by day, this Presidential race gets more and more depressing. Aaarrrgh!

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