Add to Wikipedia

Would you like to share your wisdom with four billion readers? Perhaps you have read a Wikipedia article and you know better? If you see something wrong that may be read by billions of people, is it not your duty to correct it and save humanity from desinformation?
The Wikipedia motto is Be bold!
If what you add is obvious to all, then just find the article, click “Edit” or “Edit source” and write.
If you want to practice writing in wikipedia, I recommend mucking about in Wikipedia:Sandbox
Just search for “Wikipedia:Sandbox”, and try it out.
Add a good reference if you suspect someone might challenge what you write.
Academic and peer-reviewed publications are usually the best.
Second best are University-level textbooks and Books published by respected publishing houses.
Last comes Magazines, Journals & Mainstream newspapers. Make sure they are reliable by looking up the mag in wikipedia.
There are many ways of adding inline citations. You can copy other writers methods or read . I usually do something like this:
Justice is a human invention.<ref name=”Invent_A_Name >Rawls, John. ”A Theory of Justice”. Harvard University Press, 1971, p. 1.</ref> It…
Be neutral
If you know two sides to the story, show both sides.
Before you delete someone else’s text in Wikipedia you may want to check his facts by reading his or her reference and check if the reference is any good.

Translate with Wikipedia

Find the word in Wikipedia.
The same article in another language can be found in the left pane. Scroll down a bit until you find the language you are looking for.
On your phone/mobile version, you scroll to the bottom of the article and click the box “Read in another language”.
1 Many words do not exist all languages. As far as I know, only 63 words exist in all languages.
Sometimes, the reason for the words to not exist, is that the item or idea does not exist in the region where the language is spoken.
When translating, you may have to explain the word instead.
2 A word in a language has many different meanings. In some translations, one meaning is meant, which does not really exist in the other translation. This can be confusing, and an explanation may be better.
If the difference might really matter to you, you should read both articles to see if there are differences.
There are of course differences even within English countries. An “Asian” in England refers to an Indian or Pakistani, while in California it refers to someone from south east Asia.
In this case, it may help to look for a link at the top of the article called “disambiguation” which sometimes gives different meanings to the same word.
A few examples.
“Silver Fern” exists only in English, for example. You could use the Latin, translate “silver fern” word by word, or just call it by its English name.
“Science” translates into Swedish as “Vetenskap”. The traditional meaning of “vetenskap” means “any academic discipline”.
It is slowly being re-defined by usage, however, since many think the two words mean the same thing in Sweden.
“Religion” is spelled the same in many languages, but the definition may differ. It has very similar definitions in English, German and French, but quite different in Swedish.
“Happiness” does not express exactly the same thing in many languages, and is therefor often mistranslated.
This article is about translating words. To translate sentences, you may want to use google translate.  Meanings generally get lost in translation, but a good translator can sometimes add meaning instead, as in the creative use of totally new curses when translating Captain Haddock’s curses.

Use Wikipedia

    Save the world from desinformation. If you see an error there, it is your moral duty to correct it. If you see a bias, show other points of view .
    Use good references. The references should lead all the way to the source of the belief.
    If you have no good references, then doubt that point of view.
    Before sharing anything that just tickles you, consider whether it needs a deeper look.
    There are many more made up ideas out there than solid facts, and they seem to pop up in wordpress blogs looking like media.
    Don’t simply trust any old WordPress blog. Oh dear…

Knowledge depends

Jie Gao at Edinburgh University made this comment on my “No True Scotsman” post:

“Hi Daniel, you have raised a very interesting thought. Indeed, a similar view has been argued by some other philosopher before! In the early 1990s, Crispin Sartwell attempted to call into question the traditional view that justification is a necessary condition for knowledge. He notes that we are often willing to ascribe knowledge in instances of very weak of even absent justification. Sartwell offers the example of a man who correctly believes his son is innocent of a crime in the face of overwhelming evidence against him, basing his belief solely upon the fact that the young man is his son. Sartwell claims that, in practice, we would likely say that he knows his son is innocent, despite the fact that the evidence he possesses does not support an attitude of belief. And recently, his claim has been supported by results of experiments. Davide Sackris and James Beebe report results of studies in which participants attributed knowledge to subjects who lacked good evidence but had true belief. Their paper is available here. Hope you would enjoy it! ”

I think I found it here instead.

It validates my suggested definition, and it goes further in an interesting way. People are more prone to attribute knowledge to people if they do harm than if they did good.

This reminded me of Marc Anthony’s Eulogy of Julius Cesar.

The evil that men do lives after them;
the good is oft interred with their bones.


How to check facts

You may want to check your facts on Facebook.

1. For images, use Google in image search mode to find out whether the image is what the post claims it is. Write, click “images”, click the camera icon and either upload an image or paste the url.  To save your image so you can upload it, right-click the image to get a popup menu and choose “save picture”. The image usually lands in “downloads”.

2. For blogs and web-newspapers. Check the source of the post. Look it up in  If it is not listed, then it is not a reliable source, and probably just a blog. If found, read what Wikipedia says about it.  The best newspaper sources are those that have hundreds of full time fact checkers employed like Der Spiegel, The Guardian and The New Yorker. Most local newspapers do not have a single one employed.

4. For quotes, check I have found no other good sources.

5.  For texts, just google relevant words from the new story and add the word “Hoax”. See if any source google finds is a realiable hoast. You can also check in

Socrates knowledge is a “no true Scotsman” fallacy.

In Theaetetus, Socrates develops an account of what knowledge is which goes something like this. You have knowledge when you believe in something, that something is true and you have a justification for believing it. This is the classic account of what it means to know something.

I have a simpler description which fits better with how we think we know things today. You have knowledge when you believe in something and that something happens to be true.

I consider the addition of justification akin to a “no true Scotsman” fallacy.

Here is an example of a “no true Scotsman” fallacy.
Person A: “No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”
Person B: “But my uncle Angus likes sugar with his porridge.”
Person A: “Ah yes, but no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”
To claim that my simple definition is “not true knowledge” follows the same pattern. A good justification will improve the credibility of the knowledge, but even without any justification, it is still knowledge.
Person A: “No one can know a fact without justification.”
Person B: “But my uncle Angus is Scottish and he knows that he is Scottish and says he just knows it without any justification .”
Person A: “Ah yes, but if it had been true knowledge, he would have a justification for it.”

I originally stated this 2012-12-10 in a philosophy discussion hosted by Coursera for the department of philosophy at EdinburghUniversity.