Wiki as A Time Saver for Researchers

Wiki as A Time Saver for Researchers
Dear All,
The intention of this message is to draw researchers attention to Wiki as a potentially efficient new means for scientific/technical
communication/education/collaboration. The author believes the current approach (papers) alone is not very efficient for idea exchange among researchers.
Assume a learner new to a field has already read some classic textbooks for systematic knowledge acquisition, and already had the framework of the field on his mind, and is going to specialize on a specific problem. At this point, he has to search for and read existing papers on this topic, which can be an extremely painful hunting and digestion progress. Whether if he just wants to get informed of as many previous efforts on the problem as possible, or if he believes he has got an original idea and wants to ensure the originality, he probably has to undertake an extensive search with Google/CiteSeer for all papers available online with a seemingly relevant title. He has to scan through a screenful of downloaded papers. Even after doing this, there can still be new papers found later to be relevant.
Papers are essentially individual units of information shattered over the Internet, and the current approach to find them -- search engines connect researchers to them via a keyword combination. Not to mention that we can't be sure the wanted papers all contain such a keyword phrase, the prohibitively enormous amount of search results can always bury critical information.
On the other hand, web sites that have a well organized collection of papers on a topic, as an information gateway alternative to search engines, are easy to get out of date and miss the latest useful discoveries for a topic.
The idea of using Wiki came to my mind last night. It can be useful in both scenarios below: (1) A newcomer to a field who wants to investigate all existing efforts on a specific task; (2) Experienced researchers who want to effortlessly keep track of new ideas/solutions to a specific task (or any specific task in a field).
So what is Wiki? Wiki is an easy way to collaboratively edit online documentation via a Web interface. A live example is Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.org ), which is an online encyclopedia on general knowledge.
How can Wiki be used in scientific communication? Usually, what a researcher discovers is a new idea, or an enhancement to an existing idea. He can contribute this new idea to a Wiki page where all historical efforts for a task are documented in an organized manner. Readers interested in a specific task can directly go down to that context and get all the relevant details about previous efforts. This is like a precisely targeted advertising model which immediately connects scientific authors and readers of the same specific research interest. It also helps a new idea to quickly propagate to researchers who set a "news alert" to capture all new efforts on a specific problem.
How specific can a problem be defined? It's unlimited and up to your needs. It can be far more specific than what categories are defined in Yahoo Directory or Dmoz Directory.
If the Wiki way of scientific communication becomes popular, researchers can save countless hours from "search", and put more time on problem solving.
To generalize my initiative, the Wiki way is useful not only in sci/tech communication, but also in any general domains where the current state of the art of search engines can't return relevant and comprehensive results. Yao Ziyuan http://www.babelcode.org snipped-for-privacy@babelcode.org
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote in message

I've been impressed by the quality of wikipedia. How is such quality maintained?
What prevents entries based on wishes and voodoo from appearing as truth?
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Concerns about Wiki content quality and vandalism are mainly addressed at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia/Our_Replies_to_Our_Critics
In short, Wiki has a number of mechanisms to fight against vandalism: many people are constantly watching "recent changes" to any Wiki pages and reverting changes that are apparently bad.
Anyway, readers are supposed to judge for themselves if an idea/approach on a Wiki page is promising and worth supporting. So far, practically, Wikipedia has proven its mechanism works.
There are also proposals suggesting that every Wiki page should have a "stable version" which is maintained by "administrators".
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snipped-for-privacy@newarts.com (dave martin) wrote in message

skepticism ;)
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September 23, 2004
snipped-for-privacy@yannitell.com (aSkeptic) wrote in message :

Skepticism without evidence is nonsense.
Since you have provided no evidence to justify your skepicism, I claim your post nonsense, and I offer your post as evidence.
Thomas Lee Elifritz http://elifritz.members.atlantic.net
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Thomas Lee Elifritz wrote:

Excellent example of parading trivial bias as if it were logic.
Skepticism is a healthy attitude to this experiment in compiling knowledge.... it is an experiment at this stage.
Jim
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September 24, 2004
jbuch wrote:

Amazing, you too offer skepticism without any evidence to back it up, and claim skepticism without evidence as a credible scientific method.
Incredible. Idjits on the usenet, they are everywhere.
Science has such a great future.
I am so ... optimistic.
Thomas Lee Elifritz http://elifritz.members.atlantic.net
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Thomas Lee Elifritz wrote:

I have never heard onyone use "optimistic" fas a substitute for arrogant and stupid.
Thanks for the name calling start. It reveals a lot.
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September 25, 2004
jbuch wrote:

Your scientific skepticism, without offering any evidence for your skepticism, will take you far.
Prepare for greatness, idjit. The Earth is flat, man will never fly, nor go to the moon, there is no water on Mars, there are no extraterrestrial planets, ET doesn't exist. We've heard it all before.

Sure, it reveals that you are an idjit. Your claim that unfounded skepticism, without evidence, as a credible scientific method, is evidence enough of that.
Skeptics seem to lack glial cells.
Thomas Lee Elifritz http://elifritz.members.atlantic.net
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Thomas Lee Elifritz wrote:

I made no such claim.....
Someone is a liar.
You.
Bye, no more responses to a liar.
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September 25, 2004
jbuch wrote:

You claim skepticism. Skepticism is a claim that requires evidence. You offer no evidence, yet you claim skepticism is a valid scientific method. The result follows.
Thomas Lee Elifritz http://elifritz.members.atlantic.net
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(aSkeptic) wrote in message :

I think you misunderstood what I mean by skeptisim. To me, skeptisim is the uncertainty of an unfamiliar stated "truth". Skeptism leads to questions, which may demand answers, which may or may not agree with a stated position. Wiki is a great tool, I use it often. Skeptical people can change wiki, anyone can.
Extreem skeptisim is the stance of not believing anything from anybody at any time.
Skeptisim is just horse sense. The opposite belief (thinking all things are true or can be true) is horse ____.
yours, Scott
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September 25, 2004
aSkeptic wrote:

No, you, as an unfounded skeptic, are the one who is confused about scientific methods.

There is always uncertainty in the evidence, but skepticism itself is not evidence.

No, skepticism leads to nothing, evidence leads to questions, which may lead to new evidence. Skepticism has very little to do with anything, certainly not with scientific methods. If you have a problem with the evidence, get more evidence, but expressing skepticism without evidence is unproductive nonsense.

Sure, people can even fake the evidence, but the only way you can demonstrate that is with more evidence.

Thus, my point, skepticism without evidence is nonsense.

No, it is nonsense.

The universe and life itself is good evidence that 'nothing is impossible'.
What evidence to you have that nothing is possible?
Thomas Lee Elifritz http://elifritz.members.atlantic.net
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0 = 1
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September 26, 2004
aSkeptic wrote:

I always knew there was something fundamentally wrong with the universe.
For the representable abstract concept of nothing to exist, you must have something to compare it with, therefore your claim that nothing exists is trivially falsifiable. In this case, you present two elements and a relation, so already 2^2=4. Clearly, nothing is impossible. QED.
I guess 'nobody' has written a WIKI entry for 'combinatorial hierarchy".
Thomas Lee Elifritz http://elifritz.members.atlantic.net
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