I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

Name:
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Questionable citation of Wickedpedia by court opinion

Because of Wikipedia's unreliability on controversial issues, I have many times condemned authoritative citation of Wikipedia by court opinions, scholarly journal articles, etc.. On the Volokh Conspiracy blog, Eugene Volokh now has an article questioning citation of Wikipedia by a federal appeals court opinion:

Courts have cited Wikipedia over 300 times, and many of those cites are in my view just fine when the citation is for a tangential and uncontroversial matter. But the Seventh Circuit's use of Wikipedia in Rickher v. Home Depot, Inc., handed down Monday, strikes me as troubling.

The key issue as to one part of the plaintiff's lawsuit was the definition of "wear and tear." The plaintiff cited Webster's II New College Dictionary and Random House Webster's College Dictionary, which defined the term as “Depreciation, damage, or loss resulting from ordinary use or exposure” and “Damage or deterioration resulting from ordinary use; normal depreciation,” But the court disagreed:

Although it is true that dictionary definitions of “wear and tear” often employ the word “damage,” that does not mean that damage and “wear and tear” are synonymous. Wear and tear is a more specific phrase that connotes the expected, often gradual, depreciation of an item. See Wear and Tear, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wear_and_tear, last visited May 30, 2008.

[Wikipedia said -- ]

It is a form of depreciation which is assumed to occur even when an item is used competently and with care and proper maintenance. For example, friction may erode a hammer’s head. In the normal use of a hammer for its designed task erosion is impossible to prevent, and any attempt to eliminate this erosion would make the hammer useless. At the same time, it is expected that the normal use of a hammer will not break it beyond repair until it has gone through a certain amount of use.

A subtle difference, but one the Seventh Circuit thought to be quite important, and that does indeed appear to me important to the course of litigation.

More details are in Volokh's article. I have commented extensively in the comment thread under the article and I am continuing to add comments. Later I may hijack the thread for a tirade against Wickedpedia.
.

Labels:

7 Comments:

Anonymous 'Nonymous said...

Hey Larry, how about if you fix the unbalanced indentation in this post?

In particular, the paragraph beginning It is a form of depreciation does not appear to warrant indentation at all.

Thanks.

Friday, August 01, 2008 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>>the paragraph beginning It is a form of depreciation does not appear to warrant indentation at all. <<<<<<

This indentation is in both the court opinion and the Volokh Conspiracy article. Indentation is appropriate because the statement is a quotation of Wikipedia. I have added a clarifying note to my post.

Friday, August 01, 2008 11:07:00 AM  
Anonymous 'Nonymous said...

Then unindent it afterward, please. The unbalanced indentation persists all the way down the main page.

Friday, August 01, 2008 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>> Then unindent it afterward, please. The unbalanced indentation persists all the way down the main page. <<<<<<

I did unindent the text -- the text at the bottom of the post is unindented. Sometimes the text on the main (home) page is laterally compressed and I don't know why. However, if you click on "READ MORE" for the individual posts, then the text will be uncompressed.

Friday, August 01, 2008 12:19:00 PM  
Anonymous 'Nonymous said...

Perhaps it's a blogger.com formatting bug.

Friday, August 01, 2008 3:06:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>> Perhaps it's a blogger.com formatting bug. <<<<<<

I am mostly happy with blogger.com's template mode, which I use (the layout mode has its own problems), with the major exception that no means of listing the most recent comments is provided. The post label feature -- which did not exist when I started this blog -- is invaluable. Also, blogger.com is free. I have some minor gripes about the template mode: (1) a limit of 20 posts per post label and (2) no way to post pictures in the sidebar.

Friday, August 01, 2008 3:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Martian Buddy said...

Larry wrote: Later I may hijack the thread for a tirade against Wickedpedia.

And you wonder why you get "arbitrarily censored" so often.

Sunday, August 03, 2008 11:01:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home