Sometimes you just have to reread your own stuff. Sometimes you have to be self-critical, and think like a different reader.

In my last posting, I was pretty harsh on Dana Blankenhorn’s article Is Wikipedia a threat or a menace?. Here are my comments on my own work.

Missing words Yes, he doesn’t use the words ‘threat’ or ‘menace’ in his article. But this doesn’t mean he didn’t try to answer the question posed by his title. I would just have preferred a direct answer.

Verbal arrogance nee ignorance (Note: ‘nee’ should really have an accent on the first ‘e’, like this: n�e. It means ‘born’ or ‘formerly known as’ and is properly used to indicate a woman’s ‘maiden’ name. I was using it metaphorically to imply that his arrogance was born of ignorance.)

It isn’t fair to say that Mr. Blankenhorn is verbally ignorant or arrogant just because he used synonyms and implied they were differentiated. But, it implies he was careless, and didn’t critically reread his work. It happens, and we all make goofy mistakes.

Pseudo-journalist This was an awful thing to say. It was wrong, mean, and rude, and Mr. Blankenhorn, I apologize. You’ve been writing on tech issues for a quarter century. I might argue the merits of a particular article, and perhaps your research in general, but I shouldn’t have demeaned your professional credentials.

I have since read other articles you’ve written. I often agree with your views, but not your presentation. That’s okay. The fact is, you’re a real journalist and a real writer.

Bickering This sounded good at the time, but it’s not quite right. My point was that a Wikipedia article may have debatable material, and anyone is free to change it. This can lead to tit-for-tat updates, another version of flame wars from community forums.

Debate of information is good, but it’s not what an encyclopedia is, or is for. Let’s not change the definition of encyclopedia to meet the desires of a single product.

I think I got the rest of my posting right. My dissection of his two paragraphs may be discomfiting, but I think my criticisms are valid. In this article, Mr. Blankehorn steps back and forth between opinions and informed, reasoned opinions.

One more: fall into a ditch This is a reference to a quote from Mel Brooks. I got it a little wrong. Here’s the correct quote as nearly as I can determine it.

“Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.” –Mel Brooks