"(Critical) Discourse Analysis" on Wikipedia

Jonathan Potter J.A.Potter at LBORO.AC.UK
Sat Mar 11 20:58:31 UTC 2006

I agree with Galey on this.  I think Wikipedia is an interesting and
potentially radical resource.  I like the fact that it softens the link
between established authority (often major publishing companies) and
knowledge and allows for communal production of entries.  Note also that a
recent evaluation in the journal Science found that Wikipedia had no more
more errors than the Britanica when a set of entries were compared by blind
Where you find a problem with an entry you can (a) correct it and (b) look
at the history to see its evolution.    It can be a problem where there are
contested topics (in Discourse Analysis, for example, there are competing
and highly conflictual versions from the post-structural and linguistic
traditions).  But even here that can be managed by highlighting the
divergent understandings.  When there is one highly committed individual
there can be problems with sustaining the quality of the entry (see the
entry on Harvey Sacks, including the history).  But even in cases such as
these the article can be flagged as problematic.  Note that the entry on
discursive psychology has been stable for some time and occasionally gets
minor edits or modifications by a range of generally helpful folk.  I did
one on Michael Billig and all the subsequent edits have improvded
readability and consistency.

Jonathan Potter

-----Original Message-----
From: Critical Discourse/Language/Communication Analysis [
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Sent: 11 March 2006 20:09
Subject: Re: "(Critical) Discourse Analysis" on Wikipedia

I think it's a great idea to do a collaborative edit to the Wikipedia
entries; if this happens (I'm avoiding agency since I myself don't have the
time to get the ball rolling on this, although I'd be happy to
edit/contribute at a later stage) I think it's also really important to
include an explanation of what we changed and why in the history link. (The
history link is a link where you can see various changes that have been made
to entries and people's justifications for them. These links are actually
often way more interesting than the entries themselves.) I'm pro-wikipedia,
and disagree with Celso that the best way to correct untruths is to
discredit wikipedia. I think there's merit in joining the system and taking
some responsibility for spreading knowledge about our field in a form that's
easily accessed by people outside the rarified world of discourse analysts
-- isn't that the point of doing CDA work??

Galey Modan

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