Wikipedia and abuses

28/02/2009

Till now, I have avoided to feed this flooding about abuses on Wikipedia. But I think that a few words are needed in order to clarify my position and to let my own point of view widely known.

The problem started when Peter Woit took a look at the Yang-Mills entry of Wikipedia. He has found a section apparently self-promoting my work. What was about this section? The title said “Integrable solutions of classical Yang-Mills equations and QFT “. I think that there is a lot to say about this matter as classical solutions of Y-M exist and is well acquired matter. But in this section a class of solutions were put, cited in the Smilga’s book, that I have generalized and introduced in my papers.  Should they be there? I think yes as they belong to the class of solutions stated in the title. They appear to be too recent for inclusion but this is plain mathematics. Mathematics is a two-way switch: It is either right or wrong and so, if these solutions are right, they should be there as a bookkeeping for the readers.

The worst question is anyhow self-promotion. On this ground Peter Woit did worst: He is self-promoting his book (see here , thank you Lubos). Promoting a book means to earn money for the author while promoting a scientific idea may have the right side that, being the idea good, a good service has been done to the community.

The worst aspect of the story has been the intervention of Woit through his blog. This is a perfect war machine that when activated may leave a lot of casualties. People should be smart at their defense as otherwise the risk is to be counted in that number. A flood of people moved toward Wikipedia with any means trying to remove the questioned section and attacking me and whoever has written it. A lot of comments in Woit’s blog was posted attacking me. I was forced to introduce moderation for comments in my blog. Of course this appears like a kind of lynching without any understanding of scientific merit. Curators of Wikipedia decided that majority was right and Woit have had his win: The section was finally removed.

What next? This situation is quite interesting by my side. The reason is that the physical matter is Yang-Mills theory that is one of the biggest open problems both in phyics and mathematics. There is a lot of very good people working on that in this moment and my view is that a complete understanding is at hand. Ask yourself this question: What would be Woit’s position if I am right? This is not like string theory that we do not know when a confirmation will be at hand. Here we have computers, accelerators and a lot of smart people crunching this problem. In a very short time an eventual Woit’s error will be exposed. And by irony, Wikipedia’s entry will be updated with my ideas. Much better than now.

The question to be asked is: Should Wikipedia support new material? Since the editors of scientific entries in Wikipedia are scientists themselves one cannot ask them impartiality. Science is a dynamic endeavor and Wikipedia a dynamic source of information. They should be merged to meet each other in the right way.


%d bloggers like this: