|This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Computer article.|
October 2003 (old and unsigned conversations)[change source]
"Very often a computer contains toxic waste, sometimes called e-waste. When a new computer is purchased in some places, the cost of its waste management must also be paid for - this is called product stewardship." -- Moved this to /Talk Oct 21 03 because it is soapbox, not NPOV
- Moving it back. The statement is flatly true. In many countries, one pays a fee to dispose of a computer when one buys it. That is a fact. In China, there are whole neighbourhoods where people dig through piles of old computer parts and melt them down. This puts all kinds of mercury and other toxins in the water. That too is flatly true. It is estimated that the total amount of raw natural resources required to make a computer is about 20 tons.
- You can't remove statements that you personally find uncomfortable, or which mention policies that there is a broad agreement must apply to the artifact in question, or which relate to the lives of the Simple English Users (like those in China, say) more than you personally.
- It's going back. You seem to be censoring a lot of articles from your own POV.
POV/NPOV is in the eye of the editor. :-) -- True/False is *not* the same as NPOV/POV. This has been argued a lot on other Wikipedias. If I write an article about a famous person, saying only true but "bad" things about him or her, this is 100% true but not NPOV.
- Of course.
Actually, I *agree* with everything you wrote here, and I think I generally agree with your POV about these things. I just didn't think that they belonged in this article.
- Consider this: EVERY PAGE THAT ANYONE READS VIA A COMPUTER is a strong argument that "computers are good". That means that on a page that is actually about the physical device of the computer itself, everything bad must be said, and still won't make up for all the implicit endorsing of computers we have done, just by making them useful this way. So this is systemic bias FOR computers, that we can only correct by explicit statements against them here.
- Again, I think I mostly agree with your ideas, but I think this Simple English Wikipedia is not the right place to do them in a strong way.
- It is not being done in a strong way. To only insert these things in the computer article is to do them only in a very very weak way. It is actually not enough. To do them in a strong way, we would be adding to the end of every single page in the software "please make sure the computer you have used to read this is properly disposed of." ;-) Some in-between is required:
- Let's be very strict and logical here. We are partially causing a problem just by this discussion! Since we are by providing this Simple English Wikipedia, encouraging people to use and trust computers in general, the Internet and wiki software in particular, and spreading their use, we have a special obligation to reduce harm from that use. In this area, major activism would be entirely appropriate and necessary - we should clean up after ourselves in this respect. That is just self-respect... We owe full and complete disclosure of harms we are causing by using this communication method... and that is still not activism... just responsibility.
- I think maybe talking about systemic bias is not Simple English. Also I think that it would be very hard to write about this in an NPOV way. Feeling that we need to fight systemic bias in this Simple English Wikipedia is also a kind of systemic bias. Maybe we should just try to write an encyclopedia that explains things in a simple way. -- RJ208082.user.veloxzone.com.br
- Good question. Not really, no, I would say it is A necessary background task, we should all be aware of our own bias, but ONLY important to the degree that the Simple English Users need a degree of activism, at least in these early stages, to advance their interests and concerns and their idea of neutrality. And that only to the degree they can't yet say so for themselves, reliably and from many places. Since the people who we HOPE will use this have a systemic bias of their own, and since we Simple English Contributors have our own bias, dialogue is required, and some assumptions have to be made. This also may require some activist effort, but in the long run, it will be more up to users to tell us what they need, and who they are. If we insert activism on process issues like point of view, that can't be bad. See God's eye view for the kind of thing that an activist could USE to argue against authority saying unreasonable things, say, but which isn't activism in itself, just to describe.
- The contributors, well, they have a responsibility to really work very hard to understand the Simple English Users point of view and their own systemic bias, and realize "the users aren't us". The major activism will be to get most of the contributors really understanding that. After that some minor activism on a few issues here and there, like access to knowledge, educating about health or human rights or international law, etc., fits in as part of the mandate of helping the users. But it will never be even a secondary focus here. The issues are 1. serve immediate needs of users 2. set policies that will allow us to provide a full "education in one place", which is what an encyclopedia is supposed to be by most definitions, focused on the actual needs and gaps in education of those users - this may mean relying on activists in some cases to say what needs and gaps are. 3. figure out if there's any knowledge that is of mutual benefit to both users and contributors to know, and be able to talk about, such as having a common attitude to "computers as waste" or "conserving natural habitat as a good thing" or etc., which will open doors to talking to them. There's a bit of activism there, but it's "neutral activism", since it's about things that there is no real disagreement over. From time to time we have to get into things like overpopulation and overconsumption, where contributor and user may see things very differently. For these, we should have activists from BOTH sides... and encourage some dialogue.
- But, no matter how we try to explain things "in a simple way", we have to deal with the fact that very many people are going to encounter computers as industrial waste products before they ever encounter them as useful tools... and as I noted, we really should talk about the physical nature and issues with computers on this page, since all the other work we do is PROMOTING them. Also it's a good example of some things like product stewardship, which I agree is not Simple English, thus it needs its own short gateway article.
Most people agree that it's not polite to say that other people are "censoring". I prefer to say that I want the content of the articles to be "appropriate" for those articles. If I include a few paragraphs in this article about how computers were used to study kangaroos in Australia, somebody might decide that is not really helpful and take it out. But that probably isn't "censoring". -- RJ208082.user.veloxzone.com.br
- The word "appropriate" is almost always used to shut somebody or some issue down. I think the word "appropriate" is not "appropriate" here. THat is the same kind of issue as yours with systemic bias.
- Also systemic and systematic bias are two different things! Subtle point.. not one that can be made in Simple English...
- Yes, agreed. Apologies. An over-reaction. I do feel that many people who edit Wikipedias are censoring anything bad said about technology. It's a serious bias. But I don't think in general you have shown it.
Aside from the activism question[change source]
Put the activism argument aside for a moment. Assume the recycling info belongs in the article, but ask this question: should recyling info account for half of the article.
Merge with Windows?[change source]
Hello, I do not thing, it is wise to merge "Computer" with "Microsoft Windows". There are computers that are simply too big (or too small) to run Windows. Especially, since here at simple, we think that anything from an abacus to a big mainframe can be called Computer.
I therefore undid the merge.
-- Eptalon 12:08, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, put it this way: if we merge "Computer" with "Microsoft Windows", then why not merging also "UNIX", "Mac OSX", and all of the other operating systems?
I mean, there are computers that don't even have an operating system, so we better keep them separated.
Updated Article[change source]
I made the article a bit more substantial, please feel free to help me make it more readable but I believe every word in it that is not a hyperlink is part of BCE1500. This article merits being longer than it is, and I feel like computer waste at least merits a section, but putting it in its own section helps to comprehend it since it is otherwise rather random in terms of the human-tool relational understanding.
For an analogy: yes, cars => emissions, but cars were not built so that they would make emissions, and if you're trying to understand the concept of a car, an unintended by-product on the same tier of explanation obfuscates the fundamental aspects of the idea. For an allusion that is perhaps easier to relate to, think of something very simple like a hammer, here is how I would probably write something about a hammer: "a hammer is a tool for building things. It helps build things by putting nails into wood. Nails hold two pieces of wood together." etc. But if you had just that and then threw on "Hammers are made of iron from the earth. This is called mining and has effluence that is harmful to people." to the same extent that you describe the tool and its function, without putting that in a separate or secondary tier of explanation, it could be fairly confusing.
I also pulled the line about the abacus. I think it would be cool to include something about primitive computers, but just having a one-liner about an abacus in there is also fairly confusing. If you ask any english user to use a computer, they're not going to think you're talking about an abacus. The only way they could is if they had access to Wikipedia... which means they're probably using a pc a lot more than an abacus, and thus *still* wouldn't leap to that conclusion.
Twitchez 05:01, 4 March 2006 (UTC)Twitchez
a car is a computer?[change source]
"What many people do not know is that in fact anything with a CPU in it is a computer. For this reason, mobile phones, Automatic Teller Machines, Microwave ovens, CD Players and Cars are also computers." I would very much challenge that. In my opinion, a car works using computers, but is actually no computer in its entirety. Well, maybe it gets philosophical here ;) 184.108.40.206 00:01, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
- You're right, I've changed the text to talk about embedded computers which is what it means anyway. Thanks for spotting this, T. Moitie - Talk - Esperanza 00:10, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
A lot of this page is missing links. A lot of the links are red and not blue. Can we ask someone else from wikipedia to make these new articles?
Programmers vs. normal people?[change source]
The article talks about 'programmers' compared to 'normal people'... Is there a way to rephrase that bit to make it a bit more programmer-friendly? -- WanderNauta (talk) 11:36, 3 March 2010 (UTC) Transistors
A bipolar junction transistor The bipolar transistor was invented in 1947. From 1955 onwards transistors replaced vacuum tubes in computer designs, giving rise to the "second generation" of computers. Compared to vacuum tubes, transistors have many advantages: they are smaller, and require less power than vacuum tubes, so give off less heat. Silicon junction transistors were much more reliable than vacuum tubes and had longer, indefinite, service life. Transistorized computers could contain tens of thousands of binary logic circuits in a relatively compact space. At the University of Manchester, a team under the leadership of Tom Kilburn designed and built a machine using the newly developed transistors instead of valves. Their first transistorised computer and the first in the world, was operational by 1953, and a second version was completed there in April 1955. However, the machine did make use of valves to generate its 125 kHz clock waveforms and in the circuitry to read and write on its magnetic drum memory, so it was not the first completely transistorized computer. That distinction goes to the Harwell CADET of 1955, built by the electronics division of the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell.
The Computing Era[change source]
Quite a few things in "The Computing Era" section seem to be wrong or semi-serious. Quote: "...This is when they invented tech support." Really? Please fix this.