Checking into en.Wikipedia I see that other editors have discovered the mashed up collage of buzzwords that are the Good Articles and Featured Articles being created by users racing for glory in the WikiCup (and we have a winner!) and yet another contest, the Core Contest. The WikiCup was responsible for both Desert and Sea, and the Core Contest responsible for Sea. Both articles are largely unreadable for huge sections and make no sense elsewhere where they are not even on topic. It was suggested the en.Wikipedia articles be compared to their Encyclopedia Britannica counterparts, and the comparison for Sea was not favorable. For one thing, the Britannica article contains readable prose and is organized as an informative essay on its topic. You can actually learn what a desert is in the first sentence of the Britannica article, whereas, you learn false information in the first sentence of the en.Wikipedia article.
The Wikipedia articles are not readable. Both Wikipedia articles have been on the en.Wikipedia main page gathering thousands and thousands of hits from the prominent exposure. They should not be on Wikipedia, much less on the main page.
The Desert article, where I once fearlessly thought I could contribute by removing such bogus information as “all cacti having dispensed with leaves” and the suggestion about “stomata on C4 plants opening at night,” is a stunning collection of way too much information, which I am partly guilty of causing, and misinformation which no once could dissuade the editors from including.
Let’s look at the opening paragraphs, bolding the first sentences of the articles Desert and Sea on en.Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica.
Desert — Wikipedia
“A desert is a type of terrain where little precipitation occurs and consequently living conditions are hostile for plant and animal life. The lack of vegetation exposes the unprotected surface of the ground to the processes of denudation. About one third of the land surface of the world is arid or semi-arid. This includes much of the polar regions where little precipitation occurs and which are sometimes called “cold deserts”. There are a number of ways of classifying deserts including by the amount of precipitation that falls, by the temperature that prevails, by the causes of desertification or by the geographical location of the desert.”
Desert — Britannica
“any large, extremely dry area of land with sparse vegetation. It is one of the Earth’s major types of ecosystems, supporting a community of distinctive plants and animals specially adapted to the harsh environment. For a list of selected deserts of the world, see below.”
First of all, even the en.Wikipedia article on terrain contradicts the opening sentence of what is rated as a “Good Article” on en.Wikipedia. Second of all, you can’t parse the opening paragraph. Why say something in plain English when you can copy and paste a dozen buzzwords whose meaning you are clueless about?
If you’re going to define the desert as a “type of terrain,” at least show you know what the word means, or change the terrain article so it’s not contradictory or go ahead and read the terrain article to see if you know what it means. If you’re going to describe desert as “a type of terrain” you’re going to be wrong. It’s not a type of terrain; it is an arid area on the Earth; and, it is an ecosystem, a word not used once within the article.
This is a problem I have raised often; sloppy editors wikilink from one article to another that will define the linked word without first looking at the link themselves. I don’t think the editors creating the Desert article have the background knowledge or education to understand many of the words they use, so this might not have helped with “terrain.” Or with “denudation.”
“The lack of vegetation exposes the unprotected surface of the ground to the processes of denudation.”
“Endogenetic processes such as volcanoes, earthquakes, and plate tectonics uplift and expose continental crust to the exogenetic denudation processes of weathering, erosion, and mass wasting.”
Does the article include “volcanoes, earthquakes, and plate tectonics” and how they uplift the continent crust?
No, it only includes one of these, remotely.
“As the desert mountains decay, large areas of shattered rock and rubble occur. The process continues and the end products are either dust or sand. Dust is formed from solidified clay or volcanic deposits whereas sand results from the fragmentation of harder granites, limestone and sandstone. There is a certain critical size (about 500µ) below which further temperature-induced weathering of rocks does not occur and this provides a minimum size for sand grains.“
Okay, more questions. What does this mean that a desert mountain decays? It decays? I suppose that natural processes are destroying the mountain; unless of course the mountain is being uplifted, in which case it is not decaying.
With the process of decay “large areas of shattered rock and rubble occur.” How do they occur? With “decay?” Actually, they occur with weathering, not with decay. And desert soils and hill slopes or mountain slopes don’t tend to be covered with “large areas of shattered rock and rubble” because there is very little to retain the products of weathering on the slopes, so erosion occurs. Thin soil profiles, sparse vegetation, things blowing about in the wind, especially all that dust, and we wind up with alluvial fans and, I guess, sand dunes. I’m no desert expert, but I am not familiar with “large areas of shatter rock and rubble occurring.”
What does the source say about dust and sand?
“Dust, for example, forms from solidified clay or volcanic deposits; the larger grains of sand come from the weathering of very hard rocks, such as granite, sandstone, or limestone.“
“Dust is formed from solidified clay or volcanic deposits whereas sand results from the fragmentation of harder granites, limestone and sandstone.”
It’s pretty clearly plagiarized, but, in order to hide the copyright violation, the editors removed some critical words. It is the larger grains of sand that come from weathering of very hard rocks, and these are just examples of some of the harder rocks that are weathered, not an exhaustive list.
“There is a certain critical size (about 500µ) below which further temperature-induced weathering of rocks does not occur and this provides a minimum size for sand grains.”
“Stresses produced by temperature changes can break rocks provided that the rock particles are not below a certain critical size. Most quartz is introduced into the sedimentary system as sand-size particles (about 500µ); if the critical thermal break size is above 500µ, then the thermal breakage process will not produce loess-size particles.”
What the article says is not even remotely related to what en.Wikipedia editors parsed from the article. It’s another en.wiki wtf moment.
I tried to help edit this article, because, at the time, I was feeling generous to User:Cwmhireath about her contributions to en.Wikipedia, all the hard work she was doing. I did not do much good, and I might have done some harm, particularly since I backed off of my harsh criticisms and tried to be nice.; and it appears, from this, that Cwmhireath assumed that her changes met with my approval. I just get exhausted with this badly organized unreadable unparsable bad science.
And, then, when I started getting bullied by the en.Wikipedia community, I started feeling less generous. With the arguments to keep bad science in, I was also feeling less generous. With the falsehoods that bad science was sourced, I had no generosity left.
I’m parched! Let’s move on.
Sea — Wikipedia (the template the day it was featured on the main page, followed by today’s opening sentence)
“The sea is the connected body of salty water that covers over 70 percent of the Earth’s surface. It moderates the Earth’s climate and has important roles in the water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles. It has been travelled since ancient times, while scientific oceanography dates broadly from Captain James Cook‘s 18th-century voyages. Winds produce waves and surface currents, and deep-sea currents carry cold water to every ocean. Large events such as submarine earthquakes can cause destructive tsunamis. Tides are caused by the rotation of the Earth and the gravitational effects of the Moon and the Sun. A variety of organisms live in the sea‘s many habitats, from the sunlit surface to the cold, dark abyssal zone, and from the Arctic to colourful tropical coral reefs. Life itself may have started in the sea. The sea provides humans with food including fish and shellfish, and enables trade, travel, mineral extraction, power generation, naval warfare, and leisure, though often at the cost of marine pollution. The sea has been important in human culture since Homer‘s Odyssey, appearing in literature, mythology, marine art, cinema, theatre, classical music and dream interpretation.”
Today’s opening sentence:
“The sea, the world ocean, or simply the ocean, is the connected body of salty water that covers over 70 percent of the Earth’s surface.”
Ocean — Britannica
“continuous body of salt water that is contained in enormous basins on Earth’ssurface.
When viewed from space, the predominance of Earth’s oceans is readily apparent. The oceans and their marginal seas cover nearly 71 percent of Earth’s surface, with an average depth of 3,795 metres (12,450 feet). The exposed land occupies the remaining 29 percent of the planetary surface and has a mean elevation of about 840 metres (approximately 2,755 feet). Actually, all the elevated land could be hidden under the oceans and Earth reduced to a smooth sphere that would be completely covered by a continuous layer of ….”
What does “salty water” wikilink to? Does it link to seawater? No, because, in en.Wikipedia there is both an article on saline water and a more refined article on that saline water found in the sea that is called, seawater! And, the article editors and the article promoters and the article main page 27,000 view arrangers, can’t be bothered to see that they have created nonsense.
Does it matter that en.Wikipedia doesn’t use the word “basin” in its lead? Yes, it does; you see, something holds all that damn water, and what holds it are the basins! Wait, the en.Wikipedia article on the Sea does tell us what ocean basins are:
Three types of plate boundary
“The Earth is composed of a magnetic central core, a mostly liquid mantle and a hard rigid outer shell (or lithosphere), which is composed of the Earth’s rocky crust and the deeper mostly solid outer layer of the mantle. On land the crust is known as the continental crust while under the sea it is known as theoceanic crust. The latter is composed of relatively dense basalt and is some five to ten kilometres (three to six miles) thick. The relatively thin lithosphere floats on the weaker and hotter mantle below and is fractured into a number of tectonic plates. In mid-ocean, magma is constantly being thrust through the seabed between adjoining plates to form mid-oceanic ridges and here convection currents within the mantle tend to drive the two plates apart. Parallel to these ridges and nearer the coasts, one oceanic plate may slide beneath another oceanic plate in a process known as subduction. Deep trenches are formed here and the process is accompanied by friction as the plates grind together. The movement proceeds in jerks which cause earthquakes, heat is produced and magma is forced up creating underwater mountains, some of which may form chains of volcanic islands near to deep trenches. Near some of the boundaries between the land and sea, the slightly denser oceanic plates slide beneath the continental plates and more subduction trenches are formed. As they grate together, the continental plates are deformed and buckle causing mountain building and seismic activity.
The Earth’s deepest trench is the Mariana Trench which extends for about 2,500 kilometres (1,600 mi) across the seabed. It is near the Mariana Islands, a volcanic archipelago in the West Pacific, and though it averages just 68 kilometres (42 mi) wide, its deepest point is 10.994 kilometres (nearly 7 miles) below the surface of the sea. An even longer trench runs alongside the coast of Peru and Chile, reaching a depth of 8,065 metres (26,460 ft) and extending for approximately 5,900 kilometres (3,700 mi). It occurs where the oceanic Nazca Plate slides under the continental South American Plate and is associated with the upthrust and volcanic activity of the Andes.“
Not ONE place in this entire mishmash piece of garbage does it say what an ocean basin is. It’s two paragraphs about plate tectonics! This is another en.wiki wtf moment!
Some concerns raised on the en.Wikipedia Sea article talk page:
“So, again and still, this is the article that passed FAC, this is the article that includes a link to ocean in the lead, implying synonyms, raising concern that it was a missed redirect, and not including the same description you just added and cited there. This article does not explain the distinction, and that is a fairly glaring oversight. This article needs fixing, and I don’t believe the FAC was up to standard. I am also concerned about how the lead bounces all over the place, with no clear logic about paragraphs, and uneven flow (it’s jarring), but perhaps that’s just me. Or perhaps you can fix it 🙂 What we shouldn’t do is expect our readers to go figure it out by digging through archives.SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:05, 2 November 2013 (UTC)”
What’s particularly jarring about the uneven flow of the section on ocean basins is that it’s not even about ocean basins! Two entire, jarring paragraphs about ocean basins that don’t even manage to mention the word basin because they can’t find the basin for the discussion of plate tectonics! Please, if you don’t know something at all, don’t write about it, don’t give anyone else “points” for it, and don’t put it where it can be viewed by 27,000 visitors!
This is not science writing. This is a collage of buzzwords pieced together by an editor racing for WikiCup points. She scored! But, what about en.Wikipedia readers? They lost!