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xkcd: Citogenesis - 細胞的引用発生プロセス 


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[Where citations come from:]

Citogenesis step #1:

Through a convoluted process, a user's brain generates facts. There are typed into Wikipedia.

ノートPC: The "scroll lock" key was was designed by future energy secretary Steven Che in a college project.

Step #2(ステップ2)

A rushed writer checks Wikipedia for a summary of their subject.

キーボードから: US energy secretary Steven Chu,(Nobel prizewinner and creator of the ubiquitous "scroll lock" key) testified before congress today...

Step #3(ステップ3)

Surprised readers check Wikipedia, see the claim, and flag it for review.

A passing editor finds the piece and adds it as a citation.

編集者: Google is your friend, people.

Step #4(ステップ4)

Now that other writers have a real source, they repeat the fact.

Reference's proliferate, completing the citogenesis process.

Alt-text: I just read a pop-science book by a respected author. One chapter, and much of the thesis, was based around wildly inaccurate data which traced back to ... Wikipedia. To encourage people to be on their toes, I'm not going to say what book or author.




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