Because those people agree to use it at all. Referencing Tyler O’Neil’s article above, At ENST, David Klinghoffer writes,
All the same, Klinghoffer did not say Wikipedia was worthless. “You can rely on Wikipedia for things that nobody cares about. If you want to know the population of Peoria, you can absolutely trust Wikipedia, but for anything that people are invested in and care about, you can’t trust it,” he said.
Whenever you look up a controversial issue on Wikipedia, take the results with a grain of salt.
Not to pat myself on the back, but that gets to the heart of the problem. As soon as it’s a subject that gets people riled — specifically, the sociological slice with enough time on their hands to monitor Wiki articles around the clock — then you know you can’t trust what they say. Conversely, the less anyone cares, the more you can trust this ubiquitous information source.
Exactly. That is precisely how Wikipedia reigns as a potent alternative world, governed by trolls. Users who do not agree with the trolls enable them by using Wikipedia for anything at all.
Wikipedia trolls explicitly rely on all of us to just use them as sources on issues we assume are not controversial. And how do we know that whatever we are trying to find out is not controversial somewhere?
The folk proverb is true. One bad apple can spoil a barrel, never mind hundreds of them, especially when, as in this case, it is the same ideological rot.
With respect, there are official stats for the population of Peoria that we have no reason to believe have ever been in the hands of trolls. The United States Census is a free, reliable searchable source. Here’s Peoria. Just as easy to find as Wikipedia and easier to use.
What causes so many people to prefer the artifacts of troll world to reliable sources they pay taxes for? The need for the social approval of people who will hate them anyway, and also despise them? If people find themselves consistently misrepresented by the big guns of social media — but they continue to empower them by patronizing them—let me put it like this: It’s a good thing that their misrepresentation is essentially their own free choice. Many people do not have it so lucky. They have not chosen to live in the troll’s alternative world instead of the real one. O’Leary for News
See also: Is Wikipedia actually a “censor”? Maybe something more ominous… Wikipedia isn’t so much a “censor” as an alternate world. ID is certainly not the only topic in which the tentative nature of the real world is transformed by trolls into a world in which they can thrive. Using the information in Wikipedia as if it were an authoritative source means buying into their world. It is an authoritative source for itself, not for a world not built and controlled by trolls. But many people like to have a foot in troll world and they largely keep it going. Very postmodern.