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If you rely on Wikipedia, why?

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If you rely on Wikipedia, why?

Wikipedia’s neutral point of view “is dead”, declares co-founder Larry Sanger, who is now launching a free-speech alternative:

… “It’s become centralized and controlling,” says Sanger in his video announcing the Encyclosphere, “just like Facebook and Twitter. They have all become openly hostile to views unapproved by the establishment. Let’s fix this — not with a better encyclopedia, but an open encyclopedic network…”

Of course, none of this is surprising to proponents of intelligent design, who have been targets of Wikipedia’s bias through the years.

Caitlin Basset, “Wikipedia’s Bias Meets a Free-Speech Alternative” at Mind Matters News

In 2014, Harvard faculty members Shane Greenstein and Feng Zhu published research showing that Wikipedia articles are both more politically biased than those of Encyclopaedia Britannica and more slanted to the left. 

The Critic argues that bias can be seen not only in Wikipedia’s entries but in its very choice of sources.

Most relevant to assessing bias is the question of which sources have been “deprecated,” which means a source that has been formally prohibited from being used in all but a handful of cases.

Wikipedia’s list of deprecated sources currently contains 16 right-leaning sources: Breitbart, the Daily Caller, the Daily Mail, the Daily Star, the Epoch TimesFrontPage Magazine, the Gateway PunditInfowarsLifeSiteNewsNews of the WorldOne America News Network, the SunTaki’s MagazineVDareWorldNetDaily, and Zero Hedge – and just one left-leaning source, Occupy Democrats.


According to Critic writers Tezuka and Ashtear, the deprecation of these right-wing media sources might be a valid decision except for the fact that Wikipedia does not deprecate similar left-wing media sources… MORE

If you rely on Wikipedia, you don;t know what you are not being told.

15 Replies to “If you rely on Wikipedia, why?

  1. 1
    mahuna says:

    Wikipedia is a quick, handy way to check the spelling of words. I think I’m still an Editor, but I haven’t done much in the way of edits in a LONG time. I fix coma placements and stuff. But I also did some significant edits on “Historical Jesus”. Last time I checked, the author of one of the books I cited had started a separate new page that cited his new book.
    Even if you don’t like some of the stuff, Wikipedia is INVALUABLE for writers. And I regularly use an article’s list of references to go shopping. A carefully chosen 2 paragraph note is nice, but 50 pages in a real book is MUCH nicer.
    So, no throwing the babies out with the bath water. And if the dirty Commie rats delete everything you edit on Wiki itself, find another reference/research site on which to post. And of course keep reading BOOKS and actually TALKING with other humans.

  2. 2
    mahuna says:

    Oh, I almost forgot: Peace & Joy. I get to see my newest granddaughter again today. YouTube tells me that she has this “sitting up unsupported” thing down cold, and the cats now understand that they enter the living room at their own peril. So, as the song says, “Don’t worry. Be happy.”

  3. 3
    polistra says:

    Wikipedia can’t be beat for detailed info about ‘uncontroversial’ things. If I want to know how many Dodge Wayfarers were business coupes in 1950, Wikipedia has the answer. In making courseware, Wikipedia always has usable diagrams of obscure neural pathways.

    “Free-speech” is tricky. If you want usable information, SOMEBODY with final authority has to edit the articles. Editors will always have bias.

    Even in politics, censorship does go both ways. A right-wing source will always justify wars that serve Israel’s interests, and will always hate Islam unquestioningly. A right-wing source will always consider FBI to be an angelic hero, and will laud Bezos for smashing competition and paying zero tax.

  4. 4
    News says:

    Mahuna at 1. Congrats on your volunteer edit work but many of us do think that the public needs more representative sources and plenty of them. One thing we have learned at UD is, defeating trolls is not nearly as useful as just banishing them.

  5. 5
    News says:

    Mahuna at 2, Congrats re your granddaughter! The cat will manage.

  6. 6
    News says:

    Polistra at 3: I would not necessarily know what the Head Trolls at Wikipedia think is controversial and am in danger of being gravely misled.

    So I will continue to discourage people from using Wikipedia as a source. I have almost never found it to be a necessary source. The information is out there if I just type clearly worded questions into the navbar.

    By the way, I would be surprised if “right-wing sources” currently think well of the FBI. That’s not the gen I have been hearing. I hear from monitoring their news feeds, not from consulting Wikipedia.

  7. 7
    Steve Alten2 says:

    Wiki is no better or worse than other sources. All sources of information have a bias. Even back in the good old days of paper and ink, they each had their biases.

  8. 8
    jerry says:

    If there a preferred narrative then Wikipedia is a bad source for accurate information. Anything political, philosophical or religious in nature will be skewed the preferred way.

    But if you are looking for the population of a particular county or the lyrics of a song it’s great. The crazies editing the site never look at them.

  9. 9
    Steve Alten2 says:

    Jerry “ If there [is] a preferred narrative then Wikipedia is a bad source for accurate information.”

    That is a rather strange way to phrase this. Preferred by who?

  10. 10
    jerry says:

    That is a rather strange way to phrase this.

    But extremely accurate.

    Preferred by who?

    The elites. The left.

    If you don’t understand this, read Sharyl Atikisson’s book, “Slanted” about preferred narratives. You are not given news anymore but the preferred narrative.

    A good example on Wikipedia is how they distort Intelligent Design. I doubt there is one honest article on Wikipedia on evolution, religion or current politics.

  11. 11
    Steve Alten2 says:

    Jerry, couldn’t it just as well be interpreted that if a Wiki entry does not fit with your preferred narrative, that you would conclude that it is not accurate?

    WIKI is no better or worse than any other source of information. Entries on subjects where there are differences of opinion in the general population will inevitably have a bias. The same applies to CNN, FOX, UD,…

  12. 12
    jerry says:

    couldn’t it just as well be interpreted that if a Wiki entry does not fit with your preferred narrative,

    I don’t have a preferred narrative. I’m interested in what is true.

    For example, Wikipedia calls Intelligence Design a pseudoscience. When in fact it is better science than what is taught in any biology department in the United States. If you doubt me find anything being taught in a university biology department that is good science that ID disagrees with. But ID will disagrees with a lot of what is being taught in biology departments because they are the ones teaching pseudoscience.

    Ironic isn’t it.

    If you want good accurate science, you are more likely to get it here than any university I know of.

    Follow the science is an oxymoron for the left since they rarely know what good science is let alone advocate it.

    have a bias

    UD has no bias as I can see. Except to the truth. Some of the authors have some biases and definitely the commenters but they would not get very far if what they published is not true. Generally true though not 100%. A couple articles are off the edge though not often.

  13. 13
    ET says:

    Wikipedia is just good for a quick look, to get you started. Some things have good articles and others are filled with BS. It isn’t a trustworthy source.

  14. 14
    Belfast says:

    “ Wiki is no better or worse than other sources.‘
    Not much need for it, then.

  15. 15
    mahuna says:

    Polistra @ 3. Yes, definitely. Your comments are more coherent than mine.

    I look SOMETHING up on Wikipedia almost every day. If I have ANY reason to doubt the Wiki’s accuracy, I try a 2nd source. I read a LOT of History, and so I understand that MANY of the standard PRINTED references (e.g., ANYTHING by the professional drunken liar Churchill…) are even less reliable than the Wiki.

    But, hey, ya pay yer money, and ya takes yer choice. Wikipedia is FREE…

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