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Is Wikipedia actually a “censor”? Maybe something more ominous… Updated!

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From Tyler O’Neil at PJ Media:

Each February 12, the scientific community celebrates the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birthday as both Darwin Day and Academic Freedom Day. The Discovery Institute also celebrates by naming a “Censor of the Year,” and on Monday they announced that “award” goes to none other than “the free encyclopedia,” Wikipedia.

The problem goes far beyond the entry for “Intelligent Design,” however. On every entry for an intelligent design proponent, the site does not fail to describe the theory as “pseudoscientific.” Last year, Wikipedia removed the page for notable insect paleontologist Günter Bechly, seemingly for his position on ID. Walter Bradley, a Baylor University professor and ID scholar, saw his entry whittled down, with many accomplishments erased.

Bechly’s removal sparked an outrage even among ID critics. Matt Young, at the Darwinist blog Panda’s Thumb, conceded that if Bechly had kept his ID support “under the radar” his Wikipedia entry would likely have been “safe.” Omer Benjakob, in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, quipped that “if Blechly’s article was originally introduced due to his scientific work, it was deleted due to his having become a poster child for the creationist movement.”

Even Larry Sanger, a co-founder of Wikipedia who personally rejects intelligent design, condemned the Wikipedia entry on ID. … More.

Yes, but Sanger’s not in it anymore:

Wikipedia’s co-founder has said that mob rule and anti-elitism ruined the website he helped set up leading to “inmates running the asylum”.

Larry Sanger said that he walked away from the internet phenomenon just one year after it began life in 2001 because it quickly became “taken over by trolls”. (Independent, 2015)

Maybe thereby hangs a tale. 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.

Update: 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 their source on issues we assume are not controversial. And how do we know that whatever we are trying to find out is not controversial?

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.

What causes so many people to prefer the artifacts of troll world to reliable sources they pay taxes for? 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 worldwide 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: “Erased” paleontologist Bechly gets support from Science and Health Council

and

ID and Wikipedia as the ultimate post-modern encyclopedia

Wikipedians diminish another high achiever sympathetic to ID: Klinghoffer adds, “So it goes with Wikipedia, which your kids are probably consulting right now for their latest school assignment.”

Wikipedia founder wades into fake war on fake news

Larry Sanger, Co-founder of Wikipedia, Agrees That it Does not Follow its Own Neutrality Policy

How Wikipedia can turn fiction into fact (Sourced enough times, the fiction becomes “troo”)

Wikipedia: The world of heavily edited unfacts

Wikipedia as astroturf

Wikipedia’s declining stats

Wikipedia hacked by elite sources now (The main problem is that the people who use Wikipedia do not care whether it is false or true. “Wikipedia is my library” is the new diagnostic for irresponsible laziness.)

When you disappear from Wikipedia is when you matter, apparently. Klinghoffer also provides a sample of people who, according to Wikipedia, are supposed to be notable compared to paleontologist Bechly (show showed sympathy for ID). Judge for yourself.

Whackapedia whacks a civil liberties group

Is social media killing Wikipedia?

Wikipedia founder wades into fake war on fake news

Larry Sanger, Co-founder of Wikipedia, Agrees That it Does not Follow its Own Neutrality Policy

How Wikipedia can turn fiction into fact (Sourced enough times, the fiction becomes “troo”)

Wikipedia: The world of heavily edited unfacts

Wikipedia as astroturf

Wikipedia’s declining stats

Wikipedia hacked by elite sources now (The main problem is that the people who use Wikipedia do not care whether it is false or true. “Wikipedia is my library” is the new diagnostic for irresponsible laziness.)

and

Mathematician complains Wikipedia is promoting “pseudo-science” of multiverse (Then there were the minor revelations that core articles “don’t earn even Wikipedia’s own middle-ranking quality scores” and that some “editors” are paid by outside sources.)

One Reply to “Is Wikipedia actually a “censor”? Maybe something more ominous… Updated!

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Are we of the Spirit of truth, or of another spirit; one that resists truth?

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