Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

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


Larry Sanger is the co-founder of Wikipedia and the author of its “neutrality policy.”  Mr. Sanger posted an article today about media bias in which he alluded to the neutrality policy he drafted.

I replied (see the combox of the article):

“Wikipedia’s neutrality policy.” I’ve been reading Wikipedia articles for years, and from the evidence I would not have thought such a thing exists, or, if it does, the name is somewhat misleading, because the policy would read something like: “On all matters cultural and political, Wikipedia will endeavor to crush conservative viewpoints. Neutrality will not be tolerated.” Just read the post on, for example, intelligent design theory. It is written by the theory’s antagonists, and all efforts to correct the post to reflect the real theory, as opposed to the straw man caricature presented by its opponents, are ruthlessly suppressed.

In a response Mr. Sanger stated:

For the record, I agree with this. Wikipedia doesn’t live up to its policy and in fact deliberately misinterprets it on some issues. Although I founded Wikipedia, I’m also long gone from the organization and am now probably its biggest critic, so…

There you go folks.  We ain’t making it up.  The co-founder of Wiki agrees with us.


Disgusted co-founders are the most effective rebels. This has always been true in industry. Ford spawns Dodge, GM spawns Chrysler, Fairchild spawns Intel etc. More recently it's been true in the NGO realm. Greenpeace spawns Patrick Michaels. polistra
Use Infogalactic instead. It's a fork of wikipedia without the hidden bias and manipulation https://infogalactic.com/info/Main_Page "Infogalactic does not share the highly centralized structure of Wikipedia or the ideological dogma of the Wikimedia Foundation. The primary requirements are for the information contributed to be true, relevant, and verifiable, rather than cited from a so-called “published reliable source”, since experience has proven how reliance upon the latter can be easily gamed by editors and administrators alike. There is no culture of notability, ideology, or deletionism at Infogalactic. The addition of perspective filters and two levels of Context and Opinion to every page means that the average editor's contribution is much less likely to be deleted for political reasons or fall victim to edit wars over controversial pages." There are also Mozilla and Chrome browser extensions that redirect English Wikipedia pages to Infogalactic pages. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/infosextant/ https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/infosextant/plieanmckkckfcdfaobonmmmbeniaige And IIRC, the new browser Brave will default to Infogalactic instead of Wikipedia... Charles
BA: I suggest we need to focus on two main issues, as debates on neutrality, bias and the like do not solve the problem:
ISSUE 1: The balance of warrant vs persuasive power in a world where
a --> emotions are most persuasive, b --> almost all arguments have to appeal to or rest on source credibility (witnesses, authority, teachers, recorded body of claimed knowledge etc), but c --> no argument is better than underlying assumptions, claimed facts and its quality of reasoning
ISSUE 2: the relationship between truth, materiality, lies, knowledge and objectivity, where we may briefly summarise:
TRUTH: Following Aristotle, that which says of what is -- that it is; and, of what is not -- that it is not. [BODY OF] MATERIAL TRUTH: In a context, we must consider the body of credible truths that would make a difference to a momentous decision (as in, as Jewish mothers say: a half-truth is a whole lie) LIE: to speak with disregard to truth, in the hope that what is said or suggested will be taken as true and/or as the truth; equivalently, any species of calculated deception. Where, truth artfully not stated, raised or asked about can be profoundly deceitful. KNOWLEDGE: bear in mind here the weaker sense that is most commonly used in real world contexts, well warranted, credibly true belief. (Such is in principle provisional and subject to correction, withdrawal or addition, but is tested and found reliable enough to base serious decisions on.) BELIEF: acceptance of some thing x, that it is so in reality in a relevant sense OBJECTIVE TRUTH: things that are credibly true on a warrant tied to proper first principles of good reasoning, as opposed to being merely perceived as so by some individual, group or community of reference. (Not to be confused with neutrality or pro's and cons etc.)
In this light, we can assess the agenda of media, education, news and views, etc, in light of the spin-driven, agit-prop agenda-shaped, too often deceitful narrative challenge that so often warps good governance in our civilisation. Any fair-minded and informed observer will recognise many challenges in these considerations, for the ID debates and far beyond. Our civilisation is in deep, deep -- and too often, stubbornly unacknowledged -- trouble. KF kairosfocus
Wow - nice job News. I would bet that even with the founder of Wikipedia admitting that, the 'editors' of the ID page won't accept any criticism. But at least we've been validated. Silver Asiatic
We've got lots of material on the problems with taking Wikipedia seriously here at UD: How Wikipedia can turn fiction into fact (Sourced enough times, the fiction becomes “troo”) Wikipedia: The world of heavily edited unfacts Wikiedia 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.) It is good to think someone who was once involved cares. News

Leave a Reply