Home » Media, News, Science » More reasons why you shouldn’t bother with Wikipedia …

More reasons why you shouldn’t bother with Wikipedia …

… if you need correct information, not just free information.

This should have been enough:

Authoritative entries remain elusive. Of the 1,000 articles that the project’s own volunteers have tagged as forming the core of a good encyclopedia, most don’t earn even Wikipedia’s own middle -ranking quality scores. – MIT’s Technology Review

Here are some of the people who help make that possible:

Then there’s this: this:

Wikipedia shocked!, just shocked!! that some editors act for pay to promote stuff.

And this:

Wikipedia vs. facts: Someone else discovers the hard way about Wikipedia’s “facts” All that research to get the history correct, and he lost to the trolls. Another Wikipedia edit-ee reports that he was the victim of a 14-year-old.

On the other hand, people who need others to do their thinking for them should get on fine with these people. They seem to enjoy the job.

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30 Responses to More reasons why you shouldn’t bother with Wikipedia …

  1. Michael Scott from the office said it best “Wikipedia. Is the best thing ever. Anyone, in the world, can write anything they want about any subject. So you know you are getting the best possible information.”

  2. On it’s “natural selection” page I added a quote from Mayr’s “What Evolution Is” and they removed it because they thought it was vandalism! IOW those morons can’t even check out the source!

  3. F/N: Observe the speaker is ENDORSED by the James Randi “Educational Foundation” to present on guerrilla skepticism on Wikipedia.

    Almost in her first words she says that “Wikipedia is the most important tool in the skeptics’ toolbox.” She then calls for ideological skeptic editors in the context of crowd-sourcing.

    We here have an outright public confession of ideological censorship, manipulation and distortion of Wikipedia and God only knows what else by the “skeptics” who see themselves as our intellectual betters.

    They plainly have no shame, for they KNOW that a lot of innocent and naive people go to Wiki as a first and too often final reference. So, their reaction is to exploit the openness of the site, and taint it with their ideology in the guise of being knowledge.

    That is, we see here direct videotaped evidence of why Wikipedia so often is so slanted and is so resistant to reasonable correction.

    And, they are obviously exhibiting the amorality and nihilism that Plato warned against so long ago in The Laws, Bk X, c 360 BC, which we need to hear and ponder yet again:

    Ath. . . . [[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [[i.e the classical "material" elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art, and that as to the bodies which come next in order-earth, and sun, and moon, and stars-they have been created by means of these absolutely inanimate existences. The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only. [[In short, evolutionary materialism premised on chance plus necessity acting without intelligent guidance on primordial matter is hardly a new or a primarily "scientific" view! Notice also, the trichotomy of causal factors:  (a) chance/accident, (b) mechanical necessity of nature, (c ) art or intelligent design and direction.] . . . .

    [[Thus, they hold that t]he Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.- [[Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT. (Cf. here for Locke's views and sources on a very different base for grounding liberty as opposed to license and resulting anarchistic "every man does what is right in his own eyes" chaos leading to tyranny. )] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might [[ Evolutionary materialism leads to the promotion of amorality], and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality "naturally" leads to continual contentions and power struggles; cf. dramatisation here],  these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[such amoral factions, if they gain power, "naturally" tend towards ruthless tyranny], and not in legal subjection to them.

    Sobering.

    And, we need also to remind ourselves of a discussion of lying that used to be at Wikipedia about two years ago — given the context, one wonders if that is mere coincidence:

    To lie is to state something with disregard to the truth with the intention that people will accept the statement as truth . . . . even a true statement can be used to deceive. In this situation, it is the intent of being overall untruthful rather than the truthfulness of any individual statement that is considered the lie . . . . One can state part of the truth out of context, knowing that without complete information, it gives a false impression. Likewise, one can actually state accurate facts, yet deceive with them . . . . One lies by omission when omitting an important fact, deliberately leaving another person with a misconception. Lying by omission includes failures to correct pre-existing misconceptions. Also known as a continuing misrepresentation . . . . A misleading statement is one where there is no outright lie, but still retains the purpose of getting someone to believe in an untruth . . .

    KF

  4. PS: There is therefore a clear need for reformation. A move to properly accountable curators who in a panel decide on article content may be an improvement. However, steps will have to be taken to ensure the curators are credible and of reasonable integrity. A complaints system is also needed, as is a zoning that identifies pages with potentially prurient content or controversial matters or the like. Perhaps, there should be a pro and con or panel of schools of thought feature for matters of controversy. In the end, Wiki will either police itself or it will be policed by the courts via tort law and obscenity law.

  5. I use Wikipedia every day to confirm names and dates and spellings. It’s really good at that. And when I see an error in wording or punctuation, I fix it.

    And I can usually find some reference in the list that will give me a better explanation of what’s going on.

    But on almost every subject the main text is Politically Correct to the point of distorting history, Leftist, and of course fully supportive “settled science”.

  6. kairosfocus,

    Wikipedia already has all of that in place – they are called Office actions,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Office_actions

    Given how litigious the US is then it already is policed by the law and for such a high profile (and reasonably wealthy) group it is working as the number of lawsuits that Wikimedia foundation has been involved in is tiny.

    I don’t know what you mean by “obscenity law” as such law is already in place and applies to Wikipedia/Wikimedia (Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA) ). That said Wikipedia is not censored per se.

    So in the end it is working. Sure ID bias doesn’t get into Wikipedia science pages but you can try editing Conservapedia or even better Uncyclopedia http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/.....ent_design

  7. The WP Talk section on Haldane’s Dilemma is interesting :P

  8. LP:

    1: The talk feature is not the article, which is where the disclosure of diversity needs to be by pro con or schools of thought. (Such a feature would reign in a lot of the ideological games playing that goes on there all the time.)

    2: US libel law is a mess, that is why ever so many people imagine they have a “right” to smear innocent reputations under the name of free expression. The final nail in that coffin was the Gen Westmoreland case in the early 80′s as I recall. And, surprise, the groups you are fronting are specialists in smear tactics.

    KF

  9. PS: The notion that Wiki is not under ideological censorship, due to infiltration of its moderators by ideologues is nonsense. The longstanding example of the hatchet job on ID is a capital example but there are ever so many others. And Wikipedia has a lot of prurient or outright obscene materials that should be in the Webs’ red light districts. As for Stanford Enc of Phil, Internet Enc of Phil, Britannica, Journals published online, newspapers, magazines or even Citizendium and New World Encyclopedia that try to correct the mess that is Wikipedia, they all use curated articles with accountable editors for good reason. So drop the pretence by giving a slanted selection of sources and suggesting thereby that anyone can waltz in and do as they please or worse get set up as moderator by a plainly broken system is a good thing. Unfortunately, because it is “free” Wiki seems to be driving legitimate encyclopedias out of business. Let’s just say that that lack of trustworthiness on critical points is why citing Wiki in many Colleges, gets you an automatic grade docking. The safest use of Wiki is as a barometer of 101 level a priori materialist, secular humanist statist thought, to know what one needs to be better than.

  10. F/N 2: Here is Wikipedia itself on part of the problem:

    Wikipedia is not considered a credible source. Wikipedia is increasingly used by people in the academic community, from freshman students to professors, as an easily accessible tertiary source for information about anything and everything. However, citation of Wikipedia in research papers may be considered unacceptable, because Wikipedia is not considered a credible or authoritative source.[1][2]

    This is especially true considering anyone can edit the information given at any time.

    It could not be clearer than from the horse’s mouth, in a damage-limiting disclaimer.

    KF

  11. F/N 3: Harvard U:

    [W]hen you’re doing academic research, you should be extremely cautious about using Wikipedia. As its own disclaimer states, information on Wikipedia is contributed by anyone who wants to post material, and the expertise of the posters is not taken into consideration. Users may be reading information that is outdated or that has been posted by someone who is not an expert in the field or by someone who wishes to provide misinformation. (Case in point: Four years ago, an Expos student who was writing a paper about the limitations of Wikipedia posted a fictional entry for himself, stating that he was the mayor of a small town in China. Four years later, if you type in his name, or if you do a subject search on Wikipedia for mayors of towns in China, you will still find this fictional entry.) Some information on Wikipedia may well be accurate, but because experts do not review the site’s entries, there is a considerable risk in relying on this source for your essays.

    The fact that Wikipedia is not a reliable source for academic research doesn’t mean that it’s wrong to use basic reference materials when you’re trying to familiarize yourself with a topic. In fact, the library is stocked with introductory materials, and the Harvard librarians can point you to specialized encyclopedias in different fields. These sources can be particularly useful when you need background information or context for a topic you’re writing about.

    The matter should be plain, and the zero concession, design thinkers are inevitably ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked attitude of too many Darwinist Zealots should be even more plain.

    KF

  12. kairosfocus, Wikipedia is a tertiary source and should not be used as a reference. I would have thought that everyone knows this so don’t know why you are repeating that here. Oh that’s right you are poisoning the well. The way to use Wikipedia is to see what references it uses for a subject and go to those references.

    In the end though for molecular biology not only does Wikipedia not have ID dogma, it does not cite references to ID/Creationist journals as those are considered to be unreliable sources for those science topics.

    Even if you wanted to bring in your changes to wikipedia, ID/creationist material would not get a free passage onto wikipedia just as how today it does not get a free ride into science journals.

    The only way that ID/creationists can get their material published is if they create their own journal e.g. bio-complexity (ISSN: 2151-7444). Trouble is that even with 33 or so people on the editorial board of that journal it doesn’t clearly appear in the Thomsonreuters web of knowledge of journals.

  13. LP:

    Wikipedia is an ideologically manipulated source and should not be trusted.

    Period.

    Squid ink rhetorical clouds and attempted subject switching distractors on how Wiki will not cite “ID/Creationist journals” — note the implied equality on your part, an irresponsible falsehood that you need to correct — are simply red herring side tracks.

    Similarly, excuses about being a tertiary source have nothing to do with it.

    So are most dictionaries, general reference works, textbooks and encyclopedias, but such are by and large reasonable.

    Those who willfully manipulate Wikipedia, as in the original post’s video, should be red ring fenced as what hey are — deceitful mind-benders of the naive, whom they know will go there as a first and too often a final source.

    This is a serious moral question, and it is an indictment on the atheistical “skeptics” movements that stoop to such tactics.

    Let me again cite the focal opening words of the young woman invited by the James Randi “Educational Foundation” as a speaker and recruiter of volunteers, from the video in the post by News:

    Wikipedia is the most important tool in the skeptics’ toolbox

    This is willful deception (by continued misrepresentation), and endorsement of it at organisational level.

    Deal with it, or stand indicted as an enabler of those who carry out willful deception.

    KF

    PS: The hatchet job on ID in Wikipedia has nothing to do with whether or not they are willing to cite journals that are published by Intelligent Design advocates or journals by Creationists. It has everything to do with the duty of care to truth, accuracy, fairness and innocent reputation. The article LIES and SLANDERS by willful misrepresentation in the teeth of abundant opportunities to correct its errors, period. Whatever rules manipulation tactics — a Wiki specialty — are used to excuse or obfuscate the lying, are besides the point. That lying like that is tolerated, encouraged and even hosted by atheistical groups speaks loud volumes. End of story.

  14. KF

    So are most dictionaries, general reference works, textbooks and encyclopedias, but such are by and large reasonable.

    Be realistic. On a controversial topic such as ID some groups are always going to find any article “ideologically manipulated” – basically the ones that disagree with the article. Given that, is it not much better to have an article which quotes its references rather than one that just says “this is so”?

  15. LP:

    kairosfocus, Wikipedia is a tertiary source and should not be used as a reference.

    If it isn’t going to be open and honest then it shouldn’t exist at all.

    As for getting published, well there aren’t any publications that support unguided evolution in any journal. Heck wikipedia can’t even find support for unguided evolution- evoklutionists can’t find support for unguided evolution.

  16. Mark Frank- Unguided evolution is very controversial. It can’t even be tested. If it could be tested and verified, ID wouldn’t even be around, yet it is…

  17. Wiki’s portraying of Casey Luskin borders criminal behavior.

  18. #17 Box

    Wikipedia does not have an article about Casey Luskin. You are not confusing Rational Wiki with Wikipedia are you ? Evne if you are not, by calling it “Wiki” and placing it as a comment under an OP about Wikipedia you certainly might confuse others.

  19. Joe,

    Wikipedia is that collection of editors that contribute. It is as open and as honest as any group but as contributions must be supported by reliable sources then they can’t really throw in random nonsense but be willing to support what they say.

    Again, the fact that ID contents fails to stick is no different from why ID contents fails to stick in schools, universities or journals; it is any of poor quality, unscientific, unverifiable, or just out and out creationism.

  20. Mark Frank #18: You are not confusing Rational Wiki with Wikipedia are you?

    You are correct. I wrongly assumed that Rational Wiki is part of wikipedia. My mistake.

  21. Lincoln, I posted a quote by Ernst Mayr wrt natural selction and they removed it. Also it is very telling thaty yopu cannot present any supporting evidence for unguided evolution. You can’t even reference a theory of evolution.

  22. MF: Kindly, stop enabling evil. Slander, willful misrepresenations of basic objective points in the teeth of easily accessible corrections and facts, and the like are inexcusable. THAT is realistic. There is a patent duty of care to accuracy, fairness, truth and more, which are being willfully and consistently violated by a great many people, here through the deliberate sabotage of a general reference web site advertised to one and all as an encyclopedia. This, as willfully continued misrepresentation, is lying. It is also in many cases willful defamation of innocent character. That, too, is reality. And it is inexcusable. GEM of TKI

  23. LP: Stop being irresponsible and enabling of evil — or pay the price of that, being ring fenced as just that. If you care to investigate you will easily find out that Wikipedia has a major bias problem on many topics [cf the Harvard U warning above for a sampler], and indeed the OP helps show why — from the mouths of brazen liars and slanderers themselves. Abusive amoral, ruthlessly deceitful persons have taken over key positions and are doing inexcusable things, so that corrections, however well warranted, do not stick. Sometimes they are removed in seconds or minutes, and often those who make them — in a vicious twistabout — are tagged as vandalisers and may be barred. Some articles are then locked down. As to the censorship games with journals such as PBSW a decade ago, they have decisively failed. There are now dozens of peer reviewed design supportive publications in technical journals, and the number grows month by month. KF

  24. F/N: Bias regarding ID is longstanding, cf here from ENV in 2006, and compare to what obtains today, which raises the point that after nearly a decade the problem is deeply entrenched:

    _______________

    >>Putting Wikipedia On Notice About Their Biased Anti-ID Intelligent Design Entries

    Casey Luskin September 6, 2006 9:15 AM | Permalink

    We received this e-mail recently from a friendly engineer. He gave us permission to post his letter but only if we put his name in bold.

    I am an engineer. I am not a biologist. I became interested in Intelligent Design recently and decided to investigate it a bit. Naturally I consulted Wikipedia for information on the subject and was stunned by the one sided tone of the material I found there. When I was in college I learned that the best way to defeat an opponent in a debate is to take on their strongest arguments demonstrate the flaws in them.

    If evolutionists truly believe in “survival of the fittest”, they should have employed this tactic rather than those methods I saw in the ID article on Wikipedia. The proponents of ID were not allowed to even present their arguments, rather, they first attempted to kill the messenger, and then only arguments against ID were presented.

    May I suggest that you would be better served to use a debate format for subjects of controversy.

    Let each side present their case, sticking to the facts, and afford both sides the opportunity to engage in rebuttal and to rebut the rebuttal. Rulings from a judge … will not impress any who don’t already agree with it.

    If evolution is indeed the fittest, it will survive such a test. The fact that other tactics were employed to defeat ID indicates to me that perhaps the ID folks have the stronger argument, an argument that established scientific circles do not care to face.

    May the strongest argument survive!

    Regards,
    Paul R. Stone [--> Gotta honour his request!]

    I know of numerous people who have tried to suggest changes to Wikipedia to lessen the current bias of the ID entries — including staff of Discovery Institute. They were rebuffed. The moderators of Wikipedia’s ID-pages have repeatedly rejected and censored changes that would provide some semblance of balance or objectivity to the discussion. Basic accuracy on dates and names have suffered, never mind the downright falsehoods about the science.

    If you would like to contact Wikipedia to express your feelings about the biased nature of the entries on intelligent design, e-mail them at: “[email protected]”. >>

    ________________

    Something that longstanding and sustained in the teeth of correction is a core systemic characteristic. If you doubt me on sustained, cf. this UD post, here, dating to Dec 29, 2012. I doubt things have got better in the past year.

    Wiki is outrageously biased, and built on a defective model. As political biases were demonstrable from the outset in ways evident to even crude metrics, it seems to be part of the institutional DNA.

    (And in response to this article, I suggest the bias has got subtler in some ways, not truly better. For instance this self serving announcement, we got rid of commercial biases serves only to underscore the ideological biases and tell us the sort of techniques that are liable to still be going on.)

    That sort of deep-rootedness means, it will take breakdown and existential crisis to change it.

    AKA, it has to get worse — much worse — before it will get better.

    KF

  25. F/N2: An old expose on some of the moderation powers abuse tactics is here. Much the same continues to this day. On odd topics like hobbies Wiki can work okay . . . though I just found it amateurish on fishing lures . . . but once the selectively hyperskeptical a priori materialist secular humanist, statist- progressivist those who dare differ are ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked agenda kicks in that’s the kiss of death. KF

  26. PS: this one on climategate — which has over several years eviscerated the momentum of a major global push be exposing academic thuggery — shows how the game works on other topics.

  27. PPS: It is worth laying out some facts on the Connolley affair, from the just cited:

    Connolley took control of all things climate in the most used information source the world has ever known – Wikipedia. Starting in February 2003, just when opposition to the claims of the band members were beginning to gel, Connolley set to work on the Wikipedia site. He rewrote Wikipedia’s articles on global warming, on the greenhouse effect, on the instrumental temperature record, on the urban heat island, on climate models, on global cooling. On Feb. 14, he began to erase the Little Ice Age; on Aug.11, the Medieval Warm Period. In October, he turned his attention to the hockey stick graph. He rewrote articles on the politics of global warming and on the scientists who were skeptical of the band. Richard Lindzen and Fred Singer, two of the world’s most distinguished climate scientists, were among his early targets, followed by others that the band especially hated, such as Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, authorities on the Medieval Warm Period.

    All told, Connolley created or rewrote 5,428 unique Wikipedia articles. His control over Wikipedia was greater still, however, through the role he obtained at Wikipedia as a website administrator, which allowed him to act with virtual impunity. When Connolley didn’t like the subject of a certain article, he removed it — more than 500 articles of various descriptions disappeared at his hand. When he disapproved of the arguments that others were making, he often had them barred — over 2,000 Wikipedia contributors who ran afoul of him found themselves blocked from making further contributions. Acolytes whose writing conformed to Connolley’s global warming views, in contrast, were rewarded with Wikipedia’s blessings. In these ways, Connolley turned Wikipedia into the missionary wing of the global warming movement.

    Now, look at what has happened with design theory and ask yourself if we are seeing signs of a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing unvaryingly the same design.

  28. F/N 3: A now 4 yrs old reference page on dissections of Wikipedia, see if there’s been any serious change for the better. Don’t hold your breath. KF

  29. F/N 4: How toxic narratives planted at Wiki then spread far and wide. KF

  30. Wiki’s F– on ID, Jan 2 2013, here. KF

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