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Benjamin Geer on Fri, 23 Jun 2006 10:26:25 +0200 (CEST)

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On 23/06/06, lotu5 {AT} resist.ca <lotu5 {AT} resist.ca> wrote:
> Second, apparently blogs are not considered good enough sources for
> Wikipedia.

(Apologies for partial cross-posting.)

In my own experience, many of the people who contribute to Wikipedia
articles in English, on politically controversial subjects, seem
to be motivated by the desire to promote an ideology at all costs,
typically an ideology of the American far right. These are the people
who repeatedly, insistently, copy and paste material from conspiracy
theory web sites or neoconservative propaganda web sites into
Wikipedia articles, or just make things up and insert them without
citing any sources. If you want to maintain any kind of scholarly
standards in a Wikipedia article, it can be very difficult to avoid
an edit war with them, and of course every time you revert their
edits, you'll be accused of promoting your own bias and censoring
other points of view. Wikipedia policy encourages compromise and, last
time I checked at least, doesn't take a clear stand on what kinds of
sources are acceptable. Anyone can anonymously put up a web site (and
why not a blog?) to publish fabricated information, and cite that web
site as a source in a Wikipedia article. The result is often something
like this cartoon:


Or to put it differently, it's a bit like the reports in the New York
Times, based on fables told by Ahmad Chalabi, that Saddam Hussein's
regime possessed weapons of mass destruction.[1] Wasn't Wikipedia
supposed to do better than this?

For this reason, a number of controversial Wikipedia articles
(particularly those dealing with Islam and related subjects) are
locked by Wikipedia administrators. Others have simply been abandoned
to unscrupulous propagandists.


[1] http://www.thenation.com/doc/20040607/scheer0525

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