Wikipedia

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Wikipedia is both hit and miss, with a lot more hits than misses. I reference it a lot, because most articles are pretty good, or at least good enough. Most of their lies and bias are lies and bias of omission. (What they say isn't usually wrong, but what they don't say might completely change the context). So they are a pretty good reference. But don't let that lull you into an "Appeal to Authority" or "Appeal to Celebrity" fallacy. Science is skepticism. Wikipedia is hegemony. Wikipedia has millions of articles, across hundreds of thousands of topics -- and each topic is a community (clique) of editors, and herd-think rules most of them. Some areas a fine. But if one clique is bad, that whole area can be bad; they won't allow counter-factual that disagree with their agenda. And there are bad (biased) areas of wikipedia. Especially in History, Science, Politics, and anything that's controversial. And everything can be political and controversial to folks that focus on any topic.


For example History is overloaded with liberal Historians. I don't think anyone has figured out why, but many of the most vocal tend to lean that way. So if you just have a random sampling of Historians, they're going to pool to the left, and spin things "their way". If you take a sub-sampling of them, the ones most likely to clique up and drive out the others, give their work away for free, or do so only for the benefit of programming the minds of the next generation, that may be even worse.

And this isn't just hypothetical. I watched a whole exchange in the Talk Section on whether Fascism was a right wing philosophy. (It pretty much cured me of the delusion that Wikipedia is to be completely trusted and is the paragon of non-biased).

Isn't fascism a right wing ideology?

I watched some great debates in Wikipedia on this topic (in the Talk section on Fascism), that covered all of this.

Some political historians were complaining that "right wing" completely deceived the American audience (since the terms were reversed/opposed), and it should be called out or clarified. It went back and forth, and this faction won the logical/historical argument for the U.S. audience. But once losing the logical/factual argument, the lefty-faction "won" by declaring that it was better to cater to the Euro-centric definition of left-right than the American-centric one, AND it would be a waste of space to clarify that for either audience. So they rejected/removed those edits... AND then purged the debate from the talk section AND then they purged/blocked the people that disagreed with them -- that way there would be no hope of balance/education leaking into the threads on fascism.

Thus ended my illusions that "anyone with a valid point" could contribute to wikipedia. All the correct points were made, and supported with facts and links, but it didn't fit the agenda, so bye-bye. more...

There was a lot more evidence in how they handled issues like McCarthy (Joe not Jennie), Abraham Lincoln, Civil War was about Slavery, FDR, "the Southern Strategy" and a few other topics I know quite a bit about. I've tried to contribute, and witnessed others doing the same, and a few editors in an area are more than happy to bully and spin the others edits, or block them from valuable contributions, with no attempts to balance the side of the truth they find "distasteful".

Even the standards are based on an appeal to popularity. You have to find citations of every issue that the "editors" don't like (even if it's commonly known). But liberal editors in Newspapers tend to not cite things that are common or they don't find popular. And you get into another game where book citations can get far more scrutiny, especially if the popular Historians/writers found their views controversial. Thus even citations are a filter, both in requiring more and better for controversial issues, while being able to snub them more for the hegemony of the clique.

The sciences aren't any more pure either. You get near anything to do with Global Warming, Climate Change and that area, and it's contentious as fuck, with a bunch of little fascists running the area, and there's a definite double-standard on quality. Throw out a baseless claim supporting it, and readily accepted. Someone offers examples of where that nugget of information was criticized or disproven, and you need a mountain of evidence and rather that offer that, they'll probably just remove the offending original factoid (claiming that the evidence against it, while finally enough, is just a distraction from the bigger argument, so remove them both). Then replace the original with an equally sketchy citation or factoid, that doesn't have as many citations against it... yet. There's not a lot of balance in those areas, because of the community (clique) that controls them. Think like us, or we'll henpeck you to death. Any contrarian thinkers will eventually give up and go elsewhere.

Examples

14 items

  • Wikipedia on Trickle Down Economics - An example of Wikipedia's embarrassingly bad bias, poor writing, and misleading summary is the Wikipedia entry on Trickle Down Economics. It looks like it was written by a left wing polemic rather than anyone interested in economics or facts (or teaching). The Talk Section has a few interesting PoV's.
  • Tea Party - The railroading of the TeaParty is a great example of FakeNews. The TeaParty started under Bush, as a bunch of bi-partisan people angry at rising debt, and it escalated under Obama's trillion dollar porkulus. The media played them off as radicals, racists and domestic terrorists and called them TeaBaggers (after the sexual practice of sucking balls), and after 4 years of false stories were able to drive-out the moderates and democrats, leaving mostly the religious right (as they were used to be bullied and lied about). If you read places like Wikipedia, or listen to the left-wing news, you'll get none of that context/backstory (or history of how they moved right over time), leaving readers/viewers with a view that's quite different from reality.
  • Red Flag Laws -
    RedFlagLaws.jpg
    There's this idea that Red Flag laws might help -- that people could flag people who are at risk and get their guns taken away from them. It sounds good, as long as you don't think about it. However if you think it through: (a) most mass shooters most don't give warnings = all false positives (b) if you lower the bar enough that the red-flag laws apply, then everyone is guilty = all false negatives (c) it only forces shooters to wait (d) they just get/steal other guns or they can go to more deadly methods (e) it's already been abused where tried (f) Think SWATting someone (g) there's never been a study that shows that they help prevent gun violence (and they've tried to find justification in the past, many times). So while I'm not against the theory, there's no practical way to implement it, that wouldn't be a cluster-fuck and worse than doing nothing.
  • 2019.03.26 Wikipedia editors take money to alter stories - The facade that Wikipedia is non-partisan is crushed when their editors (like Ed Sussman) get caught altering the tone/content for cash. (Pay-for-whitewash). And the list of payers is a whose who of leftist organizations: Facebook, NBC, Nextdoor, Axios, CNN, Intel, and so on. Of course this comes to a surprise to noone who has ever tried to edit a wikipedia page only to run headlong into one of their editors hypocritical double-standards on what qualifies as worthy. But it's another drop of paint on the mural that makes up their brand.
  • 2018.10.03 Breitbart Blacklisted by Wikipedia - You don't have to like Breitbart, to admit that it's a news source that's broken some pretty good scoops, and done some serious investigative journalism. They of course have an obvious bias, but so do all the others. Banning Breitbart as a trusted news source, without being able to site examples of why or what standard they broke that others they tolerate hasn't as well, is pure leftist politics. It's like Joseph Stalin purging figures of people he didn't like from Soviet history. At least while still allowing partisan sources such as CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, NYT, WaPo and HuffPo. Pick a standard, and ban everyone based on that. But you don't get to have arbitrary standards. So the fact that the latter is blanket allowed, and the former is not, is not a reflection on Breitbart's bias but on Wikipedia's.
  • 2018.08.05 Sarah Jeong - Wikipedia Entry - As Christina Sommers points out, you can look on Wikipedia page for Sarah Jeong (known racist and NYT writer), and that stuff is being actively suppressed. You could follow the debate on the talk page, but like before, it's the usual -- a bunch of people want to suppress the truth, so simple statements of fact like "Sarah incited controversy for a series of insensitive tweets" gets blocked while debate is going on. Eventually, most of it gets sorted out, if you write it in a neutral enough way and they're left leaning, or slightly more incendiary terms if they are right leaning.
  • 2018.04.22 YETI Coolers - In the wake of Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, YETI Coolers cut off ties to the NRA Foundation (the shooting sports division), but wouldn't say why (coincidentally timed with Delta and REI dropping the NRA). This somewhat dickish move, and the NRA's open letter, lead to backlash amongst shooting enthusiasts, many shooting their coolers for YouTube, and YETI's competitors stepping up their 2A support. Of course WaPo and Snopes "FakeChecked" by taking YETI's damage-control effort claim that they were just ending an old promotional program (that didn't apply to anyone else, they wouldn't fulfill outstanding orders, and doesn't explain the timing or lack of communication or remedy). The "Press" didn't wait for NRA's reply to that, which sounded a lot like: {cough:bullshit!}.
  • 2017.11.13 Roy Moore Manipulation - While I'm no fan of Roy Moore, anyone that didn't support the far left narrative on Wikipedia was attacked, then banned for defending themselves.
  • 2017.11.02 Questioning the Russian Hacker Narrative - When an AP report mentioned that Russians were hacking anyone who opposed Russian interest (not just Hillary Clinton), it started a discussion over purging anything that didn't fit the "Russians hacked 2016 election because they wanted Trump to win" narrative. An editor that objected to censoring counter-points was attacked and banned for trying to defend a little balance.
  • 2017.09.17 downplaying Antifa’s violent extremism - An article on the violent Antifa movement was created. Left-wing editors removed or minimized mentions of the group’s violent history before their violence at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. But following the violence, this suppression got to the point where the article’s only mentions of violence, far left activism, or tha government agencies characterized them as a terrorist group were in the headlines of sources. Then added material portraying Antifa as victims of smear campaign. Often done by editors who had support for Antifa on their profile pages.
  • 2017.07.04 Burying CNN Blackmail Controversy - There was a page created on CNN’s blackmail controversy (where CNN threatened to dox someone). Other editors stepped in, and buried the lede and much of the factual content, not because of standards, but because it made CNN look bad (by telling the truth). Efforts to restore the material were met with a wall of double standards or outright censorship.
  • 2017.07 James Damore evidence tampering - When Google employee James Damore’s memo on the company’s diversity programs and treatment of conservative views went viral, editors on Wikipedia began removing reliably-sourced parts of articles he cited to support his positions. When the truth doesn't favor the left, the left tries to erase the truth from History, like the little Stalins they are.
  • 2017.01 UC Berkeley Prof trades wiki-edits for grades - UC Berkeley instructor Michel Gelobter launched a course whose course description gave students grades based on their willingness to advance an “environmental justice” narrative, by altering Wikipedia pages. Of course it openly slurred President Trump with falsehoods to filter out the rational and net the radical follower trolls. Eventually, Wikipedia editors did delete some of the more egregious additions, but many remained.
  • 2012.08.15 Family Research Council Shooting - 🇺🇲 Washington, DC: Floyd Lee Corkins was a gay activist who was triggered by the SPLC list of hate groups. So he went to the one: the near-by Family Research Council. He took a handgun, two extra magazines of ammo, and sandwiches from Chick-fil-A to smear in the faces of his victims and opened fire at the local FRC office: fortunately he only hit one security guard who disarmed and apprehended him. If a conservative had done that after a sermon at a church or based on anything a conservative group said, that group would be listed as a domestic terrorist organization by SPLC, and the media would trash that organization. Since it was the SPLC, the story was buried and the tone was, "you can't use a fanatic to misrepresent a whole cause", a standard never applied to the right.


Conclusion

So the point is NOT that Wikipedia is bad. I think it's a rather great resource, if you go in with an eye towards skepticism, you recognize it's incompleteness on just about every topic (except really popular ones), and you accept that much of it is written by herd think and consensus views.

You're not going to get a lot of original thought and worse, the less popular views and less savory side of History is often a bit white-washed by the community. And the same with Science. Science is about Skepticism, Wikipedia is about Hedgemony and Popularity (of the area). So if it's a really popular view, they'll cover it well, if it's a dynamic area of Science, with challenges and new info coming in, except that most of that will be suppressed for what the clique wants.

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📚 References