Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Really Thorough Take Down of Wikipedia

"Wikipedia: where truth dies online"
Another embarrassment for Wikipedia was the recent revelation that a hoax page had survived for five years and had won several awards. The ‘Bicholim conflict’ entry was a detailed but fictitious account of a war in Indian Goa that never took place. It was rated as one of Wikipedia’s top pages and received a quality award that only one per cent of all Wikipedia articles achieve.
That's a surprisingly easy hoax to do -- how many experts on this conflict can there be to correct it, if it never happened?  The temptation to write an article about the Republic of Vermont/State of Franklin war is very strong!

The article goes to explain one of the great hazards of Wikipedia with respect to the Amanda Knox trial, and in a way that could produce results quite dangerous to justice:
It was easy to prove bias in the case of the Kercher page and some of the controlling editors even identified themselves as contributors to Knox hate sites. They had recognised from the start that Wikipedia would be the first stop for many journalists new to the case. By controlling Wikipedia they could set the media agenda, shape public opinion and even influence court proceedings in Italy where there has now been one trial and two appeals. Italian jurors are encouraged to read widely and do their own research – the polar opposite of the UK system – and this makes trials vulnerable to interference from outside the court.


Rick C said...

Wikipedia's full of deliberately-uncorrected stuff, or rather, wrong things that are deliberately maintained. Global warming, for example, but if you read pages about Communism, it says that the Bolsheviks were the majority faction when it's common knowledge they weren't at first--their use of that name was Orwellian. If you read the talk page, you can see multiple people complaining about it, but if someone changes the page to show the truth, it gets reverted.

Jon said...

I use Wikipedia quite often for definitions of terms I encounter, but it is probably best not to use a crowd-sourced source for the truth on controversial issues. Thanks for the heads-up.

asdf said...

Wiki is obviously biased on any article on climate change. Remember "Global cooling"? Well, it never really existed as a theory:

"This hypothesis had little support in the scientific community, but gained temporary popular attention due to a combination of a slight downward trend of temperatures from the 1940s to the early 1970s and press reports that did not accurately reflect the full scope of the scientific climate literature, i.e., a larger and faster-growing body of literature projecting future warming due to greenhouse gas emissions."

Wouldn't you know it? Exactly what climate change people needed us to believe.