Why We Should Be Wary of Wikipedia

If you’re like me, and pretty much the rest of humanity, when you want to know something, you Google it. Invariably, at or near the top of the results, is a Wikipedia finding with your answer. 

That is an astounding amount of power and influence for Wikipedia. 

Wikipedia claims to be the place for us to understand… everything, quickly and simply. 

Apparently we trust Wikipedia… why? 

For one thing, Wikipedia is a nonprofit

And it says that: 

Wikipedia is a place to learn, free from bias or agenda… Show the world that access to independent and unbiased information matters to you.” — The Wikimedia Foundation

How does Wikipedia provide this “independent and unbiased” information?

Wikimedia, the foundation that hosts Wikipedia, allows anonymous individuals whose identity it does not know — and whose expertise or agenda it has not vetted — to create its content. 

Some of these anonymous editors are relentless about creating negative perceptions of certain individuals and entities — and they are experts at it, rendering their subjects powerless to correct false or slanted information. 

This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed and widely discussed. But is it? Not that I can see. I searched Google to see how much this has come out in major media.  

I found a 2021 article in The Washington Post, written by Samuel Baltz, “a PhD candidate in political science and scientific computing and an MS student in applied mathematics at the University of Michigan.” He asserted: 

Wikipedia is one of the few socially driven websites where, even though anyone can contribute information about breaking news, misinformation is largely suppressed. And Wikipedia’s coverage of current events often directs attention to its pages about ideas in political science, giving readers context for the news…

Wikipedia has developed an impressive record of political and ideological neutrality.

He then goes on to state that it “has serious biases in its coverage.” But what strikes me is that those biases are in the interests of the establishment media like The Washington Post. And, like the fox in the hen house, those media serve as the actual arbiters for whether information on Wikipedia should be trusted. Baltz writes:

From the gender gap in its biographies of scientists to its disproportionate focus on politicians from wealthy countries, Wikipedia’s coverage of people is particularly skewed. And these biases are rampant on the pages that people visit to understand political events.

But because anyone can become a Wikipedia editor, these biases can be corrected.

In other words, the problem with Wikipedia is that it is not politically correct enough, from a kind of establishment liberal perspective. This means women, minorities, and non-Americans are underrepresented — which, as we all know, is hardly a problem limited to Wikipedia alone. The Washington Post has its own problems around this issue

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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