cross-posted from:

Any words of advice from more Wikimedians more experienced than I? From everybody who uses Wikipedia and her sisters, what could be better?

  • plu
    22 years ago

    Wikipedia right now is mostly controlled by a clique of hardcore admins who through dedication achieved an “unquestionable” rank among the community.

    They won’t outright throw in lies into articles, but they definitely will deny edits that are against their personal agendas on nebulous reasons such as “untrustworthy source” (without explanation) or ".

    Additionally, there is no objectivity when it comes to science. It seems counterintuitive to say that, but what really is a trustworthy and untrustworthy source? If you are an anticommunist, you surely will deny Chinese state media reporting Coronavirus statistics, but at the same time use the CDC of the USA as a gold standard for your reporting, while if you are anti-America, you will see the latter as the same kind of “state sponsored propaganda” as the other does with Chinese sources.

    They selectively apply rules based on perceived bias and their “common sense”. “State-sponsored media is a trustworthy source only when it comes from the West.”. “An article is worthy of creation if it relates to something I have heard of, otherwise it’s irrelevant”.

    Even word choices are things you cannot really contest. And what about source choices? Some Wikipedia articles quote highly controversial studies as fact. Some quote far right news papers simply because they are newspapers.

    All of these problems are even more apparent in the non-English variants of Wikipedia simply because a lot of the pages only have had one or two contributors in their lifetime. I remember reading a German wikipedia article (which, by the way, the German wikipedia is AFAIK the largest non-English one) where the author was just, without a source, talking about how the economic crisis of the Weimar Republic gave rise to “conspiracy theories such as Marxism”, and then locked the article.

    And if you try to introduce an edit to make an article more neutral (not even pro-the other side, just more neutral), they accuse you of a politically motivated edit.

    In short: Wikipedia pretends to be objective, but is ruled by a hegemony of people who nebulously reject and accept edits based on rules they selectively apply. There is no way to be objective because sources themselves aren’t – so facts can only be presented in a certain light. Because of the faux objectiveness, which light they choose is totally up to the admins themselves because Wikipedia denies taking a political stance.

    • Muad'Dibber
      42 years ago

      I second this. There’s nothing wrong with the tech or idea behind a wiki (except maybe its natural centralization into a small number of unquestionable page maintainers) … but like any tool, what matters most, is who its used by, and for what aim.

      When it comes to anything politically-adjacent, its not to be trusted.