No WikipediaJanuary 9, 2010
I have occasionally referenced Wikipedia as a source for noncontroversial material, such as areas or populations of countries. But I have been very leery about using Wikipedia references for controversial or politically sensitive topics.
Wikipedia has some fundamental problems. Ironically, these problems stem from what are touted as Wikipedia’s greatest features.
Wikipedia brags that “Anyone can be a Wikipedian—including you. Just click the edit link at the top of any page, or one of the ones at the beginning of each section.” Sounds good, Wikipedia has empowered you, right? But they have also empowered everybody else: those with an axe to grind, a cause to promote, a zealotry to advance, a grudge to nurse, a bone to pick…you get the idea.
An obsessive person or group of people with time on time on their hands can work to sway public opinion on controversial subjects by simply slanting hundreds or thousands of articles to their liking. If an opposing view does not have a similar determined group to keep vigil on all pertinent articles, battling edit for edit, impartiality and truth are the losers.
Wikipedia is anonymous. People with an axe to grind, a grudge to nurse, a zealotry to advance, etc. are the greatest benefactors of anonymity. People who do good work are all too happy to sign their name to it. Look at this list of usernames of account holders at Wikipedia. This is just the first 500 of many tens of thousands. Some of my favorites in the first 500 are “!PoisonOfDoom!,” “!NT!M!DATOR,” and the new, but soon to be popular “!MMORAL.” The bottom line is that you don’t have clue if the person who last edited the wiki page you are reading is a tenured professor with two PhDs or a 24-year-old loser from Kentucky.
If you have kids in school in the U.S., like I do, then you know that they are being indoctrinated with global warming alarmism. Teachers, who are often poorly informed or even scientifically illiterate themselves, assign projects and essays designed to “raise their consciousness” about the environment. Where do these kids turn for information? Wikipedia, of course. If you care about what goes into your children’s heads, then the William Connolley debacle illustrates the danger of Wikipedia.
Wikipedia may be useful, but should never be trusted. Always check the sources. I will never, NEVER cite Wikipedia as a source again. I have placed a “No Wikipedia” logo on the upper left corner right side of this blog. I encourage bloggers and website administrators to copy one of the following versions of this logo to put it on their web pages as well.