Posts Tagged ‘Wikipedia’


No Wikipedia

January 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.


William Connolley – Thoughtcop

December 20, 2009

“And while the future’s there for anyone to change, still you know it seems, it would be easier sometimes to change the past.”

Fountain of Sorrow
Jackson Browne

Thoughtcop - William Connolley

In George Orwell’s 1984 Winston Smith and thousands of co-workers diligently work to re-write history.  It has been clear to many that much the same thing has been going on over at Wikipedia.  It turns out that one of the champions of the historical rewrite is a fellow by the name of William Connolley, who has taken it upon himself to re-write the thermal history of the planet at Wikipedia to juice-up global warming fears.

Lawrence Solomon, from Canada’s National Post explains

Connolley took control of all things climate in the most used information source the world has ever known – Wikipedia. Starting in February 2003, just when opposition to the claims of the band members were beginning to gel, Connolley set to work on the Wikipedia site. He rewrote Wikipedia’s articles on global warming, on the greenhouse effect, on the instrumental temperature record, on the urban heat island, on climate models, on global cooling. On Feb. 14, he began to erase the Little Ice Age; on Aug.11, the Medieval Warm Period.

But re-writing natural history was not enough for Connolley.  He moved on to recreating the personal histories of prominent global warming skeptics…

In October, he turned his attention to the hockey stick graph. He rewrote articles on the politics of global warming and on the scientists who were skeptical of the band. Richard Lindzen and Fred Singer, two of the world’s most distinguished climate scientists, were among his early targets, followed by others that the band especially hated, such as Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, authorities on the Medieval Warm Period.

This wasn’t just a hobby for Mr. Connelley, it must have been his full-time obsession.  He re-wrote over 5,000 Wikipedia articles! 

But can’t anybody re-write articles at Wikipedia?  You can’t hold it against Connolley that he was very passionate and prolific about the subject, can you?

It seems Mr. Connolley had a little more control at Wikipedia than you or I have.  Solomon again elaborates..,

His control over Wikipedia was greater still, however, through the role he obtained at Wikipedia as a website administrator, which allowed him to act with virtual impunity. When Connolley didn’t like the subject of a certain article, he removed it — more than 500 articles of various descriptions disappeared at his hand. When he disapproved of the arguments that others were making, he often had them barred — over 2,000 Wikipedia contributors who ran afoul of him found themselves blocked from making further contributions.

The efforts of people like William Connolley, Michael Mann, the folks at CRU and the rest of the rabid hockey stick team have paid off in spades for the global warming alarmists.  I know intelligent, educated, scientists who actually believe that the medieval warm period is the creation of revisionist history of global warming “deniers.”  They don’t understand that before the global warming controversy started heating up (pun intended) in the 1990’s the medieval warm period and the little ice age were standard fare for anybody studying the thermal history of the Holocene.  It has been the alarmists, like William Connelley, who have tried to “get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.”

Connolly’s Biography on Wikipedia

Connolly has his own biography on Wikipedia.  At this moment (December 20th, 2009, 6:10 pm Mountain Time) the article says this about his “Wikipedia activity”…

A July 2006 article in The New Yorker reported that Connolley briefly became “a victim of an edit war over the entry on global warming”, in which a skeptic repeatedly “watered down” the article’s explanation of the greenhouse effect.[10] The skeptic later brought the case before Wikipedia’s arbitration committee, claiming that Connolley was pushing his own point of view in the article by removing material with opposing viewpoints. The arbitration committee imposed a “humiliating one-revert-a-day” editing restriction on Connolley. Wikipedia “gives no privilege to those who know what they’re talking about”, Connolley told The New Yorker.[10] The restriction was later revoked, and Connolley went on to serve as a Wikipedia administrator from January 2006 until 13 September 2009.[10]

But just yesterday, Dennis Kuzara reported at WattsUpWithThat that Pierre Grés over at Wikipedia told him, via email, that …

“In September 2009, the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee revoked Mr. Connolley’s administrator status after finding that he misused his administrative privileges while involved in a dispute unrelated to climate warming.  This has now been added to his article.”

Really? What did he do that was worse than attempting to re-write the history of the planet in a way to affect decisions about the economy of the world?  I’d really like to hear the details of that one.

The part about “This has been added to his article” may be the most revealing statement in this whole mess.  Why?  Because, as you can see from the quote about Connolley’s “Wikipedia Activity,” above, it does not appear there now.  I guess the army of Wikipedia editors are still hard at work.