Title: Wiki Needs A Fixi
Posted: August 18, 2007 (02:17 PM)
Edit:Family Guy link added.
With so many companies obviously "augmenting" their Wikipedia entries for some self-tooting, Wikipedia needs to rectify this edit-fest - and fast. What's the point of trying to be an encyclopedia when the facts can be changed by anyone who has access to a keyboard (read: practically everyone)?
It's not like Wikipedia should be the primary source for investigative reports, anyway, but it's credibility doesn't need to be graffitied over. Because that's exactly what's going on. Big companies (and the government, apparently) has the spare time to spray-paint over the Wikipedia walls - or "clean them up," so to speak. Unfortunately, everyone else has a digital spray can as well - and eyes.
We don't need a Big Corporation vs. The People war on every Wikipedia article. We already have enough of that in real life. I'm looking at you, Wal-Mart.
The solution can be as simple as letting users go through the edit history and checkmark the entries that are correct and unbiased as much as possible. The one with the most checkmarks is the one that appears on screen, not any of the slanted entries by Sony, EA, Fox News, or Joe Blow.
If history textbooks tell us anything, truth can be distorted, removed, and abandoned. According to many Japanese textbooks, the Nan-Jing Massacre was a necessary wartime tactic. And of course, there is no such thing as Nazis in Germany, let alone anything that happened between WWI and WWIII (har...). American textbooks aren't completely unbiased either. Need we go into the historical flaws about Thanksgiving? Such a loving relationship between pilgrams and Indians... yeah...
Truth needs to preserved, and the "truthness" of Wikipedia needs to be have standard. If not, we will be surfing in a network of falsified reality, if we aren't already - a reality that can be fabricated to an extent that is worse than anything that a video game can supposedly warp. Wikipedia represents the collective truth of the popular. And what's popular is normally and dangerously the truth we perceive, as unchecked and untrue as it may be.
I agree that Wikipedia is the best source for accessibility and breadth of coverage. That it is an open source, user-based databank makes it a common first step for finding knowledge on whatever subject you can think of - many of which Britannica doesn't cover, especially subjects in popular culture. However, since Wikipedia is the first stop for many people, the need for a straight-answer, hard-fact is higher. People shouldn't have to waste time researching whether a fact is correct or speculate whether an article in an "encyclopedia" has been tampered with. I use Wikipedia frequently so anything that saves me time is a good thing.
I think the main problem with Wikipedia is that it's too easy for an article to be changed by whomever decides they have the time and energy to do so. Even if 99.99% of the common people don't do such things, we already have evidence that major corporations are constantly changing articles. Moderators are dealing with the matter after the fact and not going at the root of the problem.
This does not mean that we have to restrict editing, but instead, bring normal users like us into the fray. The 99.99% of the people that don't mess around with Wikipedia articles is an incredible resource towards the power of self-regulation. Give us the power to flag not only incorrect articles but correct ones. The voice of the majority can play a role against the editing abuse of one corporation. Wikipedia could also implement what eBay did to improve customer ratings, letting the people rate fellow members and give negative ratings to those that are biasing the articles. This is just a few of the possible solutions that can keep Wikipedia edit functions and user accessibility while maintaining its credibility.
Posted: August 18, 2007 (02:31 PM)
Where did you hear the things you mentioned pertaining to Japan and Germany?
Posted: August 18, 2007 (04:05 PM)
Japan Textbooks and Media:
"It is difficult to imagine writing a chapter on World War II without mentioning Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, or Roosevelt, but that is what the Japanese authors have done. Only Tojo is mentioned by name in the Japanese text (Table 7). This sole inclusion is consistent with the practice of Japanese authors totally to ignore or to provide very little information on aspects of World War II outside of Japan."
German Denial of Holocaust and Reemphasis on WWII:
"The German text includes information about the war in North Africa in early 1942, which is surprising since that was a time of German success. Rommel is not mentioned by name, nor is there any mention of the Italian mistakes in North Africa. The German text is very frank in its discussion of certain aspects of Nazi Germany. However, the author has a tendency to avoid much discussion of any military activities, whether they be German victories or defeats."
"For example, the German text provides the most detailed information on the plot to kill Hitler which is not mentioned in either the U.S. or Japanese texts. This text presents much more material on social history, such as on the suffering of the German victims of civilian bombings, than on military operations. No German general is mentioned anywhere in the chapters on World War II.
In many cases, however, students will lack the factual background to consider certain national or international implications, having been provided too brief a summary of certain events in the war. Even the coverage of German military operations is too inadequate to provide a comprehensive understanding of what happened and why."
And most comically...this.
Posted: August 18, 2007 (10:14 PM)
I'm not sure how much credibility Wikipedia has to begin with.
Bachelor Party vs LAN Party
Modern Warfare vs Lightsaber Combat
Women's Suffrage vs Clerks II
Maybe some people here haven't noticed, but Wikipedia is already considered a joke on some parts of the Internet. I wouldn't compare Wikipedia entries being censored to the "selective history" of some nations. Even my High School wouldn't accept Wikipedia as a source and my university certainly doesn't (and rightly so). Most of the time and energy from that site goes into all th stupidest topics. On SomethingAwful, one of the awful links of the day was a gigantic discussion topic on Wikipedia about the clean up on the Codename Kids Next Door Villains Page. There was a lot of arguing and named calling. Terrible.
Posted: August 19, 2007 (10:34 AM)
If you're looking for facts, just get a book or something. Odds are that it will beat out Wikipedia in terms of facts that are, you know, true.