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Michael thank you for having this great blog. I have following your blog for some time, I have been posting comments only recently.

Even when I was more innocent of Wikipedia's pitfalls, I wisely used it almost exclusively to introduce others to subjects I already knew alot about. Still, I've recently resolved to wean myself of my once-reflexive linking habit; I don't want that site's stink on me.

I liken Wikipedia to being at bar where everyone has had too much to drink, only watches Fox "news" and wants to discuss politics. I've only used to basically confirm information that I pretty much know already, and isn't controversial. "Olimar the Wonder Cat" sounds like it would have been good though.

This was a worthwhile piece... until you lambasted Guerilla Skeptics. They are following the rules and almost exclusively promote skepticism, not undermine paranormal researchers as has been alleged (but is false). Wikipedia is a good place to start but the smart Googler must consider that controversial topics will be, well, controversial and hard to pin down.

DoubtfulNews
This is not a place to be argumentative but I think you don't know what you are talking about. I have had direct interactions with Guerilla Skeptics and they have an agenda and clearly state that they have. They provide incomplete and biased information on web sites that provide information with which they don't agree and as a true guerilla, fight until they kill off every last man or woman who doesn't agree with them. They have trashed Wikipedia and no one who wants accurate reliable and complete information should use or link to that site.

Wikipedia is like listening to Cliffy at Cheers! An encyclopedia of misinformation! "Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got. Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. Wouldn't you like to get away?" LOL!

Here are some comments on Wackypedia from the WUWT site:

mpaul says: May 30, 2014 at 12:23 pm
I think Wikipedia’s format ensures that the editor with the highest degree of obsessive compulsive disorder prevails.

SilverBear says: April 30, 2014 at 12:04 pm
A friend of mine is a professor from Manhattan who has been active in Republican party fundraising and has run for office several times himself in the island where registered Republicans are in the extreme minority. There was a Wikipedia article on him. He edited it for several biographical inaccuracies. This SHOULD be good, right?

Nope. His edits were erased and he was told they were not being allowed because he “was not an expert on X___ Y____” The fact that he _is himself_ Mr. X____ Y____ in the flesh apparently mattered not one whit.

rstritmatter says: November 3, 2012 at 3:44 pm
Along with several colleagues with terminal degrees (PhDs and MDs in psychotherapy with records of publication in literature) I have for several years now been banned from editing Wikipedia articles on the subject of the Shakespearean authorship question, a topic I have studied for more than twenty years and on which I am a world recognized expert (featured, for instance, in this recent documentary: http://www.amazon.com/Last-Will-Testament/dp/B009VB7XM2). Those responsible for these bannings have no expertise beyond the fact that they have become Grand Poohbahs in the Wikipedia establishment, which functions something like the house that Kafka built. As Adam Gopnick wrote in the New Yorker, Wkipedia (without any help from external pressure) is useless on topics on which “one side is wrong but doesn’t know it.”

Eeyore Rifkin says: April 30, 2014 at 4:36 am
Wikipedia is untrustworthy because it explicitly refuses to be guided by a search for truth, and furthermore it cultivates a disdain for the very idea of truth. The whole is governed by an adolescent ethos that colors every topic area, engendering innumerable distortions and perversions of the truth that persist merely because they’re au courant.

Wikipedia’s fundamental contradiction is this: it appeals to a rebelliousness of spirit and an idealistic egalitarian notion that everybody is an authority on some little thing; however, the only exercise of intellectual authority that Wikipedia fully condones on its pages is the citation of an authority published elsewhere. There is no maturation, no development of intelligence, no path towards wisdom. The Wikipedia knowledge-function remains locked in a perpetual adolescence, forever rebelling against what it must inevitably become, in short, one might say it’s a travesty of the commons, a pastiche of all human knowledge.

(Myself:)
There have been some sensible suggestions in the past, all vehemently rejected by the adolescent core group in charge of Wikipedia. I'm somewhat vague on the particular suggestions, but they include, IIRC:

Ability to allow experts to weigh in and "certify" articles they approve of.
Having dueling articles on controversial topics.
Better ways of countering rogue editors.
My idea: Hand over curatorship of articles to experts after five years.

More comments from WUWT:

John K. Sutherland (08:40:19) :
While I am at it: we need a new word for the English language: WIKI-WISE, to mean woefully misinformed, profoundly ignorant of the facts, believing only what one is told to believe.

Gary (09:04:20) :
Bias was recognized a long time ago (early 1990s) in bulletin board discussions about creating the “Inter-pedia” internet encyclopedia. One suggestion was that various groups could post “seals of approval” (a/k/a SOAPs) on articles to let readers know who endorsed the information. The idea didn’t anticipate lightning fast editing and counter-editing by various factions, but it does go some way toward adding a bit of context to information (and opinion) that is hotly contested. Maybe a version of SOAPs could resolve some of this editorial bias problem on Wikipedia. At least readers would know there is disagreement and a link to counter-arguments in detail that they could then follow up.

I agree Roger. Craig Weiler put together a very interesting book on the subject.

My dad once told me that my step brother was an encyclopedia of misinformation. I must have been about 13 years old when he said that and I thought it was hilarious. The phrase, "encyclopedia of misinformation", stuck in my head and that was about 48 years ago! LOL!

Rifkin says, ". . . the only exercise of intellectual authority that Wikipedia fully condones on its pages is the citation of an authority published elsewhere."

Well, apparently Wikipedia has no real criteria for determining an authority. An 'authority' is recognized by Guerilla Skeptics as someone who has published an opinion with which they agree. That’s all! As an example Joe Nickell, is recognized as an authority for information about Patience Worth because he spent 5 hours ‘pouring over’ documents related to Patience Worth stored at the Missouri Historical Society library and subsequently published his opinion in the Skeptical Inquirer.

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