February 4, 2006

Wikipedia and politics.

Wikipedia entries for politicians attract a lot of editing that violates the collective spirit of the project. There are millions of edits a month, of which thousands -- only thousands! -- are inappropriate. Here's the WaPo report, which isn't very interesting actually. I'll bet this news coverage only encourages people to go in there and screw around with more entries. Basically, I'd just assume the political entries aren't worth reading. Or do you like "impressionistic history"?


Gaius Arbo said...

It speaks to the truthiness of it!

Jonathan said...

Seems to me that the obscure political entries are the ones most likely to be way off, while the entries that get more attention are more difficult to skew. For me, the intellectual overhead of having to decide what is/isn't likely to be biased makes Wikipedia more trouble than it's worth except for images and some uncontroversial topics.


Ronald Reagan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Crazy Politico said...

It's one of the reasons I avoid Wiki for anything that can be "opinion related".

The theory of the Wikipedia is awesome, in practice, it's definitely less than perfect.

Jacques Cuze said...

Impressionistic History Heh. Indeed.

Apparently, this sort of editing isn't always limited to politicians or their staffs.

Pastor_Jeff said...

I was looking up something on Islam and there was a notice saying that due to recent vandalism, they're limiting updates there, too.

HaloJonesFan said...

quxxo: I would suggest that the entire edit war you reference is a perfect display of why Wikipedia is nothing more than a vanity project for most of its contributors (except for a few misguided souls who think that web hosting is difficult to find.)

brylin said...

Despite the problems that Wikipedia is facing (and addressing), please tell me a better web source of information?

For example, want a quick way to find out about Theo Van Gogh? Or Salmon Rushdie?

And who doesn't take what they read with a degree of skepticism?

To those who would cite sources like the Encyclopedia Britannica, please read some entries from the 1911 version and maybe you'll get a sense of the potential for bias that we may unconsciously overlook today.

So read Wikipedia, but above all, think for yourself!

Ann Althouse said...

Quxxo: Yes, I'm well aware of the vandalism done to the entry there for me. Some bloggers are not content to argue with me on their own blogs or in the comments here but have decided it's appropriate to use my Wikipedia entry as a place to sort of pseudo-blog. What kind of idiot thinks their anger at something I wrote gives them a place in my bio? And how stupid is it to think a few posts criticizing Pajamas Media even matters a damn. And just throwing around impressionistic opinions about my views on feminism? What kind of encyclopedia has that kind of junk in it?

XWL said...

When it comes to researching stuff like this Wiki has no equal.

(also referenced in this thread)

(trying to practice advanced combinatorial commentography, ignore it at will)

(this is obviously a joke, yet one that does try and point to some emerging form of meta-dialogue)

Bruce Hayden said...

I respectfully disagree that Wikipedia has no equal when doing research. Instead, I will submit that it falls flat on its face when it gets to anything opinion related.

You either have edit wars, or you have pages locked with someone's supposedly unbiased opinion.

But over the last year or so, I don't know how many times I have seen some liberal troll cite Wikipedia as an authoritative source, just to find that the supposedly unbiased facts there could have come straight from the DU.

That is why I automatically ignore any references to Wikipedia any more to controversial subjects. On the other hand, I do use it quite routinely for answers to my science and history questions. It often gives me a very good start and provides a lot of good links.

PR said...

*[http://paritrana-party.blogspot.com Paritrana, A New Party from India formed by five students from Prestigious IITs (Indian Institute of Technology)]
*[http://paritrana.org Paritrana, Paritrana Party Official site]