05 May 2008

Wikipedia: Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Part 2

When we go to an encyclopedia for information, we should be able to expect the best available information--free of petty bias and corruption. Unfortunately, the closer one looks at Wikipedia, the more petty bias and corruption of information one tends to find.
[William]Connolley is not only a big shot on Wikipedia, he's a big shot at Wikipedia -- an a dministrator with unusual editorial clout. Using that clout, this 40-something scientist of minor relevance gets to tear down scientists of great accomplishment. Because Wikipedia has become the single biggest reference source in the world, and global warming is one of the most sought-after subjects, the ability to control information on Wikipedia by taking down authoritative scientists is no trifling matter.

...Wikipedia is full of rules that editors are supposed to follow, as well as a code of civility. Those rules and codes don't apply to Connolley, or to those he favours.

"Peiser's crap shouldn't be in here," Connolley wrote several weeks ago, in berating a Wikipedian colleague during an "edit war," as they're called. In such a war, rival sides change the content of a Wikipedia page from one competing version to another, often with bewildering speed. (Two people, landing on the same page seconds apart, might obtain entirely different information.) In the Peiser case, a Wikipedian stopped a prolonged war by freezing a continually changing page, to prevent more alterations until the dispute was settled. As occurs on such occasions, readers are alerted that Wikipedians are warring over the page, and that Wikipedia was not endorsing the version of the page that had been frozen. To Connolley's chagrin, however, the version that was frozen cast doubt on claims of a consensus on climate change. Although this was done within Wikipedia rules, Connolley intervened to revert the page and ensure Wikipedia readers saw only what he wanted them to see.

Peiser is Benny Peiser, a distinguished U.K. scientist who had convincingly refuted a study by Naomi Oreskes that claimed to have found no scientific papers at odds with the conventional wisdom on climate change. The Oreskes study -- cited by Al Gore in his film, An Inconvenient Truth-- is an article of faith to many global warming doomsayers and guarded from criticism by Connolley et al. Peiser and other critics of Oreskes's study, meanwhile, get demeaned.

Connolley and his cohorts don't just edit pages of scientists actively involved in the global warming debate. Scientists who work in unrelated fields, but who have findings that indirectly bolster a critique of climate change orthodoxy, will also get smeared. So will non-scientists and organizations that he disagrees with. Any reference, anywhere among Wikipedia's 2.5-million English-language pages, that casts doubt on the consequences of climate change will be bent to Connolley's bidding. __Source
As we are rapidly learning by following climate research, the hypothesis so favoured by Connolley--catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW)--is rapidly becoming discredited by the data. Yet Connolley and his witless acolytes such as Kim Dabelstein Petersen, continue to enforce the party line on Wikipedia. Who is watching the watchers?

At Wikipedia, the petty warlords of corrupted information reign. While some will claim that Wikipedia has procedures that would prevent such info-tyranny, they make those claims out of ignorance of what goes on behind-the-scenes.

H/T IceCap

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Blogger Ugh said...

I often wonder why Wikipedia comes up on top of nearly every Google, Yahoo or MSN search. Honestly, the site can only be trusted for the most benign subject matter. Any person of any consequence or controversy is usually misrepresented on the pages of Wikipedia. I recommend skipping right on by unless your looking up info on the Northern Flying Squirrel or a Red Tail Hawk.

Monday, 05 May, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

I tend to look for useful links at the bottom of the page, and useful images. The wiki article content may or may not be briefly scanned.

Tuesday, 06 May, 2008  
Blogger Audacious Epigone said...


You stole my thunder. Well put. I've come to the same conclusion.

Tuesday, 06 May, 2008  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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