Flutterby™! : Wikipedia's editorial policy is not what you think

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Wikipedia's editorial policy is not what you think

2012-02-15 22:51:27.268196+00 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

Chronicle of Higher Education: The 'Undue Weight' of Truth on Wikipedia

So I waited two years, until my book on the trial was published. "Now, at last, I have a proper Wikipedia leg to stand on," I thought as I opened the page and found at least a dozen statements that were factual errors, including some that contradicted their own cited sources. I found myself hesitant to write, eerily aware that the self-deputized protectors of the page were reading over my shoulder, itching to revert my edits and tutor me in Wiki-decorum. I made a small edit, testing the waters.

Yep: Wikipedia can be one hell of an echo chamber, reinforcing commonly held wrong beliefs, and making statements that are not supported by their alleged sources (for instance, the Passenger Rail section of the Fuel Efficiency In Transportation page currently lists the East Japan Railway Company at 0.35 MJ/passenger-km, the JR East Goals and Results document that it cites makes no mention of passenger loads), and I haven't delved too deeply, but it sure feels like the culture does nothing to to counter this problem. Especially as the culture becomes more entrenched and more hostile to editing.

Hat Tip to Rafe.

[ related topics: Books Nature and environment Sociology California Culture Trains Education Public Transportation ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2012-02-16 12:06:40.492718+00 by: DaveP

It's been over five years since I gave up on trying to correct things on Wikipedia. Between claims of NOR because I didn't cite my sources properly (a newbie mistake), to claims of vandalism when I reverted those changes and did cite my sources properly, I lost all enthusiasm for working on wikipedia.

Last year, there was a discussion about "Why are we losing so many contributors?" that I tried to contribute to, explaining my experience. Seems that's gone now, too.