Wikipedia provides Internet users with millions of articles on a wide range of subjects and often ranks first in search engines. But its reliability and credibility fall well short of any reasonable standards.
Anybody using Wikipedia as a research resource should definitely cross-reference their results in at least two other places. In fact, people are now starting to avoid using Wikipedia for anything.
And this should not be surprising. According to Wikipedia itself, ‘While some articles are of the highest quality of scholarship, others are admittedly complete rubbish. Use Wikipedia with an informed understanding of what it is and what it isn’t.’
Okay, well let’s have a look at what it is and what it isn’t.
1. The Philip Cross Scandal
‘Philip Cross’ is a so called credited editor of Wikipedia. This means he has access to any page and is able to edit anything he, or she, wants to.
The subject of Wikipedia pages does not have any editing access to his or her own pages. If you are reading the Wikipedia page of Joe Bloggs then you know that Bloggs is banned from editing any content in his name.
Anything can be written about him, or anybody else, and yet he has no right of reply or correction.
Philip Cross has not had a single day off from editing Wikipedia in almost five years. ‘He’ has edited every single day from 29 August 2013 to 14 May 2018. Including five Christmas Days. That’s 1,721 consecutive days of editing.
In the last FOURTEEN years Philip Cross has made 133,612 edits to Wikipedia pages, which is more than 30 edits per day, seven days a week.
Journalist and broadcaster Craig Murray has plotted them here
Craig Murray points out that the ‘operation runs like clockwork, seven days a week, every waking hour, without significant variation. If Philip Cross genuinely is an individual, there is no denying he is morbidly obsessed.’
There are three possible explanations.
1. Philip Cross is a spin company, with multiple users all logging into the Phillip Cross account, employed by who knows who and with a clear political agenda.
2. Philip Cross is a paid individual, working FULL TIME to add positive content to some Wikipedia Pages and vile lies to others
3. Philip Cross is a dangerous sociopath.
This ‘editor’ has consistently discredited the reputations of prominent individuals who question and challenge the Left Wing corporate and state media narratives, especially in respect of UK Foreign Affairs or American President Donald Trump.
Philip Cross also spends a lot of time improving the reputations (and public information available) of Conservative journalists and media figures, particularly in respect of the interests of Israel.
Craig Murray writes that is it ‘particularly interesting that Philip Cross‘s views happen to be precisely the same political views as those of Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia.
Jimmy Wales has been active on twitter recently being particularly rude and unpleasant to anybody questioning the activities of Philip Cross.
His commitment to Cross’s freedom to operate on Wikipedia would be rather more impressive if the Cross operation were not promoting Wales’ own opinions.
Interestingly enough Wikipedia’s UK begging arm, Wikimedia UK, joined in with equal hostile responses to anyone questioning Cross.’
Former British MP and broadcaster George Galloway has had his Wikipedia page ‘negatively edited,’ or ‘distorted,’ by Cross 1800 times. Think about that for a moment – 1800 times.
Do you think the Wikipidia entry for George Galloway is accurate now? And Galloway has no right of redress or correction as that is against Wikipedia rules.
It doesn’t matter which side of the political divide you stand – Wikipedia is clearly no longer a reliable source of information for anybody, thanks to the likes of Philip Cross.
2. The contributor with an agenda always prevails.The idea behind Wikipedia’s group editing process is that, by general consensus, unreliable contributions and edits will be removed and/or corrected.
But usually the contributor who ‘wins’ is not the one with the soundest information, but rather the one with the strongest agenda. The one who is more persistent and committed.
Irish student Shane Fitzgerald, who was conducting research on the Internet and globalization of information, posted a fake quotation on the Wikipedia article about the deceased French composer Maurice Jarre.
Due to the fact that the quote was not attributed to a reliable source, it was removed several times by editors, but Fitzgerald simply continued re-posting it until it was allowed to remain.
Fitzgerald was startled to learn that several major newspapers picked up the quote and published it in obituaries, confirming his suspicions of the questionable ways in which journalists use websites, and Wikipedia, as a reliable source.
Fitzgerald e-mailed the newspapers letting them know that the quote was fabricated; he believes that otherwise, they might never have found out.
Fitzgerald demonstrated that if he can ‘re-write’ history that easily then so can everybody else.
3. Individuals with agendas sometimes have significant editing authority.
Administrators on Wikipedia have the power to delete or disallow comments or articles they disagree with and support the viewpoints they approve regardless of whether they are factually correct or not.
For example U.K. scientist William Connelly became a website administrator and subsequently wrote or rewrote more than 5,000 Wikipedia articles supporting the concept of climate change and global warming.
More importantly, he used his authority to ban more than 2,000 contributors with opposing viewpoints from making further contributions.
According to The Financial Post, when Connelly was through editing, ‘The Medieval Warm Period’ disappeared, as did criticism of the ‘global warming orthodoxy.’
Connelly has since been stripped of authority at Wikipedia, but he can obviously continue to post, edit and lie. He simply needs to sign in with a new user name – that’s all it takes.
4. Accurate contributors can be silenced.
The small group of editors known as ‘deletionists’ often rely on the argument that a contribution comes from an ‘unreliable source,’ with the competing editor deciding alone what is reliable or not.
For example, when the Taliban kidnapped New York Times reporter David Rohde in Afghanistan, the paper convinced 40 media organizations plus Wikipedia not to report on it out of concerns that it would compromise Rohde’s safety.
Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales told the Times, once Rohde was free, that ‘We were really helped by the fact that it (postings on Rohde) hadn’t appeared in a place we would regard as a reliable source.’
In other words Wales and other senior Wikipedia editors demonstrated how willing they are to rely on unreliable sources to delete accurate information they had been given by perfectly reliable sources, regardless of what justified it.
Which leads directly to number 5
5. The number of active Wikipedia editors has fallen.
The number of active Wikipedia editors (those who can make at least five edits a month) has significantly fallen.
The reason given is that it is not worth bothering to continue in battle with ‘progressive editors’ with a political agenda. It is, after all, only a hobby for most people.
It remains to be seen whether the current number of active editors can maintain and continue updating Wikipedia with any accuracy or honesty.
6. It has become harder for casual participants to contribute.
According to the Palo Alto Research Center, the contributions of casual and new contributors are being reversed at a much greater rate than several years ago.
The result is that a steady group of high-level editors has more control over Wikipedia than ever.
The ‘deletionists’ are said to ‘edit first and ask questions later,’ making it harder for new contributors to participate, and making it impossible for Wikipedia to provide ‘the sum of all human knowledge.’ – Their mission statement.
Furthermore, Wikipedia appears to have no intention of overcoming the problem of being controlled by a stagnant pool of editors from a limited demographic and with a clear political or social agenda of their own.
In many subjects Wikipedia has become a place of MISINFORMATION, SPIN and MANIPULATION and has no obvious desire to correct that.
In fact, that could well be where most of their funding comes from.
Vandalism is always fun, for some tiny-minded people. Wikipedia is no exception to that and often false entries are missed and can remain online for months, if they are ever spotted at all.
For example, John Seigenthaler, a former assistant to Robert Kennedy, was falsely implicated in the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers on his Wikipedia biography for a period of more than 100 days without his knowledge.
This is a common problem for Wikipedia.
And finally, the biggest reason of all to avoid Wikipedia as a source of reliable information
8. Because Wikipedia themselves say so.
Wikipedia’s own disclaimer states, We do not expect you to trust us.
It adds that it should NOT be considered a ‘primary source’ of information and that ‘because some articles may contain errors,’ you should ‘not use Wikipedia to make critical decisions.’
And as Wikipedia warns in its ‘About’ section, ‘Users should be aware that not all articles are of encyclopedic quality from the start and they may contain false or debatable information.’
Which is Wikipedia’s own way of warning you that they CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT BE TRUSTED.
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