Thursday, May 25, 2017

Why Wikipedia can't change - and Infogalactic doesn't have to - by Vox Day

I received some questions from a tech site about Infogalactic. Here are a few of the interesting ones, since neither I nor most of you tend to read this particular site.
Do you think Wikipedia has a liberal bias? Why is that?

I know that Wikipedia has a very heavy left-wing bias. The 538 active admins are almost exclusively hard left, and they do not hesitate to impose their perspective on the editors. For example, there are three who camp on the page about me; just do an edit sometime and see how fast they act to revert it. The way they treat pages devoted to approved individuals is observably very, very different than the way they treat pages about those of whom they disapprove. There is no need to take my word for it, just look at the various Criticism sections. The page about the approved individual invariably reads as if it was written by his defense attorney and inevitably violates the reliable sources rule. The Sam Harris page is an excellent example.

Harris states that he advocates a benign, noncoercive, corrective form of intolerance, distinguishing it from historic religious persecution. He promotes a conversational intolerance, in which personal convictions are scaled against evidence, and where intellectual honesty is demanded equally in religious views and non-religious views. He also believes there is a need to counter inhibitions that prevent the open critique of religious ideas, beliefs, and practices under the auspices of "tolerance". He has stated on his blog that he has received death threats for some of his views on religion.

On the Sam Harris Talk page, an editor notes: I don't see how anyone can justify purging the article of almost all criticism of Sam Harris, since that would seem to be a rather obvious NPOV violation.

Is it possible for Wikipedia to become more nonpartisan? What would it have to do?

It is theoretically possible for Wikipedia to return to its nonpartisan mission, but it is very unlikely because the inmates are now fully in control of the asylum. The admins vet very carefully for ideological correctness; no matter how long or how well an editor has contributed, he will not be permitted to become an admin if he does not fit the approved ideological profile. It would probably be necessary to completely replace all of the current admins and most of the Wikimedia Foundation board with individuals committed to objectivity and neutrality. Needless to say, that is not going to happen.

How do you create an encyclopedia or reference source that people across the political aisle agree on? Is that possible? Should we want such a source? 

Your question indicates a failure to grasp how Infogalactic is designed to operate. Wikipedia is organized in a vertical, centralized, absolutist manner where there is One True Page over which the various editors war, and which the admins ultimately exert control. Infogalactic is designed to be organized in a horizontal, decentralized, relativist manner so that the user, through his perspective filters, will dictate which of the hundreds of versions of the page he wishes to see. This is not only possible, but you will see it in operation within nine months. And yes, we should want such a source, because there is no reason that anyone, from any point on the ideological spectrum, should be permitted to define what is, and what is not true, for everyone else.
Speaking of Infogalactic, you may wish to note that there are now two blue icons that appear on Infogalactic News and Infogalactic Tech. The logo indicates a link to the Infogalactic page about the subject. The letter A indicates a link to an archive version of the page, which can be used in lieu of the link to the media site, in case the media site changes the story or blocks your browser.

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