The Darker Side of Wiki

There is a darker side to Wikipedia. According to Dark Side of WikipediaThe belief that everything you read is true, honest, and accurate. Not only that, but that there is a sense of security to anyone that posts. The belief that anyone can post anything they want is false in and of itself. A couple people talk about their bad encounters from Wikipedia and how they were BANNED from speaking their mind. So who's to say what's allowed and what isn't? What happened to freedom of speech? AndyAllison

A Comment on "The Darker Side"

In regards to AndyAllison's post above: I don't think the same rules apply to Wikipedia as they do to other wikis; it's definitely not okay to post whatever you feel like posting. If that was the case, then Wikipedia would never have become what it is today. It's an encyclopedic site--meaning opinions have absolutely no place there. This can get very sticky--being that some broad topics (like religion or politics) depend on both opinion and fact in order to thrive (example: "Jesus Christ is the Son of God" is an unverifiable opinion [which a large portion of people believe], whereas "The Crusades were a series of religious wars that began in 1096" is a verifiable fact). Idealistically, Wikipedia is intended to be as reputable as it can possibly be (while also staying true to its roots as an editable wiki). However, it seems that there is (not surprisingly) an ongoing battle between 'good' and 'bad' administrators (the 'bad' administrators being people who are paid [large sums, I assume] to purposely suppress information that 'harms' their client). An example of this is mentioned in the Dark Side article, but not backed up by a credible source:

The statement in the Dark Side article: "one study found mistakes in nine out of ten Wikipedia medical entries". I had to search for this 'source' myself, and eventually found it (after going through this not-quite-reputable site): Most Medical Information On Wikipedia is False. This site seems a little kooky (being that there are weird alt-right advertisements/news feeds all over the site [a few examples: there is a banner atop of the page that links to "The Rational Argument Against the Normalization of Transgenderism", and in the 'news' feed there is an article that claims 'Ginger tea shown to naturally kill cancer']. It seems that this site has its own agenda (selling alternative 'medicinal' products and attempting to fully discredit pharmaceutical companies). But, this is beside the point. The writers for this site were kind enough to list their sources--one of them being the study I was looking for: Wikipedia vs Peer-Reviewed Medical Literature for Information About the 10 Most Costly Medical Conditions. What this article suggests is that these Wikipedia pages are controlled by administrators who are paid by secret clients (who have monetary stakes in the [unbelievably] expensive treatments for these medical conditions) to keep certain information off of the site. From what I can tell, the study seems reputable. And, it's not at all surprising. Corruption is a reality we live with everyday. Money talks.

I guess what I'm really trying to say is that Wikipedia is not the best example to use when asking "What happened to freedom of speech?". I'm assuming that most wikis out there are not ran by administrators who are paid large sums of money by shady conglomerates to control what is and what isn't said. TonyLien.

I agree with TonyLien -- the negative sides to Wikipedia are not necessarily a great way to examine the issue of free speech. We can't always count on individuals to be truthful when money is involved, and we can't really blame them. If you have the money to control information online (and, conceivably, the lack of morals that go along with entertaining the thought) why wouldn't you? The reaping of benefits would never end.

In an extremely meta move, Wikipedia (a plethora of authors, I'm sure) published a page called Wikipedia is not a reliable source, which includes, "Some of the article information might not be accurately true, which is therefore considered to be wrong," [my emphasis] as well as a summary of the already-short page, which says, "Do not use a Wikipedia article as a source for another Wikipedia article, even when describing Wikipedia." So meta, so ironic, and yet so accurate.

After doing some research on the reliability of Wikipedia, many Wikipedia articles appeared. Conspiracy? Maybe. Hesitantly, I listened to Wikipedia's advice from above (I know) and found the article Wikipedia: Credible Research Source or Not? which features an answer from the founder of Wikipedia himself, Jimmy Wales. He does not think researchers should cite Wikipedia. I think that is a definitive answer in itself, but the article goes on to say that editors do their best to moderate content and fix things that are clearly inaccurate or biased, but they don't always catch everything and certainly do not catch everything in a timely manner. Many people could see the false or biased information before an editor can get a hold of it.

So, the long and short of it is that we cannot trust Wikipedia.

However, since smaller wikis are not involved with corporations nearly as much as Wikipedia is, I think we can trust them much more and rely on them as a safe place for freedom of speech and expressing new ideas. Wikis also rely on the sharing of knowledge and on collaboration, so it seems there is more of a checks-and-balances system in place on smaller wikis -- there's no buying and selling information there, so I would advise you not to try it. - DanielleNicholson

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