“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Censorship Or Stupidity, Wikipedia And The Promise.

with 2 comments

Zkharya has a post on Engage concerning Wikipedia and the TV series, The Promise.

Anyone familiar with Zkharya will know he is a serious fellow, highly educated and exceedingly well read on these topics.

The gist of the post at Engage is that he tried to improve the quality of an article on The Promise and his helpful additions were removed.

Further, he was warned that he was committing vandalism.

You can read the history of the entry’s here and the talk.

Now anyone familiar with Wikipedia and the exodus of contributors will recognise Zkharya’s criticisms. These have been going on for years, that basically a small coterie of Wikipedia editors patrol and enforce their own diktats on articles.

Should someone find a particularly egregious entry and correct it then their work may be disposed of, unless it pleases those Wikipedia honchos, who don’t like admitting they’re wrong or that they don’t know something terribly well.

I think Zkharya and other Wikipedia contributors need to remember Lord Acton’s quote, updated for the 21st century:

“Power corrupts, absolute virtual power corrupts absolutely, particularly on the Internet.”

Readers might remember how previously Bob had similar issues with Wikipedia on its CounterPunch entry.

Written by modernityblog

04/05/2011 at 17:10

2 Responses

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  1. You are too kind with the compliments, which are untrue of course.

    What struck me was how pally the main editor were was Kominski (“Congratulations on your BAFTA nomination, ooh, suits you sir”), and willing to fall in with his wishes.

    The complacency of the other editor, Nick Cooper, was extraordinary: the audience don’t know about the Balfour Declaration, so no need (i.e. forbidden) to mention it. Despite the fact that Professor David Cesarani, historian and academic in that period thought there was!


    04/05/2011 at 18:37

  2. Zkharya,

    Obviously, the editors have their own particular bias, but not only that, they are rather insecure individuals in terms of their opinions and knowledge.

    Thus, to allow you to edit would be to admit that you know more than them (which is of course true, but they won’t acknowledge it).

    Cesarani is no ordinary historian either, but it takes someone to be informed in the field to acknowledge that.

    My impression is that many of the editors at Wikipedia are rather small-minded, limited, undereducated and don’t particularly care for history, or books.

    When I read many of the historical articles there I positively groan at the inaccuracies and misleading historiography.

    Some bits of Wikipedia are good, but when you venture towards the Middle East there is a distinct change, in both tone and quality

    I have a suggestion, your best way to make the point is to either do a complete blog post, as your version of what their entry should be like.

    Or add something to

    If you want I will give you a complete post, free and unedited (save formatting, typos, etc) where you could put your version of what they should include in their entry for The Promise.

    I think that showing clearly how they should have written it is a good way of demonstrating both your skill, knowledge and the contentious nature of this particular topic.

    Just say the word and you have a free post to do your own version of it.

    PS: I meant the compliments.

    I enjoy reading your informed contributions and your study of history comes through, which I can’t say for most people…..


    04/05/2011 at 19:28

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