WikiMedia software is the problem – Newslines.

Newslines has some very sophisticated commentary on the state of Wikipedia. While they cite thirteen problems, the problem that goes to ’11’ is the most critical and valuable.

I’m going to quote their article directly, attribution is to them.


Newslines: #11: Every Wikipedia problem can be traced to the wiki software.

The wiki software is responsible for the great success of the site, but also for its impending demise. The wiki system had great benefits on the upside — it allowed for fast content creation, but the conflict-driven editing has led to biased and incomplete content, lack of innovation, and many community problems.

In 13 years the software has barely been updated to adapt to the needs of its users, or its readers.

It’s important to realize that Wikipedia was never designed from the ground up as a content creation system. Larry Sanger and Wales took off-the-shelf-wiki software and put it to work as an encyclopedia.

Consider this exchange between Wales and the inventor of the wiki, Ward Cunningham, in Jan 2001.

My question, to this esteemed Wiki community, is this: Do you think that a Wiki could successfully generate a useful encyclopedia? — JimboWales

Yes, but in the end it wouldn’t be an encyclopedia. It would be a wiki. — WardCunningham

What is the social cost of all this conflict? Many Wikipedia editors have slaved for months, if not years to try to get information added to the site.

Time and emotional costs are never considered because there was a seemingly endless group of people willing to experience that pain to satisfy their ego.

I suspect that creating documents using wiki software is one of the least efficient methods of content creation. When you have an infinite amount of monkeys anything is possible, but what happens when the monkeys would rather just fling poo?


Read about the remaining 12 sins of Wikipedia on Newslines here.

2 Comments

  1. I think that the issue is not that a wiki can’t be useful as a reference source so much as it can’t be without some degree of editor control, which in turn can never be fair. How this plays out is that for any non-controversial topic, such as, for example, an episode of a TV show or movie, it is relatively good, whereby 90% of the content will be generally agreed upon. The parts that are debated, such as whether something in the TV show episode meant this or that can be referenced eventually by referring to interviews with the people who made the TV show, and, if there is any doubt, they can have strict and general rules for how to go about creating it. And, if you look at Wikipedia, the majority of its content is about non-controversial topics such as this.

    The problem comes in two areas: firstly, areas that not many people really know too much about and secondly areas that there are vastly different opinions about, with the second area being particularly relevant if national governments have lied about what happened.

    The first area essentially concerns scientific articles. Wikipedia’s article on Black holes, for example, is appalling in one important element: they don’t write it down as a theory anywhere at all. That might not seem to matter to the lamen person, but when you consider that the origins of black hole theory go back to Albert Einstein’s bridge theory, which today is recognised as wormhole theory, we have an obvious problem. Current black hole theory is in opposition of wormhole theory, in other words at most only one of those theories is true (and possibly neither are), so to describe black hole theory as fact is poor to the extreme. The article may look like it is reasonably well written, but without any kind of discussion about the edges of the scientific theory, it is essentially useless as a scholarly article.

    Black hole is not alone in being useless as an article, though. Indeed, you could say that 99% of the scientific articles are useless. Where they are accurate, it is only because all that they are saying are simple facts, such as the scientific name, date it was discovered, and so forth. Anything useful, that any student or researcher could ever want will never be found in a Wikipedia scientific article.

    But, while scientific articles are poor, they are at least vague attempts to be accurate. Move ahead to their worst kinds of articles, the historical and political articles, and there is no real attempt to make any of them accurate.

    The Bombing of Pearl Harbor, for example, is a wonderful subject that students all over the world have studied at length basically ever since it happened, as a wonderful example of a national government lying to its people in order not merely to justify entry into a war, but to win it and set the country up to be a super power. The rise of the United States as a nation essentially gets down to that one action, and to the fictitious way that it was set up, using rolling trade embargoes, the threat of attack if Japan came close to them, and just the brilliant way that it was set up so that Japan had no alternative other than to attack Pearl Harbor. Yet, in spite of Wikipedia listing at least the main parts of everything that happened, they fail to recognise the fact that this was the world’s most well known and most successful false flag attack in history.

    It isn’t just that Wikipedia lists it as a conspiracy theory: they don’t even mention the truth of what happened in the conspiracy theory! Rather, they pretend that the only conspiracy theory is the claim that they knew about the attack in advance and failed to warn the 2,000 people that died. In reality, the fact is that they not only knew but planned the whole thing. Yet they make no mention of that in Wikipedia.

    The problem is that anyone with any kind of intelligence could realise that Japan was never going to attack USA at that point in the war, not while Germany was involved with war with Russia, not when winning or losing the war was on the line. If USA were to be attacked, it would have been in the cities of USA, not at an outlying Hawaiian base. They would have done a blitzkrieg aiming to wipe USA out in a single night. You would have to be an absolute moron to think that Japan “underestimated USA” when the whole world knew that USA was equally as strong as Japan, as one of the strongest militaries in the world.

    It isn’t just that one article, though, but also articles about historical events such as the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, which failed to recognise the British involvement in the attack, and even the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. And it isn’t limited to issues of major international importance either. Even a minor thing, like the December 2014 chocolate shop siege in Sydney is not recognised as a false flag to pretend to the Australian people that we had had a terrorism attack. While it lists all of the claims it was terrorism, it fails to list it as a false flag, in spite of a coronial inquiry that proved that it was!

    Wikipedia has no time for conspiracy theories, they say, but the problem is that they are not giving due weight to ideas that the majority of people think are true. More than half of the world thinks that the 9/11 attacks were planned by USA to allow control of the Middle East, yet Wikipedia doesn’t mention it. More than half of the world thinks that the missing flight MH-370 was hijacked by the US military in order to get back drone controlling technology that was stolen from them in Afghanistan. Yet there is no mention of it there.

    The problem is that Wikipedia, by allowing “anyone to edit” and secretly having people with control they have allowed governments to control what is written. We all know that NSA go around the whole internet telling people not to write whatever. They obviously do the same thing on Wikipedia. The big problem is that Wikipedia, through its very structure, encourages them not merely to tell them every so often to shut down this page or not mention this incident: it actively encourages them to actually edit articles. Not just the NSA either, but spy agencies the world over obviously are editing Wikipedia articles, as are governments themselves. They are engaged in an info war.

    For those that don’t notice that it is happening in a very obvious way when they look at edits in history and the kinds of arguments that take place, it is even more obvious when we look at what happened when the Wikiscanner revealed that governments are changing history, or when Wikileaks was created to expose government secrets, or when Edward Snowden exposed just how far the NSA were abusing the Patriot Act.

    The software is the problem, yes. The software encourages stalking. It encourages harassment. It encourages control of a page.

    But Wikipedia did this on purpose. Not that they necessarily wanted to pervert truth, but more that they just wanted money and didn’t care if truth was lost in that pursuit.

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