Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Boycott Wikipedia

Sadly, I've recognised another promising website to be something I can no longer support. Wikipedia started with the concept of it being the voice of the people. Now, it has been run over by wikipolice.

The first thing that helped me to realise this was that my own work was removed. I edited the page on Rousas Rushdoony as such. After this, for a time, the page had a flag indicating it's neutrality was disputed, and there was some discussion as to the sentence and link that I added. However, the page is no longer disputed, and all mention (including the discussion) is gone. There is no trace of the discussion at all. Now, I wouldn't mind my work being removed too much, but I object to the discuss being erased.

Another instance is that someone tried to add the wikipedia entry, Plaosmos, using many quotations from this blog. I accept that I may well be one of 10 people in the world who know and use the word, and that most of them may not even like it. But why remove it? This is what remains. Plaosmos is considered nonsense. So I clicked the link about nonsense, and the reason they gave for removing the page is: "Content that, while apparently meaningful after a fashion, is so completely and irredeemably confused that no intelligent person can be expected to make any sense of it whatsoever" (my emphasis). But why? I've made (at least some) sense of it. Am I not an 'intelligent person'? Am I just a person? Or a deranged one? Or not a person?

And then it struck me. The problem is that wikipedia is based off a myth, and one I cannot support or invest in. Wikipedia wants everything from a 'neutral' viewpoint, but there is no neutral viewpoint. What it ends up getting is everything from a mainstream, majority viewpoint. That is, mainstream of internet users, who are composed of the richer 6th of the world. And wikipedia carries quite a lot of authority, at least for the lay users, meaning that it will (passively) attempt to impose this myth of neutrality onto those who read it. As more and more communities get online, they will be met with this monstrous myth, which comes down to the modernist myth of objectivity. Objectivity, as we have seen, is a deeply oppressive myth that is part of the climate change and poverty problems in the world (at least legitimating many of them, if not more).

The wiki idea is good, the problem is with its size. I'm seeing more and more that big is bad. Small community wiki's can be wonderful, but as soon as a global wiki comes in, it will impose itself on other communities, posing as the (only) one community (have a look at the authors page to see this).

I'm not suggesting, as this site does, that wikipedia has a conscious agenda of oppression. It's agenda isn't conscious, it's not-thought-through and naïve. I'm instead noting the tendency toward homogenisation and problematic mythology, and hopefully, sowing the seed of distrust-for-liberation yet again. Here's a discussion about neutrality, to which I added a comment.

It is with sadness that I realise this tendency and decide to boycott wikipedia. I am starting to think that it should be renamed WERMpedia, because it is the pedia of the Western, English-speaking (even other languages are often the English translated), Rich (computer-literate, educated), predominantly-Males. It was so promising, but I now find its promises to be lies. Sadly, even the Urban Dictionary is policed and I'm beginning to wonder what good on the internet remains.

4 comments:

  1. It seems that your problem is deeper than just Wikipedia and concerns the corruption of power and the silencing of marginal voices in representative democratic relations, of which Wikipedia is just a particular manifestation.
    It would seem that boycotting Wikipedia would simply be playing by their rules. They want to exclude the marginal voices, so we react by non-participatory silence? Isn't that what they want? I say that the more they try to silence the margins, the louder the margins should be. CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You know, you're probably right. I'm losing my faith in civil disobedience, as I'm not sure it changes enough, and in places like wikipedia I expect it will be easily trampled by the mainstream. It will keep appearing, but not to enough extent, and the over-arching mythology of objective thought will continue to prevail and be taught to more and more.

    I was told that in Hong Kong the government put adverts on TV saying things like "The customer is always right." This is an example of a government trying to impose/implement a mythology onto the people, instead of letting the people build their own without government direction. This, however, is a less dangerous kind of brainwashing than the passive wiki-ideology, where people do not even realise there is an ideology. It's the famous quotation from Marx's Capital: "They do not know it, but they are doing it."

    As I keep looking, I find so many deep problems with this civilisation, and with the way it constantly reinforces itself, that my only prayer has become "Collapse soon." May others join my prayer.

    ReplyDelete
  3. i think you're onto something important here, but i think it's deeper then just the 'neutrality' clause of wikipedia and the attempt to create a universal truth through consensus where none actually exists. in my own experiences on wikipedia I've repeatedly run into the fact that people who are extraordinarily partisan and biased in favor of various groups (the mormon chuch being one great example) are absolutely fastidious in deleting anything even remotely critical of their religion, regardless of how throughly it's researched and cited. Because they have the energy and time to devote to it and have memorized all the various arcane rules, they're able to totally dominate the discussion and impose their biased viewpoints all while pretending that they're defending "neutrality".

    which, i suppose, gets back to your point - at some level most things (really just about everything except math and logical syllogisms) boils down to opinions, and those opinions reflect individual biases. expecting to put a bunch of biased individuals together and get an unbiased project is just silly, what you end up with is a dictatorship of the pushy. all of which is immensely frustrating.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Dictatorship of the Pushy"
    I like it. Catchy.

    Altho I do have to argue that Math and Logic are not separated from opinion either as Gödel tried to show.

    Thanks for your comment, I'll try to write a post in the next few days. I've been very lazy recently (and I've been away for the past 2 weeks in a place without electricity - Pennsic).

    ReplyDelete