My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wikipedia's Jewish Problem....

I have blogged about Wikipedia many times...mostly on their biased articles on global warming...
Wikipedia is used by 68 million people a month. Google Jerusalem, Israel, the Holocaust, jihad – the first reference to come up is Wikipedia. Most users mistakenly think it is an encyclopedia. Actually it is a special sort of blog, self-styled “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.” Open an article, click on the edit tab, add or remove what you like. Everyone in the world writes Wikipedia.

The Wiki ideal is consensus. Think of the above topics and consensus. The Wiki rule of anonymous contributions abets abuse. Editors who disagree duke it out on the discussion page, a sort of Lord of the Flies world where ganging up and bullying reign. Wiki co-founder Larry Sanger left the project in protest against this “mob rule.” As Sanger put it, “A few of the project’s participants can be, not to put a nice word on it, pretty nasty. And this is tolerated.”

Unless you like endless fighting with anti-Semites and Israel-haters, it is not pleasant to try to contribute to topics dealing with Israel. Major topics like Jerusalem or the Holocaust attract enough attention that destructive editors’ depredations are kept at a minimum. More specialized topics, like Hajji Amin al-Husseini, the Nazi founder of the Palestinian movement, are a mess. Propaganda purporting to be reference material, such as “Israel and the Apartheid Analogy,” is tolerated although it is against the rules.

Wiki has guidelines, such as using referenced sources and not insulting fellow editors. There are also rules – more than one hundred pages of jargon-laden rules against ‘edit warring’ alone – including a rule to ‘ignore all rules.’ They are indeed ignored most of the time. Then suddenly one is enforced by summary judgement by Wiki’s anonymous “administrators.” If a rival editor’s complaint is judged favorably, you are banned from Wiki on the spot. It is frontier justice: no time to present your case, no review of the controversy. This system has not worked well on Jewish or Israel related topics. As Larry Sanger points out, it is a system that is easily gamed by the malicious, abetted by a nerd culture that doesn’t understand proper supervision.

I had read a Jerusalem Post article saying that Wiki was being flooded by pro-Palestinian activists. I was aware the Electronic Intifada had worked the Wiki system so that CAMERA volunteers had been banned, because working together violates a Wiki rule. I clicked around on various discussion pages on Jewish or jihadi topics, interested in finding editors who were advocating accurate information. On topic after topic, when I clicked on the Jewish editor’s name, I discovered they, too, had been banned.


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