The Cult Of Wikipedia

From the internet debut of the anti-Scientology group “Anonymous”, Wikipedia became one of several “cyber battlegrounds”, and perhaps the most significant. With the unprecedented announcement by Wikipedia that IP addresses used by The Church of Scientology would be banned, “Anonymous” has found itself virtually uncontested in it’s campaign of internet vandalism. It wasted little time in filling all Scientology-related articles with the same handful of spurious claims, in many cases not even bothering to falsify citations as usual.

Wikipedia is perhaps one of the most insidious creations to come about online, due to the perception among many of it’s users that it is a legitimate encyclopedic source, and relies on “user submitted content”. The reality is, as any college or university student can attest to, Wikipedia is not recognized as a valid information source academically. Unfortunately, those that most rely upon Wikipedia for “facts”, have little experience with formal education, and subsequently do not seem to be aware of this.

Wikipedia is not run on user submitted content. It’s a closed and controlled forum, where information is designed to have an appearance of openness, solely for the purpose of creating the illusion that it is not micro-managed by administrators. Wikipedia itself has shed any last vestige of impartiality or neutrality, with it’s ban on Scientology staff members. There is little doubt that Wikipedia does on a larger scale, what private micro-managed web forums due on a smaller scale, it manipulates public opinion by creating an appearance of a consensus. To that end, users and information that clash with the agendas of it’s controllers, are eliminated.

Though there are numerous examples of Wikipedia’s clear bias and lack of credibility, the Scientology issue has brought greater attention and scrutiny to the shell game that is being played. Just a cursory overview of Scientology articles, demonstrates a clear and malicious intent on Wikipedia to allow libelous false claims to receive publicity and protection.  Though Wikipedia seems to believe third party content protections may void it from responsibility for the fabrications it hosts, it’s ban of the Church of Scientology may complicate that defense, should legal action eventually be taken.

That Wikipedia itself fits many of the “warning signs” of a cult listed by Anti-Scientologist and convicted felon Rick Ross, whose personal web site appears regularly as a valid source in Wikipedia entries, is perhaps ironic. Upon reading the article by Paulo Correa, M.Sc., Ph.D., et al, titled Wikipedia: A Techno-Cult of Ignorance, I’m wondering if “fitting” is a better term.

If you’d like to see just one example of Wikipedia’s hatchet job on Scientology, and decide for yourself if it lives up to Wikipedia’s supposed standards, take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientology:_A_History_of_Man. You’ll quickly find yourself wondering what sort of entry supposedly focused on the book it is named after, managed to not cite that book once the entire way through. If that wasn’t enough, the speculation on supposed aliens and uncited (fake) quotations, as well as external links pointing to anti-Scientology websites and books, completely unrelated to “A History of Man”, show what type of content Wikipedia wants to “protect” from Scientologist editors.

No matter your opinion on The Church of Scientology, Wikipedia’s “arbitration committee” working hand in hand with those with a clear anti-Scientology bias to ensure that users of it’s site receive distorted, inaccurate, and patently false data about Scientology, sends a message. That message is certainly not characterized by any notion of “preserving integrity”. While some who, lacking even a basic education, have simply accepted and regurgitated the ridiculous claims made against Scientologists by “Anonymous”, Wikipedia has now handed them a platform to spread their venom uncontested under the pretense of encyclopedic knowledge.

This is just the latest reason that Wikipedia deserves the scorn it receives from the real academic community, whom it plays at being an extension of, or complimentary to. And this is a scorn that is only building with time, as even media has been caught up in Wikipedia’s circus of lies. Several lazy  journalists, relying on Wikipedia to provide content for the articles they were paid to write, ended up in the crossfire, when that information proved false. Even Wikipedia itself has been forced to address the mounting criticisms against it, in what is a surprisingly thorough impeachment of itself.

Also see Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism

And while we’re on the subject of “digital maoism”, how could I resist posting this (not exactly related) video from YouTube?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “On the Occasion of the First Annivers…“, posted with vodpod