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If there is no struggle there is no progress … Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them.

—Frederick Douglass

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Hi, I'm Andreas Kolbe.

I was a founding member of Wikipedia criticism site Wikipediocracy
and am a regular contributor to and former co-editor-in-chief of Wikipedia's
community newspaper, the Signpost. My Twitter handle is Wikiland.

Signpost samples:

Selection of articles about Wikipedia
Bons mots

On the internet[edit]

By removing the face-to-face aspect of human interaction, the internet dehumanises people, and our imagination often turns them into inflated monsters, more terrifying because they are in the shadows. Meeting them in person rehumanises them again. —Jamie Bartlett, The Dark Net

On Wikipedia in general[edit]

  • The apparent accuracy of a Wikipedia article is inversely proportional to the depth of the reader's knowledge of the topic. —Kozierok's First Law
  • Wikipedia is like an old and eccentric uncle. He can be a lot of fun—over the years he's seen a lot, and he can tell a great story. He's also no dummy; he's accumulated a lot of information and has some strong opinions about what he's gathered. You can learn quite a bit from him. But take everything he says with a grain of salt. A lot of the things he thinks he knows for sure aren't quite right, or are taken out of context. And when it comes down to it, sometimes he believes things that are a little bit, well, nuts. If it ever matters to you whether something he said is real or fictional, it's crucial to check it out with a more reliable source. —Charles Seife, Virtual Unreality, Appendix, "The top ten dicta of the internet skeptic", Dictum no. 1.
  • Wikipedia isn't governed by the thoughtful or the informed – it is governed by anyone who turns up. There are a small core of people who like playing wiki as an in-house role-playing game and simply deny real-world consequences that might limit their freedom of action. There are a larger group who are too immature or lazy to think straight. And then there are all those who recognise "something must be done", but perpetually oppose the something that's being proposed in favour of a "better idea". The mechanism is rather like using a chat-show phone-in to manage the intricacies of a federal budget – it does not work for issues that need time, thought, responsibility and attention. I doubt this problem can be fixed – since it needs structural change to decision making – which is impossible for precisely the same reasons. —Scott MacDonald
  • The Wikipedia philosophy can be summed up thusly: "Experts are scum." For some reason people who spend 40 years learning everything they can about, say, the Peloponnesian War – and indeed, advancing the body of human knowledge – get all pissy when their contributions are edited away by Randy in Boise who heard somewhere that sword-wielding skeletons were involved. And they get downright irate when asked politely to engage in discourse with Randy until the sword-skeleton theory can be incorporated into the article without passing judgment. —Lore Sjöberg, from "The Wikipedia FAQK"
  • The present system favors the bold promotionalist, who can exploit it to force an article to his liking. It harms the modest unfortunate, who has to resort to extremely public and unnecessary discussions of whether his private life should be publicized here. It harms the people it should be helping, and helps those who a NPOV reference source has no business in assisting. —DGG, on Wikipedia's handling of biographies of living people
  • Wikipedia is a porch light for the moths of bias, editors battering themselves to death arguing over their objections of true belief. The porch floor is littered with their corpses, each with a "banned" banner stamped in tiny print. Wikipedia has no system for managing systematic bias and harnessing it into anything useful. It is one of Wikipedia's most pernicious aspects. —Greybeard

On the accuracy of press sources[edit]

  • Everything you read in newspapers is absolutely true, except for that rare story of which you happen to have first-hand knowledge. —Erwin Knoll
  • What people outside do not appreciate is that a newspaper is like a soufflé, prepared in a hurry for immediate consumption. This of course is why whenever you read a newspaper account of some event of which you have personal knowledge it is nearly always inadequate or inaccurate. Journalists are as aware as anyone of this defect; it is simply that if the information is to reach as many readers as possible, something less than perfection has often to be accepted. —David E. H. Jones, in New Scientist, Vol. 26
  • Actually, I'd say newspapers are more like commercial fast-food than soufflé. It isn't just that they are prepared in haste, it is that unwholesome additives and artificial sweeteners are added to true content, in order to make the whole thing more tasty. No one really asks whether the result is edifying or healthy, because it is generally consumed with a pinch of (even more superfluous) salt. —Scott MacDonald

The NPOV policy explained[edit]

  • Nasrudin was a judge and arbitrator in a dispute. First the advocate of the first side gave an eloquent discourse advancing his claims. Nasrudin, who had been listening intently, agreed and said, "That's right."
    Next, it was the other advocate's turn, and he was just as erudite. Once more Nasrudin agreed, adding, "That's right."
    Listening to Nasrudin's pronouncements, his clerk commented, "They can't both be right." To which Nasrudin agreed by saying, "That's right!" —Idries Shah

Verifiability and truth explained[edit]

  • One day the King decided that he would force all his subjects to tell the truth.
    A gallows was erected in front of the city gates. A herald announced, "Whoever would enter the city must first answer the truth to a question which will be put to him."
    Nasrudin was first in line. The captain of the guard asked him, "Where are you going? Tell the truth – the alternative is death by hanging."
    "I am going," said Nasrudin, "to be hanged on that gallows."
    "I don't believe you."
    "Very well, if I have told a lie, then hang me!"
    "But that would make it the truth!"
    "Exactly," said Nasrudin. "YOUR truth." —Idries Shah

"Assume good faith" explained[edit]

  • Nasrudin dreamt that he had Satan's beard in his hand. Tugging the hair he cried: "The pain you feel is nothing compared to that which you inflict on the mortals you lead astray." And he gave the beard such a tug that he woke up yelling in agony.
    Only then did he realize that the beard he held in his hand was his own. —Idries Shah

On God and the world[edit]

  • Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either – but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained; and even in the best of all hearts, there remains ... an un-unprooted small corner of evil. —Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Solzhenitsyn on Wikiquote)
  • When a book and a head collide and a hollow sound is heard, must it always have come from the book? —Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (Lichtenberg on Wikiquote)
  • The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all. —H. L. Mencken (Mencken on Wikiquote)
  • No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck. —Frederick Douglass (Douglass on Wikiquote)
  • Questioners sooner or later end up in a library ... And answers are dangerous, they kill your wonder. —Osho (Osho on Wikiquote)
  • In the coming world they will not ask me—Why were you not Moses? They will ask me—Why were you not Zusha? —Zusha of Hanipol (Zusha of Hanipol on Wikiquote)
  • Poems are made by fools like me / But only God can make a tree / And only God who makes the tree / Also makes the fools like me / But only fools like me, you see / Can make a God who makes a tree. —Yip Harburg (Harburg on Wikiquote)
  • Now every moment of consciousness, every moment of insight, through self-observation in the light of the Work, every sudden moment of seeing what a fool one is in different ways, not only alters the future but alters the past. It begins to re-arrange the memory of the past in a different way—that is, in a way that corresponds to the internal memory where things are rightly arranged in value, in scale, in importance.—Maurice Nicoll
  • Come you lost Atoms to your Centre draw, / And be the Eternal Mirror that you saw: / Rays that have wander'd into Darkness wide / Return, and back into your Sun subside. —Fariduddin Attar, transl. Edward FitzGerald (Attar on Wikiquote, FitzGerald on Wikiquote)
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50,000+This user has made more than 50,000 contributions to Wikipedia.
This user has been on Wikipedia for 17 years, 7 months and 20 days.
1,866As of last count, this user is #1866 of active Wikipedians.
enThis user is able to contribute with a professional level of English.
deDieser Benutzer spricht Deutsch als Muttersprache.
fr-3Cet utilisateur peut contribuer avec un niveau avancé de français.
es-3Este usuario puede contribuir con un nivel avanzado de español.
pt-1Este usuário/utilizador pode contribuir com um nível básico de português.
nl-1Deze gebruiker bezit beginnende kennis van het Nederlands.
it-1Questo utente può contribuire con un livello semplice di italiano.
la-2Hic usor media latinitate contribuere potest.
This user is married to DracoEssentialis, a fellow Wikipedian.
Wikipedia contribution statistics
Articles I have started, nominated for DYK and/or made significant contributions to

Note: FA and GA which I wrote or co-wrote are displayed in the header at the top of this user page. Contributions to other FA and GA consisted in proofreading, copy-editing, reference organisation, minor content contributions, ALT texts and sorting out issues at FAC.

GA candidates I've reviewed
Guidelines and essays I've written or contributed to

I have written or significantly contributed to the following Wikipedia guidelines and essays:

Barnstars and such
DYK and image credits
Some of the images I uploaded, taken either by myself or my wife
Places I've been or lived
Spent Decades:
Months to Week(s):
To go some day: