User:Ruy Lopez/NPOV and categories
Wikipedia's main page currently lists the master categories of Wikipedia as being:
After some time of being on Wikipedia, I and others have come to the realization that Wikipedia works very well for some of these master categories, such as Science and Mathematics, and fails abysmally for master categories such as History and Society.
Wikipedia has decent articles on scientific topics such as quantum mechanics, but as far as political and historical articles it is hopelessly biased, and in my opinion will always remain so. The primary reason for this is embedded in the question, who runs Wikipedia? The answer is the millionaire Ayn Rand devotee Jimbo Wales, and to a lesser extent his various lieutenants. Also, Wikipedia contributors are English-speaking and have access to the Internet, and those two things alone already make the majority of people contributing here part of the world elite, especially if one considers half of the people on earth have never made a telephone call in their lives and live on less than two dollars a day. I am not the only one who recognizes this, see Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias. Contributions to articles like the History of Brazil from this group are modifications on an history summary which was originally written by the U.S. State Department, as all of the country history articles on Wikipedia are.
Wikipedia may look open and mutable at first, but it is not. Most people learn this the hard way, get discouraged and stop contributing to wiki encyclopedias altogether. I am/was very involved in Wikipedia over the past year, and say this from experience. Hopefully the painful frustration around this discovery will not prevent people from contributing to wiki encyclopedias other than Wikipedia. Unfortunately, most people begin getting frustrated, think they can beat the system, then disappear from Wikipedia and every other wiki encyclopedia altogether, which is unfortunate. Even Wikipedia administrators like User:172 and User:Secretlondon have been badgered off of Wikipedia, not to mention a host of users.
While Wikipedia itself will always be the way it is, articles are licensed under the GFDL, which is one positive thing. Unfortunately, many of the historical articles are garbage. Even the well-written articles have other people come in later and introduce the same bias you can find in the corporate media. It is like gold surrounded by dung. If I transfer a Wikipedia article to another wiki, I almost always use an old version of it, before people came in and started modifying it.
Good wikis to check out are:
- Infoshop's OpenWiki - a general wiki with an anarchist bent (and run in an authoritarian fashion)
- Anarchopedia - a general wiki with an anarchist bent (and run in an anarchic fashion)
- Red Wiki - a general wiki with a somewhat socialist and Marxist bent
- dKosopedia - a "left/progressive/liberal/Democratic" wiki
- Demopedia - the "liberal/progressive" Democratic Underground's wiki
- Sourcewatch - a good progressive wiki with a focus on think tanks, lobbyists, public relations firms and so forth
I urge you to contribute to these wikis for historical, political, economic and other such subjects, as Wikipedia is hopeless for these topics. The views reflect the owners, which is as it almost always is. Thus, you will feel better building the new society within the shell of the old in these other places, where you will be part of a welcoming instead of hostile community. And of course, especially since Wikipedia uses the GFDL, continue to contribute to pages on the Brontosaurus and such, but realize that Wikipedia will always have biased historical articles, and trying to fight it is pointless, the deck is stacked against you. We'll write our history on these wikis, the conservatives will write theirs on Wikipedia and other wikis, and that's how it is.