It gets more absurd from there. Read the whole story if you like, and tell me what you think. (P.S. If you're curious, I stumbled across this article through one of my own media diet spices, the text-heavy design abomination but culture-laden Arts & Letters Daily.)Within minutes my changes were reversed. The explanation: "You must provide reliable sources for your assertions to make changes along these lines to the article."That was curious, as I had cited the documents that proved my point, including verbatim testimony from the trial published online by the Library of Congress. I also noted one of my own peer-reviewed articles. One of the people who had assumed the role of keeper of this bit of history for Wikipedia quoted the Web site's "undue weight" policy, which states that "articles should not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more popular views." He then scolded me. "You should not delete information supported by the majority of sources to replace it with a minority view."The "undue weight" policy posed a problem. Scholars have been publishing the same ideas about the Haymarket case for more than a century. The last published bibliography of titles on the subject has 1,530 entries."Explain to me, then, how a 'minority' source with facts on its side would ever appear against a wrong 'majority' one?" I asked the Wiki-gatekeeper. He responded, "You're more than welcome to discuss reliable sources here, that's what the talk page is for. However, you might want to have a quick look at Wikipedia's civility policy."
Monday, February 20, 2012
An example of a Wikipedia fail?
Great little essay this week in the Chronicle of Higher Education about a professor named Timothy Messer-Kruse who uncovered new information about the Haymarket riot and trial in Chicago in the late 19th century, and proudly tried to add this new information to Wikipedia, only to be thwarted: