Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Wikipedia begs, I say "Not until you live up to your stated policies", they come back!

 So, I gave money to Wikipedia a few times years ago.  I refuse to give them any money now, for all I care they can take on advertisers.  It also strikes me that the Web Search engines that feature them so heavily could kick back a tiny amount to them for all the content they provide.

They sent me a begging email.  I was in a nasty mood and said:

"No, not until you make some minimal effort to improve NPOV on the site."

I was surprised to see that they answered.  It appears to me that this is an issue they hear a lot and have this email ready to go, it may have been automated.

Here it is:

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Lindsay Wadleigh Macpherson, Nov 16, 2021, 2:20 AM UTC:

Hi Jordan,

Thank you for your email.

The Wikimedia Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to enable people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally. The Foundation does not endorse political candidates, or have an agenda other than our mission. The idea of a neutral point of view is one of our core principles.

Wikipedia is a global project managed by tens of thousands of volunteers from around the world. Many people do not know this, but the Wikimedia Foundation does not control or edit the content of Wikipedia. We are here primarily to provide infrastructure and support the volunteer community. They are people from virtually all walks of life, who edit and contribute everyday, and they reflect a vast number of viewpoints. There is no central editorial board; all edits are made by individual members of the Wikipedia community.

The volunteer editors appreciate hearing viewpoints about content, and value input from readers that can help improve the quality of information. If you have specific corrections or facts to offer, volunteers require citations or facts from reliable, high-quality sources to review and improve the information.

Wikipedia volunteers are strongly focused on the editorial values of non-censorship, neutrality, verifiability, and what is termed 'no original research.' All volunteers invested in the quality of Wikipedia are working collectively to build balanced, neutral articles that reflect a variety of perspectives on often complex, high-profile topics. Content and information can change quickly to reflect world events and new facts.

Clicking on the 'View history' tab of an article will display the edit history of that article with associated comments. For controversial or contested articles, clicking on the Talk Page can often provide more context about how the article was created, and will show any debates among the editors.

For any further questions about Wikipedia content or guidelines, please contact info@wikimedia.org, an email address answered by longtime project editors with vast editorial experience.

Thanks again for reaching out to share your views.

Sincerely,

Lindsay Wadleigh Macpherson
Donor Relations Specialist
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
wikimediafoundation.org
Support us! https://donate.wikimedia.org

Due to the volume of inquiries we receive, we use Zendesk
as a donor response platform. By emailing donate@wikimedia.org, you
understand that your information will be processed by the Zendesk Group
in accordance with Zendesk’s terms. Users from the following countries should consult Section 13 of Zendesk’s privacy policy
for more information about Zendesk’s country-specific practices:
Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and Singapore.

---

There's a lot I could comment on above, but it doesn't really address my concerns.  I don't believe they've done anything other than talk to improve NPOV.  I think there's massive evidence for this.  A casual review of controversial topics shows a definite hard slant to what's allowed there.  People have tried to fight with the Editors, but they gang up and disallow meaningful change and The Wikimedia Foundation does nothing at all.

Don't take my word for it, take the word of Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger in these excellent articles.

https://larrysanger.org/2020/05/wikipedia-is-badly-biased/ https://larrysanger.org/2021/06/wikipedia-is-more-one-sided-than-ever/

Most galling in their response above is this:

" If you have specific corrections or facts to offer, volunteers require citations or facts from reliable, high-quality sources to review and improve the information."

'high-quality sources'

No objective observer would accept their criteria for what's 'high-quality'.  They devalue Conservative sources routinely and amplify Liberal sources, even Liberal sources that are routinely highly partisan.   This article takes this apart in detail:

https://thecritic.co.uk/the-left-wing-bias-of-wikipedia/

So, no, I won't be donating and I might still use the site.  Heck, I edit the site, improving things here and there down through the years, which is more of a contribution than most, but no money.  If they go under, someone will host the content with ads and that would be fine with me.


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