Monday, June 9, 2008

Don't Trust Wikipedia.

If you look up a topic on the Internet, odds are that you will get a link to Wikipedia in the results. Wikipedia, one of the most popular websites on the web, is an online encyclopedia founded on the premise that basically all and sundry can write and edit articles about topics of their choosing. It is a very idealistic premise, but that's not all. It just happens to be a very dangerous premise, too.

Bluntly put, far too many people on the Internet are too trusting in believing that Wikipedia entries are valid, unbiased, factual. Many are, but many are not. Especially on entries dealing with politics, race, ethnicity and culture, history, and religion, all Wikipedia articles should not be considered appropriate sources of information, and should not be used, at all.

For instance, many Wikipedia entries about Northeast Asians attempt to make their physical appearance similar to that of Europeans. According to Wikipedia, Northeast Asians are supposed to be light skinned, hairy(er), taller, and have narrow noses. These Asians are usually contrasted with Southeast Asians, who are--according to Wikipedia--darker skinned, less hairy, shorter, with wider noses. While it is the case that *on average,* your typical Northeast Asian would be lighter skinned than your ordinary Southeast Asian, the fact is that both Northeast and Southeast Asians run the gauntlet from light skinned to dark skinned, with lighter skin being more prevalent in the north, and darker skin being more prevalent in the south. And even still, the standard light skinned Northeast Asian is still darker skinned than the average northern European. The other features are yet more dubious. Northeast Asians might be hairier than Southeast Asians, but this is primarily exclusive to Mongolians and Japanese. The remainder--height and noses--are downright ludicrous. Northeast Asians are on average about the same height as Southeast Asians, even with a higher standard of living. As for noses, Northeast Asians do tend to have pointier nose tips, whereas Southeast Asians tend to have more bulbous nose tips. However, both Northeast and Southeast Asians have wide noses which splay out--from a Eurocentric standpoint. Notably not mentioned are East Asians' most prominent feature (in the West): their slanted eyes, which is more prevalent among Northeast Asians while Southeast Asians are more prone to have rounder eyes. Nor are wide cheekbones and flat(ter) faces referred to, although both Northeast and Southeast Asians (with the exceptions of some Southeast Asians near India, such as Burmese and Thai) have wide cheekbones and flat faces (moonfaces), again, from a Eurocentric viewpoint. Why should Northeast Asians want to look European anyway? Their features are every bit acceptable as Europeans', and so are Southeast Asians'. Northeast Asians on Wikipedia, in a wanna-be-white funk, make a pathetic attempt to boost their pride--at Southeast Asians' expense. By doing so, they are not only being inaccurate, but insulting, and this almost definitely misleads people who aren't very informed about East Asia (both Northeast and Southeast Asia).

In theory, biased editing would be counteracted by editors with opposing or more objective views. However, in practice, it is easy to see how this supposed safeguard falls short. Nations and ethnicities, religions, etc. with more people on the Internet would have a proportionally larger voice and influence on Wikipedia. Using the case above, there are far more Northeast Asians on the web than there are Southeast Asians--South Korea and Japan (two of the most racist Northeast Asian groups) are among the most Internet connected nations on the planet. Thus Northeast Asians are able to ride roughshod over Southeast Asians while Southeast Asians' ability to defend themselves is limited. And the greater global population is none the wiser.

Similarly, the United States is heavily represented and punches far above its weight (in terms of population) on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is not accurate, and is used as a political, racist, religious, and biased-historical tool by various interest groups. And an excessive amount of Wikipedia's readers are too gullible to pick up on this.

At most, Wikipedia can be used for its reference links to external sources, although even these could be slanted, with one side being overly represented among the references. And even for more mundane topics, such as the composition of compounds, Wikipedia might be used *to become familiar with the topic.* Even there, you should verify what you read with more reliable sources.

Frankly put, Wikipedia is being used as a propagandistic force for evil.

Found this article interesting? Check out:
The Roadmap to the Future--Africa.
The Roadmap to the Future--Asia.
The Roadmap to the Future--Europe.
The Roadmap to the Future--Latin America.

The Science Fiction Channel + Technorium.
The Vegetarian Diaries.

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Found this article interesting? Check out:
History: The Roadmap to the Future.
History: The Roadmap to the Future--Africa.
History: The Roadmap to the Future--Asia.
History: The Roadmap to the Future--Europe.
History: The Roadmap to the Future--Latin America.

The Science Fiction Channel + Technorium.
The Vegetarian Diaries + Biologeel.