Apr 132013
 

The quacks’ problem with Wikipedia is not that it is censored; it is that Wikipedia is not censored to protect their cherished delusions.

Wikipedia is marvellous. It is the most visited informational site on the internet, and is run on a budget of peanuts, almost entirely by volunteers.

Article quality is variable of course. All articles are a work in progress and vulnerable to agenda-driven edits, but the more contentious a topic is and the more people feel strongly about a subject, the better and more neutral the content gets. Consensus is the term Wikipedia uses; it’s not really consensus as such, but it certainly is compromise.

Homeopathy is covered on Wikipedia. And the quacks hate the way it’s covered, because the Wikipedia article includes the scientific consensus as well as their beliefs. This is a feature, not a bug. Homeopathic critique of Wikipedia misrepresents the application of Wikipedia content policies as censorship.  In reality, Wikipedia is neutral, documenting both the beliefs of homeopaths and the scientific consensus view of those beliefs. The process at work is editorial discretion not censorship.

An example from the hilariously batshit and reliably wrong Hydrogen2Oxygen (“alternative science”? No, you mean alternative to science!):

Homeopathy and Wikipedia Censorship

Censorship is the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body. It can be done by governments and private organizations or by individuals who engage in self-censorship.

Yes, that’s what censorship is. Self-censorship is an interesting one; it’s an important part of being a social animal.

There are a lot of Wikipedia User who censor articles on homeopathy. They remove links which refers to other articles which provides the proof for homeopathy or at least explanations how homeopathy works. This kind of censorship can easily be tracked, because the people who censor this articles are members of so called “skeptic communities” (Pseudoskeptics).

Wrong. Wikipedia does not censor information on homeopathy. A classic case is the recent comment on the Talk page by an anonymous user demanding inclusion of positive trials for homeopathy. We do include them. But we do not censor the fact that systematic review of these trials fails to support the idea of any effect beyond placebo. We include the fact that homeopaths claim to act on the cause of disease, but we do not censor the fact that there is no evidence to support this. We report the fact that they believe like cures like, but we do not censor the fact that there is no evidence to support this.

Wikipedia is not censored. In this case, it is not censored for the protection of your cherished delusions. You find the inclusion of the scientific consensus inconvenient. And you hate the fact that it is the scientific consensus, not the evidentially unsupportable beliefs of homeopaths, which sets the tone of the article. Please report your concerns to our helpdesk at www.boohoohoo.com.

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Site last updated April 13, 2014 @ 6:19 pm; This content last updated April 13, 2013 @ 2:02 pm