Wikipedia censored on school district's computers
Picture courtesy of Evolution News & Views
I have known for a long time that many teachers and schools have banned student use of Wikipedia as an authoritative reference. I never imagined that a public school district would go so far as to block Wikipedia on all of its computers.
An article in the Seattle Times said,
EASTON, Pa. — Linda O'Connor regards Wikipedia the same way former first lady Nancy Reagan campaigned against drugs.
She urges people to "Just Say No."
The Great Meadows (N.J.) Middle School librarian hasn't been a fan of the online encyclopedia for years. This fall, she decided it was time to make others at her school aware of the Web site's pitfalls.
She put up a sign saying "Just Say 'No' to Wikipedia" over the computers in the school library.
Several other school officials feel similarly about the Web site. Wikipedia is blocked on all computers in the Warren Hills Regional School District.
Some teachers at Easton Area High School discourage its use, as do officials at Centenary College and Lehigh University.
"We don't see it as an authoritative source," said Nancy Madasci, Centenary's library director.
The problem with Wikipedia, the school officials said, is it can be modified by anyone. There have been many cases of incorrect information on the Web site, some of which has been biased.
Though Wikipedia is unreliable on controversial subjects, I still see it as giving good overviews, good references, and being fairly reliable on uncontroversial subjects. So I am especially surprised that a public school district blocked Wikipedia on all its computers.
This news article, like so many other articles, fails to recognize that open-editing is not Wikipedia's only problem or even its biggest problem. IMO the biggest problem is bias by Wikipedia administrators. It is this bias that prevents Wikipedia from being self-correcting and presenting a variety of views.
Here are some of the problems I have had or seen on Wikipedia --
(1) The administrators rewrote the entire Wikipedia article on "banned books" rather than list "Of Pandas and People," the book that Judge Jones ruled could not even be mentioned in Dover classrooms, as a banned book.
(2) Despite a rule that citation of personal blogs is prohibited, particularly in biographies of living persons (except where the subject of the biography is writing about him/herself), the Wickedpedia administrators permitted citations of supposedly "notable" personal blogs attacking Cheri Yecke while blocking rebuttals from this supposedly "crappy" personal blog.
(3) The Wickedpedians falsely claimed that Judge Jones approved Wesley "Ding" Elsberry's text comparison computer program for the purpose of determining the extent to which two different texts contain the same ideas.
I don't waste my time editing Wickedpedia anymore, not even on uncontroversial subjects. There is no way that I want to help Wickedpedia in any way. Wickedpedia is dependent on volunteer editing and the more people that feel the same way that I do about Wickedpedia, the less volunteer editing that Wickedpedia is going to get.
Labels: Wikipedia (new #1)