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“Our Wikipedia is the Wikipedia who defamed the stars”

By Hersch, with research assistance from Eric Barbour and Andreas Kolbe

At Wikipedia, any controversial topic will inevitably become an arena of combat between opposing teams of propagandists. Initially, there will be arguments on the “talk page,” which will then escalate to “revert wars” where the contestants simply rush to undo edits made by the other side. At this point it is likely to move on to “dispute resolution,” which typically consists of the most appalling assortment of sophistry, subterfuge, connivance, chicanery and intrigues, the sort of thing that makes trial lawyers and insurance claim adjustors look angelic by comparison. Over time, the article will gradually stabilize, as one team or the other gains the upper hand, and that team’s bias becomes more or less institutionalized as Wikipedia’s approved slant on the issue, or what has been called the “House POV” (“House Point of View”).

But it is important to realize that in these ideological battles, there is collateral damage. Almost every Wikipedia article links to other articles; therefore, to gain supremacy over a controversial subject matter, the successful propagandist must control the linked articles as well. In practice, this means one must either puff up or discredit institutions, publications, and in particular, individuals that are associated with a particular controversial idea.




Let’s take as an example one of the more popular current controversies, that of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), or Anthropogenic Climate Change, the theory that climate change is bad and is primarily caused by human activity. This theory is widely accepted, but is questioned by some scientists and others who are typically called “Climate change skeptics.” At one time, Wikipedia had an article called

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