Debate:Does bias impair Wikipedia's reliability?

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Reply: There are some examples for you here. Have a great day! --SharonS 15:23, 27 December 2006 (EST)


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Catch 22

Look at the function of the Conservapedia... It was created to represent the views of Conservative America, that was being edited out of the Wikipedia.

If bias in the Wikipedia does not affect its reliability then the Conservapedia is redundant.

If bias in the Wikipedia does affect its reliability, then creating a purposfully biased "answer to the problem" will suffer from the same problem, making it redundant (and the wikipedia).

The difference between the two is, the Wikipedia strives not to be biased, whereas this site was created to represent a certain view point, so will always be biased and always unreliable. --Mj 09:24, 20 March 2007 (EDT)

I challange the idea that Wikipedia strives not to be biased. HeartOfGold 19:19, 8 May 2007 (EDT)

I challenge the idea that Conservapedia strives to be biased. --StevenH 18:08, 14 November 2011 (EST)

The Pot and the Kettle?

I think a more valuable question to be asking here is: Should political philosophies and religious/spiritual beliefs have a place at all in deciding the content of what is supposed to ostensibly be a resource of pure knowledge? If some people here find it repugnant that Wikipedia allegedly is "liberally biased", then I find it equally repugnant that someone felt the need to create a version of it with a "conservative/Christian bias" -- especially when it openly bashes what it was created to oppose. Ideally, knowledge should be like energy (in the physics sense of the word): neither good nor bad in it's essence, it just exists.

If your political, philosophical, or religious/spiritual beliefs are driving what you're calling "knowledge" or "fact" instead of citeable and/or independantly verifiable sources, then perhaps it should be re-examined instead of posted in a tome labelled "knowledge" or "fact" -- or at the very least, have the decency to call it "belief" instead of "knowledge" or "fact". -- Duncan Blackthorne, 22 Feb 2007


I think that bias does at times impair Wikipedia's reliability. Truth be told I think that the same thing is beginning to occur on Conservapedia.

Don't get me wrong, I agree with most of the views expressed in the various entries I have seen on Conservapedia. But I think that Conservapedia has become a bit hypocritical. When I looked up 'homosexuality' it was necessary to dig through several paragraphs before I could find an adequate description of the term. What I did find however was lots of conservatively biased viewpoints on a subject which had not even been sufficiently explained.

This would be acceptable if this website portrayed itself as a place for people to simply come and state views. But considering that this is supposed to be an 'encyclopedia' many of the term definitions themselves belong in the 'debate topics' section due to their lack of information and tendency toward conservative bias.

I heard that this website was supposed to cut-down on the pointless paragraphs of garbage, and offer concise informative entries. Instead I found much of bias, which whether I agree with or not, does not belong in an encycolpedia.

For the most part I believe Conservapedia is still on the right track, and far more reliable than Wikipedia. If it simply changes its policy slightly to eliminate biased entries such as the one on homosexuality, and sticks to simply stating the facts then it will greatly increase its credablity. (Note that I would have stated a term on homosexuaity more like this: The tendency of a person towards the same sex... This does not say whether or not homsexuality is right or wrong, it merely states what it is...) JB--------


How can "A conservative encyclopedia" (see front page) ever be unbiased --Mj 09:29, 20 March 2007 (EDT)

Yes:

Abso-freaking-lutely. Go here: Examples of Bias in Conservapedia

Any bias impairs reliability as much as it impairs respectability. Conservapedia is just as unreliable as wikipedia because of the conservative bias.

They censor non-Christian stuff. They're really, really biased. They only accept LIBERAL BIAS!

Please read this: Wikipedia.

Question? How do you define liberal bias

  • Liberal: "marked by generosity."
  • Bias: "a zero-frequency voltage combined with a signal to move the operating point to more linear response area."
  • Liberal bias = generously allowing everyone to output their signal without distortion. I'd have to be crazy to sign this 11:36, 6 March 2007 (EST)

Yes bias creates a thought police mentality of patrolling articles and reverting changes of things the "thought police" do not agree with. For example, the Hugo Chavez article is patrolled by Pro-Chavez people, most of whom are administrators. Someone had added a quote with a link to a Youtube video of Chavez calling George W. Bush "El Diablo" and then wrote that since Chavez is supposed to be a Christian, than this name-calling was an unchristian thing to do. Despite the proper citation, and NPOV, the changes got reverted and the user was cussed out on their talk page by one of the article contributors. Later on it was added, but in a POV way that made Chavez look good and Bush look bad. There are many more examples of this. --Orion Blastar 23:27, 9 March 2007 (EST)

It's a good thing we don't have anything like that here.  :)
How is it NPOV to call someone unchristian?--Άθεος 11:00, 14 April 2007 (EDT)

No. Not always:

No. Wikipedia is edited by people from all around the world (even the English language version), so obviously the average point of view expressed on Wikipedia is not going to be the same as the average point of view in the US. And it's especially not going to be the same as the average point of view expressed by American conservatives (who don't represent all Americans). And it's especially especially not going to be the same as the average point of view expressed by American-Christian-biblical-literalist-creationist-pro-war-anti-free-trade conservatives (who don't represent all American conservatives). Is representing the whole world somehow evidence of bias???

And what nuthead got the idea to call this thing "conservapedia" anyway, when it clearly does not represent conservatives as a whole??? --Madonna 05:20, 7 April 2007 (EDT)

Simply because they are liberally biased does not always effect their reliability.

For example: I want to know President Reagan dates. I go onto Wikipedia. They will tell me. They may also tell me he was a bad president. But simply because "they" tell me that he was a bad president does not mean they are unreliable and what they told me about his dates isn’t solid fact.

Where does WIkipedia say that President Reagan was a bad president? The opening paragraphs of the article, Ronald Reagan say things like
"He strongly opposed communism and socialism, and as president he pursued policies for fewer regulations, lower taxes, free trade agreements, and welfare cutbacks."
and
"His legacies include restoring America's strength and prosperity following a period of stagflation in the wake of the Watergate scandal and the withdrawal from Vietnam, reaffirming America's commitment to free market economics, large budget deficits, rejecting Détente and escalating the Cold War with the Soviet Union through a military build-up and a firm foreign policy of "peace through strength", and peacefully ending the Cold War with Mikhail Gorbachev, including a massive reduction in nuclear arms."
and
"In several recent ratings of American presidents, Ronald Reagan ranked high."
Dpbsmith 16:35, 24 January 2007 (EST)

Now, (still on Wikipedia) I want to know about Jesus. I look Him up in that little search engine, and what do I get? An article that gives every view point of Jesus that exists. If I wanted to know what Christians thought about Jesus I would go to a Christian web site. Why go to an encyclopedia to look for biased articles that exclude every one else's opinion just because it isn't your opinion? Because He’s controversial in today’s world. Almost everyone has a blind side to controversial issues. This does not make Wikipedia bad, it merely shows that they are human.

In addition, (to the comment that Wikipedia censors Christian things) Conservepedia is biased against liberals and Islam. We probably censor things that we believe are wrong. Doesn't that affect our reliability?

I am not defending Wikipedia, I am just saying that it is often a reliable resource.

-this is fun!- --Katie 23:55, 17 January 2007 (EST)


Like any wiki will be when it is that big, wikipedia definately hase some unreliable content, yet wikipedia is still mostly reliable.

--BenjaminS 23:02, 24 January 2007 (EST)

Just because they have terms on everything doesn't mean that they are unreliable. Infact I bet that people will be putting just as much stuff on Conservapedia soon.


WIkipedia has certain kinds of reliability problems, but they relate mostly to its being a Wiki that anybody can edit.

I don't think it has problems because of bias. In fact, I believe that in practice Wikipedia's "neutrality" policy usually results in articles that represent all points of view, at least in the sense of mentioning their existence and linking to other information.

For example, if someone goes to the article on Evolution, they will see that it has section on "Social and religious controversies," which in turn links to a long article on Creation-evolution controversy. There is also a long article on Creationism. Wikipedia acknowledges the controversy, even in its main article on evolution, and doesn't try to hide it.

Of course, in a controversial article, people on both sides tend to think that their own side wasn't treated fairly.

Wikipedia should not be trusted uncritically. Neither should other encyclopedias. Wikipedia is sometimes better than other encyclopedias in showing the sources where it got its information. Dpbsmith 17:26, 26 January 2007 (EST)

I just checked wikipedia and it actually uses A.D. B.C., try looking up Mesopotamia or Rome, maybe others. I'm not trying to be aginst Conservapedia, I'm just being objective.

Double Edge

Wikipedia is a tool of the reality-based community! It should be avoided by all people of Faith. -Unscrewyourhead

Reality has a well-known liberal bias. If people want want to live in a fantasy world they will come and edit this site.

It depends on how you see things. I have no clue why Liberals and Conservatives are fighting in the first place. The interior battle causes many bad apples and possibly civil war. Maybe not about the civil war but still. --Eiyuu Kou 22:29, 20 March 2007 (EDT)

I doubt wikipedia is biased; it's just wrong a lot, given that anybody who thinks they know something can edit it. That said, I'd be much more afraid of a site where anybody who thinks they know something can post, but the site itself advocates a specific ideology. A site like that could get away with outrageous claims, like it invented the question mark, or like the earth was created at 6:00 pm Saturday, October 22, 4004 B.C.--Rumple

Never, or at most rarely:

Phist I think the base idea of Wikipedia is that everyone in the world is bias in some way and therefor wrong, so if you get them all together you'll make something that no one agrees with, but isn't far from the truth.

All jokes aside, the ideal of Wikipedia is to contain every fact in the world while having no real opinion about them. For those of us that choose to be extremely opinionated this dispassionate viewpoint can sometimes come across as a bias against whatever we believe. Because the fact of the matter is that Wikipedia believes nothing, it is essentially nihilistic insofar as it will(in theory at least) never say something is right or wrong, good or bad. It will state the facts and if such a conclusion exists at all, wikipedia lets the user make it.

Crimesofthelemon

To be honest, this site is more biased than wikipedia...wikipedia puts facts before uncertainties such as the existance of God.

Well think about it religion is based on faith not fact so to use noahs ark for instance in any sort of artical is just wrong unless refering directly to the bible itself. plus wikipedia is based on fact not beleif. so that said conservipedia is way more bias then wikipedia.

The only reason people think any sort of "Liberal Media" exists is because said sources base their claims on fact, evidence, and obsective logical inquiry. Religious conservative positions are unavoidably at odds with these claims because faith-based and religious claims are claims made upon little or no evidence. Wikipedia is a neutral perspective, and having that perspective means that fact outweighs faith. It's that simple. Wikipedia isn't biased... it just doesn't favor Conservatism, a luxory that Conservative Christians have become far too attached to. - Crazy Mother


no, its not from what i can tell, although people on conservapedia says that wikipedia is anti-(American/Christan), from what ive read of it is not anti-(Christan/American) its just not pro-(Christan/American), it tries to show both sides of a argument even if one side isn't as good as the other, but other than that groups can change their pages so they are more benifical to themselves (but thats like all wikis)-Greenmeanie 23:39, 15 May 2008 (EDT)

Wikipedia is a biased Nightmare

Dan Rather and Meredith Viera are fair and balanced compared to Wikipedia. There are many examples. Compare the Jesus as Myth article to the Intelligent Design Article. Compare the Christmas article to the Passover Article. Compare any article about anything Christian, to, say, an article on Wicca, Voodoo or Paganism. Wikipedia is on a mission to topple the dominant culture of America. Wikipedia complies strictly with "politically correct" notions such as the ridiculous belief that "Chinaman" and "Oriental" are slurs. Would someone please explain why Irishman, Welshman, Scotsman, Englishman, Frenchman and Dutchman are not slurs, but Chinaman is? The site is founded on the belief that it's important to "question" (read as undermine) the credibility of the thoughts and philosophies that made America the envy of the world, but at the same time treat every minority crack-pot theory with kid gloves.

Thank God this site exists. I'm looking forward to contributing. Everwill 07:10, 31 March 2007 (EDT)

Here is my nightmare experience with Wikipedia, enjoy: I personally have contributed information to Wikipedia on subjects related to history, politics, and theology, subjects that I consider myself knowledgeable with. Most of this knowledge was gained from college and various books that I have read over the years. As a history buff, I have read many books about George Washington, an individual that I have become fascinated with over the years. I have visited his historical home in Mount Vernon and visited the church that he regularly attended in Virginia. As a result, I consider myself somewhat more knowledgeable than the average person in regards to George Washington, his life, and his accomplishments. I contributed information to the George Washington entry on Wikipedia and much of it was accepted. However, when it came to his religious background, almost all of my entries were inextricably deleted from the article and replaced with garbage implying that George Washington was not a Christian but a Deist. This is contrary to the fact that he was indeed a Christian believer, Episcopalian to be exact, based on historical documents and records. Not to mention his regular attendance at Christ Church Alexandria in Alexandria, Virginia where the very pew he regularly sat in still exists with his nameplate attached to it. I debated with the administrators for weeks, remained unbias, and provided plenty of references to my entry. In short, my information was forever stricken and I have been officially banned from editing any entry concerning George Washington. I later found out that Wikipedia is a self-proclaimed liberal community. The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, states, "I would say that the Wikipedia community is slightly more liberal than the U.S. population on average, because we are global and the international community of English speakers is slightly more liberal than the U.S. population." There you have it. Wikipedia is indeed a liberal community and therefore it is biased which makes Wikipedia a completely unreliable source for facts and information. Like the user above me, I too thank God for this site and I'm looking forward to contributing. --Watchman 23:13, 8 January 2008 (EST)


I think that it is important to remember that the people can alter Wikipedia as well as Conservapedia. Both of these sites should not be used for getting accurate information that is unbiased. But I think that it is important that anyone can edit Wikipedia and other people can edit it instead of having people watch what is being added and fixing it to work for a specific agenda.

It's more than bias

Any wiki which intends to report factual information will be limited in its reliability by the individuals who edit it and the direction those individuals take. Even within a system of strict rules designed to avoid misinformation and bias creeping in, you will still have individuals who disagree with each other. Suppose for example you posted a statistic which cannot help but put the African-American community in a positive light; a white separatist editor may demand that you provide adequate citations and references to back up your numbers, or edit your contribution to sound less positive, and in either case he is still within the rules.

Since rule enforcement is also done by editors, the rules are going to be more strongly enforced in proportion to the demographic of the editors. You see this throughout history; where one group holds more political power than another in the nation, the laws will favour the powerful group unless they are also supremely fair. Any wiki will be biased in favour of the kind of people on the internet - they tend to be young men, who are well-versed in the use of technology. Young people are more likely to take traditions for granted and hold radical views, which I suspect is one source of this perceived liberal bias in Wikipedia - the conservatives there are simply just outnumbered by the young people. Technically-minded individuals these days are also less likely to be religious, so you can expect to find other editors who are openly biased against Christian viewpoints.

Ultimately, there are only so many editors, and topics that don't catch the interest any of them will fall by the wayside, while those that do will reflect the bias of any editor undisciplined enough not to take a neutral stance. --JonathanDrain 11:27, 31 July 2007 (EDT)

That's a very interesting argument. I'd like to add another dimension to it: I think that there is a lack of consensus on what content is appropriate for an article. We'll use two examples: first is the Global Warming article. To go along with the GW article is an article called "Global Warming Controversy." Now, with this organizational structure, the most coherent way to organize the data in these two articles would be to put information pertinent to Global Warming (such as scientific staistics, history of the topic, etc) in the main article. Since there is a separate "controversy" article, any contention on points brought up in the original article should be pointed out in the second article. The structure of the "controversy" article should mirror the structure of the original article so recursive referencing can be used.
The problem is that people think that "having the last word" wins the argument, which is why we get inappropriate discussions in articles. If things could just be split up and referenced recursively to each other, then it would be an excellent source.
A final thing to point out - most people using Wikipedia as a serious reference don't use the actual article. They might get a summary of the topic from that article, but the articles sources will always be the direct reference, which is why it's so important to correctly and wholly source articles. Stryker 11:33, 31 July 2007 (EDT)
Oh, I've seen that happen. You get sections of Wikipedia entries that read like a debate in encyclopaedic form. --JonathanDrain 12:06, 31 July 2007 (EDT)
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