Talk:Examples of Bias in Wikipedia/Archive2

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Additional criticism just added concerning "Anglophilia"

Having read the Henry Liddell article, I fail to see the Anglophilia in this case. For example, noting the degree type isn't any different than noting what sort of degree the person got in the American system. Am I missing something here? JoshuaZ 23:12, 11 February 2007 (EST)

The term "double first degree" is meaningless to most Wikipedia readers. Only an Anglophile knows or care what that means. And did you see all the obscure titles of royality in that entry??? That entry is 95% Anglophile trivia and only 5% content.--Aschlafly 23:49, 11 February 2007 (EST)

Ok, first of all, I agree that many readers(not sure "most", since the term is used in many English speaking countries such as India) would not know what "double first degree" is. That's why its wikilinked. So you can click on it to learn what it is. The assertion that "only an Anglophile" would "care" what the term means is hard for me to credit. Are you asserting that one must be an anglophile to care what degrees someone has? As to the last point, "obscure titles of royality" (I will presume you meant, "royalty" although I think you actually mean peerage or the more general British honours system) I'm not deeply familiar with the rules for how to describe people per the Wikipedia manual of style for titles, but my minimal knowledge makes most of the article seem to follow the basic rule although some of them do not. I am going to go through and remove the titles that should obviously not be present under the Wikipedia style guidelines. I fail to see how an article which is about a member of a prominent 19th century British family (and thus, has many relevant titles) demonstrates anglophila by mentioning those titles. Furthermore, given the fact that the Manual of Style says that some of those titles should not be present, it is hard to see how it demonstrates a bias on Wikipedia that an article would not correspond to the manual of style (if anything, that just goes more to the general inconsistency of Wikipedia). It isn't clear to me what you mean by "Anglophile trivia" and therefore cannot respond to it. JoshuaZ 00:02, 12 February 2007 (EST)
I looked at the "wikilinked" explanation for "double first degree." That link sent me to a massive explanation of the British educational system! I tried to find an explanation for "double first degree" but was unsuccessful. Apparently the term can have multiple meanings, none of which are particularly significant. So what if Henry Liddell was in the top ten percent of his college class??? Many entries about Englishmen on Wikipedia are stuffed with this silly information, as though we're all Anglophiles who worship this stuff. This junk obscures the real contributions of the subjects of the entries.--Aschlafly 00:21, 12 February 2007 (EST)
I don't think it matters, Wikipedia has alot of stuff that most people don't care about. I think that your claim of "anglophilia" is hard to prove. I think that the problem is that Wikipidia is so big that it is getting impossible for anyone to keep it under control, so that people can add their own favorite facts, and there is so much of it that it cannot be stopped. it isn't bias just too much information. --TimSvendsen 00:29, 12 February 2007 (EST)
It is bias towards a particular type of information. We don't have too much information about English socialism, racism, imperialism, religious persecution, etc. We don't have too much information about Irish complaints about England, or complaints by other people. We do have too much information about obscure English royal titles and nearly arbitrary college distinctions.--Aschlafly 00:36, 12 February 2007 (EST)

Wikipedia doesn't have "anglophilia." What Wikipedia has a very significant proportion of British contributors. Who, incidentally, are constantly pointing out valid problems with "U.S.-centric" entries.

REPLY The contributions by English editors is fine; the obsession of some of them with obscure British royalty and silly, unexplained college distinctions does reflect an Anglophile bias worth highlighting. Is there more editing on Wikipedia by English editors than American ones? Seems like it based on my observation of so many British spellings.--Aschlafly 18:37, 12 February 2007 (EST)

en.wikipedia.org is the English-language Wikipedia, not the American Wikipedia.

(And I'd add that 99% of people looking up Henry Liddell are probably researching Lewis Carroll, whose fictional and nonfictional work is so liberally laced with Victorian British terms, assumptions, mindset, point-of-view, etc. that it's probably not a bad idea for anyone reading him, or reading about him to be open to picking up little bits of Victorian trivia....) Dpbsmith 06:16, 12 February 2007 (EST)

REPLY: It's hard to see the Alice connection on Liddell's (biased) entry on Wikipedia, so many of the 99% of users could be disappointed.--Aschlafly 18:37, 12 February 2007 (EST)
Ok, once again, this was something that could be easily fixed. However, I don't see what the grammatical issue is. I would appreciate if you would point it out to me. JoshuaZ 18:58, 12 February 2007 (EST)
Isolated bias is easily fixed, but pervasive bias is not. The Wikipedia contributors care more about an obscure royal lineage than presenting facts (and good grammar) in a clear manner. Do you know what percentage of Wikipedia administrators are English, and what their perspective is?
The grammar error is easy to fix, but the bias is not. "Henry George Liddell (February 6, 1811 – January 18, 1898) was Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford [WHEN????], headmaster (1846–55) of Westminster School[1] author of A History of Rome (1857); and co-author (with Robert Scott) of the monumental work A Greek-English Lexicon ((1843; 8th ed., 1897; revised by H.S. Jones and others, 1940; abridged, 1957; intermediate, 1959 [ABSURD LIST OF DETAIL THERE)[2], which is still use ["USED", NOT "USE"] by students of Greek."
Please give credit to Conservapedia when correcting the series of errors in Wikipedia. Thank you! --Aschlafly 19:03, 12 February 2007 (EST)
Instead of claiming these simple errors as bias, why don't you just fix them when you find them. --TimSvendsen 20:04, 12 February 2007 (EST)
It would take me all year, and then some, to "fix" the bias in Wikipedia. I'm simply giving examples here. Fixing an example does not fix the problem.--Aschlafly 20:32, 12 February 2007 (EST)
I am not saying to fix all of the bias, I am saying you should fix the simple grammatical errors, and things like the lack of a date when you come across them.--TimSvendsen 21:05, 12 February 2007 (EST)
In order to jump-start Wikipedia, many articles, particularly on older topics, were directly copied from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica. Most of them are tagged "This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain." They're included in this category. For example, the article on Ahab. Most of these don't just "incorporate" text, they've just plain "copied" it. Compare Ahab in the online 1911 Britannica, for example.
I wonder how many of the "Anglophilic" articles you've noticed are, in fact, 1911 Britannica material?
Henry Liddell is not one of these. However, the 1911 Britannica does contain the exact sentence "Gaining a double first in 1833, Liddell became a college tutor, and was ordained in 1838." Dpbsmith 21:29, 12 February 2007 (EST)
Yeah, this is a good point. There was a project at one point to clean up all these articles but it seems to have fallen by the wayside. One occasionally runs into very out of date things, like I recently ran into an article that referred to "mohammeedans" and one runs into similar problems. JoshuaZ 21:36, 12 February 2007 (EST)
P. S. I can't resist pointing out... Aschlafly complains that "gossip and hundreds of thousands of entries about pop songs or celebrities are pervasive on Wikipedia." However, articles such as Pikachu and Justin Timberlake and The Lion King and Buffyverse are virtually free of Anglophilia or British spellings. So, either pop culture is pervasive on Wikipedia, or Anglophilia is pervasive on Wikipedia, but I don't see how both can be. Dpbsmith 21:41, 12 February 2007 (EST)

I lost this conversation the moment it started. I think we went a lil too far, dont you Mr.Schlafly? I guess it doesnt matter what i think anyway.:) Will N.

REPLY: You make a good point, Will. It does matter what you think. However, note that we all learned something from this debate: Wikipedia has copied material verbatim from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica. I didn't know that before this discussion. That explains some of the obscure and pecularly English descriptions in many entries. Also, it shows that Wikipedia is not completely original.
By the way, Dpbsmith, with all due respect I do think that conflicting attributes can be pervasive at the same time. Oil and water are opposites in many ways, but both can be pervasive in the same solution. E.g., Exxon Valdez oil spill. You wouldn't say that either water or oil was pervasive there, but not both, would you?  :-)--Aschlafly 22:06, 12 February 2007 (EST)
Indeed. And in mayonnaise, too. Dpbsmith 05:46, 13 February 2007 (EST)

I just went on Wikipedia and clicked on random article about 35-40 times, and did not find any examples of "anglophilia"--TimSvendsen 22:21, 12 February 2007 (EST)

Um, I don't think Wikipedia ever claimed to be "completely original." Wikipedia incorporates a lot of material that is in the public domain (either by release or by expiration) as well as material under the GFDL and many of the creative commons liscences. JoshuaZ 22:26, 12 February 2007 (EST)
There's an important point here, though. A lot of our "answers" to Aschlafly take the form "but everyone ought to know thus-and-such" about Wikipedia. Aschlafly often seems to me to berate Wikipedia quite unfairly for not matching his expectations of what he assumes Wikipedia is or thinks Wikipedia ought to be.
The question is, what does the average reader or user, who does not contribute, has not read the policy pages, doesn't have pages on a watchlist and understand how editing works, doesn't fix casual vandalism, doesn't glance at the History, etc. etc. think Wikipedia is?
Is Wikipedia in effect misrepresenting itself? Is there a large discrepancy between what JoshuaZ and I and even a casual contributor know Wikipedia to be and what the average reader assumes it to be? Dpbsmith 05:58, 13 February 2007 (EST)
not that it matters here, but wikipedia's style guide reccomended using american spellings for topics about american stuff and british spellings about british stuff. It's a stylistic choice, and a rational one, not a political choice. Anyone who has read the WP style guide and reads this article will realize that particular example is invalid. I wish this site wasn't called conservapedia. Its giving us a bad name. Godman 22:05, 16 March 2007 (EDT)

"Debate" about reliability and disclosure

I don't know what is meant by [1]. I don't think Wikipedia ever hid this and if you read almost anything put out by Wikipedia discussing its early history it mentions it. This seems to imply that people were trying to cover it up or something. JoshuaZ 22:23, 12 February 2007 (EST)

Where is this disclosed by Wikipedia? I've followed and contributed occasionally to Wikipedia for a decade and was unaware of such copying. In the much-publicized debate between Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica in late 2005, no one at Wikipedia acknowledged that it copied from the Encyclopedia Britannica.
What's lawful (copying from expired copyrighted material) does not excuse lack of attribution or credit. Wikipedia should have a strict policy of requiring attribution. Does it? Apparently not. It should.
This relates to several points about bias as Wikipedia often denies credit to Christianity also.--Aschlafly 23:17, 12 February 2007 (EST)
You appear to be conflating a variety of different issues. First, this is disclosed anywhere, including for example on almost every article that is primarily based on the 1911 (they say at the bottom that they use it), as well as discussed at a variety of other locations such here. So all relevant attribution is given. As to your claim that "In the much-publicized debate between Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica in late 2005, no one at Wikipedia acknowledged that it copied from the Encyclopedia Britannica" first there was no such debate as far as Wikipedia was concerned. Although Britannica spent a fair bit of time attacking the Nature study and has continued to spend time and effort attacking Wikipedia, James Wales has repeatedly stated that Wikipedia is not attempting to compare itself to Britannica nor supplant it. Given that there was no "debate" and that Wikipedia had used public domain work from a variety of early encyclopedias in a very small fraction of its articles which were marked as such, it is hard for me to see what else you wanted Wikipedia to do? You might have come claim about issues of intellectual honesty if Wikipeda were attempting to "debate" the relative merits, but again, Wikipedia was not attempting to do so and always stated that it was about using and sharing free encyclopedia content. (Incidentally, the 1911 edition also has nothing to do with the modern versions of Britannica since subsequent editions (I believe one of the ones from the mid 1960s) were complete or nearly complete rewrites, so any notion that Wikipedia was somehow copying from Encyclopedia Britannica as it stands now is inaccurate (irrelevant, but still inaccurate)). Now to your final comment, that this somehow "elates to several points about bias as Wikipedia often denies credit to Christianity" - I'm afraid I don't see the connection at all. One is a claimed bias that Wikipedia doesn't acknowledge the contributions of Christianity to Western culture and such, the other is a claim that that Wikipedia has not sufficiently acknowledged what sources it uses. What one has to do with the other is beyond me. JoshuaZ 02:42, 13 February 2007 (EST)
  • The articles copied from the 1911 Britannica are supposed to be attributed, and as far as I know most of them are. The Henry Liddell article was not copied from the 1911 Britannica, although I must say it looks to my eye as if it has been lifted piecemeal from more than one source and not attributed.
  • Checking Wikipedia for details (!), the 1974 Britannica 3 (Propaedia/Micropaedia/Macropaedia) was a complete rewrite. As recently as the 1960s there were still some articles entirely or partly based on the 1911 edition. The one that sticks in my mind was their article on Beethoven, which contained the lovely sentence "The immense changes he brought about in the range of music have their most obvious effect in the possibilities of emotional expression; and so any outbreak of vulgarity or sentimentality can with impunity claim descent from Beethoven, though its ancestry may be no higher than Meyerbeer."
  • Copying without attribution is a perpetual problem in an encyclopedia that "anyone can edit," and cutting and pasting particularly from websites occurs all the time. Like casual vandalism, I believe most (but not all!) of it is caught and removed pretty quickly. It is made as clear as possible to contributors that they're not supposed to do this. Copyright violations are watched for pretty carefully, and enforced quite vigorously. A "copyvio" is one of the few forms of material on Wikipedia on which an admin is supposed to shoot first and ask questions afterwords; i.e. delete as soon as noticed, and restore afterwards in those vary rare cases where the contributor proves there actually was permission to release the material under the GFDL. (A much more common case occurs when someone thinks that Wikipedia copied something from another website, but on examination it turns out that the other website copied from Wikipedia without attribution!) Dpbsmith 06:16, 13 February 2007 (EST)
  • Which is not to say there are not problems with saying something is "policy" when there is no command-and-control chain of responsibility! Dpbsmith 06:18, 13 February 2007 (EST)
All your comments above are well-taken. I do see now that many thousands of pages on Wikipedia are copied from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica with attribution. That's a revelation to me.
That said, I still find an unsettling lack of attribution in Wikipedia's policy. Is there a policy that requires attribution to sources like the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica? The Wikipedia supporters who claimed that Wikipedia is as good as the Encyclopedia Britannica in the Nature study debate (including those who did the study) should have acknowledged the copying. I'm not blaming Jimmy Wales, but Wikipedia is no more synonymous with Jimmy Wales at this point than the U.S. Constitution is synonymous with George Washington.
The sentence in Henry Liddell's entry was obviously copied from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica. Does that violate any Wikipedia policy? It should. I'm going to ensure that Conservapedia's policy requires this.
Note that B.C./A.D. v. CE debate is about proper attribution also, and Wikipedia policy fails there also.--Aschlafly 10:50, 13 February 2007 (EST)
I'm not aware of any specific policy stating that public domain works should be acknowledged but in practice they generally are acknowledged. As to your claim that "The Wikipedia supporters who claimed that Wikipedia is as good as the Encyclopedia Britannica in the Nature study debate (including those who did the study) should have acknowledged the copying" - this is not in any way a fault of Wikipedia but a fault of the researchers in question if it is a fault at all. Furthermore, since the Nature study looked at a specific subset of Wikipedia articles none of which contained 1911 material, I don't see why discussing that matter would be at all relevant. As to the BC/AD v. CE/BCE matter, I still don't see the connection. One is an issue of where a system came from, the other is where Wikipedia sources came from. You seem to be confusing content and meta-content issues. JoshuaZ 11:38, 13 February 2007 (EST)
I'm not sure anyone understands how Wikipedia functions. In a broad sort of way, Wikipedia policy and practice is strongly opposed to copyright violation. This is expressed by a conspicuous warning "Content that violates any copyright will be deleted," by the reality that sysops and experienced users really do watch for suspicious material, and really do take quick and effective action when it is spotted.
On the other hand, this only applies to material that is under copyright. As an offshoot of the Open Source movement, Wikipedia tends to favor re-use (copying!) of material that is not under copyright, and, conversely, welcomes the re-use of Wikipedia material by others. That's what the GFDL is all about.
Is everyone here aware that it would be perfectly OK as far as Wikipedia is concerned to copy a Wikipedia article into Conservapedia... either exactly as is, or edited so as to season it to conservative Christian taste... as long as you follow these rules. (Which include giving notice that others may re-use the content copied from Wikipedia). (I'm not suggesting Conservapedia do this).
With regard to attribution, this is covered by Wikipedia's policy on citing sources.
But... what does it mean for something to be "policy" on Wikipedia? This is one of these words that probably means something different to Wikipedians than to the world at large.
Wikipedia has enormous numbers of contributors. Contributions are not vetted or preapproved. It's all "ready, fire, aim." Wikipedia tries to influence contributors, but it relies on the good intentions of the majority of contributors. And there are nowhere near enough administrators to "enforce" policy. Even if the people with admin privileges all agreed on how to interpret policy, which they definitely do not.
And, don't forget--policy pages are just like any other Wikipedia page, and you or anyone else can go in and edit them at any time! Furthermore, it is acknowledged that policy pages are more of an attempt to report or articulate what experienced Wikipedians actually do than to control what they, or anybody else, does.
Now, anyone who's ever been in a large organization knows that the written policy often bears only a loose relationship to what actually happens. It may be that Wikipedia is not all that different from the other large organizations, but the paradoxes and complexities of large-scale human interaction are explicitly on display.
Aschlafly, I trust that didn't answer your question! Dpbsmith 12:37, 13 February 2007 (EST)
Thanks, Dpbsmith, for your informative posting. Given all that you said, I guess it comes down to this: the personal views and preferences of the Wikipedia admins. There is no attempt by Wikipedia for balance in ideology or outlook by these admins. As a result, it is inevitable that certain philosophies will gain control and the place becomes dominated by certain views. This happens in any group environment, or any organization, if there is no attempt to stop it (e.g., U.S. Constitution). Is there a way to poll the views of Wikipedia admins? As I've said before, it's pretty clear what their views are simply by watching what they post and delete. But perhaps a poll would end any pretense that the Wikipedia admins are balanced as a group.--Aschlafly 15:19, 13 February 2007 (EST)
That's interesting because that doesn't sound at all like what Dpb said above. Now to be clear, if an admin pushes a certain viewpoint or acts in a matter biased towards one group other admins will step in. Since not everyone cares about the same issues, one will always have some completely uninvolved admins and other editors able to help out with neutrality issues. If admins act in a particularly POV way then they will get desysopped or put on some sort of probation. This has happened to admins in the past over a variety of issues. And again, the admins aren't in charge of content, that's a general editorial thing. All admins do is block problematic users, delete when there is a consensus to delete and protect when there is a strong need to protect. None of these concern direct content issues and admins are specifically disallowed from using their admin tools in content disputes. JoshuaZ 15:24, 13 February 2007 (EST)

Wikipedia on AAPS

I'm not sure how much water I want to carry for Conservapedia, and I certainly don't want to be Conservapedia's pet Wikipedia-fixer, so I've left a note on Wikipedia's discussion page for the AAPS article but have not edited the article itself. It might be appropriate to place a {{npov}} tag on the article itself, but I don't want to go that far yet, at least not until I see whether there's any response on the Talk page. (I expect to be chided for not fixing the article myself...)

It looks to me like the article is on balance negative toward AAPS, but that most of the comments and criticism are properly sourced.

The usual best approach to adjusting balance problems in Wikipedia articles is not to remove material on the overrepresented side if it's well-sourced, but to add well-sourced material on the opposing side, e.g. the fact that AAPS is (according to the New York Times) drawn from AMA membership and that (at least one) AAPS member has been the president of the AMA... Dpbsmith 10:21, 13 February 2007 (EST)

Your edit to the Example of bias here is an improvement. However, I think your comment that the Wikipedia article is merely "on balance negative towards AAPS" is quite a bit understated. (Disclosure: I do work for AAPS.)
The bulk of the entry about AAPS itself (not including its journal) is a rant by a British television journalist. Why isn't that high degree of bias prohibited, and why shouldn't the contributor be warned about a violation of a policy? --Aschlafly 10:35, 13 February 2007 (EST)
High degrees of bias are prohibited by the neutrality policy. However, the policy is not exercised instantaneously or with much precision. That paragraph strikes me as the Wikipedian equivalent of driving 80 mph on a interstate highway posted 65. It's against the law but it would be naive to expect to see flashing blue and red lights behind you the instant the needle crosses 65. Thousands of drivers can habitually rive 80 for long periods of time without seeing them.
P. S. I see the article as slightly biased, you see it as very biased... no surprises there. Disclosure: I have nothing whatsoever to do with the AAPS! Dpbsmith 12:43, 13 February 2007 (EST)
P. P. S. Aschlafly, in response to the note I left on the Talk page, one editor who's been active on this page recently cut the Brian Deer material down to about half its previous size and moved it into the section on "Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons." I don't expect you to be satisfied, but I think you'll agree that it's better than it was. (See the article). Dpbsmith 18:14, 13 February 2007 (EST)
I'm at least not happy with it still. DPB, where did the NYT mention that a member had been a past president of the AMA? That would seem to be a pretty relevant detail. JoshuaZ 18:18, 13 February 2007 (EST)
The shift is a slight improvement. But why are Brian Deer's intemperate comments even on AAPS's entry? How long do you think a similar rant against Brian Deer, if posted on his entry, would survive Wikipedia admin review? There is no justification for posting Brian Deer's rant on AAPS's entry. Note, by the way, that Brian Deer went off the deep end in response to criticism in England by someone other than AAPS of Brian Deer's own work, but that was not included.
Also note that the date "2005" for Time's description about AAPS is wrong, and off by nearly 40 years. The Time remark is from 1967, when Time might have described Ronald Reagan the same way. Oh what a difference 40 years makes.--Aschlafly 18:39, 13 February 2007 (EST)
I've corrected the date to 1967. As discussed on the talk page for that article, Deer is an award winning journalist specializing in medical issues. Therefore, it is reasonable to include his opinion. JoshuaZ 19:48, 13 February 2007 (EST)
Citing something that is 40 years old to describe an active organization is silly at best, and obviously biased in this case. Time is editorializing rather than presenting something factual, and it's 40 years out of date. This is rank prejudice.
Allowing Deer's baseless opinion is even sillier and more biased. He has no personal knowledge of AAPS and cites no basis for his polemic, which was prompted by someone else's (not AAPS's) criticism of Deer's own work. Deer, an English journalist, has no expertise for commenting on an American organization anyway. Allowing Deer's diatribe to remain violates the NPOV that Wikipedia apparently only applies to censor conservative comments, not liberal ones.
As long as Deer's rant remains, this beautifully illustrates Wikipedia's bias. I'm moving this illustration up higher in the list here.--Aschlafly 20:51, 13 February 2007 (EST)
I'm going to disagree in part and agree in part. I agree that there may be a problem having a 40 year old comment in (although whether the piece is an editorial doesn't alter much whether or not it is relevant). The Deer assertion however seems to lack a strong basis- it isn't clear to me why an English journalist cannot comment on an American organization (it isn't like this is the 1700s and someone in Britain has almost no access to details about what is happening to organizations in the US) and regardless of what prompted the matter Deer is a qualified journalist in the relevant field. Citing a qualified journalist in the relevant field who gives his opinion does not seem biased to me. JoshuaZ 21:05, 13 February 2007 (EST)
OK, you've made yourself clear and I've updated the content page accordingly. I feel this ranks #3 in illustrating bias on Wikipedia.--Aschlafly 21:30, 13 February 2007 (EST)

Bell Trade act

First note that the article has a neutrality disputed tag on top, so neutrality problems are a) not surprising b) don't reflect that poorly on Wikipedia as a whole. Also note that the quote about father capitalism was "wrath of Father Capitalism and Mother Nature" which is hard to see as actually anti-capitalist. It appears to be more of an attempt by a poor writer trying to use flowerly language to say that their were both economic and environmental problems. Also note that that phrase was in any event removed a while ago. JoshuaZ 22:10, 13 February 2007 (EST)

Robert McHenry

...is quoted in point 23 as saying:

One simple fact that must be accepted as the basis for any intellectual work is that truth – whatever definition of that word you may subscribe to – is not democratically determined.

Well, yes. And that is why, at least since 2003 and I believe well before that, WIkipedia has had a policy page, What Wikipedia is not, saying:

Wikipedia is not an experiment in democracy or any other political system. Its primary method of determining consensus is discussion, not voting. Although editors occasionally use straw polls in an attempt to test for consensus, polls or surveys may actually impede rather than assist discussion. They should be used with caution, if at all, and may not be treated as binding.

So McHenry's remark is beside the point, and doesn't illustrate much except that McHenry doesn't grok Wikipedia in fullness. Was this the same essay in which he likened Wikipedia to a public toilet?

No, it was a different one:

The user who visits Wikipedia to learn about some subject, to confirm some matter of fact, is rather in the position of a visitor to a public restroom. It may be obviously dirty, so that he knows to exercise great care, or it may seem fairly clean, so that he may be lulled into a false sense of security. What he certainly does not know is who has used the facilities before him.

I like that remark better. At least it's funny. Dpbsmith 15:53, 18 February 2007 (EST)

That is a funny remark. But Wikipedia does claim to be an "encyclopedia", and it does operate with any guiding principles that check and minimize the problems with democracy (e.g., U.S. Constitution). Page deletions (such as conservapedia) are done without any explanation other than (perhaps) majority vote. McHenry's observation fits Wikipedia to the tee.--Aschlafly 16:01, 18 February 2007 (EST)

The deletion of the page on conservapedia was not unexplained; the article was clearly against wikipedia's notability standards. You can complain that they selectivly enforce these standards (they do) but you cannot say that there were no legitimate grounds to delete the article. --BenjaminS 18:24, 18 February 2007 (EST)

REPLY: Not true. The admin who deleted the conservapedia entry on Wikipedia did NOT explain his action. Some said it was because most (not all) of the comments favored deletion. But then defenders of Wikipedia claim it is not majority-rule. So which is it? Majority rule or reasoned basis for actions? For it to be a reasoned basis for action, the reason must be given by the person taking the action.--Aschlafly 18:33, 18 February 2007 (EST)
the idea of the article's for deletion policy is for the admin to make a judgement based on wikipedia's policies (its constitutions) and guidlelines (its style guides) and consensus ( the various editor's opinions on the topic). This policy works some times and doesn't work sometimes. We shouldn't take it perosnally here. Its shocking to me that conservapedia attacks wikipedia in this artilce without really knowing much about it. Not that it matters but, as it stands this article is misleading at best. Godman 22:19, 16 March 2007 (EDT)
You say that Wikipedia is not based on democracy. So why did an admin named "Nearly Headless Nick" delete the entry there about conservapedia? It could be whim; it could be bias; it could be a mistake; or it could be because he did base it on what a majority of Wikipedia editors wanted, despite what Wikipedia claims. Even if you defend "Nearly Headless Nick," it is abundantly clear that Wikipedia editors do have bias compared to the American public and that the views of a majority of Wikipedia editors does make a difference.--Aschlafly 23:00, 16 March 2007 (EDT)
Didn't we establish a good while ago that the Conservapedia entry got deleted because of the lack of reliable sources back then? Just like it was recreated "recently" because reliable sources had appeared at the end of February or so? Why are we back to "deleted without reason, it's a complete mystery why he did it"? This isn't about bias, it's about Notability and Sourcing. If you disagree with those rules, fine. But they're there, and they were the reason why it got deleted.
See the pre-delete version (Note the lack of sources), the AFD (read the various comments that point out the lack of sourcing, even with links to the policies and guidelines), and the Deletion Review (in which newly found sources are being listed and actually changed quite a few votes in the process of the DRV). --Sid 3050 00:04, 17 March 2007 (EDT)
The issue seems to be that some editors of conservapedia have taken umbrage that this project was not immediately notable by wikipedia's policies (its constitution) and so they've taken the deletion as a sign of wikipedia's bias and made a decision to not let anything like facts cloud their views. In short, this is all about hurt feelings and petulance apparently. My assumption is that lisat was created in an afternnon by some of Mr. Shlafly's students who were eager to get the assignment over with. However, it would be nice (and add credibility) that if we plan to a critique of wikipedia here we knew something about it or at least didn't revel in our ignorance of the policies and processes that shape wikipedia. I recomend removing or amending this bullet point but doubt thaqt it will happen. Mister Shlafly seems more like an entrepenaur than an editor and more like a ring master than an educator. I guess it all comes down to the purpose of this site. I do wish we'd stop pretending its an encycloedia and that its conservative or christian (It is giving us a bad name) and admit is a soapbox and gossip rag for radical zealots who prefer the dark cozy feeling they get while their collective heads are burined in the sand to the possibility of spiritual amnd moral enlightenment afforded by careful examination and contemplation of God's world. Godman 09:53, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

"Why doesn't Wikipedia survey these editors?"

Rising to the bait as usual... reaching for the rope for which to hang myself... since Aschlafly keeps asking, I'm going to guess at an answer.

Wikipedia doesn't survey these editors because I don't know, and I doubt anyone else does, how you would survey these editors. Aschlafly seems to labor under the impression that Wikipedia is like most traditional organizations, with reasonably well-structured organization charts and chains of command and so forth. It isn't.

Aschlafly or Jimbo or anyone else could ask editors to respond to a survey. There _is_ a List of Wikipedians by number of edits that would enable anyone to identify the high-volume editors. One could go down that list and leave notes on all of their Talk pages asking them to fill in a survey. But what then? There's no way to compel them to answer. There's certainly no way to compel them to answer truthfully. Not as thing stand. (I can only imagine what would happen if Jimbo decreed that anyone not answering the survey would be blocked).

And Wikipedians tend to be rather antiauthoritarian and resistant to such requests. I don't know what the usual response rate is to online survey requests but I'll bet it would be about 0.2%. Make that 1% if it were clearly a personal, sincere request from Jimbo himself.

I'm afraid that the composition of WIkipedia's active editors must be guesswork based on observation of actual behavior.

One of the few factoids I am aware of is List of WIkimedians by age. A tiny voluntary sampling. Is it representative? Who knows? But it looks like a young crowd to me.

There is a category Liberal Wikipedians with 202 members and a category Conservative Wikipedians with 68 members. Make of it what you will. (And I'm sure you will!) (And that includes Will N!) Dpbsmith 18:06, 18 February 2007 (EST)

P. S. What do we know about the political composition of Encyclopaedia Britannica editors? Dpbsmith 18:11, 18 February 2007 (EST)

Mathematics

I do not understand point 16 in the list, about mathematics (I am a mathematician). I am all in favor of having an unbiased encyclopedia, but what does this entry have to do with being anti-American or anti-Christian? Wikipedia does not have an entry on elementary proofs, but it does have an entry on "Proof". It is not a mathematical textbook, so you cannot expect all proofs to be completely written out, I think.

If no one objects, I will remove this point. --Twoflower 02:57, 27 February 2007 (EST)
REPLY: Unfortunately, "reverts" do not seem to have a comment section for explanations. I'm sorry for not seeing your comments here until last night, when I attempted to respond immediately. (By the way, I also have something of a mathematical background)
The concept of "elementary proof" was important for most of the 20th century. A Fields medal was given for an elementary proof; Paul Erdos swore by this approach; Math World recognizes it; and mathematicians who emphasize rigor appreciate the concept also. Why pretend it doesn't exist? It certainly does. Complex analysis has some inherent assumptions, and the concept of "elementary proof" recognizes as much. Why pretend otherwise?
Wikipedia (unlike Math World) refuses to recognize the concept of "elementary proof," and Wikipedia even omits any reference to the concept in its long-winded treatment of "proof" that you cite above. This reflects bias. Math may be less vulnerable to bias than other fields, but no field is completely immune from bias.--Aschlafly 09:38, 1 March 2007 (EST)

I agree that elementary proof is a very important concept. However, I think that this does not so much show bias as just the fact that Wikipedia is incomplete: probably nobody thought about adding an entry for this concept. BTW, I just noticed that Wikipedia does have an entry for Elementary proof now (since February 5), it was no doubt created as a result of this list. I updated the list accordingly.

I would be interested to see your reply to my other point, about Wikipedia not being a textbook. Do you intend to have only formal and rigorous proofs in Conservapedia?

REPLY: The new entry in Wikipedia topic looks good, and must have been in response to the criticism here. Thanks for updating the entry here to reflect that.
That said, this was no oversight. Some mathematicians do falsely pretend there is no such thing as an "elementary proof," and some liberal blogs have ridiculed me for claiming otherwise. Rigor is vulnerable to bias, and this is an issue concerning rigor.
I wouldn't require only elementary proofs, but it essential to be aware of the concept and departures from elementary proofs. Denial of this important concept is worth criticizing, as we did.--Aschlafly 10:45, 1 March 2007 (EST)

This is very interesting, I never heard about mathematicians who denied the existence of elementary proofs. Could you give me some examples/quotes? Seems like a very strange position to have.--Twoflower 14:20, 1 March 2007 (EST)

Andrew, I think you exxagerate. Elementary proofs are only important in number theory, and only then mainly for aesthetic or philosophical reasons. JoshuaZ 14:56, 1 March 2007 (EST)
Thank you, Joshua, for denying or downplaying the significance of the elementary proofs in response to Twoflower's statement.
Yes, of course there are mathematicians today who deny significance to the concept of the elementary proof. The mathematicians who have inserted thousands of entries in Wikipedia for ten years without ever mentioning elementary proof, either as its own entry or as part of a comprehensive entry on proofs, further illustrate my point.--Aschlafly 17:32, 1 March 2007 (EST)
Um, speaking as someone who has published papers in number theory where the notion of elementary proof first came to be somewhat relevant- should Wikipedia have had an article about it? Yes. Is it such a terrible thing to not have one? Not really. JoshuaZ 17:39, 1 March 2007 (EST)
OK, that's the opinion of JoshuaZ, and that confirms my statement that some mathematicians downplay or deny the significance of the elementary proof. Needless to say, other mathematicians haven't agreed. A Fields medal was even given for an elementary proof once. Some mathematicians devoted their careers to the pursuit of elementary proofs. And there are obvious logical reasons for preferring elementary proofs.--Aschlafly 18:47, 1 March 2007 (EST)
Obvious logical reasons? Really? Such as? There are reasons a logician might be interested in the matter, but that's not logical reasoning, and again in any event, this isn't a bias of Wikipedia but an ommision. JoshuaZ 19:52, 1 March 2007 (EST)

I favor dropping the item on elementary proof. I don't think that the concept is either well-defined or important. Yes, MathWorld gives a definition, but I do not believe that definition is accepted or used among mathematicians. The point of this item seems to be that an elementary proof is somehow more rigorous or desirable than a non-elementary proof. However, I do not think that is true. If some mathematician has that view, then who is it? I think that it would be a minority view. RSchlafly 02:50, 5 March 2007 (EST)

We need to decide what this list is

Is this a list of examples of biases in Wikipedia or an example of problems with Wikipedia or a list of examples of foul-ups of Wikipedia or some combination? I see all three in this, all listed as examples of bias. JoshuaZ 21:52, 28 February 2007 (EST)

Perhaps the list should be categorized; separate sections for bias, errors, omissions and whatever else. Tsumetai 06:38, 2 March 2007 (EST)
Bias underlies many "foul-ups" and "errors". I don't separating them into categories helps.
One of the complaints about Wikipedia is how long-winded everything is. An encyclopedia should be concise.--Aschlafly 11:28, 2 March 2007 (EST)
Some encyclopedias are not concise. For what it's worth... the Encyclopædia[sic--their spelling] Britannica 11th Edition (1911)'s article on the Bible runs from page to 849 to 894. That's forty-six pages. And an Encyclopædia Britannica page is several ordinary book pages (and many computer screens). I estimated once that the article would be about 1 megabyte of ASCII text. And then it's followed by "Bible, English" from pages 894 to 905. Dpbsmith 21:34, 2 March 2007 (EST)

While some foul-ups and errors may have underlying bias, most do not. In fact, I don't think that any of the errors pointed out in this page reflect bias; we should reove them completely. --BenjaminS 11:54, 2 March 2007 (EST)

The following entry strikes me as wrong or misleading -
"Polls show that about twice as many Americans identify themselves as "conservative" compared with "liberal", and that ratio has been increasing for two decades.[1] But on Wikipedia, about three times as many editors identify themselves as "liberal" compared with "conservative".[2] That suggests Wikipedia is six times more liberal than the American public".
Just because those editors identify themselves as liberal does not, in fact, suggest that Wikipedia is six times more liberal than the American public. It depends whether they are allowing their political views into their articles, whether the articles in question are capable of being politicised and whether the entire American population is made up of only liberals and conservatives. --Horace 19:47, 2 March 2007 (EST)
I am also a bit Challenged by the concept that something could be "six times more liberal" than something else. I wonder if Noam Chomsky is six times more liberal than Phyllis Schlafly? --Horace 19:56, 2 March 2007 (EST)
Horace makes a valid point. I thought about that "six times more liberal" ratio myself quite a bit, both before and after writing it. But what other number would make sense? Liberal by a 3:1 margin is many times more liberal than something that is conservative by a 2:1 margin. How many more times? Well, if the ratio went from 1:1 to 2:1 then we would say twice as many. When the ratio goes from 1:2 to 3:1 then six times as much seems appropriate. I welcome other suggestions.--Aschlafly 20:05, 2 March 2007 (EST)
Using no number would make sense. To write a statement like yours shows that you understand neither bias nor how to measure the occurrence of a condition in a population. Nooj 13:31, 15 March 2007 (EDT)

I suggest that you remove the sentence-- I don't think that 'degrees of liberal' can be expressed accruately with a ratio.

Furthermore, I think that while we should strive to point out the liberalism of wikipedia, we should not by any means suggest that they be just as consevative/liberal as the general public. This (I hope) would be hypocrisy! We are trying to be as far to the right of the general public as possible.

--BenjaminS 14:41, 3 March 2007 (EST)

Can't resist:
Alice was puzzled. "In our country," she remarked, "there's only one day at a time."
The Red Queen said, "That's a poor thin way of doing things. Now here, we mostly have days and nights two or three at a time, and sometimes in the winter we take as many as five nights together—for warmth, you know."
"Are five nights warmer than one night, then?" Alice ventured to ask.
"Five times as warm, of course."
"But they should be five times as cold, by the same rule--"
"Just so!" cried the Red Queen. "Five times as warm, and five times as cold—just as I'm five times as rich as you are, and five times as clever!"
Oh, a concrete suggestion: once you've said 'twice as many Americans identify themselves as "conservative" compared with "liberal", and that ratio has been increasing for two decades. But on Wikipedia, about three times as many editors identify themselves as "liberal" compared with "conservative"' it seems to me the point is made. Do you really need to say anything more? Readers can draw their own conclusions, numerically if they're so inclined. Dpbsmith 21:47, 2 March 2007 (EST)
Dpbsmith, I am not sure why you removed the following post of mine, but I thought it was relevant-
Actually, my maths isn't great, but I think six times is not right. If I had say 12 people drawn from the general population (and assuming everyone is either conservative or liberal), on your figures I would expect four of them to be liberals. If I had 12 Wikipedia editors I would expect nine of them to be liberals. That is not a sixfold increase.
I emphasise that I am not a mathematician.
Perhaps you should just say that liberals are grossly overrepresented as editors of Wikipedia.
Perhaps you removed it by accident. --Horace 21:59, 2 March 2007 (EST)
I wasn't aware of removing anything. Sorry. I agree with your math by the way.
Is everyone aware that the lists Aschafly cites are not polls, interviews, samples, or anything like that? It is the number of Wikipedians who are aware that these categories exist (they're not advertised, you're not encouraged to add one when you create an account or anything) and have decided they want people to know their views. It is reasonably analogous to driving through a medium city and counting 201 lawn signs for Democrats and 68 for Republicans, or counting bumper stickers on cars as they drive by on a highway. It probably means something but I'm not sure I'd care to do math on it. Dpbsmith 07:07, 3 March 2007 (EST)
REPLY: I agree that there is some merit to the above comments. But where is the flaw in the math? Polls do show that the conservative-to-liberal ration is 2:1 among the American public. That alone is useful. I didn't know that before. Did you?
I don't know that I know it now. I'd like to know a lot more about that poll. How can the American public be 2/3 conservative and yet vote very close to 1/2 Democratic (e.g. popular vote in last two elections?) Dpbsmith 22:37, 3 March 2007 (EST)
The American public is not 2/3 conservative; in the poll ASchlafly cites, the single largest group are the moderates, with 40% of the respondents. Compare to the list of moderate wikipedians, who number all of 22, and you begin to get the idea that these comparisons just aren't meaningful. Tsumetai 08:22, 4 March 2007 (EST)
The liberal-to-conservative ratio of 3:1 based on how many signed up for the corresponding Wikipedia pages is like yard signs, as Dpbsmith says. But a ratio in yard signs is indicative of a region's views. In some ways this is better than phoning people, because this reflects strength of conviction, and willingness to speak out. And thanks to Dpbsmith for the observation in the first place!
The only suspect part of my analysis is to conclude that Wikipedia is 6 times as liberal as the American public. I thought more about this today. Don't we draw the same conclusion about relative concentrations in solution in chemistry? And don't we say something is "twice as hot" on the stove, or "twice as sweet" in candy? If anyone can explain a flaw in this, then I'd like to see and discuss it.--Aschlafly 21:40, 3 March 2007 (EST)
The error in the math becomes apparent if you treat the ratios as percentages (and again assume everyone is either liberal or conservative). In the general population 33.3% of people identify themselves as liberal (at the 2:1 ratio). At Wikipedia 75% identify themselves as liberal (at the 1:3 ratio). An increase from 33.3% to 75% is not a sixfold increase. --Horace 21:50, 3 March 2007 (EST)
To Aschlafly--Oh, well. Since you ask.
No, I don't think we say something is "twice as hot" on the stove. My stove just says "wm, low, med, med hi, hi." I can't imagine someone saying "make it twice as hot" when they mean "turn it up from medium to high." The oven says "WM, 200, 250, 300, 350, 400, 450, 500, BROIL," but those aren't degrees Kelvin, and 400 is not "twice as hot" as 200. For example, if a recipe says to cook something for one hour at 400° it would not work to cook it for two hours at 200°.
I don't know about sweetness, but spice heat is (or formerly was) measured in Scoville units, which in turn represent the relative amount of dilution that produces the same sensation of spice heat. In other words, if habanero sauce diluted 10:1 tastes as hot as tabasco sauce, then habanero sauce is ten times as hot.
Now, applying this methodology to Wikipedia and to America, the question is: how much would we have to dilute Wikipedia by adding conservatives in order to make it match America? This is a nice little algebra word problem for your high-schoolers. Call the total Wikipedian population W. We're saying 3/4 of W is liberal. We want to dilute Wikipedia until it is 1/3 liberal, same as America. So, we're going to pour conservatives into Wikipedia, stirring gently, until it reaches a size X·W where it is now 1/3 liberal. At that point, we will say Wikipedia is X times as liberal as the America (because we had to had to make it X times bigger in order to get the proportion of conservatives the same as America).
Let the number of liberals in Wikipedia, before and after dilution, be L.
L = W·(3/4)
We want
L / (W·X) = 1/3
Substituting,
(W·(3/4)) / (W·X) = 1/3
(3/4) / X = (1/3)
X = (3/4) / (1/3) = 9/4 = 2.25.
So, Wikipedia is 2.25 times as liberal as America.
Checking, if WIkipedia had 100 people, it would have 75 liberals. If we multiply it by 2.25, it would have 225 people and 75 liberals, so it would have 225 - 75 = 150 conservatives, or a 2:1 ratio.
But this is just a game... I'm sure there are other ways to frame the question that will yield other numbers. Dpbsmith 22:18, 3 March 2007 (EST)
Oh. Easier way to get the same number: 75% / 33.333% = 2.25. If you have 12 people and they are Wikipedians, 9 of them are liberal. If you have 12 people and they are Americans, 4 of them are liberal. 9 = 2.25 × 4.
Of course... if you have 12 people and they are Wikipedians, 3 of them are conservative. If you have 12 people and they are Americans, 8 of them are conservatives. So Wikipedia is 3/8 as conservative which make America 2.67 times as conservative as Wikipedia, which seemingly would make Wikipedia 2.67 time as liberal as America. Dpbsmith 22:32, 3 March 2007 (EST)
REPLY: I don't think the above analysis compares the "concentrations" of liberals in the two "solutions".
How about drawing an analogy to a pH scale? Call conservative low pH and liberal high pH, so that we can find a ration. 2 parts conservative and one part liberal would yield a low pH. 3 parts liberal and 1 part conservative would yield another pH. I wonder what the ratio would be?--Aschlafly 22:53, 3 March 2007 (EST)
Well, pH is approximately minus the natural logarithm of the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution. Since litmus turns Democratic blue in an alkaline solution and Republican red in an acid solution, I guess hydrogen ions (acid) correspond to conservatives. The, uh... uh-oh... pC... of the American public would be -log10(2/3) = 0.176, and the pC of Wikipedia would be -log10(1/4) = 0.602. (Higher pH numbers mean less acidic, and higher pC numbers mean less conservative... so I guess pC works out after all!)
I am not going to do anything at all with regard to comparing 0.176 and 0.602. Here are two numbers. I calculated them and I showed how I calculated them. Ain't gonna say nothing more. Dpbsmith 10:16, 4 March 2007 (EST)
The ratios imply that WP has 6 times as many liberals as you would expect from the number of conservatives. Or the number of conservatives would have to be increased by a factor of 6 in order to match the American public. But it doesn't follow that WP is 6x as liberal as the public. If WP really functioned properly, you would only need at least one conservative editor and one liberal editor on each article. As long as they reached a consensus, then the article should be balanced, even if the number of editors is uneven. RSchlafly 00:24, 4 March 2007 (EST)
Instead of using all of these hypothetical analogies, why don't we work with what we have. there are about 3.75 million wikipedia editors so at 3:1 that would make 2,812,500 Liberals. there are about 300 million people in the U.S. so at 2:1 that would make 100 million Liberals. 300 million/3.75 million = 80. so multiply the liberal Wikipedians by 80 to aproximate the US population to get 225 million or 2.25 times as many liberals. --TimSvendsen 22:30, 4 March 2007 (EST)
Your math is flawed because it doesn't recognize that all the people who are neither liberal or conservative. The simple way to see this is as follows: what fraction of the liberals on Wikipedia now would give it the same balance as the American public? 1/6th. Hence Wikipedia is currently 6 times more liberal than the American public.--Aschlafly 22:33, 4 March 2007 (EST)
You are automatically assuming that when you adjust the the numbers that the number of conservatives does not change. To do it properly you have to raise the number of conservatives as well as lower the number of liberals. The percentage of "unbiased" (for lack of a better word) people should stay the same. --TimSvendsen 22:52, 4 March 2007 (EST)
Indeed. Amplifying a bit, as long as there's one conservative editor who is capable of adding conservative material that accords with Wikipedia's policies (particularly source citation and "facts about opinion, not opinions"), and one liberal editor similarly capable of adding liberal material, and provided the effective pool of active editors in the article really support Wikipedia's policies and are reasonably able to judge material objectively against policy... the article should stay balanced.
Thus, the number that matters is not the relative number of liberal and conservative editors. It is the percentage of edits that are made by editors who are truly committed to the neutrality and verifiability policies. Dpbsmith 10:23, 4 March 2007 (EST)
Right, it would be easy for Wikipedia to restore balance in such a manner. In fact, this is how the media ensures balance on certain shows (e.g., Crossfire) and many debates. But Wikipedia does not do this. Rather, it behaves in the same manner as a lynch mob. There is nothing neutral about that.--Aschlafly 01:26, 4 March 2007 (EST)
Fascinating, one thing I couldn't stand about Crossfire was that it felt a need to break everything down into liberal v. conservative, make sure to label who was on which side and then let them scream each other. Not every issue is simply liberal v. conservative, and I'd have to say that if Crossfire is the ideal, I'd rather be non-ideal. JoshuaZ 02:40, 4 March 2007 (EST)
Something about Wikis acts as a positive-feedback loop that amplifies bad behavior. It can be infuriating to have an edit reverted or deleted. Wikipedia regularly does show "lynch-mob-like" behavior, but the lynch mobs are small, dissolve quickly, and have relatively little affect on the overall content of Wikipedia, other than to get some people so totally alienated as to never be able to think straight about WIkipedia ever again. Wikipedia to some extent is part of the USENET "flamewar" culture, and I think its age composition may be more of a problem than its political composition.
With nobody in authority to make final decisions on policy (no, admins do not effectively have the ability to do this), borderlines are fuzzy, and everything on the border is resolved by border disputes, with inconsistent outcomes. Really notable things don't get deleted. True vanity articles always get deleted. But your Conservapedias and obscure Norwegian politicians (Aasulv Olsen Bryggesaa, Minister of Education and Church Affairs 1913-1915) and articles about middle schools are on the borderline. AFD discussions about borderline articles tend to show WIkipedia at its very worst. However, you might be surprised at how often one of these discussions starts with "piling on" in the delete direction, with curt comments, and ends with a reversal if people find and quote good sources or improve the article mid-discussion.
There are certain Wikipedia characteristics that may be properly criticized, but that do not add up to consistent, systematic liberal bias. For example, the neutrality policy in operation leads to a tendency to include unflattering information. Wikipedia biographies are never respectful puff pieces, and you may be absolutely sure that an article on Ted Kennedy will mention Chappaquiddick (let me check: yep); that an article on Barney Frank will mention his affair with whozis (let me check: yep, and the name I was trying to remember was "Steve Gobie"), and similarly for Gerry Studds (check), Gary Hart (check), etc. I don't even remember whether Wilbur Mills was a Republican or a Democrat, but I certainly remember his being found wandering drunk in the Tidal Basis (whatever that is!) with a stripper, and I expect the WIkipedia article to remember it, too. (Check: "Mills is perhaps best known for a drunken incident on October 7, 1974, with an Argentine stripper known as Fanne Foxe." And he was a Democrat). Tabloid-like? Maybe. Politically biassed? No.
Poor Wilbur Mills! All that time in Congress, and his legacy is "best known for a drunken incident... with an Argentine stripper known as Fanne Foxe." But isn't it accurate? Without looking at Wikipedia's article (or anyone else's), can you remember any other single concrete thing about him? In my case... I have a vague notion that he was really important, so much so that I mistakenly thought he was a Senator, not a Representative But I can't think of a specific thing he did apart from the Tidal Basin incident. Can you?
By the way, although the liberal blogs have had a lot of fun with Conservapedia's objection to British spellings, I have to say I at least see Aschlafly's point. To a newcomer to Wikipedia, redirects seem like magic. I can see how typing in "phonograph record" and getting "Gramophone record" could feel as if Wikipedia were saying "No, dummy, you're wrong, it's gramophone." No handy little explanation pops up to explain that Wikipedia is deliberately inconsistent and is not endorsing one term over the other. I don't know if its ever gotten to the point of a U. S. kid telling a teacher, "No, that's the wrong spelling, Wikipedia says..." but I can imagine it happening. Dpbsmith 08:04, 4 March 2007 (EST)

This "six times more liberal" thing is comparing an anonymous poll to non-anonymous affiliations that people choose to put on their user pages, right? It could mean that liberals are just more enthusiastic about announcing their beliefs, or less certain of them when polled anonymously. The numbers can't be compared directly. --Monotreme 08:36, 9 March 2007 (EST)

While I appreciate the rigor in which this discussion page examines the underlying mathematics of the ratio, I think many have missed the underlying error in logic. Namely, you are comparing two entirely different things -- a group of people and a website. Therefore, you cannot somehow create a formula which attempts to quantify the latter. Some word substitutions will help illustrate my point:

Polls show that about twice as many Americans identify themselves as "obese" compared with "thin," and that ratio has been increasing for two decades. But on Wikipedia, about three times as many editors identify themselves as "thin" compared with "obese". That suggests Wikipedia is six times thinner than the American public.

Polls show that about twice as many Americans identify themselves as "not likely to wear a hat" compared with "likely to wear a hat", and that ratio has been increasing for two decades. But on Wikipedia, about three times as many editors identify themselves as "likely to wear a hat" compared with "not partial to hats". That suggests Wikipedia is six times more "likely to wear a hat" than the American public.

I trust my point has been made. That such a glaring logistical error appears on the article describing Conservapedia's catalyst is something I find rather amusing. Then again, perhaps Conservapedia's best chance of survival is targeting those who are less adept at following logic and/or reading comprehension. --Hopfrog 19:52, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

Presence of an article about Conservapedia on Wikipedia.

I don't know how much attention anyone here was paying attention to matters, but pursuant to this Deletion Review discussion the article has been recreated since there are now many [sources], and the article can be found here. JoshuaZ 14:05, 4 March 2007 (EST)

I am wonder who added a comment in the WP article on CP saying that CP has been criticized because the CP article on the Democrat Party includes a sentence describing a harsh view from a critic. It is criticism of the criticism of the criticism, and I am criticizing it here! Somebody needs to tell WP editors that it is not necessary to document every criticism. When an article gets to be more than half criticism, then it probably has too much. RSchlafly 15:38, 4 March 2007 (EST)
That sentence certainly looks tendentious, rather than factual, to me. (Of course, I think the article Examples of Bias in Wikipedia is precisely 6.23 Scoville units more tendentious...)
As with Conservapedia, the entire history of the article is open to examination. The comment was added here by user Kronix1986. I am not going to act as some kind of human gateway between Conservapedia and Wikipedia and want to try to stay out of the incestuous business of editing each Wiki's article on each other. I'd suggest that if you wanted this comment removed, your best approach would be to say something about it on the article's Talk page, because when you're closely involved in an article sometimes keeping a little distance is better than direct editing. It's easier to present cogent comments on a Talk page than in an edit comment, for example.
The argument I would use is that the statement isn't supported by the cited source. The cited source uses the passage as an example of the difference between the two sites. It does not criticize Conservapedia for this passage, nor does it say that Conservapedia has been criticized for this passage. Furthermore the phrase "seemingly pejorative" is a good example of weasel terms, which Wikipedia has a guideline against. In other words, the statement is clearly editorializing, not reporting something published elsewhere.
(This could, of course, be remedied by rewording the passage to say "One passage, used by a Guardian Unlimited writer to exemplify the different approaches of the two sites, is...") Dpbsmith 11:23, 5 March 2007 (EST)
Good luck dealing with folks who are six times more liberal than the American public! There isn't any chance that Wikipedia will have a fair or reasonably unbiased entry about Conservapedia.
That's OK, because this is great fodder for illustrating Wikipedia's bias. I've added a point (around #5, I think) in our list of Examples here. Watch Wikipedia's editors change its entry about Conservapedia as I point out its biased errors here.--Aschlafly 15:52, 4 March 2007 (EST)
Which would, of course, be a Bad Thing? Dpbsmith 05:49, 5 March 2007 (EST)
Point, if you look at the talk page for the Conservapedia there was additional criticism that didn't go in because it was decided that it would be problematic. Furthermore, attempts were made to find more reliable sources that were positive. Attempts were unsuccesful. JoshuaZ 20:46, 4 March 2007 (EST)

Regarding American versus English spelling policy

I think Conservapedia should merely slightly favor American spelling of words since most users would probably be American. Specifically, I think that only titles of articles should favor the American spelling and we should have redirects using the British spellings. I think that people from Britain and the commonwealth (who probably use British spellings) can make valuable contributions to Conservapedia. I see no reason to alienate these individuals by majoring on the minors. I see no problem with using British spellings and for Brits and others to change the various words spelling to British spellings since they likely believe the "American spelling" is incorrectly spelled. They might in many cases not even know there was an American spelling to various words. In short, I see no reason why Conservapedia should be associated with being a "Ugly American" organization. I think such a policy outlined here would insure that Conservapedia has more of a global impact. Conservative 22:51, 6 March 2007 (EST)conservative

It's interesting because America somewhere along the line changed the spelling of these words. In fact most of the English world (I'm from Australia) views the American spelling as the strange version. It seems to me that this insistence on spelling everything the American way is just another example of American arrogance. I thought the reference to the European ruling family was espicially silly. I personally have no problem with Wikipedia using the proper English spelling for words. ChrisF

I just wanted to add that I am an American and was born in America. Conservative 00:05, 7 March 2007 (EST)conservative

I would like to add a "here, here," to the remarks by Conservative. Furthermore, it seems that Conservapedia is in conflict with itself. When it comes to dates Conservapedia wishes to favor the "historical" anno Domini system in contrast to the newly developed Common Era system. But when it comes to spelling, Conservapedia decides that the historical spelling system should be discouraged and the newly developed American spelling should be used. The foundations for British spelling were published in 1755 as compared to the foundations for American spelling which were published in 1828 (see [2] for more information). Does Conservapedia have an actual system for determining what it prefers or is this all merely the opinions of a small group of individuals? --trekie9001 03:47, 8 March 2007 (EST)

Conservapedia has an extremely strong American and Christian bias. Extremely religious Christians probably view C.E. and B.C.E. as blasphemies because they are ignorant of the rest of the world having other religions. Similarly, America is ignorant to the English spelling that the rest of the world uses. Canada and all of Europe use the "foreign" spelling, despite it being the original. The world does not revolve around America, so the two recognized international standards should be used: C.E. and B.C.E., and UK English. --ALFa 01:23, 16 March 2007 (EDT)

LIBERAL BIAS

We should change the name of this page to "Examples of Lliberal Bias in Wikipedia".

We don't care about (in fact some of us welcome) conservative bias. The above name would not seem hypocritical. --BenjaminS 08:38, 7 March 2007 (EST)


Who said any of us here actually welcome conservative bias? This wiki was advertised as having a conservative perspective, not a conservative bias. And this difference is really rather important. A conservative perspective would merely show people how conservatives view the different things happening in the world. A conservative bias would be presenting information with the conservative perspective but instead of presenting it as the way conservatives view things it would be presented as the way things are. I hope that made sense :) I am not a conservative, I am a liberal. That said, seeing the conservative perspective is, in fact, really intriguing and helpful to me. Conservative bias, just like liberal bias, is not in my best interests and would definitely not be welcome by some members who are curious liberals. If this is in fact an attempt to convert people throwing in bias is not going to help. --trekie9001 03:55, 8 March 2007 (EST)

You may find this debate interesting... How should Conservapedia work to avoid having a conservative bias? --Sid 3050 10:09, 8 March 2007 (EST)

Re #32

With regards to criticism #32 this can, and will, happen to any information source. Any system that involves humans is going to have errors. I assume that no member of conservapedia would be so bold as to say there is not one error within the articles. The Daily News or whatever the paper was are largely to blame as well. Any news source that publishes material based on only one source deserves to feel the slap of public humiliation. Finally, I would like to ask, as I honestly do not know, how this is an example of bias (as the article title indicates it is)? Is it some form of Pro-Ivy-League-Rutgerian bias? --trekie9001 04:02, 8 March 2007 (EST)

It reflects a lack of accountability which is a by-product of the systematic bias. It also demonstrates that the distortions in Wikipedia do matter, as newspapers and others are relying on them and repeating them. Why any system has some errors, you're not likely to find this kind of error in a real encyclopedia.--Aschlafly 18:57, 9 March 2007 (EST)

On the definition of pseudoscience

One of the arguments presented is "It currently offers a article on the topic listed under the category "Pseudoscience". What reputable encyclopedia uses such an unencyclopedic tone for an article in regards to creationism?" The definition given for this is "Pseudoscience is any body of knowledge, methodology, belief, or practice that claims to be scientific but does not follow the scientific method." There are indeed people who claim that [Should Creationism/Intelligent design be taught as a scientific alternative to evolution in public schools?|creation is scientific]. As it stands Creationism and Intelligent Design do not make testable theories nor is it falsifiable and thus it is not scientific.

It is unfortunate that this falls into a similar category as people making claims about astrology, ghosts, and crop circles. If this is not attempted to be presented as scientific fact and stayed as a religious belief, one would assume that it would not be categorized as pseudoscience.

This is a poor critique of wikipedia that weakens other arguments. --Mtur 19:02, 9 March 2007 (EST)

You disappoint me, Mtur. On what grounds do you declare that creation science does not follow the scientific method? For example: did you know that a number of geologists have already shown that current models of radiometric dating do not correlate well with one another in dating various objects, and indeed often produce inconsistent dates for the same object? These geologists have shown--by the scientific method--that those methods have their basis on improper assumptions and sometimes on circular reasoning.
They have since determined, after exhaustive reviews and their own data-gathering, that the uniformitarian assumptions behind most of the dating models are totally untenable--and that radioactive decay was in fact accelerated at a key moment in early earth history.
Testable theories, sir. Even falsifiable theories.
The worthies at Wikipedia have never shown a willingness to examine the hypotheses that leading creation scientists have formulated and tested. They have simply concluded that the world and mankind cannot have been created, and must have formed out of nothing, and that "we just don't understand yet how it happened." Now that is pseudoscience.--TerryH 20:35, 9 March 2007 (EST)
If you think the term "pseudoscience" reflects a "sensitive tone" then I suggest telling a scientist that his work is "pseudoscience". I would also suggest that the scientific method was invented by Francis Bacon who likely believed in creationism. Conservative 19:20, 9 March 2007 (EST)conservative
Bacon's was a creationist - one quote of his is "I had rather believe all the fables in the legends and the Talmud and the Alcoran, than that this universal frame is without a mind". He also encouraged experimentation and the use of induction to discover more about the world. Unfortunately, Francis Bacon died a century before the voyage of HMS Beagle and thus had no observations to the contrary. Can you suggest an alternate name for what to call something that calls itself science without using the scientific method? --Mtur 19:36, 9 March 2007 (EST)
You have no warrant whatsoever to claim that Sir Francis Bacon would have recanted his statement after a meeting with Darwin post-Beagle. That would have been an interesting conversation, to be sure. However--you want another name? I'll cite you several. Try Michael Behe. Or Larry Vardiman and Stephen A. Austin of the RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth) Group.
Cargo cult science? Tsumetai 19:43, 9 March 2007 (EST)
Thats not quite appropriate. The Cargo Cult involves copying without understanding. Cargo cult science would involve copying significant portions of other experiments because "thats the way it is done" rather than understanding the reason behind it. It would still be invoking the scientific method including falsifiability. With peer review, cargo cult science tends to get smacked down quite hard. --Mtur 19:55, 9 March 2007 (EST)

Jimmy Wales and atheism/passionate adherent of Ayn Rand's Objectivism

Should we include that "Wales has been a passionate adherent of Ayn Rand's Objectivism" [3] in this article in relation to Wikipedia's material on Christianity and creationism/evolution? Conservative 19:08, 9 March 2007 (EST)conservative

Does the founder's philosophy of personal liberty and individual rights constitute a bias in the organization against Christianity? --Mtur 19:21, 9 March 2007 (EST)
Is that all that Ayn Rand's Objectivism espouses? Does objectivism have any relation to atheism and have all societies which have officially embraced atheism persecuted Christians? Conservative 19:34, 9 March 2007 (EST)conservative
Check out the article on Objectivism that I expanded recently. I know this subject because I was once an adherent of Objectivism before I, for lack of a better term, "got saved" and "came to know The Lord." I also know where some of the bodies are buried...--TerryH 21:55, 9 March 2007 (EST)
Ayn Rand's philosophy is atheistic. But I don't know how much of an issue to make of Jimmy Wales' personal views. His editors are making the numerous biased decisions.--Aschlafly 19:46, 9 March 2007 (EST)
Asclhafly, who controls the editors at Wikipedia? In short, who picks the admins at Wikipedia and more importantly who decides to discipline the Wikipedia admins for inappropriate conduct? I am asking these questions because I am not very knowledgeable about the power structure at Wikipedia. Conservative 20:03, 9 March 2007 (EST)conservative
We have Wiki admins here who can answer this better than I. But my understanding is that Wiki admins are picked from the "ground up", by nomination and acclamation, rather than by selection by Jimmy Wales. I doubt that Jimmy Wales' personal beliefs have anything to do with the bias on Wikipedia. The real problem is the lack of meaningful principles which results in mob rule, and the mob has become a liberal one.--Aschlafly 20:19, 9 March 2007 (EST)
I'm not going to address the mob issues and such since I doubt I will change anyone's opinions, but to comment: admins are choosen by community consensus (as Andrew put it from the "ground up"). Jimbo only steps in under very limited circumstances and then has not stepped in any any political issue in my memory. JoshuaZ 20:44, 9 March 2007 (EST)
Please note that this is still a relatively small(but growing) website compared to Wikipedia. Jimbo may not step in anymore, but is it possible that, when Wikipedia was small site, he did? --<<-David R->> 20:48, 9 March 2007 (EST)
At Wikipedia, anybody can nominate an admin. In fact, anyone can nominate themselves as an admin. There is then a discussion in which people express support/oppose/neutral. The decision-making process is: "At the end of that period, a bureaucrat will review the discussion to see whether there is a consensus for promotion. The numbers of people supporting, opposing, or expressing another opinion on a candidacy are a significant factor in determining consensus (few RfAs succeed with less than 75% support), but a request for adminship is not a ballot." Dpbsmith 21:11, 9 March 2007 (EST)
Thanks for Joshua's and Dpbsmith's insights. But David R makes an excellent point also. If Jimmy Wales embraces Ayn Rand (which is an atheistic philosophy), then that could set the tone and have an effect. He doesn't have to intervene often. The fact that he is enormously respected, as Dpbsmith says, only *increases* the influence of his belief system on the project. So I'm OK with referring to his Ayn Rand philosophy, but let's make sure it is well-supported (preferably by quotes) and done in a tasteful manner. Truth be told, I respect Jimmy Wales also and have emphasized this with reporters. I loved Wikipedia in the old days and I lament how it has gone down the wrong path.--Aschlafly 21:13, 9 March 2007 (EST)
I doubt that most editors even know what Jimbo's personal religous and political views are. Heck, I'd go further and suggest that I'd be surprised if more than half the admins knew that a) Jimbo was an objectivist and b) knew that objectivism was atheistic in nature. Now, if people don't know what opinions Jimbo has, it is hard for respect for him to influence things much. JoshuaZ 21:22, 9 March 2007 (EST)
JoshuaZ, I know you are a Wikipedia Admin and I was hoping you could answer the question, "Who decides when to discipline the Wikipedia Admins for inappropriate conduct? Conservative 21:31, 9 March 2007 (EST)conservative
Admins can be disciplined by Jimbo or the Arbitration Committee, generally someone has to complain first. Geo. 21:35, 9 March 2007 (EST)
To be clear, admins are very rarely disciplined, and when they are the discipline is generally for abuse of the admin tools, not for anything else. Indeed, if one looks at the prominent examples of admins being disciplined they have almost nothing to do with politics or religion. For example, there was a group of admins who got into a wheel war over deleting/restoring the article on Daniel Brandt and one of them was desyopped as a result. JoshuaZ 21:39, 9 March 2007 (EST)
Disciplining admins is very rare. I don't know exactly how admins have had their admin status revoked but I'll bet it's on the order of one a year, or less. "Banning" users (permanent blocks) are very rare, too, and it only happens after more discussion online that you could possibly believe. (A "wheel war" is analogous to an edit war and occurs when two sysops alternatively undo and redo some action). There are currently 849 active admins on Wikipedia. Dpbsmith 21:51, 9 March 2007 (EST)
Two more points to be made. First off, the feeling of "Examples of Bias in Wikipedia" up to this suggestion seem to be things that could be rectified. This one is doubtful if it could be rectified if it is indeed an issue. Secondly, if it was the case that this is a valid criticism, then a likewise valid criticism of conservapedia is that it was founded by a Christian conservative. This is not to say that either Christian conservative or objectivist is a bad thing, but if one is a valid criticism, then the other is likely too. As this is not part of the criticisms section of wikipedia (for good reason) to include it here would reduce any moral high ground that is had. --Mtur 21:49, 9 March 2007 (EST)
JoshuaZ, Jimbo and the Arbitration Committee decide when to discipline Admins. Who decides who is on the Arbitration Committee? Conservative 21:54, 9 March 2007 (EST)conservative
Each year, some of the arbitration commitee spots go up for election. Users with at least a certain number of edits and certain amount of time on the project can then bullet for or against a candidate. Each candidates total votes (number of support-number of oppose) is then tallied. Of those with very high approval ratings (what percentage this is has I think varied from election to election) Jimbo selects to be on the commitee. In practice, Jimbo picks almost all as the ones with the most votes, although this has not always been the case. Summarizing how ArbCom is elected is a bit complicated since we keep changing the voting procedure and how much input Jimbo has. JoshuaZ 22:07, 9 March 2007 (EST)
JoshuaZ, you wrote: In practice, Jimbo picks almost all as the ones with the most votes, although this has not always been the case. Why hasn't it always been the case? Conservative 23:36, 9 March 2007 (EST)conservative
I have no idea, you'll have to ask Jimbo his reasoning. In at least one case (that of Jayjg) there were a number of other candidates with more votes (I don't remember precisely how many, I think 3 or 4). That was 2 or three years ago, I don't think Jimbo has done it since. JoshuaZ 13:25, 12 March 2007 (EDT)

Abortion and breast cancer

The article claims that:

"Wikipedia's entry on abortion reads like a brochure for the abortion industry. Wikipedia denies and omits the results of 16 out of 17 statistically significant studies showing increased risk of breast cancer from abortion.[6] Wikipedia's entry also omits the evidence of abortion causing increased premature birth of subsequent children.[7]."

, while this is plainly not true. Wikipedia has an entire article (50 kilobytes long!!) about it, here Please, someone who has sufficient priveleges, change the article to admit this information. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by GofG (talk)

Your link is not to the Wikipedia entry on "abortion", which is what most people will access. Also, please sign your comments by clicking the signature button above. Thanks and welcome!--Aschlafly 21:42, 9 March 2007 (EST)
Fine. Here is the link to the section on breast cancer in the abortion article: [4], which contains a link to the aforementioned article. And I did sign my comment; there was an edit conflict and I had to retype it all out and I forgot to resign it. GofG 21:52, 9 March 2007 (EST)


I just checked that link on Wikipedia. It is extraordinarily biased, ending with statements about the views of organizations that do not conduct any research and have obvious liberal biases.--Aschlafly 21:56, 9 March 2007 (EST)
Andrew, it is linked in the article right where you would expect it to be, under the summary section dealing with ABC. I'd also be curious as to what you mean by "organizations that do not conduct any research and have obvious liberal biases" JoshuaZ 22:10, 9 March 2007 (EST)
Whether or not it's biased is not the question. The article says that wikipedia "omits" it. They do not omit it, they just have a biased article about it. There is a difference. Why not put:
"Wikipedia denies that the results of 16 out of 17 statistically significant studies is notable."
Or something like that that exposes the bias but does not lie. GofG 22:12, 9 March 2007 (EST)
That sounds good. Why not put that? Scorpionman 18:07, 10 March 2007 (EST)

I couldn't find this in Wikipedia, or anything like, and hence the statement is correct that Wikipedia omits this: "Wikipedia denies and omits the results of 16 out of 17 statistically significant studies showing increased risk of breast cancer from abortion"--Aschlafly 18:22, 10 March 2007 (EST)

Wikipedia six times more liberal than public?

Someone needs to check their math on this one. If twice as many people identify themselves as conservative as liberal, then 1/3 of the public identifies themselves as liberal. If 3 times as many Wikipedia editors identify themselves as liberal instead of conservative, then 3/4 of Wikipedia editors identify themselves as liberal. 3/4 divided by 1/3 is 9/4, or 2.25. Therefore, "six times" is just incorrect math, and 2.25 times is the correct answer.

Please sign your entries using the signature button above. Your math is flawed: many people do not identify themselves as either liberal or conservative.--Aschlafly 21:56, 9 March 2007 (EST)
Fine then, let's group everyone into the categories liberal, conservative, and moderate. Let L1 be the fraction of liberal members of the public, L2 be the fraction of liberal members at Wikipedia, M1 be the fraction of moderate members of the public, M2 be the fraction of moderate members on Wikipedia, C1 be the fraction of conservatives in the public, and C2 be the fraction of conservatives on Wikipedia. By your own statistics, C1 = 2*L1, and 3*C2 = L2. Also, by definition, C1+L1+M1 = 1 and C2+L2+M2 = 1. Combining these equations, 2*L1+L1+M1 = 3L1 + M1 = 1, and L2+L2/3+M2 = (4/3)L2 + M2 = 1. Equating the two 1's, 3L1 + M1 = 1 = (4/3)L2 + M2. Shuffling things around, L2 = (3/4)*(3L1 + M1 - M2) = (9/4)L1 + (3/4)(M1-M2) = 2.25*L1 + 0.75*(M1-M2). L2/L1 = 2.25 + 0.75*(M1-M2)/L1 = 2.25 + 2.25*(M1-M2)/(1-M1) = 2.25*(1-M1+M1-M2)/(1-M1) = 2.25*(1-M2)/(1-M1). If the percentages of moderates in the public and Wikipedia are equal, then L2 = 2.25*L1, as I stated. If the number of moderates is higher in the public than on Wikipedia, then L2 is more than 2.25L1. If the number of moderates is lower in the public than on Wikipedia, then L2 is less than 2.25L1. What is the exact value? It depends on the explicit value of M1 and M2. You cannot say with any certainty that it is 6. In fact, it is most likely to be in the range from 2 to 2.5--Manchot 22:27, 9 March 2007 (EST)
Here is what the currently entry states at: Examples of Bias in Wikipedia
"Polls show that about twice as many Americans identify themselves as "conservative" compared with "liberal", and that ratio has been increasing for two decades.[4] But on Wikipedia, about three times as many editors identify themselves as "liberal" compared with "conservative".[5] That suggests Wikipedia is six times more liberal than the American public."
Next I have not read footnote #4 yet but I am guessing that people identify themselves as liberal, moderate, or conservative. Conservative 22:09, 9 March 2007 (EST)conservative
Here is what footnote #4 states: "On a decade-by-decade basis, Conservatives grew modestly from 32% in the 1970s to 36% in the 1980s, and 38% in the 1990s. So far in the 2000s they comprise 34% of adults. Liberals have remained constant at 18% and moderates have held the lead with 40% or 41% in each decade."[5]Conservative 22:14, 9 March 2007 (EST)conservative
Is it not impossible for liberal editors to edit neutrally. Just because the editors are liberal doesn't mean the content is liberal; they are working for neutrality. It might be better worded as "Wikipedia editors six times more liberal than public." GofG 22:24, 9 March 2007 (EST)
The content of Wikipedia is more liberal than most encyclopedias and I think my recent addition to the list was very telling: "In the mid-20th century, one of the few "authorities" to assert that Jesus as a myth was a Soviet Encyclopedia.[1] Wikipedia currently writes in its article on Jesus the following: "A small number of scholars and authors question the historical existence of Jesus, with some arguing for a completely mythological Jesus."[2] Now it is certainly true that a small amount of scholars assert this matter but it is also true that it is a minuscule amount of scholars and none of them are historians which Wikipedia fails to mention. And what does Wikipedia offer in regards to a mythological Jesus that never existed? It offers a article entitled "Jesus as myth" which has a section titled "Specific arguments of the theory" and has had a long history of having warnings like "This section may contain original research or unattributed claims."[3] Why does the article in question have a long history of warning to its readers and why doesn't Wikipedia seem to want to do anything about it? In addition, Wikipedia would be hard pressed to cite a current reputable encyclopedia which prominently cites in its Jesus article a statement like "A small number of scholars and authors question the historical existence of Jesus, with some arguing for a completely mythological Jesus." in its first two paragraphs. What current encyclopedia other than Wikipedia spends time on the proposition that Jesus never existed and does such a unscholarly job of presenting this matter?" Conservative 22:29, 9 March 2007 (EST)conservative
It might be that the majority of other encyclopedias are conservative biased. I'm not saying this is true, it's just a possibility. Why does the article have a long history of warnings? Because they don't want the readers to be mislead into believing the information, as it is not verified. What exactly is wrong with that? Removing the information entirely would be denying its notability and existance, which is also unencyclopedic. Do you have any other articles to cite? GofG 22:34, 9 March 2007 (EST)
I was being generous in what I wrote. Wikipedia has had the same warning for ages. Every time I look at the article it has had that warning. Why doesn't someone clean up the mess? I believe it is because they are reticent to delete unsourced liberal material and Wikpedia just doesn't care about "unsourced junk" written about Jesus that denies he existed. Conservative 22:49, 9 March 2007 (EST)conservative
According to your data, then, M1 = 0.4 or 0.41. Plugging into my equation, L2/L1 = 2.25*(1-M2)/(1-0.41) = 3.81356 * (1-M2). M2, the fraction of Wikipediaers who are moderates, can (by definition) only range from 0 to 1. Therefore, the very maximum is 3.81 (assuming that no Wikipediaers are moderates, which is unlikely to be true). Six is incorrect.--Manchot 22:44, 9 March 2007 (EST)
Look at this way: How many more conservatives would we need on Wikipedia such its balance reflected the American public? Wikipedia is 3:1 liberal, so we need six times as many conservatives. Six is correct.--Aschlafly 18:23, 10 March 2007 (EST)
Then what you should be saying is that Wikipedia is six times less conservative, not six times more liberal. As you pointed out yesterday, there is a major difference. Plus, if you're going to make extraordinary claims, you need to back them up with actual numbers, not a hand-waving argument. If you do the appropriate substitutions into the equation above, you'll find that C1/C2 = 1.573/(1-M2). For this to be equal to 6 would require that M2=0.73, i.e., about 3/4ths of Wikipedians would have to be moderates.--Manchot 22:21, 10 March 2007 (EST)


This calculation is indeed deeply flawed. If you keep it like this you run the risk that liberal will view it as confirmation that conservatives can't do math. You compare a representative poll with the areas of interests of Wikipedians. The results of the poll are that 18% of Americans are liberal, 34 % conservatives, and 40% moderates. The Wikipedia numbers are that of 3.7 million Wikipedians, 204 are interested in liberal themes and 77 in conservative themes. This means that less than 0.0075 % of all Wikipedians are either conservative or liberal (or both). And the chances that this miniscule self selected sample is representative is next to nothing. You can't do statistics with this sample. You simply compare apples with next to nothing. I'd suggest to remove this entry altogether. Otherwise you just confirm the liberal idea that conservatives fudge numbers as they please. Order 21:44, 11 March 2007 (AEST)

Folks, the math is correct, and no one credibly disputes that Wikipedia has a liberal bias. Those who do dispute it only serve to illustrate the deception of Wikipedians pretending not to be biased. Be up-front about your point-of-view. Are you liberal yourselves? Don't be bashful, disclose your point-of-view as we do here, and then we can have a more meaningful dialog. Thanks.--Aschlafly 14:20, 11 March 2007 (EDT)
Sorry, the math is really incorrect. It doesn't serve you well to label everybody who points to wrong math as liberal. A valid point (bias in Wikipedia) is tainted by invalid math, especially when combined with calling names to settle a mathematical dispute. This point is just a red herring, and will do nothing than give people an opportunity to ridicule Conservapedia and its editors. There is nothing wrong with droppoing this point, since everybody knows that Wikipedia has a liberal bias. Order 10:55, 12 March 2007 (AEST)
Exactly. If someone who agrees with my political philosophy is using obviously incorrect logic to prove their point, that makes me look worse by comparison. The math is incorrect, and saying that is isn't make it so.

Based on the above stated information, the Wikipedia survey is not representative as the basic assumption for statistical validity (random selection, or precise stratification) is violated. However, let us assume it is valid and forget about the math, then next question arising will be: what is the point? It is common knowledge that Americans tend to be more conservative than the average world citizen. But why should the American public be particularly relevant to Wikipedia, which extends far beyond America? The idea that it is a bias if Wikipedia's authors do not mirror the American public, seems to reveal a narrow and ethnocentric scope of the authors behind "Conservapedia". A bias which Wikipedia (thank God) does not seem to have.


Item 12

This is not an example of bias, but rather a simple convention. The English spelling of the word is the proper spelling, the American spelling is a branch spelling and not appropriate for some topics. This is why the US Courts still use Anglo-English spellings. --Elamdri

Thanks for your comment, but I can assure you that US Courts use American spellings of words. I don't know where your comment here comes from: "The English spelling of the word is the proper spelling." I respectfully disagree. But I hope you can contribute edits here, and in your case we'll be mindful of your preference for English spellings!--Aschlafly 20:45, 11 March 2007 (EDT)
I'm a legal major and have read many a court file and the use of English terms is actually quite common, however, it is in a sense traditional. Also, many international courts use the English spelling.--Elamdri 22:45, 11 March 2007 (EDT)
I don't think that this should be included as an example of bias. The British spelling is no inherently better or worse than the American spelling, and it is ludicrous to pretend otherwise. The bias list has some good points, but they are being weakened by silly points like number 12.--Manchot 23:43, 11 March 2007 (EDT)
There seems to be an anti-American undercurrent to the spelling issue, just as there is an anti-Christian motive to erasing "A.D." We have vandals on this site going around changing American to British spellings. No joke. The same must be occurring on Wikipedia because non-American spellings turn up in the oddest of places. When most users are Americans and the system was started in America, doesn't that strike you as a bit odd??? American-bashing seems to have become quite a sport around the world, and this is part of it. American spelling is more economical, by the way. "Color", not "Colour". The "u" need not be there. Americans love the British, by the way, and every four years we elect a British descendent as president.--Aschlafly 23:55, 11 March 2007 (EDT)
Out of curiosity, how is American English "more economical"? Also, have all the presidents really been British decendents? Are you sure no one's been of a German, French, etc line? And thirdly, I keep seeing people talk about how most wikipedia users are American, do you have proof of this or is it an assumption. I would imagine there are more users/speakers of the Queen's English in the world than the American version. Jrssr5 10:29, 12 March 2007 (EDT)


...who says most users are Americans? The site is frequented by users from the entire world. If you trust Alexa, 21.3% of its users are from the US, but 54% of all users go to en.wikipedia. That means that less than half the people on the English Wikipedia are from the US.
I think Mr. Shlafly must have meant 'caucasian' rather than 'british descendant' see the bullet point on 'rascist math' for details.
Of course, there are a few weak points with this argument (and with yours). We both currently assume that every visitor/editor contributes an equal share to Wikipedia, and we both assume that Alexa is halfway accurate to measure site statistics (which I personally doubt, but I accept it as the best approximation we can get). Then there is the question what kind of English is taught in the other countries (and what the individual editor ends up using - for example, I learned English in school, but later basically switched to American), but there is no practical way to answer this question on a site like Wikipedia - it's simply too large.
As such, I'd just go with the most intuitive explanation: Editors use what they are used to, and often enough, it's not American. It's not about being anti-American or bashing the US. It's just what they personally find intuitive. --Sid 3050 10:48, 12 March 2007 (EDT)
there is a item in WPs style guide about when and where to use british vs american spellings. It obviously does not enjoy universal compliance (I doubt many editors even know the guidelines exist) but there are wiki-janitors out there trying to tidy this up. This point should be deleted or amended. Godman 10:17, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

Additional problems with Wikipedia

  • Blatant double standard as to what constitutes "reliable sources". Wikipedia is supposed to pride itself on its Neutral Point of View policy and sourcing articles to reliable, neutral, third party sources which are not partisan and not self-published. Yet there is a clique of administrators who insist that self-published material from such extremist, partisan groups as the Southern Poverty Law Center and Political Research Associates meets the reliable sources criteria. In particular attack articles from the SPLC have been linkspammed to a large number of articles to attack the subjects of those articles, especially people involved in immigration issues. The SPLC's ritual defamation tactic of labeling any group they don't like a "hate group" is given sanction by Wikipedia editors who add the "SPLC has designated this group a hate group" label to articles.
  • Bias in favor of postmodernism and postmodernist notions. Wikipedia is littered with articles like "Gender roles", "Anti-bias curriculum", "Oppression" and so on which promote the notions that reality is a social construct; "gender roles" is written of as if it is a real thing instead of a postmodernist neologism to describe what are actually gender traits; racism and sexism are instutionalized "systems" of oppression inherent in Western culture rather than prejudices held by individuals; etc. I could dig up hundreds of such articles and put together a "worst of Wikipedia" list if I had the time to do so.
  • Rampant political correctness. The Wikipedia article on political correctness is skeptical and gives too much credence to the notion that there is no such thing as PC, yet at the same time Wikipedia is cluttered with thousands of articles promoting the POV every would-be "systemically oppressed" group imaginable. Wikipedia is full of Aspergers Syndrome-cruft, illegal alien advocacy cruft including multiple articles on every pro-illegal immigration protest in recent months, articles that smack of being elaborate jokes or just plain absurd like "Anti-racist mathematics" and "Neurodiversity", etc.
  • Systemic bias against guns and private firearms ownership. Two different articles with the anti-Second Amendment neologism "gun violence" in the title, a "Category:Deaths by Firearm", etc. All attempts at deleting or renaming these biased names have failed.
  • The Wikiproject on "countering systemic bias" is itself extremely systemically biased, as most of the subject areas in that project smack of whiny political correctness.

Parrothead 10:52, 11 March 2007 (EDT)

Wow! Your points are superb. With specific examples and citations I could add them to the content page here. Thanks.--Aschlafly 14:18, 11 March 2007 (EDT)


Thanks - here are just a few off the top of my head:
  • [6] - "A 'gender role' is a set of behavioral norms associated particularly with males or females, in a given social group or system. It can be a form of division of labour by gender. It is a focus of analysis in the social sciences and humanities. Gender is one component of the gender/sex system, which refers to "The set of arrangements by which a society transforms biological sexuality into products of human activity, and in which these transformed needs are satisfied" (Reiter 1975: 159). Most societies have a gender/sex system, although the components and workings of this system vary widely from society to society.[citation needed] Some see "gender roles" as oppressive stereotypical expectations imposed by society."
(The "gender/sex system" by the way refers to a belief that gender and ones physical sex are not the same thing, that somebody can be born a woman but be a man inside, or vise versa.)
  • [7], [8] - these two articles speak for themselves.
  • [9] - "The term oppression is primarily used to describe how a certain group is being kept down by unjust use of force, authority, or societal norms. When this is institutionalized formally or informally in a society, it is referred to as "systematic oppression"."
  • [10] - 2/3 of the article is criticism of the group.
  • [11] - Uses the left-wing's term for the movement instead of the term "Official English" preferred by the movement itself.
  • [12] - another absurdity. Autism, Parkinsons, and Tourettes are not diseases that need a cure, but should be accepted as an integral part of "who they are".
  • [13] - "This binary may itself be a false dichotomy, as discourse shapes our understanding of what is natural and what is cultural shapes discourse-- but it still is a useful starting point for exploring these debates. Constructivists counter that there is no natural, that all meaning is constructed through discourse and there is no other subject other than the creation of meaning for social theory. In a Constructivist perspective it is not proper to take gay or lesbian as subjects with objective reality; but rather they must be understood in terms of their social context, in how genealogy creates these terms through history."
  • [14] - Claims Wikipedia has a "systemic bias" against topics related to non-English speaking people, the third world, women, non-Judeo-Christian religions, etc.
That's just a start. Parrothead 15:27, 11 March 2007 (EDT)
Fantastic! I added a new point 2 on your stuff. Will add more also. Thanks.--Aschlafly 15:52, 11 March 2007 (EDT)
I have to object to some of this. While I agree that some of these discuss ideas or topics that are absurd (Anti-racist mathematics is one that particularly annoys me) they are legitimate topics of articles and Wikipedia would be remiss not to have articles on these topics. Similarly, Wikipedia has articles on flat-earthism, white power, black power, and phrenology, not out of endorsement for their ideas but because they are encyclopedic topics. JoshuaZ 15:58, 11 March 2007 (EDT)
These articles - most of them - go well beyond just reporting that these topics exist, to making blanket statements and assumptions in support of them. Parrothead 06:50, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

Redirect

Is there a reason the Wikipedia entry redirects to the Example of Bias page? I could have sworn there were two separate articles yesterday. And if this is done for a reason, it might be helpful to remove the links within the Bias page that link to itself through the wikipedia page. Jrssr5 13:08, 12 March 2007 (EDT)

The entry got deleted, redirected and protected a few hours ago. I'll just quote from Aschlafly's Talk page, where I asked about this:
We don't need two separate entries about Wikipedia and its bias. The protection was required because people were putting in false statements like non-Americans are more intelligent and Conservapedia should be criticized (for its free speech?). The entry became a place for Wikipedians to spread more falsehoods.--Aschlafly 13:04, 12 March 2007 (EDT)
There is much I want to say in reply to this, but at best, it wouldn't change his mind, and at worst, it would get me banned. Let's just smile and nod, it takes less energy than fighting a lost fight. *shrugs* --Sid 3050 13:38, 12 March 2007 (EDT)
Thanks for pointing that out. But in response to Aschlafly's reason, couldn't the wikipedia article be an article about wikipedia, not it's bias? like starting date, multiple languages, etc and the Bias page be used for the bias info? Jrssr5 13:46, 12 March 2007 (EDT)
OK, that's a good idea. I'll reopen the page for factual information like what you suggest. We could all benefit from that. Thanks.--Aschlafly 13:59, 12 March 2007 (EDT)

Renaissance's Inspiration?

I would like to dispute item 4 on the list of examples of bias. It is stated that the Renaissance was primarily inspired by Christianity. This is not the case, however; the Renaissance was a return to the values, ideas, and artistic style of pre-Christian times, specifically those of classical Greece.

This is a misperception, as all the great Renaissance artists were inspired by Christianity.

My response

I'm just listing what I think of these.

1 So? If you were a Jew, would you be offended for people not using the Hebrew calendar? And how does wikipedia not give credit to christianity?

If one is using the Christian dates, then give attribution to the meaning of those dates.--Aschlafly 10:50, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

2 How is this bias? Wikipedia is an encyclopedia... having an entry on it isnt bias. It does not support or oppose anti-racist mathematics.

Real encyclopedias don't have patently absurd entries just because some liberals believe in them.--Aschlafly 10:50, 17 March 2007 (EDT)
Well, based on your logic, real encyclopedias shouldnt have articles on 'Examples of Bias in Wikipedia.' NickJ10 14:00, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

3 Again, how is this bias? It says specifically that a small number of people believe this, and is cited well. And saying that 'no credible historian makes such a claim' is both false and biased.

Small number of people believe this? Try zero credible historians.--Aschlafly 10:50, 17 March 2007 (EDT)
Does the article ever say that Jesus was mythological? NO. It says that a small number of scholars and authors believe this. Even if there are no credible historians that believe in a mythological Jesus, its not bias on Wikipedia's part.NickJ10 14:00, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

4 There are alot of Renaissances. Look at wikipedia's article on 'Italian Renaissance'. Christianity is credited on that article.

There is "The Renaissance," and it does deny credit to Christianity.
What? Read the article on 'Italian Renaissance'. The article on 'Renaissance' refers to 'other historical and cultural moments' (straight from the opening paragraph).NickJ10 14:00, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

5 Why is this still here? I think its been discussed on the talk page.

Because it's still true. It has been proven on the talk page.--Aschlafly 10:50, 17 March 2007 (EDT)
Are you serious? It's been disproven about ten times.NickJ10 14:00, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

6. First of all, it doesnt even matter if they are more aetheistic. Second, that source is invalid; either that, or there are 2.5 million jedis living in this world.

7. How does it read 'like a brochure for the abortion industry'?

By concealing the harms from abortion--Aschlafly 10:50, 17 March 2007 (EDT)
The section titled 'Health Effects' in Wikipedia's article on abortion is the size of Conservapedia's article on abortion. They do not conceal the potential harms.NickJ10 14:00, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

8.

9. Wikipedia, like most encyclopedias, does not include articles that are insignificant. Conservapedia only recently became famous; therefore, in response to publicity, the entry was created. It makes sense. And although wikipedia's article may include 'obvious bias, numerous errors, out-of-date citations, and self-serving false statements', I could say the same for this article as well.

You could say that, and your statement would be false.--Aschlafly 10:50, 17 March 2007 (EDT)
Right. Because wikipedia is definitely completely anti-american, six times more liberal than America, and is planning to nuke the U.S.NickJ10 14:00, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

10. And even if it does have out-of-date citations, why are you using them in all of the 'Wikipedia later removed this error' examples?

To show the implicit admission by Wikipedia that the criticism is valid.--Aschlafly 10:50, 17 March 2007 (EDT)
So, you're basically gloating over finding one small example of bias that was later corrected? I think its better to knowingly correct yourself, rather than ignorantly stand by false beliefs. Such as, the belief that Wikipedia is six times more liberal than America.NickJ10 14:00, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

11. There is no point of view. It states the opinions of others; it does not say 'JPandS is an untrustworthy, non-recommended periodical.'

No point of view???? I'm wondering about your point of view. Before I go further, I'd like to hear you disclose your point of view.--Aschlafly 10:50, 17 March 2007 (EDT)
I'm moderate. And why does that matter???? Anyone can see that this list is completely biased.NickJ10 14:00, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

12 Out of date.

13 Using 'foreign' spellings is not bias.

14 The article on Benjamin Franklin says 'A few years later, Franklin repudiated his 1725 pamphlet as an embarrassing "erratum".' Another out of date citation?

15 How can you distort and omit facts at the same time? And if those are true, then that would be an error, not bias.

16 How is that gossip? A famous person becoming injured isnt gossip. Would you consider Dick Cheney shooting somebody with a shotgun gossip?

Ill stop here. Feel free to respond ><

I'll respond, I agree completely, Conservapedia is searching for Biases in Wikipedia to justify its existance. And doing so very poorly I might add. If I wasn't lazy, I'd respond with a paragraph for every single point on their and how ridiculously stupid it is. --ALFa 17:19, 15 March 2007 (EDT)

Toronto Evening Star and Statistics

The Toronto evening star apparently liked the statement that wikipedia is 6 times more liberal than the American public. Mathematically flawed arguments in the bias article are like giving freebies to the liberals. -- Order 13 March 22:00 (AEST)

Liberal Wikipedians as compared to conservative Wikipedians

The referenced links only represent an extremely small percentage of Wikipedia's total membership. This really invalidates it, and I would remove that particular point if I didn't fear the consequences. Geekman314(contact me) 13:38, 13 March 2007 (EDT)

Fear not, you couldn't remove it anyway: The article is protected. And this issue has been mentioned a few times by now, with the most prominent one (in my eyes) being in We need to decide what this list is. --Sid 3050 15:35, 13 March 2007 (EDT)
Folks, all polls or sample sizes are "an extremely small percentage" of the population. That does not make it invalid.--Aschlafly 17:11, 13 March 2007 (EDT)
It does. The Harris poll was contained from a statistical significant sample of 6,000 people, and the results were weighted for sex, education, age, etc to have the outcome match the general population. Also, it had 3 possible answers: conservative, moderate, liberal.
The wikipedia numbers are based on a selfselected sample of about 300 people who felt like putting political orientation into their profile. This sample is unlikely to be representative for the 3.8 million wikipedians. Even if your guts tell you that a rate 3 to 1 liberal is close to reality. Its your guts that say this, because these numbers don't prove anything. These numbers are not corrected for age, sex, education. And there are only two choices: liberal, and conservative (in contrast to 3). And the way you compute with fractions is even fundamentally flawed, even if the numbers were right and significant, but that a different issue altogether.
No, the sample is not merely 300 people in the Wikipedia. It's thousands, or millions, of which well over 300 people responded. It is MORE reliable than a poll that only contacts a few hundred people. The Wikipedia survey is like an election, where people have the option of voting or not voting. That is MORE accurate than a telephone poll that does not expressly give people that option.
So, thousands particpated in this polls, at least? If not millions? Cool, say it is 1000. Then, according to the wikipedia numbers about 20% of all editors are liberal, which is within the margin of error of the Harris poll, which states that 18% of all Americans are liberal. If it were possible to do statistics with these numbers. --Order 19:03, 14 March 2007 (AEST)
What survey? Nowhere on Wikipedia does ANYBODY go all "Hey, if you like, you can add these silly labels to your userpage!". Few people know of this category, fewer people are Americans who these labels apply to, even fewer people care enough about them. Jimmy Wales himself said that he discourages these things, so EVEN fewer people will slap one of those things onto their pages. Your "survey" is like me setting up a poll on a site somewhere and then not advertising it. My sample size automatically becomes "All users of the Internet", and that makes it a valid survey. If just ten people reply, it won't matter since millions of people participated - they just chose not to take the poll.
Look, I know you're very proud of this claim, but let it go. You have no basis for stating that Wikipedia is more of ANYTHING. These things are no poll, no survey, no anything. You've had your fun, the press in one or two countries at least made fun of it, but that's it. Keeping it in will only show that you're stubborn even in the face of people openly mocking it. --Sid 3050 22:07, 13 March 2007 (EDT)
Since this is the only bold statement in the entire article on bias in Wikipedia, it better be right. However, it is wrong on so many levels. The only thing that speaks for it that it coincides with your gut feeling. It is a gift to any liberal who wants to ridicule Conservapedia and its editors. Its like starting a football match and giving away penalty kicks to the opponents. --Order 10:03, 14 March 2007 (AEST)
This debate illustrates how the problem is more than the fact that Wikipedia is liberal. It is that Wikipedians won't admit they are liberal. That's what makes Conservapedia so much better. We're up-front about our point-of-view. Liberal Wikipedians pretend they are not liberal, when they are.--Aschlafly 21:42, 13 March 2007 (EDT)
Sorry to be so blunt, but this is just a weasel statement, because you won't admit that you used bad statistics combined with poor fractional math. If wikipedia is so secretive to not provide any good numbers, then don't use their numbers. There are many good points you could make, but this is not one of them. Its a godsend for the liberals. --Order 15:03, 14 March 2007 (AEST)
Agreed. This is a real black-eye on Conservapedia on several fronts: 1) the "poll" of Wikipedians is self-selected... in the business of polling, that discounts it as useless up-front 2) this is an informal element of Wikipedia, which Wikipedia itself is attempting to remove (and such removal efforts have continued in various forms for years) because of its divisiveness 3) there's no correlation drawn between this self-selected data and the actual extent to which people contribute to Wikipedia... it's entirely possible that there's weighting here that renders the implication incorrect, even if the data were correct. There are some good criticisms on this list, and it really doesn't need this one that makes the rest look bad. -Harmil 14:29, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
Agreed. This is a real black-eye on Conservapedia on several fronts: 1) the "poll" of Wikipedians is self-selected... in the business of polling, that discounts it as useless up-front 2) this is an informal element of Wikipedia, which Wikipedia itself is attempting to remove (and such removal efforts have continued in various forms for years) because of its divisiveness 3) there's no correlation drawn between this self-selected data and the actual extent to which people contribute to Wikipedia... it's entirely possible that there's weighting here that renders the implication incorrect, even if the data were correct. There are some good criticisms on this list, and it really doesn't need this one that makes the rest look bad. -Harmil 14:29, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

One must admit, it gives a bad impression to any visitor - and this is where many are going to be pointed. If nothing else, of the articles I've looked up, this one is the longest by far, clearly representing the most effort - to have it obviously inaccurate gives an even worse impression.

If twice as many Americans identify Conservative as opposed to Liberal, that's a 2:1 ratio. 1/3rd (33%) of Americans would therefore be Liberal. If thrice as many Wikipedians identify as Liberal, it's a 3:1 ratio. 3/4ths (75%) of Wikipedians would be liberal. This is fourth grade math.

If you look at the poll numbers you will find that only 18% are liberal, 34% conservative, and 40% moderate. Aschlafly forgot about the moderates in his calculation. Yet another self-inflicted black-eye. --Order 16:03, 15 March 2007 (AEST)

It's actually therefore only 225% as Liberal by volume, just over twice as liberal. Nowhere near six times. All this aside from the unreliability of the Wikipedia "Poll". Frankly, to use these user tags is even less accurate than counting bumper stickers on your daily commute insofar as statistical accuracy is concerned. In fact, given the contention here that Wikipedia is, in fact, biased, doesn't it stand to reason that conservative editors would be less likely to make a point of their political leanings, to avoid the hypothetical consequences? This would skew the data even further. Sondergard

How are we supposed to contribute?

You say to contribute to the page, yet how, if it is locked to prevent editing?

Post here and a mod will add it.--Elamdri 18:33, 13 March 2007 (EDT)

If you're talking about the kangaroo page, I locked it because an edit war with some guy who kept posting that creationism was stupid was tying my hands up. I didn't have time to explain it at the time. MountainDew 18:35, 13 March 2007 (EDT)

Surely locking a page for reasons other than vandalism is detrimental to the whole point of wiki software. --Dezza91 03:44, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

Examples of Bias in Conservapedia…

would be an excellent article. It could explicitly mention Examples of Bias in Wikipedia, rant about undetected vandalism and inaccuracies, and generally appear juvenile, irrational, and anti-intellectual. Geekman314(contact me) 16:21, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

New Jersey bias in Wikipedia

247 Wikipedians self-identify as Wikipedians in New Jersey. 196 self-identify as Wikipedians in Pennsylvania. The ratio of New Jerseyan to Pennsylvanians on Wikipedia is 5:4. But according to a poll conducted by the U. S. Census Bureau, the number of people living in New Jersey is 8,414,350, while the number living in Pennsylvania is 12,281,054, a ratio of 2:3. (5/4) / (2/3) = 1.875, leading to the conclusion that

Wikipedia is 87.5% more New Jerseyan than America as a whole.

Critics charge that New Jersey bias is pervasive throughout Wikipedia.

  • Wikipedia's article on Cheesesteak alleges that the rolls used by Pat's Steaks in Philadelphia are made by a bakery in Glassboro, New Jersey.
  • Due to the mob rule of New Jerseyans, a wildly disportionate amount of Wikipedia's article on Liberty Island is devoted to insanely exaggerated claims of New Jersey boosters, including false assertions that its proper street address is One Communipaw Avenue, Jersey City; that maps show it as being on the New Jersey side of the New York/New Jersey boundary; and that it is much closer to Jersey City than it is to New York. dpbsmith's evil twin 09:00, 15 March 2007 (EDT)
But the Statue of Liberty is closer to Jersey City than it is to New York. dpbsmith's sockpuppet 09:01, 15 March 2007 (EDT)
They've infiltrated here, too???! dpbsmith's evil twin 09:02, 15 March 2007 (EDT)
This New Jersy bias is interesting. Lets see what other categories we have... --Order 16 March 2007, 2:00 (AEST)

Wikipedia biased towards Erdős

Three mathematicians on Wikipedia have an Erdős number of 1 (Wikipedians with Erdős number 1). These are co-authors of Erdős. It has 7 with an Erdős number of 5 (Wikipedians with Erdős number 5). These are coauthors, of coauthors, of coauthors, of coauthors, of coauthors of Erdős. The average mathematician has an Erdős number of 5. This results in a ratio of 3/7 for coauthors of Erdős vs average mathematicians on Wikipedia.

According to the Erdős number project [15] there are however worldwide an estimated number of 504 mathematicians with an Erdős number of 1, and an estimated 87760 with an Erdős number of 5. This gives a ratio of about 1/175 for coauthors vs average mathematicians. This means there are about 75 times as many coauthors of Erdős on Wikipedia, than there are among mathematicians.

Conservapedia in contrast has an estimated number of zero coauthors of Erdős among its ranks, while there are lot of very average mathematicians. --Order 16 March 2007, 2:00 (AEST)

Ha, ha, very funny. RSchlafly 16:38, 15 March 2007 (EDT)

Question about point 4.

I note that point four states: "Wikipedia's entry for the Renaissance denies any credit to Christianity, its primary inspiration."

Dare I point out that the same could be said for the conservapedia article?

--British_cons (talk) 12:32, 15 March 2007 (EDT)

Don't think so. I just checked The Renaissance and it states how "later works (like the Pietà) reveal [Michelangelo's] deep and devout Christianity."--Aschlafly 10:52, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

Wikipedia about twice as non religious as Americans

Polls show that about twice as many Wikipedias (35% in 2006) http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/List_of_Wikimedians_by_religion identify themselves as non religious compared with Americans. (19% ib 2001) http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_prac2.htm

I have said this so many times it's getting boring. Who cares how many Wikipedians are using Wikipedia as apposed to Americans? Wikipedia is a GLOBAL source. Edited by GLOBAL users, who all are supposed to be submitting factual information or for controversial subjects, both possible sides (or all possible sides if more than two). So no-matter what, the end-result on Wikipedia, after it is editted by its PAYED professionals and experts, is factual information and non-biased articles. Wikipedia, and any other site should not have to cater to the religious just because there are more of them in America. There are other countries too, and nobody is attempting to cater to them. There are other points of view, but nobody is catering to them. Facts are facts are facts, they remain the same whether they support religious claims or not. 100% of America could be Creationists, yet Wikipedia would still show every possible side of things, not ONLY the creationist part, if you understand what I mean. Every statistic that is used to try and show that Wikipedia has biased is 100% irrelevant in every way.--ALFa 16:26, 15 March 2007 (EDT)
Personally, I like Wikipedia. I think Wikipedia is pretty good and reasonably free from bias... but, WIkipedia is not, not, not edited by "paid professionals" or by "experts." This is something that every Wikipedia user needs to understand. Dpbsmith 17:13, 15 March 2007 (EDT)
It is edited by anyone who feels like it, but they do hire professionals and experts to read the pages (obviously not all of them, but the more popular ones) to try and make it less biased, more factual, and include more sources. --ALFa 17:16, 15 March 2007 (EDT)
Did you take actually alook at the page http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/List_of_Wikimedians_by_religion, other than scrolling to the end and squiting at the statistics? It starts right away by sayin that this is a self selected sample. And it is a small sample. And it contains the weirdest categories. And the page again says that the statitics are merely for entertainment, and not to be taken seriously. Its a joke. --Order 16 March 2007 10:50 (AEST)

Six times? Not even close.

I can't believe that an economics teacher could make these kinds of mistakes with basic statistical procedure. If Wikipedia were six times more liberal than 18%, it would be an impossible 108% liberal. Even assuming that 75% of Wikipedians consider themselves liberals (which, given that many people consider themselves neither liberal nor conservative, is ridiculous), 75/18 would give us a figure of roughly four times more liberal than the American public. (Not to say that that's the correct procedure.)

Regardless of the math, we must remember the stat teacher's old chestnut, "Garbage in, garbage out." Bad data gives bad results. The data from Wikipedia is based on voluntary response samples, which are notoriously prone to bias. (Remember Alf Landon and the Literary Digest poll?) The six times figure can only be attributed to serious mathematical error or intellectual dishonesty. John Brown 21:17, 15 March 2007 (EDT)

In fact, with the data provided, the correct suggested figure would be 2.25 times as liberal, not 6 times. Let (AC,AL) be the percentage of conservatives and liberals respectively of all Americans and (WC,WL) the and = ratio for Wikipedia editors. Since these are probabilities, AC + AL = WC + WL = 1. Then the ratio of liberal Wikipedia editors to liberal Americans is WL/AL = ((WL/(WC + WL))/(AL/(AC + AL))) = (1/(WC/WL + 1))/(1/(AC/AL + 1)) = (AC/AL + 1)/(WC/WL + 1). Since the suggested ratios are AC/AL = 2 and WC/WL = 1/3, then WL/AL = (2 + 1)/(1/3 + 1) = 3/(4/3) = 9/4 = 2.25. Hdelbrook 21:46, 15 March 2007 (EDT)

John Brown's mistake is that the term "liberal" applies to the overall concentration, such that halving the number of conservatives can also double the liberal bias. HdelBrook's error is that he assumes everyone is either liberal or conservative. My cited sources clearly show that not to be case.
More interesting is how liberals deny their bias. Any guess as to whether the above two commentators are themselves liberal??? Notice how they don't disclose their own view. Conservapedia discloses its point-of-view, but Wikipedia denies its.--Aschlafly 21:50, 15 March 2007 (EDT)


So... if 98% of the population were moderate, 1% liberal, and 1% conservative, you would contend that, in fact, it had a 99% liberal bias? The classic "Those who are not with us are against us? I think most would contend that the introduction of moderates would bring discussion closer to the center, not automatically push it to either fringe.
Or is there perhaps a more logical, mathematical way to construct the "6 times" figure that you could explain to the multitude of us who have arrived at 225% instead? Both HdelBrook and I used mathematical explanations based on the most generous basic situation. If you'd like to dismiss our arguments, the simplest method is to provide an actual counterargument - in this case, just show your math. You don't need to attack the opposing arguments, just defend your own. Zondergard (who considers himself largely moderate, in the interest of full disclosure)

Sorry, I forgot to disclose my view. I believe that committing math errors is a display of ignorance, not of conservatism. Hdelbrook 21:57, 15 March 2007 (EDT)

I agree with Aschlafly that if there is a third category (WC + WL + WU) for WU = neither conservative nor liberal, then there is clearly not enough data provided to form any conclusion. Hdelbrook 22:01, 15 March 2007 (EDT)


My apologies: I am a registered Republican, and consider myself a moderate. More to the point, you cannot possibly defend the six times figure. I will be glad to argue the finer points of statistics and politics another day, but right now, I simply ask you to admit that your numbers are incorrect. It happens. We're all human. John Brown 22:06, 15 March 2007 (EDT)
Oh, and while we're at it, here's some (still voluntary response-based!) data for the third category. John Brown 22:07, 15 March 2007 (EDT)


A bit more can be said when there are moderates if we accept as input data the assertion that WL/AL = 6 (it does not follow from the other input data). Then WL/AL = ((WL/(WC+WL+WM))/((AL/(AC+AL+AM)) = (2 + 1 + AM/AL)/(1/3 + 1 + WM/WL) = (3 + AM/AL)/(4/3 + WM/WL) = 6, the the lower bound on AM/AL is when WM = 0, so (3 + AM/AL)/(4/3) = 6, so 3 + AM/AL = 8, so AM/AL = 5. The data presented support the conclusion that there are at least 5 times as many moderate Americans as liberal Americans. Hdelbrook 22:21, 15 March 2007 (EDT)

Folks, what fractional reduction in liberals on Wikipedia would give it a balance comparable to the American public, which is 2:1 conservative? Answer: 1/6 reduction in Wikipedia liberals would be necessary. Ergo, Wikipedia is six times more liberal than the American public.
But again, more interesting is why Wikipedians and yourselves won't simply admit your socially liberal views? Why conceal that?
John Brown, did you revert your improper removal of information in the France entry???--Aschlafly 22:39, 15 March 2007 (EDT)
You seem to be confusing yourself by using ratio notation instead of fractions or decimals. If 3/4 of Wikipedians are Liberal, and we want to get it down to the same as the American public, 1/3, then we need to reduce the number of Liberals by, as has been said many times now, (3/4) / (1/3), which is 1/(2.25).
Edit: Just realised that the number of Liberals is 18%, not 1/3, so this gives a figure of about 4 (as was also mentioned before), still nowhere near 6. JamesK 22:48, 15 March 2007 (EDT)

"Deny their bias"? By the standards of the modern-day Republican party, Richard Nixon would be considered a snivelling Liberal. --Scrap 23:04, 15 March 2007 (EDT)

Yeah, everyone should just announce their political orientations every time they want to talk, just to avoid denial of liberal bias. And, in response to how Wikipedia denies their POV, of course Wikipedia doesnt have a point of view. Its an encyclopedia. And not all Wikipedians are liberal. And you blocked me for vandalism. Or accidentally messing up some formatting. NickJ10 23:17, 15 March 2007 (EDT)

Only a fool denies the obvious. Aschlafly has made a fool of me by leading me to believe that this was actually a forum where conservatives could actually learn from each other. Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. My mother-in-law said that you should never try to teach a pig math, it wastes your time and annoys the pig. No matter how many times you say that 1 + 1 = 3, it just ain't so. I don't care if Bill Clinton says it, you say it, or God Himself says it, it's false. (OK, maybe if God says it, but you're not God!) You give conservatives a bad name, and I for one am not willing to let you turn those of us with horse-sense into people with the sense of a horse. It's pretty clear that we can all talk ourselves blue in the discussion page, but not word of the article page is going to change. I can just hear Liberals laughing at how conservatives are stupid hicks who are bad at math. Well I'm here to tell you that you don't speak for me. Oh yeah, I know you're going to call me a Liberal. Don't bother. I looked up Liberal in the Conservadictionary and it means "anyone who disagrees with me". It's funny how liberal you think the editors (plural) at Wikipedia are. Funny thing is, there seems to be only one editor at Conservapedia. How power corrupts. The sad part is, I actually had high hopes for Conservapedia. I'm outta here. Let the namecalling begin... Hdelbrook 02:23, 16 March 2007 (EDT)

For the record I am a left of center moderate. Although I certainly don’t consider myself a math whiz, my background in math includes algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus and a semester of statistics. So when I read the reasons presented by those who challenged the validity of the “6 times more liberal “claim I agree with their arguments based on my knowledge of math. Please note, it’s not based on my political views. Math is neither liberal nor conservative, it’s just math.

I am not going to rehash the arguments here, that’s been done enough, but I have a suggestion to solve this impasse. I’m not sure exactly how we can arrange this; maybe someone can offer some ideas.

I suggest we submit this to binding arbitration. We could find a qualified mathematician. Then Aschlafly could submit a statement explaining his method of obtaining his “6 times” figure. His challengers could submit a statement explaining why they think the “6 times” figure is in error. Then the mathematician could analyze the problem and give their opinion. That opinion would be binding, thus resolving this disagreement.

We would have to find a mathematician that both sides would trust. I suppose it would have to be a conservative mathematician since Aschafly doesn’t seem to trust anyone who isn’t conservative.

Although this “binding arbitration” method wouldn’t work for most disagreements, it could work for this situation because it’s not subjective, it’s just math. Land Dweller 12:27, 16 March 2007 (PDT)

...Then Aschlafly could submit a statement explaining his method of obtaining his “6 times” figure...
Just that would be a start. JamesK 15:54, 16 March 2007 (EDT)
I'm fine with choosing some mutually agreed-upon mathematicians to estimate how much greater Wikipedia's liberal bias is than the American public. It wouldn't surprise me if the mathematicians conclude that I have understated Wikipedia's liberal bias.
By the way, my estimate is obviously based on this definition of liberal bias: the ratio of liberals to conservatives in the population. Absolute zero thereby corresponds to an absence of any liberals in the population. Heaven can be defined in a similar manner! Ha ha ha.
If anyone has a different definition of liberal bias for our mediators, speak now or forever hold your peace!--Aschlafly 16:20, 16 March 2007 (EDT)
I still say "Get rid of that point". There is just too much wrong with it, even ignoring the math behind that "six times" bit. First of all, the "than the American public" bit shows a good deal of narrow-mindedness. As I mentioned elsewhere, Americans aren't even the majority of all people who visit Wikipedia. They only form roughly 38% of all en.wikipedia traffic (Current stats: 54% of all visitors go to en.wiki, 20.7% of all visitors are from the US, meaning that - if all US traffic goes to en.wiki - Americans form 20.7/54 = 38.33% on en.wiki). Sure, America has the largest single-country share, but that's it. It would be an EXTREME coincidence if Wikipedia reflected America. Not even to mention all the bits about sample size and the fact that few know of these categories. Wikipedia is an international site. Just accept it.
And any "proper" method to determine how liberally biased Wikipedia is would assume that you can actually map all other countries' political alignments into your "liberal or conservative" system (not even to mention polling them). Which is kinda hard (or trivially easy, depending on how you look at it) when you factor in the definition of "conservative" some people use here (pro-Christianity, pro-Creationism, pro-America).
But even leaving out ALL math and ALL technical arguments... this site gets openly mocked for this statement (among other things), even in other countries. And I'm not just talking about blogs here. Assuming that this site isn't just one of Colbert's jokes, I think that you want it to be taken seriously. To get there, you should react to the repeated criticism. Both to the input from external sources and the editors. Labeling every critic as liberal won't get you far.
However, if your aim is to be taken seriously only by other pro-Christian, creationist conservatives, then leave it in. If that's your goal, you're on the right way. As an additional bonus, you can praise yourself for entertaining more people than you supply with information. --Sid 3050 18:35, 16 March 2007 (EDT)
'By the way, my estimate is obviously based on this definition of liberal bias: the ratio of liberals to conservatives in the population. Absolute zero thereby corresponds to an absence of any liberals in the population.'
So, by your stated definition, a population evenly divided into Liberal and conservative (1:1) has 50% liberal bias. The population of the united states has (2:1) 33.33...% liberal bias. The population of wikipedia has (1:3) 75% liberal bias. Which is roughly 2.25 times as much. Which is what everyone has been arguing to you in this discussion.
Let me guess: liberal math at work in the above paragraph??? Is this the new new new math being taught these days?
2:1 is not "33%". It is 200%. 1:3 is not 75%. It is 33%. 200% divided by 33% is ... 6. Well, whatta ya know!--Aschlafly 22:40, 16 March 2007 (EDT)

While that is true, Aschlafly, that is not how ratios work. 2:1 means 2 parts conservative, 1 part liberal for a total of 1/(1+2)= 33% liberal of the total population. 1:3 is 1 part conservative, 3 parts liberal for a total of 3/(1+3)= 75% liberal of the total population. The "Liberal math" was correct. you obviously don't understand how basic mathematics works. Sorry for being blunt, but if you're going to criticize someone's methods, at least know what your talking about.--Fpresjh 09:44, 20 March 2007 (EDT)

'Heaven can be defined in a similar manner! Ha ha ha.'
I don't feel the need to explain why this comment alone will get you ignored by anyone who doesn't already agree with you - and how offensive it can be to Christians who actually believe in a compassionate, forgiving Lord. I'll just point out that if it really were your purpose to convince people who are undecided, that kind of unnecessary cheap shot defeats your own purpose. Zondergard (Who, in the interest of full disclosure, still considers himself a moderate - which apparently means he has a 50% liberal bias)

I don’t personally know any mathematicians, I was hoping the community of editors here could figure out a way to find one acceptable to both sides. Does anyone have any ideas? Land Dweller 11:15, 17 March 2007 (PDT)

Figured you'd find this interesting

A survey of Wikipedian's poltical perspectives. I did a study awhile back, and it showed that Wikipedia does have a liberal bias.

Feel free to block me or whatever you people do. Looking at the comments above, I assume that is the norm here, but I figured i'd share this since Wikipedia is a serious threat to the honest discourse of information and every little bit against them helps.

P.S- For the sake of disclosure, I am the chairman of the town Democratic committee in Merrimack, New Hampshire. Even if I don't agree with you (which seems likely), I will try my best to listen because civil, open and honest debate and deliberation is necessary for a healthy democracy, something we have been losing as a society. Karmafist 04:37, 16 March 2007 (EDT)

Why would anybody want to block you? For your study into the political perspectives of Wikipedians? If you take a look at your site you see that it contains of results for a selfselected group of about 20 Wikipedians who bother to take the test that you offered. The fact that the test might be respectable, doesn't change much. To turn this into a respectable study you need about 100 times as many respndents, and you need to know some basic hard facts about the 3.8 million wikipedians. Like where they live, how old old they are, their sex, and correlation between thee. Then you have to weigh your results for these demographic factors. Your study has a long way to go. --Order 16 March, 10:10 (AEST)

Karmafist, I'd like to include your survey of Wikipedia bias as a point in the content page, with a link to your work. But first, could you draw some conclusions about the meaning of the numbers? Do they relate to a standard deviation or have other significance?

Increasingly I'm getting interesting in how Wikipedian liberals deny that they're liberals. On this page alone there are numerous comments by Wikipedia defenders, most of whom are likely socially liberal, yet none of them seem willing to admit it. And on Karmafist's page, one Wikipedian notes how Wikipedians are generally "left on economic issues, libertarian on social issues." I chuckled at that artful avoidance of saying "liberal".

Funny, conservatives don't try to conceal their ideology.--Aschlafly 15:32, 16 March 2007 (EDT)

I'd be interested to know where you fall on that scatter-plot, Mr. Schlafly, if you wanted to share. I'm not sure if you're familiar with it or not, but the test is available at politicalcompass.org.
You made a mistake in mathematics, using obscure numbers. And you are unable to see that some of just want to prevent that Conservapedia and its editors look like fools, because they don't know how to do statistics. You don't solve this by calling anybody liberal. Or did you call your math teacher also liberal when he pointed you to a mistake you made. You are just feeding the liberal trolls with this behavior. It has been said over and over again. Your list on bias is better and stronger without this point.
But as I said at another place, I do understand why you have to stick to this claim about the six times more liberal because ti became kind of the slogan of this site. Even in the NPR interview your very first point was "Wikipedia has a liberal bias that is about six times greater than the level of liberal bias in the American public, according to studies that we've done." Now that you made this claim prominently on National radio you probably feel like you cannot withdraw it anymore.-- Order 17 March 2007, 12:45 (AEST)
Quote-mining, much?
The sample is self-selected, and Karmafist identifies himself as a Democrat and has occasionally clashed with Wikipedia authority. So my guess is that the general Wikipedia contributor population isn't quite as skewed as the graph suggests. But if there's any skew in the general Wiki population, it probably lies in this direction: left on economic issues, libertarian on social issues.
Funny how you magically leave out all the parts about "probably", "isn't quite as skewed" and so on. But whatever. You like numbers when they say what you want. I can't wait to see how you phrase this on the Bias page, it should be highly entertaining :) --Sid 3050 15:46, 16 March 2007 (EDT)
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