Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wikipedia and the Holocaust

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“Born” decades after the end of the Holocaust, Wikipedia knows all about the Holocaust, including quite a bit of stuff that is either impossible or highly speculative, just like a lot of other people that young and older, too. The English-language Wikipedia has over one million articles, and in them, there are over ten thousand pointers to the over 700 categories and sub-categories concerned with “The Holocaust” (yes, I counted them, and yes, this is much less than six million).

In the aggregate, Wikipedia is “crowd wisdom,” in this case of a crowd most of whose members received extensive indoctrination in the mythology of the Holocaust in both their educations and from the popular culture. Vis á vis the world’s English-speaking population, the subgroup of contributors to Wikipedia’s content, of which I am one, contains overrepresentations of two groups: (a) younger, better-educated, computer-literate folks; and (b) members of groups considered to be victims of the Holocaust. Groups from which most Holocaust revisionists come are correspondingly underrepresented.

Wikipedia is justly famous as “the encyclopedia anyone can edit,” and I can attest to this attribute, as I have contributed two or three articles and edited several dozen other ones, including articles concerning the Holocaust. But the notion that “anyone can edit it” is seriously misleading, on two scores. The lesser factor is the ability “wall” that composition and entry of material places before less-experienced and –dedicated computists. Wikipedia has, in effect, an editing “language” which must be to at least some extent mastered to do anything more than cross a tee or dot an eye. I have devoted many hours to its mastery, and remain able only to enter the most-rudimentary embellishments on straight text such as a table or a footnote. It is far more-challenging than making this blog entry.

The other, far more-serious threat to the survival of anything you might enter into Wikipedia is Wikipedia “standards,” which I heartily approve in principle, that are enforced by an army of “Administrators” who constantly patrol new entries and “correct” (usually expunge) those that don’t meet their ideas of the standards. Among the standards are ones concerning “original research” and “verifiability.” Original research means you can’t enter stuff that isn’t published somewhere else, by someone else, including, fortunately, the Web. Verifiability comes to mean something pernicious on controversial points as to which competing points of view are published. It means, all too often, that whichever of the two points of view that is more supported by establishment authorities is favored, and the one(s) opposing it, either suppressed or given short shrift.

A sterling example of this is to be found in the (main) article on “The Holocaust,” as well as in “Holocaust Denial.” One of dozens of related articles, “Criticism of Holocaust Denial” contains, under the heading “Jewish Population,” (the first) three paragraphs whose import runs diametrically counter to the bias of most of the Administrators as I have experienced it. I am the proud author of these paragraphs, assuming they’re still there, which supplant an earlier version that my version both replaces and refers to. A(n un)suitably disposed Administrator may indeed have noted its thrust but left it intact because it is totally (and easily) verifiable—there are responsible Administrators, including some quite devoted to the mythology of the Holocaust. More likely, it hasn’t been discovered yet, at least by an irresponsible Administrator.

I’ve lost Wikipedia battles, too, including right there in the “Criticism” article. There is a heading, “Denial as Anti-Semitism” that I had the effrontery to change to “Anti-Semitism as a Motive for Denial.” I didn’t change anything in the section—just the heading. An Administrator whipped that baby right back where it came from (and as you see it now), noting that “informed opinion” establishes incontrovertibly that denialism is anti-Semitism.

Of course, having ready recourse to the counsel of my own sentiments, I know that statement can be totally untrue.

But Wikipedia doesn’t allow “original research.” Check it out, and contribute your own—that is, somebody else’s—wisdom.


  1. We have a few college students online from college of Bradley University and we love your blog postings, so well add your rss or news feed for them, Thanks and please post us and leave a comment back and well link to you. Thanks Jen , Blog Manager Bradley University.

  2. I fully agree with you Bradley. While Wikipedia stands its guns severely and unrealistically to those who bring correctness to the holocaust myth, Wikipedia contradictorily just ignore its principles when the proponents of the holocaust clutter the site with nonsense texts -Wikipedia is just disgusting.
    I have told students to just ignore Wikipedia when the research has to do with human science, it is a misleading source.