Can the WIKI be trusted?
These days with so much fraud being reported via the Internet, consumers need to become even more skeptical of information sources than they have always been. Despite the fact that the Enquirer and the New York Times may share equal billing, the content can be extremely unreliable, even deceptive in one while it is (usually) carefully researched in the other. These days consumers are forced to enter the world of electronic information wearing sturdy hip boots preparing them to plow through the maze of manure in order to find the pearls they seek.
The Wikipedia bills itself as "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit" and as a storehouse of knowledge. Equal to or even greater than the old World Book encyclopedia that we have all known and trusted, if not the Encyclopedia Britannica...BUT...is that truly what it represents or is it just a cesspool for despicable gossip similar to what one would expect to see in a cheap tabloid?
Jimbo Wales, the founder, has been running his fundraising campaign begging for funds. Already through January 10th 2006 he has raised nearly $200,000 (for the month of January alone!).
Yet what will these funds be used for? Providing for Wikipedia's growth, for settling slander suits brought against Wikipedia or for more promotion in order to enable this group to deceive more innocent consumers?
As Jareth has clearly stated on the Shiloh Shepherd Talk page, "As you can see -- we are not here in a quest for truth." In other words, the Wikipedia is not interested in TRUTH, just in TRASH!
Jareth kept quoting that "Wikipedia should only publish material that is verifiable and is not original research." That's why the information published on our Learning Center Site Map was unacceptable, nevertheless, she did accept small private owner breeder/registry sites as proof of their credibility.
Checks and Balances?
The Wikipedia clearly states "The goal of Wikipedia is to become a complete and reliable encyclopedia, so editors should cite credible sources so that their edits can be verified by readers and other editors."
Yet, in the case of the Shiloh Shepherd, private websites that clearly sell GSD mixes that have a low market value as "Shilohs" in order to mislead the public are being supported by a small group of "editors" that either attack anyone challenging their right to gain equal billing with the ISSR, or just ban the honest, intelligent posters completely!
What about the Wikipedia's Three Content Policies?
1. No original research
Original research that creates primary sources is not allowed.
...Wikipedia articles include material on the basis of verifiability, not truth. That is , we report what other reliable secondary sources have published, whether or not we regard the material as accurate."
However, editors are to exclude "self-published" material, unless it can be verified by a "third-party reputable publication (that is not self-published) that is available to readers either from a website (other than Wikipedia) or through a public library...In some cases, there may be controversy or debate over what constitutes a legitimate or reputable authority or source. Where no agreement can be reached about this, the article should provide an account of the controversy and of the different authorities or sources. Such an account also helps ensure the article's neutral point of view."
Let's see what Wikipedia considers to be a reputable publication!
"Reputable publications include peer-reviewed journals, books published by a known academic publishing house or university press, and divisions of a general publisher which have a good reputation for scholarly publications.
For non-academic subjects, it is impossible to pin down a clear definition of "reputable". In general, most of us have a good intuition about the meaning of the word. A magazine or press released self-published by a very extreme political or religious group would not be regarded as "reputable". For example, Wikipedia would not rely only on an article in the Socialist Workers' Party magazine, The Militant, to publish a statement about President Bush being gay. However, if that same claim was in the New York Times, then Wikipedia could refer to the article (and to the sources quoted in the article). The political magazine could, however, be used as a source of information about the party itself."
On that note, I would assume that the Wikipedia is free to write articles about the "new" "self-proclaimed" registries that are fighting so hard for some crumb of credibility, but there is still no excuse for including them in the history section of the Shiloh Shepherd Dog article except in the case of an external link only in order to allow the reader a broader view of the unusual politics and controversies involved with these dogs.
3. Neutral Point of View
The Wikipedia claims that it takes a NPOV on all subjects. Facts should not be considered!
"In such cases, no single position, no matter how well researched, is authoritative."
In other words, it is okay for them to reject all of the information that has been presented via our websites, be it registry data on litters born within the ISSR, copies of newsletters from the SSDCA and those starting another club, or articles written by me over the years since the '70's, and classifies everything I have presented about the dogs I have been breeding over the past 4 decades as just "my POV" while anything presented by those that want to mislead the general public into spending thousands of dollars for unregulated GSD mixes should be accepted as good NPOV.
Hello, what's wrong with this picture?
As per a mailing list post made by Jimbo Wales, "If a viewpoint is held by an extremely small (or vastly limited) minority, it doesn't belong in Wikipedia (except perhaps in some ancillary article) regardless of whether it's true or not; and regardless of whether you can prove it or not. "
Yet, obviously many of the editors only bother reading the parts that fit "their" way of thinking Just look at the way Jareth has been handling the Shiloh Talk discussion!
All quotes unless otherwise noted are from the Wikipedia policy document "No Original Research". Please view the entire policy statement on the Wikipedia website.
March 2007 Update
Originally written January 2006