April 18, 2009

Wikipedia Fail - Overcoming Flagrant Bias

Since the release two weeks ago of a research paper revealing the presence of unspent thermitic material in four samples of dust collected from the collapse of the twin towers, a few of the public editors over at Wikipedia have been setting aside any objectivity they were attempting to maintain and have been very actively preventing the paper from being referenced in any way.

Cheers to Victronix for having been the movement's primary line of defense against Wikipedia editors who abuse the editing guidelines by allowing their partisan bias to directly dictate how they alter articles related to 9/11 truth. She's now been blocked from editing over this concern. You can find her thread covering this topic over on the TruthAction forum.

In summary, every time someone tries to post a link to the paper on the controlled demolition page, someone else deletes it. And the level of bias is clearly apparent when you look at the Wikipedia discussion area and see how these people are justifying their behavior. We find some real pearls of wisdom such as the following.

"There is no "hypothesis" that controlled demolition brought down the WTC. There are "conspiracy theories" that this occurred, but thats all."

This comment was made by someone recommending that the page on controlled demolition be renamed from "Controlled demolition hypothesis for the collapse of the World Trade Center" to "World Trade Center controlled demolition conspiracy theories."

This behavior is totally infuriating to those of us in the movement who struggle against mainstream denial and derision of even our most responsible skepticism toward the official account. The fact that people in positions that require a certain degree of objectivity such as scientists or journalists would not only violate that objectivity, but do so in a manner that suggests total disrespect for the logic of anyone holding the opposing view, is really surprising at times but always disappointing.

The anger and frustration we feel about that can be really draining. So it's important for us to figure out how not to let these people and their actions drag us down. Here are a couple of recommendations about things we can do to deal with this situation in a healthy way.

1) Contact the person and communicate nothing to them other than a list of facts and their sources. People with a heavy bias may not care about how they make you feel. Avoid any mention of your own assumptions or beliefs. Just hit them with facts they can't easily refute. Cognitive dissonance is a strong tactic to use against people who aren't easy to reach or reason with.

2) Contact the person and ask them a question. Insulting people gets you no where. Gathering information about these people helps the movement and makes you feel like you have the upper hand. Don't necessarily let them know you are a truther. Be friendly and calm and ask them to explain their reasoning in more detail. Get them to more explicitly reveal the basis and extent of their bias.

3) Whether you understand the root of their bias or not, keep in mind that people acting irrationally make themselves look bad. Certainly don't act irrationally in retaliation. Write down the most flagrant examples of their bias and share them with others. Spread the word that this person has undermined their own credibility. If you post this kind of thing to discussion forums, using their name in the title of your posts, it's possible with enough views that your posts will show up in the web search results for that person.

Ultimately, keep in mind that the social behavior you value such as honesty, logical reasoning, and sincere debate, are very important and that your frustration demonstrates a significant strength. Don't ever let irrational behavior allow you to question the importance of your values. It will certainly be frustrating. But know that people acting in such a self-contradictory manner understand somewhere deep down inside themselves that they aren't being honest.

(New usage of the word fail)


Victronix said...

Thanks for covering this. I really think the whole wikipedia model is purposeful in terms of controlling the information -- literally you have to learn a new language to have any real say in the effort, and navigate a byzantine world of administrative policies that put the DoD to shame. That's by design -- it keeps normal average people away and allows the few to control the many. We can't see the IP addresses of the "administrators" but they can see ours, and then use that to block anything they want kept out. Several administrators could also easily be the same person. The whole model of wikipedia reeks of the CIA, inside and out.

I appreciate that you are giving concrete steps to engage without bias.

Anonymous said...

The main objections used by a small group of admins at who actively watch the 9-11 issue are

!) reliable sources - WP:RS
2) sockpuppet - meatpuppet attacks to "disrupt" page editing.

Some of the opposition comes from a fear that the 'truth' movement is anti-semetic. I know at least 3 of the opponents are of semetic origin, which might account for their non-rational response to the science of 9-11, they fear that 'truthers' promulgate the same kind of anti-Semitism promulgated by Hitler after WW 1 in Mein Kampf.

Their actions in-fact serve to further convince anti-semitic dealers in hate that wikipedia
is a zionist operation.

Anonymous said...

I think at least two of the editor/admins blocking a Scientific paper are doing so because they think all 'truthers' are anti-semites and that the 9-11 conspiracy is similar to the forged elders of zion plot used by Hitler among others to promote hatred of people of the Jewish faith.
They believe it because of articles like this one..

9-11 anti semites covered here


From a wikipedia admins discussion

How I really feel about Conspiracy Theories

Millions of lives do depend on this. As a result of Conspiracy Theories, a wave of violent Anti-Semitism has risen in the Middle East.
Throughout much of the world, Conspiracy Theories are being used to justify anti-Americanism. (not all of it is undeserved, but it shouldn't be further fueled by mere speculation.)
Conspiracism doesn't help solve any of the world's problems, it's only used to "dumb-down" the issues. Remember, all the world's problems can easily be blamed on who you personally don't like: The Jews, The Right Wingers, The Left Wingers. No sense in actually trying to understand the issue.
You happen to not like the Bush administration? Well rather than address the real things that they have really done wrong, go accuse them of being part of "a conspiracy." Don't attack them for what they have done, attack them for what they "could potentially have done." Yah, that will really help your case.
If you want to see an example of how much damage an unfounded Conspiracy Theory can do, check out the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It is a well known hoax that was used to justify the Holocaust.
So no, I don't think Conspiracy Theories are that much of a joking matter.--DCAnderson 00:20, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

Not the first time at wikipedia from April 2008 same name

These admins are acting in this non rational way because of the fear of a new holocaust. To them 9-11 truth is threatening.

Victronix said...

The claim about sockpuppets is irrational -- when you block people immediately for posting on the topic they focus on, they don't just sit there and not post ever on that topic, or only post things that no administrator and defender of the official story will agree with. So, they will make a sockpuppet to force the topic onto the pages, then the admins can use that as a way to ban someone completely. Editors defending the official story are never blocked or banned unless they openly attack someone personally, but their removal of anything not the official story is never considered "spam" or "vandalism". It all comes down to viewpoint -- official story good, all else, bad.

I noticed that one editor, Quest for Knowledge, was only created in January, yet appeared with full knowledge of all the labyrinth of administrator actions. The opinions of Quest for Knowledge, despite being less than 6 months old, were considered more relevant than editors that had been on wikipedia for 5 years, just because he defends the official story. So the 4 month old editor can ban the 5 year old editor for posting the paper at all, a paper by a journal that is already all over wikipedia.

no_body said...

The use of reliable sources is also dubious e.g. a link to 911myths is a apparently a reliable source and allowed in the article, but any link to a 'truther' site is not a reliable source! They also see the BBC and the Murdoch media empire as reliable sources - which I think most on this side of the debate would dispute.

That's what we're up against - complete bias and POV editing justified because NIST have written a "10,000" page report or because Bazant has written a paper, which somehow equates to "the scientific" community and the assumption that because there is a deathly silence from the majority of engineers that they concur with the OCT.

They don't seem to be able to see their hypocracy. To me censoring a peer reviewed Scientific paper like they are doing is very similar to what Galileo faced when he published his observations, so its shame on them.

Anonymous said...

Wow that quote posted by anonymous from -DCAnderson 00:20, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

Look at that second sentence...

" As a result of Conspiracy Theories, a wave of violent Anti-Semitism has risen in the Middle East."

Look at the cognitive dissonance between this statement and the point he's trying to make. So its not the actions of the Israeli state or the inaction of the US EU GB UN that cause the angry reactions in the ME its the spread of CT, talk about dumbing down the Israel/Palestine conflict.

DCAnderson it seems has not been around WP since 2007 maybe his Cog Diss eventually got the better of [him] and [he] burnt out.