The Power of the Wikipedia Editor

I have been highly critical of Wikipedia in the past for the penchant of some self-styled Guardians of what should be allowed in Wikipedia deleting content. But since most of the time, those were issues regarding who was or not a web celebrity they didn’t matter too much in the greater scheme of things. But the potential for abuse was still there.

Take, for example, the Wikipedia entry for Naomi Oreskes. Read this version and this later one. Notice the differences. Then read the revision history. So, why the controversy?

Tabletop, it turns out, has another name: Kim Dabelstein Petersen. She (or he?) is an editor at Wikipedia. What does she edit? Reams and reams of global warming pages. I started checking them. In every instance I checked, she defended those warning of catastrophe and deprecated those who believe the science is not settled. I investigated further. Others had tried to correct her interpretations and had the same experience as I — no sooner did they make their corrections than she pounced, preventing Wikipedia readers from reading anyone’s views but her own. When they protested plaintively, she wore them down and snuffed them out. By patrolling Wikipedia pages and ensuring that her spin reigns supreme over all climate change pages, she has made of Wikipedia a propaganda vehicle for global warming alarmists. But unlike government propaganda, its source is not self-evident. We don’t suspend belief when we read Wikipedia, as we do when we read literature from an organization with an agenda, because Wikipedia benefits from the Internet’s cachet of making information free and democratic. This Big Brother enforces its views with a mouse. – Lawrence Solomon

In this case, it doesn’t even matter to me who is wrong or right. What is way more disturbing is the denial that there is any controversy and the systematic manipulation to suppress any mention of it. As long as Wikipedia is subject to the whim of the individual editors who are willing to not only delete things they disagree with but lock out furthering editing to ensure they retain control, Wikipedia will remain nothing more than a group wiki for a tightly-constrained oligarchy.