Posted by: GoRight | February 12, 2010

A good summary of the climate change problem on Wikipedia.

Anyone with a critical eye and an ounce of intellectual honesty will recognize the bias that is inherent in the climate change articles on Wikipedia.  Occasionally experienced Wikipedians who have contributed to other parts of the project wade into the climate change articles and run into the experience of trying to write a balanced article in that space.  This is often an eye opening experience for them.  I recently ran across a comment from an editor called ChildofMidnight who is an editor of some repute (although there are probably plenty who might prepend an ill- onto that repute) who has run into the problem first hand.  He sums the situation up like this:

I like 2over0. But I’m disappointed in the role he’s played in contributing to the frustrations and ill will in the AGW related articles. It seems clear that he wants to play enforcer against editors whose views he considers fringe. But what’s fringey is some of our article content that is so ridiculously slanted. “Climatic Research Unit hacking incident”? Really? I mean seriously? Come on! That’s a joke of a title. And we have an article on Global warming that doesn’t provide any background on what global warming is or why it occurs, what the long term record shows, at what rates it’s occured in the past, or why this episode is considered different. How can you have an article on the subject of global warming without addressing those issues? It’s an out of context argument, not an encyclopedic article. At the very least it should be disambiguated.

As far as these litmus tests evaluating who believes what, I think they are nonsense. Intelligent people choose among the evidence, arguments and ideas, and want to see them reflected as accurately and appropriately as possible. Is all the global warming advocacy good? Is all the opposition on a firm foundation? Of course not. That’s why we need to represent the science, the issues, the background, and the controversies. That’s what the core Neutral Point of View policy is all about, not choosing winners and losers in political disputes. I would call it a scientific dispute, but the science is getting short shrift here and there just isn’t much of it in the articles. It’s mostly spin and point scoring, which is a pity and damaging the purpose and mission of an encyclopedia. It also undermines the cause of educating people and addressing environmental degradation so we can all help preserve a healthy and habitable planet. Cheerios! ChildofMidnight (talk) 18:15, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

I thought that this was a good summary of the overall problem from an insider’s perspective that outsider’s might find mildly interesting.

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Responses

  1. Hello GoRight,

    I have been watching the goings-on at Wikipedia climate science pages for a few months now, and it is clear to me the Wikipedia system is broken. The article on Global warming is a miscarriage of journalism that simply ignores the peer-reviewed literature documenting non-anthropogenic forcings. I looked over there just now and the usual suspects are currently twisting themselves into logical knots insisting that Dr. Jones didn’t really mean all that stuff he said a few days ago, and Criticism of the IPCC AR4 is just as bad. Everywhere I look I see examples of the closed-mindedness of the pro-AGW editors, not to mention outright wiki-warfare on skeptical editors.

    Clearly there are systematic defects in the way Wikipedia does business, and I believe you could provide some keen insights in that respect. We’re building an alternative to Wikipedia for climate science to give the public access to the information that has been excluded from Wikipedia. We would be pleased to hear your thoughts on the defects in the current Wikipedia system and how those problems might best be remedied. You can respond here or, better yet, create an account for yourself and start contributing to the discussions and/or the content. It is still in a very early state, and we could certainly use the input of level-headed people such as yourself.

    Thank you very much for your time,
    Rich (talk|contribs) 14:20, 19 February 2010


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