Alleged Liberal Bias

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Alleged Liberal Bias

Fred Bauder-2
Is there anything on this list:

http://www.conservapedia.com/Examples_of_Bias_in_Wikipedia

which is a legitimate complaint that we can do something about?

I was led there by a link from this post:

http://www.redstate.com/docquintana/2010/10/11/fighting-liberal-bias-on-wikipedia/

Which complains bitterly.

Fred Bauder


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Re: Alleged Liberal Bias

David Gerard-2
On 13 October 2010 14:45, Fred Bauder <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Is there anything on this list:
> http://www.conservapedia.com/Examples_of_Bias_in_Wikipedia
> which is a legitimate complaint that we can do something about?


Every word. Then, when we've gone through that list, we can fix our
articles on the physical sciences:

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Conservapedia:Conservapedian_relativity


- d.

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Re: Alleged Liberal Bias

Nathan Awrich
Seriously, Fred...

He cites WIKIPEDIA:NOT#DEMOCRACY and the use of "American football"
instead of just "football" as examples of liberal bias. Not much
substance to this "bitter complaint" in my humble opinion.

Nathan

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Re: Alleged Liberal Bias

Fred Bauder-2
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
> On 13 October 2010 14:45, Fred Bauder <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Is there anything on this list:
>> http://www.conservapedia.com/Examples_of_Bias_in_Wikipedia
>> which is a legitimate complaint that we can do something about?
>
>
> Every word. Then, when we've gone through that list, we can fix our
> articles on the physical sciences:
>
> http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Conservapedia:Conservapedian_relativity
>
> - d.
>

Not fair...

But is it clear God made the Earth? Seriously, do our articles
"Creationism", "Creation myth", "Ex nihilo" and "Genesis creation
narrative" adequately and appropriately deal with the matter?

I'm a little skeptical about "Ex nihilo", too many big words, well not
too many or too big, but a bit obscure.

Keep your eye on the ball d., the question is the adequacy and
appropriateness of our articles and behavior. What they do is another
matter. We do not list "Consider the source" among our logical fallacies,
but perhaps we should.

Fred Bauder



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Re: Alleged Liberal Bias

Charles Matthews
In reply to this post by Fred Bauder-2
  On 13/10/2010 14:45, Fred Bauder wrote:
 > Is there anything on this list:
 >
 > http://www.conservapedia.com/Examples_of_Bias_in_Wikipedia
 >
 > which is a legitimate complaint that we can do something about?

I don't know. One of them (#67) may be about you, but it's kind of hard
to tell whether it is, and whether we can edit you to improve matters.
#167 is the allegation that "we" fail to understand what the Tea Party
guys are all about. AFAIK we don't claim to understand anything much,
just to compile articles from sources. What might be worth doing is to
sort these into types of complaint, as a preliminary. The link

http://www.redstate.com/docquintana/2010/10/11/fighting-liberal-bias-on-wikipedia/

is of course comical rather than anything to take seriously. Where the
Conservapedia criticisms are adjacent to the stuff about "soccer loving
socialists" imposing the view of 95% of the world of the default meaning
of "football", I think we can scoff, and the writer of that piece has
clearly not figured out the traditional uses of encyclopedias either.

Charles




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Re: Alleged Liberal Bias

MuZemike
In reply to this post by Fred Bauder-2
So we got Conservapedia and some other conservative website accusing
Wikipedia of having a liberal bias. What else is new, or what else are
we to expect?

-MuZemike

On 10/13/2010 8:45 AM, Fred Bauder wrote:

> Is there anything on this list:
>
> http://www.conservapedia.com/Examples_of_Bias_in_Wikipedia
>
> which is a legitimate complaint that we can do something about?
>
> I was led there by a link from this post:
>
> http://www.redstate.com/docquintana/2010/10/11/fighting-liberal-bias-on-wikipedia/
>
> Which complains bitterly.
>
> Fred Bauder
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l


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Re: Alleged Liberal Bias

Nathan Awrich
In reply to this post by Fred Bauder-2
I had no idea that theories about gravity and relativity were the
result of a liberal conspiracy, but quite a few of those "Examples of
liberal bias" discuss Wikipedia's failure to promote criticism of both
principles.

Nathan

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Re: Alleged Liberal Bias

Fred Bauder-2
In reply to this post by MuZemike
> So we got Conservapedia and some other conservative website accusing
> Wikipedia of having a liberal bias. What else is new, or what else are
> we to expect?
>
> -MuZemike

Well, is there anything at all to it, or is it just bull?

Fred


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Re: Alleged Liberal Bias

William Beutler
Conservapedia isn't even a reliable guide to what most U.S. conservatives
think of Wikipedia; despite the broad name, the site is actually run by Young
Earth creationists <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young_Earth_creationism>,
which is why it's so outlandish.

So, put me down for bull. Pardon the apparent self-promotion, but I wrote
about this last
year<http://thewikipedian.net/2009/11/14/examples-of-bias-in-conservapedias-examples-of-bias-in-wikipedia/#comments>on
my blog (David commented, so that makes it better, maybe) and my chief
takeaway was that some complaints were in fact answered over time, although
one imagines not due to their influence, as no one there ever bothered to
take credit for the changes.

What I'd set out to do in the first place was catalogue their complaints,
but it was all too much. If they were at all serious, they'd write something
more concise. It's just a list of gripes, and not so much with Wikipedia,
but with modernity.

On Wed, Oct 13, 2010 at 11:02 AM, Fred Bauder <[hidden email]>wrote:

> > So we got Conservapedia and some other conservative website accusing
> > Wikipedia of having a liberal bias. What else is new, or what else are
> > we to expect?
> >
> > -MuZemike
>
> Well, is there anything at all to it, or is it just bull?
>
> Fred
>
>
> _______________________________________________
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Re: Alleged Liberal Bias

Fred Bauder-2
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
>   On 13/10/2010 14:45, Fred Bauder wrote:
>  > Is there anything on this list:
>  >
>  > http://www.conservapedia.com/Examples_of_Bias_in_Wikipedia
>  >
>  > which is a legitimate complaint that we can do something about?
>
> I don't know. One of them (#67) may be about you, but it's kind of hard
> to tell whether it is, and whether we can edit you to improve matters.

> Charles
>

Yes, 67 is a more or less accurate treatment of my reaction to Michael
Moore's shennanigans, but the question is about problems we can do
something about. Policies are like spider webs, they catch flies, but
hawks fly through. There is little we can do to control the behavior of
people who are wildly popular. Nobody can control Glen Beck either.

I didn't actually go down the list, so I didn't see that or want to draw
attention to it specifically.

Fred


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Re: Alleged Liberal Bias

Charles Matthews
In reply to this post by Fred Bauder-2
  On 13/10/2010 16:02, Fred Bauder wrote:
>> So we got Conservapedia and some other conservative website accusing
>> Wikipedia of having a liberal bias. What else is new, or what else are
>> we to expect?
>>
>> -MuZemike
> Well, is there anything at all to it, or is it just bull?
>
Of course they can point out deficiencies in Wikipedia articles. Those
exist. The question is whether they can prove the case for either of (a)
conscious slanting or (b) systemic bias, away from neutral treatment. We
should not care if anyone dislikes a WP article because it is neutral:
we should care if a serious deviation from neutrality can be shown.
Naturally Conservapedia is selective in its interests, and probably the
list is as revealing about its selectivity as about anything else. By
putting the focus on a subset of articles it might be possible to
demonstrate selective bias in an area in Wikipedia: I don't suppose
anyone seriously thinks we have no systemic bias of any kind. Which is
why my response was in terms of sorting. It is more perhaps of looking
for signal in a load of "noise". We know that criticisms of
disproportion in coverage, for example, are always with us.

I didn't feel much illuminated.

Charles



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Re: Alleged Liberal Bias

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Fred Bauder-2
On 13 October 2010 15:19, Fred Bauder <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> On 13 October 2010 14:45, Fred Bauder <[hidden email]> wrote:

>>> Is there anything on this list:
>>> http://www.conservapedia.com/Examples_of_Bias_in_Wikipedia
>>> which is a legitimate complaint that we can do something about?

>> Every word. Then, when we've gone through that list, we can fix our
>> articles on the physical sciences:
>> http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Conservapedia:Conservapedian_relativity

> Not fair...


Entirely fair. They're gibbering lunatics whose every word subtracts
from the sum of human knowledge. If Conservapedia says the sky is
blue, look out the window. If docquintana on redstate says
Conservapedia's opinion on anything whatsoever is good for *anything*
other than horrified laughter, then he's approximately as worth
listening to.

Remember: Conservapedia considers *claiming the existence of black
holes* is evidence of liberal bias.

http://www.conservapedia.com/index.php?title=Talk:Black_hole&diff=prev&oldid=719675

"There's a broader point here.  Why the big push for black holes by
liberals, and big protests against any objection to them?  If it
turned out empirically that promoting black holes tends to cause
people to read the Bible less, would you still push this so much?
Certainly there is no practical justification to pushing black holes;
no one will ever be helped by them in any way."


- d.

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Re: Alleged Liberal Bias

Steven Walling
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
Even if Conservapedia are raving lunatics (and I agree with David on that),
paying careful attention to our critics is a useful exercise. If you're
really interested Fred, make a list of smart people and try to pry specific,
constructive pieces of criticism out of them.

We all know we're not yet meeting our own standards though. There's plenty
of work to on the neutrality front without wondering about how fringe groups
like Conservapedia view our neutrality. The silent majority of readers
already appreciate what we're shooting for with NPOV.

</twocents>

Steven Walling

On Wed, Oct 13, 2010 at 8:29 AM, Charles Matthews <
[hidden email]> wrote:

>  On 13/10/2010 16:02, Fred Bauder wrote:
> >> So we got Conservapedia and some other conservative website accusing
> >> Wikipedia of having a liberal bias. What else is new, or what else are
> >> we to expect?
> >>
> >> -MuZemike
> > Well, is there anything at all to it, or is it just bull?
> >
> Of course they can point out deficiencies in Wikipedia articles. Those
> exist. The question is whether they can prove the case for either of (a)
> conscious slanting or (b) systemic bias, away from neutral treatment. We
> should not care if anyone dislikes a WP article because it is neutral:
> we should care if a serious deviation from neutrality can be shown.
> Naturally Conservapedia is selective in its interests, and probably the
> list is as revealing about its selectivity as about anything else. By
> putting the focus on a subset of articles it might be possible to
> demonstrate selective bias in an area in Wikipedia: I don't suppose
> anyone seriously thinks we have no systemic bias of any kind. Which is
> why my response was in terms of sorting. It is more perhaps of looking
> for signal in a load of "noise". We know that criticisms of
> disproportion in coverage, for example, are always with us.
>
> I didn't feel much illuminated.
>
> Charles
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
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Re: Alleged Liberal Bias

George William Herbert
In reply to this post by Fred Bauder-2
On Wed, Oct 13, 2010 at 8:02 AM, Fred Bauder <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> So we got Conservapedia and some other conservative website accusing
>> Wikipedia of having a liberal bias. What else is new, or what else are
>> we to expect?
>>
>> -MuZemike
>
> Well, is there anything at all to it, or is it just bull?
>
> Fred

Responding on some technical points;

10 (relativity/PBR) - no substance
12 (Pioneer Anomaly) - numerically understanding and articulating the
various factors and their estimated errors is critical to coherently
understanding this phenomena.  WP article is decent (in part because
an involved scientist is a contributor) - CP seems not to get it.
[disclaimer - COI, slightly involved]
14 (engineering - wind turbines) - no substance
16 (relativity contradictions) - no substance
39 (cold fusion) - may have a point here, but we know about this one...
40 (strategic defense initiative) - no substance [disclaimer - COI,
but pro-SDI-ish COI]
45 (gun politics in the US) - no substance [disclaimer - pro-gun COI]
76 (wikipedia promoting suicide) - no substance
95 (operation eagle claw / iran hostage / carter election) - editorial
choice to put political consequences in main article on hostage
crisis, not in the article on the rescue itself; main article has
coverage in lede for the issue.
97 (editor liberal bias) - probably true but omits age based
statistical trend (younger / more liberal) - WP generally consistent
with active internet user community.
107 (edward teller / oppenheimer security clearance testimony) - WP
article is consistent with biographies and histories of the event,
perhaps more Teller-leaning nuanced than the average historical
coverage
119 (elementary proof) - doesn't appear to have been in WP until the
mathematics project got going 2007ish, from reviewing its article and
the main mathematical proof article.  i don't consider this a valid
criticism, however; WP's growth and evolution are strength (and future
challenge) not flaw.
141 (communism mass killings) - main communism article section
"Criticisms of communism" at the bottom of page has links to "Mass
killings under communist regimes" prominently, so it's there now.  500
edits ago it was mentioned in the criticisms section but not linked
directly off the main article.

I'm going to stop there, with a general observation - I think they're
right on one big picture thing: Wikipedia has an editorial bias - our
"default neutrality" is that of a moderately internationalist,
left-of-US-center somewhat more intellectual than average and more
young internet user than average position, compared to the US
political landscape as a whole.  I.e., our userbase (editors) is
skewed younger and more liberally, with the Internet early adopters
general population statistics.

I am concerned not so much with the specifics they are pointing out,
but at a general trend that we may include more negatives about
conservative positions and people than about liberal positions and
people, which would be worth some statistical analysis.  Ancedotal
examples, especially those cited by someone so far off on the right
end of the spectrum as young-earth creationists, aren't particularly
useful for identifying the pattern.


--
-george william herbert
[hidden email]

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Re: Alleged Liberal Bias

Ryan Delaney
On Wed, Oct 13, 2010 at 09:36, George Herbert <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> I'm going to stop there, with a general observation - I think they're
> right on one big picture thing: Wikipedia has an editorial bias - our
> "default neutrality" is that of a moderately internationalist,
> left-of-US-center somewhat more intellectual than average and more
> young internet user than average position, compared to the US
> political landscape as a whole.  I.e., our userbase (editors) is
> skewed younger and more liberally, with the Internet early adopters
> general population statistics.
>
> I am concerned not so much with the specifics they are pointing out,
> but at a general trend that we may include more negatives about
> conservative positions and people than about liberal positions and
> people, which would be worth some statistical analysis.  Ancedotal
> examples, especially those cited by someone so far off on the right
> end of the spectrum as young-earth creationists, aren't particularly
> useful for identifying the pattern.
>
>
> --
> -george william herbert
> [hidden email]
>

I don't get this objection, really - that is, if I'm reading you
right, that you should be concerned that your articles include fewer
"negatives about conservative positions". Your goal ought to be to
represent facts, not to strike a balance between highly politicized
narratives that are woven to serve the interests of political
movements rather than accumulate knowledge.

The generally 'moderately left of center' perspective of most
Wikipedia articles reflects the same bias present in US media sources;
and some people{{weasel}} (me) would consider that to be quite an
extreme conservative perspective, eg in articles on Islamic terrorism,
well to the right of most people in the country (and the facts, for
that matter).

The great thing about an encyclopedia is supposed to be that compiling
the facts cuts through these preconceived notions, but when your
sources are already themselves biased, it may be time to look in the
mirror a bit.

- causa sui

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Re: Alleged Liberal Bias

Ken Arromdee
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
On Wed, 13 Oct 2010, Charles Matthews wrote:
> #167 is the allegation that "we" fail to understand what the Tea Party
> guys are all about. AFAIK we don't claim to understand anything much,
> just to compile articles from sources.

I think that as a serious response, this is disingenuous.  People don't
write with 100% precision, and they certainly don't use Wikipedia terminology.
It may be literally true that we don't claim to understand anything, but that
doesn't make the complaint invalid.  It just means that you need to apply a
bit more intelligence to understanding the complaint beyond literally parsing
the words.  (And there's *far* too much literalness among Wikipedia policy
wonks).

I would guess that a complaint that we don't understand something is a claim
of undue weight and unreliable sources.  Almost any claim about the Tea Party
has been made by someone; whether it has been made by someone who we ought to
pay attention to is another story.

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Re: Alleged Liberal Bias

Ian Woollard
In reply to this post by George William Herbert
On 13/10/2010, George Herbert <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I am concerned not so much with the specifics they are pointing out,
> but at a general trend that we may include more negatives about
> conservative positions and people than about liberal positions and
> people, which would be worth some statistical analysis.

The problem is that a good encyclopedia, such as the Wikipedia, tries
to reflect reality and truth.

But reality and truth... have a well known liberal bias.

> --
> -george william herbert
> [hidden email]

--
-Ian Woollard

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Re: Alleged Liberal Bias

Fred Bauder-2
In reply to this post by Ken Arromdee
> On Wed, 13 Oct 2010, Charles Matthews wrote:
>> #167 is the allegation that "we" fail to understand what the Tea Party
>> guys are all about. AFAIK we don't claim to understand anything much,
>> just to compile articles from sources.
>
> I think that as a serious response, this is disingenuous.  People don't
> write with 100% precision, and they certainly don't use Wikipedia
> terminology.
> It may be literally true that we don't claim to understand anything, but
> that
> doesn't make the complaint invalid.  It just means that you need to apply
> a
> bit more intelligence to understanding the complaint beyond literally
> parsing
> the words.  (And there's *far* too much literalness among Wikipedia
> policy
> wonks).
>
> I would guess that a complaint that we don't understand something is a
> claim
> of undue weight and unreliable sources.  Almost any claim about the Tea
> Party
> has been made by someone; whether it has been made by someone who we
> ought to
> pay attention to is another story.

I note Fox News is excluded from this list:

External links
    * Collected news and coverage at The New York Times
    * Collected news and coverage at The Guardian
    * Collected news and coverage at CNN
    * Tea Party Movement at History News Network at George Mason University
    * Tea Party Movement at SourceWatch

I can make a good faith argument that it is not a reliable source, as I
could for any other news source with obvious bias, but I don't think
there would be consensus on that point.

Fred




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Re: Alleged Liberal Bias

George William Herbert
In reply to this post by Ian Woollard
On Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 1:11 PM, Ian Woollard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 13/10/2010, George Herbert <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> I am concerned not so much with the specifics they are pointing out,
>> but at a general trend that we may include more negatives about
>> conservative positions and people than about liberal positions and
>> people, which would be worth some statistical analysis.
>
> The problem is that a good encyclopedia, such as the Wikipedia, tries
> to reflect reality and truth.
>
> But reality and truth... have a well known liberal bias.

That's the second such reply, and it's a little disappointing.

I want the encyclopedia to accurately and fairly represent things I
personally disagree with, as well as the ones I agree with.  The
assumption that some bias is ok because "we're right" ... is Wrong.
It's a fundamental failure of NPOV.


--
-george william herbert
[hidden email]

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Re: Alleged Liberal Bias

Charles Matthews
In reply to this post by Ken Arromdee
  On 14/10/2010 20:36, Ken Arromdee wrote:

> On Wed, 13 Oct 2010, Charles Matthews wrote:
>> #167 is the allegation that "we" fail to understand what the Tea Party
>> guys are all about. AFAIK we don't claim to understand anything much,
>> just to compile articles from sources.
> I think that as a serious response, this is disingenuous.  People don't
> write with 100% precision, and they certainly don't use Wikipedia terminology.
> It may be literally true that we don't claim to understand anything, but that
> doesn't make the complaint invalid.  It just means that you need to apply a
> bit more intelligence to understanding the complaint beyond literally parsing
> the words.  (And there's *far* too much literalness among Wikipedia policy
> wonks).
>
> I would guess that a complaint that we don't understand something is a claim
> of undue weight and unreliable sources.  Almost any claim about the Tea Party
> has been made by someone; whether it has been made by someone who we ought to
> pay attention to is another story.
Well, you might be right (I don't mean about me being disingenuous,
which is certainly one of the wrong words for what I was being). On the
other hand it seems more likely to me that the complaint was one of
interpretation, rather than reporting.

Charles


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