Sunday, December 13, 2009

Wikipedia and the Truth


A few months ago, some Shearim readers asked me to add / correct a few information on certain Wikipedia sites about Haredim and especially add information to the Toldot Aharon Wikipedia. I signed up with Wikipedia and added many facts to the TA Wikipedia including the Toldot Aharon label on Shearim. Other people add their sites and make so much advertising for their books on Wikipedia. Just look at Hirhurim (religious blog) on the Chabad Meshiach Wikipedia. However, in my opinion the public has the right to receive further information on a subject.

Everything was fine until 2 - 3 hours later when I received an e - mail from Wikipedia telling me that all my added information had been deleted. They gave a very brief reason by saying that I used a blog address as a source and this would not be allowed.
Nevertheless I investigated a little further and found out that Wikipedia has the right to delete anything it does not want on their sites. For instance, if a user is opening up a new subject and writes about it, he, in a way, owns the site. It is the first user who decides what kind of information can be added and by whom. If he does not like you additions, even if they are more detailed than his, you are out.

It is well - known that Wikipedia does NOT always provides its readers with the truth and the right information. Anybody can open a subject and write about it. What, for instance, if an Arab opens the subject "settlements", writes about it and kicks every Jewish settler out ? This would be allowed on Wikipedia. The first user counts.
Wikipedia is definitely a great idea and I myself use it many times; however, while using it, we always have to make sure to check with other sites, as the information on Wikipedia may be wrong.

Those of you searching for really good reliable information on the haredi / chassidic world should surf around in the Yiddish Wikipedia !

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