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changabula Wikipedia is doomed to bias|
One of the problems with Wikipedia is that the 1000 or so "editors" who spend the most time there are subject to groupthink. At one point Wikipedia was frightened of becoming over-run with vandals and conspiracy theorists. Of course, that is just a phenomenon of the web. However, topics that are controversial can be difficult for them to properly balance.
For example, I once added the words,
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."
to a Wikipedia article about the American Civil War. It was removed a day later. Of course, the words are the 10th amendment to the US Constitution, and were the basis of the Confederacy's claim that permitting slavery and secession from the Union were both rights that states had.
It was sort of revealing that the views of the editors are so rigid that they cannot allow the words of the U. S. Constitution to appear in an article about the American Civil War.
There is also an interesting Supreme Court Case that the state of Virginia brought after it was re-admitted into the Union. When Virginia seceeded from the Union, its western counties seceeeded from it, and formed West Virignia. So if Virginia had no right to seceed from the Union, which is what the Civil War settled, then how could counties have the right to seceed from a state? The supreme court said that counties could not seceed from states unless the states were in rebellion against the Union. This was of course a foolish interpretation that was designed to specifically allow West Virginia to continue as a state despite the legal claims of Virginia.
That doesn't stay posted at Wikipedia either.
I'm not some odd person who believes that slavery is good or that the South should have won the American Civil War. I just have a view of it that is more sophisticated than 7th Grade History class. But the computer geeks that spend all their days at Wikipedia have such a shallow understanding of what they're doing that they even delete quotes directly from the U.S. Constitution.
Most importantly, the history of the American Civil War was formed essentially by companies that sold encyclopedias in small midwestern towns. The essential elements of the war -- its causes, its battles, its leaders, and its aftermath -- are all tailored to the biases of the encyclopedia buyer in small town midwestern America. It is this outline of the American Civil War that continues to frame its history in the public consciousness.
One excellent example of bias is cost of the war to the South. Look for the word "famine" in the history of the American Civil War. Then look for the word "Andersonville." What do find more photographs of, the starvation of the Southern civilian population or the starvation of the Union prisoners of war held at Andersonville prison in Georgia?
[ Last edited by matt605 at 2007-2-25 02:23 AM ]