On 31 Aug 2004, at 8:27 pm, Poor, Edmund W wrote:
I don't know about lists, but what you
mention is an interesting
problem, and not just for Wikipedia, but for all societies in regard
to the internet. Our economic system, and the plight of people such
as the Palestinians, means that access too and creation of
information on the internet is an extremely unequal affair.
This is incorrect, as far as societies that don't censor Internet
access go. Now, maybe in Islamic countries it's hard to get online due
to national restrictions. But in every part of the English-speaking
world that is not a problem.
I'm unsure as to why you single out Islamic countries (it's not just
Islamic countries that have restrictions), but, fine, let's add
'censorship' to this list of things that cause inequality in regard to
access to and creation of info on the net.
Also, the cost barrier is much lower than you may
realize: 4 hours of
minimum wage labor will pay for one month of Internet service, in the
US, for example. If someone has 30 hours a week of free time, okay,
maybe if he's wealthy it only costs him 30 to 60 minutes of labor time
to pay for Internet, and he can spend the other 29 hours surfing or
(better yet) writing Wikipedia articles; while the other guy has only
26 hours. That's only a 12% advantage: admittedly unequal, but not
extremely so. More like moderately or slightly...
I have some questions for you. Where do you live? What's your earning
capability? Have you traveled much of where you live and overseas,
especially to poor areas? Do you know what it's like to save every
single penny so you can pay for your next meal for years on end? Do you
know how much most of the world lives on? And have you ever been to the
Occupied Territories in Israel?
You can bandy around arbitrary statistics and argue about whether the
inequalities are extreme or moderate but the differences are there and
until you can answer the above questions you probably have no idea as
to what those differences mean in the real scheme of things.
If people have plights, and you want to write about it
please do so. Not having a homeland is a plight, so you can write
about Kurds as well as Palestinians. Not having a safe place to live
is a plight, so you can write about any of 2 or 3 dozen insurgencies
and/or civil wars dragging in recent decades. Not having a country
that's free from the threat of foreign invasion is a plight, so you
can write about Taiwan and Israel, et al. Not having freedom of
religion or the right to emigrate is a plight, so you can write about
Cuba, North Korea, et al.
This is a straw man argument. It doesn't actually challenge my
assertion that economics and oppression create extremely unequal access
to and creation of information on the net (and for instance Wikipedia).
What you seem to be suggesting in the above paragraph is that, as a
collective, we should simply ignore such plights (inequalities) and
their possible implications in regards to information on the net and
Wikipedia, and if no one takes it on their own back to personally
promote these people's points of view, well that's just too bad.
I have no idea what a solution might be to such a problem, but treating
it as a little issue in need of little thought doesn't seem like a good
The same problem actually occurs simply with unequal numbers of people.
Would you agree that for diversity and freedom to flourish we need to
ensure that all forms of media (and especially prevalent ones) are not
dominated by one group, be it via their numbers or simply because
another group doesn't have equal access?