Given its size, Wikipedia has an enormous
responsibility to people
everywhere. While most of us who work on Wikipedia know how to take its content with a
grain of salt, the fact is that the vast majority of people simply turn to
Wikipedia as a first (only?) source of reference. Like it or not, warn against
it or not, for many it is "the" reference--the most accessible source for
It's not our responsibility to protect people from themselves. It
should be sufficient to warn people prominently that a given article is
not supported by the mainstream scientific community. People who fail
to heed warnings do so at their own risk.
This can be dangerous. For instance, putting pet
on Wikipedia gives them a certan credence that they would not get anywhere
else. Often, those articles will be better sourced than the more conventional,
standard entries on accepted scientific theories. People seeking information,
who are not quite discerning, will turn to the net, see the article, see the
copious references, and come to accept that as normative scientific fact,
when actually the vast majority of scientists may well reject it.
Maybe. This seems to establish the point that the quantity of
references is not determinative. Still, unlike the devotee sources, we
also allow for contrary views. That alone may defuse the notion that
these articles are dangerous.
Rather than consider this as hypothesis, it has
frustrating some of the conventional scientists who edit this site. The debates over
use of the Pseudoscience category tag are very telling in this regard.
Wikipedia's goal is to report, rather than promote ideas. It can, however, happen
that by giving unequal weight to spurious topics, we are doing the latter.
conventional scientists feel frustrated by having these articles,
too bad!" That does not justify labeling the people who have differing
views with the pejorative tag "Pseudoscience"; there are plenty of less
controversial terms that can be used,