[WikiEN-l] Fwd: [Wikipedia-l] Sensitive subjects on some Wikipedias

michael west michawest at gmail.com
Sat Jul 14 03:16:06 UTC 2007

 Forward from Wikipedia list
anyone want to comment? (AN/I ad infinitum)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ronald Chmara <ron at opus1.com>
Date: 14-Jul-2007 04:10
Subject: Re: [Wikipedia-l] Sensitive subjects on some Wikipedias
To: wikipedia-l at lists.wikimedia.org

On Jul 13, 2007, at 4:53 PM, Steven Walling wrote:
> There's always idiocy, on every wiki. But Turks being allowed to
> use a WMF
> wiki to continue to deny what was, lexicographically, the world's
> first
> genocide isn't simple stupidity...it's evil. If such a word carries
> any real
> meaning.

FWIW, the word "genocide" didn't enter the lexicon until 1943,
according to several articles on en:wp....

But that's not really the point/problem, per se.

Since I know my own culture the best, I'll use articles from its
space, to demonstrate that this is possibly a universal human failing.

The english language wikipedia, for example, doesn't really take the
perspective that the biggest number of civilians ever outright
slaughtered by an external  government in *one single event* is
really a nightmarishly terroristic, immoral, and wrong thing,  to do.
Instead, it equivocates and quibbles, repeating old party lines
*justifying* the action, and combines articles on two separate events:

How about the United State's first major genocidal policy? Is it
called a genocide? Nope. Again, Quibbling and equivocation, and an
"official policy name":

How about the deplorable white supremacist, ignorant, racism, of a
man who said he was "not in favor of bringing about in any way the
social and political equality of the white and black races" and "If I
could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it"? Is he
condemned for it? Nope. Instead, there's non-stop hagiography and
justification for his blatant racism, and a blatant cultural white-
washing (*cough*) of both his character and actions:

I could keep going on, but I'd better get to my point. Within
cultures, there is usually a dominant language (and languages is
where wikipedia divides), and those cultures each carry their own
narrative style, and with it, their own perspectives on history.

Where wp is *very good* is that those narratives actually get stored,
and carried forward, to future generations.

Where wp can be argued as 'bad' (on these kind of topics) is that
different cultures, through their language spaces, are allowed to
actually display their different perspectives.

This tends to upset folks who want *their* perspective, *their*
cultural narrative, to dominate the narrative landscape *across all
cultures and languages*. That's not gonna happen until we have one
global mono-culture, and whoo boy, we are nowhere near that.


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