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Wikipedia Is Satan

Jason Lee Miller
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-07-03

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Wikipedia doesn't like Sam Vaknin, and the feelings are mutual. Look up this narcissm aficionado on Wikipedia and you'll find he's been dutifully erased from the wiki-consciousness, a name that shall not be uttered, or "recreated without a good reason."

The editors at Wikipedia decided to eradicate Vaknin (who's that again? Well, he desperately wants you to know.) back in February and not just after his July 2nd column in American Chronicle entitled "The Six Sins of the Wikipedia," where Vaknin verbally thrashes the publicly-edited info-torium for its alleged lack of elitism, standards, credibility, and proper editing.

Though a "speedy deletion," where administrators can delete an article on sight for "patent nonsense or pure vandalism," may have seemed to some appropriate, the administrators did take the time to discuss and vote. Administrators cited instead his abuse of Wikipedia (Vaknik was a frequent contributor to the site) as a vehicle for "self-gratification," as a "superfluous vanity page," and (this is the best one) "self-fetishisation."

But it may not have been his banishment from Wikipedia that drove, among his other verbose and hyperbolic condemnations, Vaknin's assertion that Wikipedia is "the equivalent of an intellectual scam, a colossal act of con-artistry." Maybe he was ambushed by a "cabal of c. 1000 administrators," because it is clear how often this obscure psychology author is correct and the rest of the world is not. And no one knows narcissism like Vaknin.

But it seems it was his closing that really rubbed Wikipedia the wrong way:

…that the Wikipedia is actually regularly edited may provoke victims of the Wikipedia into considering class action lawsuits against the Wikimedia, Jimmy Wales personally, and their Web hosting company.

The Wikipedia is an edited publication. The New-York Times is responsible for anything it publishes in its op-ed section. Radio stations pay fines for airing obscenities in call-in shows. Why treat the Wikipedia any differently? Perhaps, hit in the wallet, it will develop the minimal norms of responsibility and truthfulness that are routinely expected of less presumptuous and more inconspicuous undertakings on the Internet.

As revealed in the article's postscript, that got him an email from Wikimedia's general counsel, since he "raised the issue of suing" Jimmy Wales.

Whether or not Wikipedia was "a self-righteous confabulation" filled with "like-minded trolls" "prone to flame, bully, and harass" the experts before or after Vaknin was ejected is beside the point. If we take out the bitter venom in his tone, yes, we can agree Wikipedia isn't perfect. It is subject to vandalism and inaccuracies, and perhaps is "malignantly anti-elitist."

I'm okay with that. I'm an Aristotelian, pretentious, egghead, elitist, iconoclast jerk, and I still like Wikipedia. Where else can you find information about the imposter king Smerdis and Britney Spears in one convenient space? Sure, you might not cite Wikipedia as an academic resource, but it's a good place to begin a journey. And you'll also note, on Britney's page, that the administrative cabal has disallowed newly registered users editing due to frequent vandalism. So it's not like they sit back and let things happen.

But perhaps Vaknin should be applauded for his ability to highlight the imperfections of others less fortunate than he. We can't all be so enlightened. I particularly admired the way he slipped in this jab at my nation of birth just before we celebrate Independence Day:

[Wikipedia] may reflect the difference in academic traditions between the United States and the rest of the world. Members of individualistic, self-reliant and narcissistic societies inevitably rebel against authority and tend to believe in their own omnipotence and omniscience. Conversely, the denizens of more collectivist and consensus-seeking cultures, are less sanguine and grandiose and more willing to accept teachings ex-cathedra.

Yes, yes, we know. America's bad and the rest of the world is good. Wikipedia's run by anti-elitist morons when it should be run by the considerably more omniscient Vaknin. Hang on, let me save that to my mental hard drive so I won't forget.

Click, click. Deleted.


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About the Author:
Jason L. Miller is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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