- The Washington Times - Monday, August 25, 2008

Matthew Sheffield’s excellent column on Wikipedia, while accurate regarding the usage and scope of the Web site as a resource, also serves to underscore the basic discrepancy of this supposed “research tool.” That it is community-edited and has a decided leftward tilt (or any tilt at all) indicates that it is not a decent new source for factual references, but a propaganda tool.

That so many people seem to think it is a resource for settling any argument or informing oneself on an issue exemplifies the popcorn nature of what passes for scholarship today. “Popcorn,” if you are wondering, is a term I use to denote those things with a lot of crunch but no real substance. They leave one sated but have no real intellectual value - like popcorn, which is a nutritional zero except for its roughage content.

I have had one poster on a forum become indignant when I made these same kinds of remarks about “Wiki,” and the poster asked if I didn’t think, as a whole, that the community of the world’s collective knowledge wasn’t a great source. I, of course, answered no and was denounced immediately as a Neanderthal. It seems the advent of Wikipedia has shown that the socialist ideal of collectivism has invaded our reference materials. When collective wisdom displaces revered works of scholarship, we are marching backward toward another Dark Age, and “Wiki” is an indicator of that trek into ignorance.

NORMAN HENDRICKSON

Bowie



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