(Astrology Explored) Recently, a small group of “astrology friendly” people have been attempting to edit the section on astrology in Wikipedia where in the current version is slanted and full of inaccuracies. Time and again, this group has been batted back and their proposal for edits denied, the crux of the argument being, “We know astrology is a pseudoscience.”
In fact, the admins of Wiki-pedia are sure of their position because they had an arbitration that decided it was so.
(note and update: the original link to this section of Wikipedia disappeared. I researched and found the nearest correlation to original material in the link above.)
What’s bad about that?
Several things, not the least of which is Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikidpedia assertion that:
There must be no cabal, no elite, and no hierarchy or structure to get in the way of this openness to newcomers. Any security measures to be implemented to protect the community against real vandals (and there are real vandals, who do occasionally affect us), should be implemented on the model of “strict scrutiny.”
“Strict scrutiny” means that any measures instituted for security must address a compelling community interest, and must be narrowly tailored to achieve that objective and no other.
The above is the second stated principle that guides Wikipedia.
And for the number 3 guiding principle of Wikipedia:
“You can edit this page right now” is a core guiding check on everything that we do. We must respect this principle as sacred.
Yet, despite this a single administrator decided to ban 6 of the 7 astrology friendly editors. Here is the core of this argument:
People may want to look over this. Briefly, there has been a big astroturfing rent-a-mob campaign dedicated to disrupting the Astrology article, detailed here, resulting in a whole bunch of single-purpose accounts arriving to edit-war, some of them new, some of them not. These are Aquirata (talk · contribs), Petersburg (talk · contribs), Costmary (talk · contribs), Erekint (talk · contribs), Apagogeron (talk · contribs), and Gary PH (talk · contribs) (this particular account participated in the last edit-war before this one, which I picked up on after seeing this ANI report).
I am banning all the accounts linked above from Astrology, its talkpage, and any pages that relate to Astrology, broadly construed, per Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Pseudoscience.
(note and update: the original link to the above material has disappeared. I could not find it again in Wikipedia’s records.)
In addition the one person left was warned:
“that as a ‘professional astrologist (sic)’, I have “a definite conflict of interest in this matter which may also prove ultimately incompatible with continued editing of the article”.
He was also told that he could edit anything else in Wikipedia but not the astrology section.
In other words anyone who actually knows anything about astrology, who is a professional astrologer shouldn’t edit the page on astrology. For some reason this constitutes “a conflict of interest”.
And my question is this:
Why is it so important for admins in Wikipedia to become so entrenched in the “Astrology is a pseudoscience” argument? Why is it so important for Wikipedia to become engaged in a war against astrology?
Would it not be better for Wikipedia, as source of information to remain neutral on the topic?
While I am not registered with Wikidpedia, and so have not been a participant in any of these proceedings, I have waded through the hours worth of arguments and counter-arguments. The thing that makes the astrology friendly people a “rent-a-mob” in the eyes of their detractors is that they disagree with the admins who believe astrology is a psuedoscience.
Jimmy Wales, I submit to you that you do indeed have a cabal inside of Wikipedia that is not just working, but has crafted, and very forcibly too, a definite POV that is neither neutral nor helpful to the aims of Wikipedia. In fact, I’m willing to bet my next consultation fee that this cabal has at its heart and core the same group of skeptics who took on Michel Gauquelin’s work and came away with their nose bloodied.
Are you listening, Jimmy Wales?
And anyone wanting to know about the psuedoscience debate check out my “Open Letter to Dr. Rebekah Higgitt” who thinks astrologers should be debunked “more respectfully”.
When I with my Venus in Capricorn is willing to bet money, you can be sure I’m sure I’m going to win!
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This would not surprise anyone who has followed the ‘climate science’ debate on and concerning Wikipedia, which developed into an editing war over several years. The pages were given over to the overall care of one editor in particular (William Connolly) who is a fanatic proponent of the AGW pov.
He ruthlessly excised any dissenting voices, including scientists correcting misrepresentations of their own work – usually within minutes – and banned any editors who put forward statistical facts and scientific arguments setting out alternative scenarios. The entire furore became a big cause celebre. After a great deal of hard work by many editors, and some press coverage, Connolly was himself removed from his position of power, but not before he had been able to do enormous damage at the height of the argument, by ensuring only one narrow viewpoint was allowed any airspace in the Wiki. This is of course – shamefully – the first place most people (esp the young) go for their supposedly ‘unbiased information’. Shamefully, Connolly was not banned for good.
“After his investigation, Cohen came to see Wikipedia not even pretending to be neutral, but rather content to be dangerous propaganda delivered by anonymous non-entities. This was a point he put to Jimmy Wales, WIkipedia’s nominal supervisor. But Wales was having none of it, instead saying “There exists a long line of people who, when their extremist agenda is not accepted into Wikipedia, accuse the community of bias.”
The Wiki is a vehicle for propaganda for a certain view of the world. Anyone who thinks differently is imo quite naive. Nevertheless, it’s important constantly to expose the ruthless manner in which its hierarchy attempt to surpress alternative views.
This is the experience of Piers Corbyn, a weather analyst with a demonstrably excellent record for accuracy (far better than that of NASA, the Met, etc):
“Some Climate Realists may know the Wiki Department of Truth (WDOT) is not limited to slanting science ‘reportage’ but also rages in biographies and so-called ‘autobiographies’. I and friends had hourly battles (or in fact the fire was more rapid) over constant re-writing of my ‘autobiography’ (something I did NOT write in the first place) on wiki. WDOT kept on inserting false or selected information about my weather forecasts and removing loads of reasonable things put there by others. This is barmy of course because there is more to life than weather forecasts (well a bit more); and some of it was reasonably recorded there. However I haven’t looked at it for a long time because WDOT makes me so angry.”
“There exists a long line of people who, when their extremist agenda is not accepted into Wikipedia, accuse the community of bias.”
Then Wikipedia needs to examine this line. Being neutral should be the easiest line to tow. Neutrality is couched in language such as “some people such as (so and so) claim that _______ while others such as (so and so) hold the position that ______” NOT (such is thing) is (a definitive statement) such as “Astrology is a psuedoscience”.
Consider me your First Lieutenant in this fight. I have to develop an idea I will be presenting at the UAC Marketing Day sponsored by AFAN. We will tweet our way out of this.