Straight from the horse’s mouth. They say it better than I can on their own website. To begin… my favorite quote from Wikipedia itself.
It is in the nature of an ever-changing work like Wikipedia that, while some articles are of the highest quality of scholarship, others are admittedly complete rubbish. We are fully aware of what it is and what it isn’t. Also, because some articles may contain errors, please do not use Wikipedia to make critical decisions.
A small amount of people know this well already, but it’s very important to understand for anyone interested in natural medicine: you can’t trust Wikipedia when researching health!
Why? I’ll get to that. By the time I’m done, I think you may agree with me.
So often used for sourcing information these days, Wikipedia is called “the encyclopedia anyone can edit.” Well, that’s not exactly accurate. Anyone can attempt to edit Wikipedia, but if you don’t follow the stringent rules and restrictions, your information won’t hold any value.
Actually, if someone disagrees with a change anyone else makes, they can easily revert the change made, no matter how credible or well-sourced.
This leads to a veritable war-zone of opinion-based information on natural medicine. One side makes a change, the other disagrees and reverts it, and so on and so on. It’s an endless battle.
What does this mean for you? Well, what day and time did you find that information on Wikipedia? It changes extremely often.
Just as an example, a Wikipedia article I was reading just yesterday had been changed over 60 times in the last three days. By only two people. Their argument in the ‘talk’ section (sort of like a comment section on changes made to the page) spanned some 30 paragraphs about rules, sources and biases.
An article about a certain type of natural medicine was clearly, judging by contradictions all over the place, being actively debated and changed frequently. In curiosity, I checked out the history of all the changes, and the debates over the information. What I saw, I couldn’t believe. Three people, considered ‘authorities’ on the subject of the medical industry and evidence-based medicine, refused to allow a change to be made to the article based on an ‘untrustworthy source of information.’
Who was the untrustworthy source? The World Health Organization. That’s right – these self-proclaimed experts stated that the WHO is not trustworthy.
So, of course, being a curious type of person, I looked at the credentials of these experts. (Addressing the elephant in the room, I by no means have amazing credentials – I, of course, make no claims of being an expert. I’m just your average guy who does his research.) Well, one of these people had information available on their Wikipedia editing history, while the other two were anonymous. This person was awarded by Wikipedia the title “top 300 medical editors” for his vast contribution to various medical articles. He’s an electrical engineer. And he says the WHO aren’t reliable researchers. Ugh.
Well, I’m not saying that because of his occupation he’s not a credible source of information – that would be pretty hypocritical of me. I’m simply using this as an example for those who may have the wrong image in mind of who contributes to medical information on Wikipedia.
If you’ve always imagined a team of experts and researchers and doctors, it’s time to adjust your perception about that wonky website.
If you aren’t convinced yet, allow me to move on to my final point on the subject.
While I’ve always felt like there was a team of people working against fair and accurate information on natural health Wikipedia articles, it was only ever suspicion until just recently. Researching a certain medicine, I somehow unfortunately came to a website dedicated to defaming natural remedies. Again, being curious, I was reading the comment section to see if anyone provided a few good studies to look into, in the effort to rebuke the lies on the website. Well, I found some good studies (including a 300+ page book in the national library of medicine on the subject…), but I also found something very disturbing.
It appears that there are three groups – who are very open about their bias and intentions – who make it their personal mission to change and vandalize natural health articles on Wikipedia. One group in particular stated that their thirty members each check ten or more articles daily (a total of 300 per day) to make certain their changes are not ‘messed with.’ This is obviously a crime against free, public information, and a mass murder of evidence for medicines that could help millions overcome their diseases.
Well, I’m going to end it here. Honestly, just thinking about the blatant lies and self-promoting biases on Wikipedia stresses me out. I hope that by sharing my experiences on the subject I’ve helped convince you that you shouldn’t trust Wikipedia as a source of your health information.
I obviously have my biases… I’m a very firm believer in natural medicine. I’ve used it for my own health conditions for years, and spent hundreds of hours studying its proven and well-documented effects. But I won’t claim to be 100% free from opinion. I can, however, guarantee you that any article I author will be well-researched. If I can’t state something as fact, I’ll let you know it’s my opinion. That’s more than they can say.
They “don’t expect you to trust them…”
Well, that’s good. You can’t trust them in any regard.
Source of the quote:
(I can’t believe I just sourced Wikipedia…)