The open nature of Wikipedia makes it possible to edit entries related to ones own financial, political etc. interest. WikiScanner has, for example, revealed that corporations, political parties, or government agencies are actively editing information related to themselves. A recent column in AlterNet discussed the problems that this poses for the Wikipedia. The column correctly points out that some statements might be factually correct, but the meaning we associate with the statement depends on the context and on the frames we have in our mind. Especially, whether we understand some statement as a “good” or “bad” depends on more than just factual correctness.
“The idea that a collection of facts doesn’t equal neutrality and doesn’t lead to truth could be Wikipedia’s undoing, discrediting open-source information as a reliable democratic force.” Hmmm… it is unclear what Haas suggests as an alternative. I hope his underlying idea is not to establish a de facto censorship of the ideologically pure. After all, it is a good thing to let human minds be susceptible to different points of views so that they would not be slaves to a single one. The most important thing is that history of the edits in wikipedia should be clearly available and open. Also, maybe some diversity should be allowed in the edits. Why is it that we should always have only one article about something? When it boils down to values, it could be better to represent both factually correct statements even if they might give rise to different meanings in our minds. If, for example, Walmart pays 20% lower salaries than competitors, but that this is still twice as much as the minimum wage, why not tell both facts and let the reader decide how much weight he/she gives to each piece of information?