Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Grossly insufficient coverage of alternative viewpoints, different perspectives, non-Western opinions, unreported facts, etc., reported by non-mainstream media outlets like RT, teleSUR, etc.

This is a serious deficiency in Wikipedia. It relies almost wholly on popular Western news sources such as NYT, WSJ, BBC, CNN, FT, CBS, etc. These mainstream sources each have an opinion, and quite frequently these outlets either do not report events/facts that go against their own perspectives [or against the foreign policy goals of the nations in which these outlets operate], or report those events/facts in an abridged or modified way.

Alternative outlets such as RT, teleSUR, CCTV, Sputnik, Fars, etc., are routinely labeled as propaganda outlets by mainstream Western news houses. However, these alternative news sources very frequently provide facts and perspectives that mainstream sources omit [likely on purpose]. Hence, for Wikipedia to be a more neutral and wholesome encyclopedia, and not just a mirror reflection of Western news stories, it is vital that it also cover the information contained in non-mainstream outlets such as Russia Today and CCTV.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Even a random blogger's individual - and shallow - thought or opinion can sometimes be presented as a fact in a Wikipedia article

Example of this are the following two statements in Wikipedia article on Predator 2 [permanent link]:
  • " It has since become a cult film among fans."
  • "Although it had negative reviews, Predator 2 is seen as a cult classic among fans."

The source of this significant information is a blog post titled "Danny Glover: Action Movie Star Opportunity Missed?", dated 29-Apr-2015 by some random guy named Tambay A. Obenson. He says this:
  • "I rewatched "Predator 2," after stumbling upon it while flipping through cable TV channels a couple of days ago... But I'm inclined to believe that it's had a much more successful life on the home video market (DVD/VOD) than it did in theaters, even becoming something of a cult favorite with some."
And the words cult film make it to an encyclopedia article on Predator 2. This is surely not right, and exposes a major weakness in the way Wikipedia content is created. A movie is a cult film if many people think of it that way [and at least some of those many people should be noteworthy]. A random's dude personal blog entry entering Predator 2 into the coveted club of cult films shows that Wikipedia's content addition/creation methods need major revision.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Country-specific events or topics require country-specific articles

Salman Khan's famous-infamous hit-and-run case is known to everyone in India, and it has been in the news in India for over a decade. Yet this case doesn't have a dedicated Wikipedia page, only getting a paragraph in the main article on Salman Khan. This is because this case isn't noteworthy on a worldwide basis, and likely also because Salman Khan himself is largely a celebrity of either the Indian subcontinent or the Indian diaspora abroad. Herein lies a shortcoming of Wikipedia - admitting only globally-relevant events/people/topics.

This shortcoming can be solved by allowing nation-specific articles that pertain only to the people of that nation. This way Wikipedia can both address the country-specific information needs of people in various countries, yet not unnecessarily flood irrelevant information to others.