I have to preface this by saying, this is an editorial, and thus, it is classified under editorials where the opinions of editors are perfectly valid and aren’t being hailed as serious journalism — hence, too, the irreverent pun of a title.
That said, considering that DORway is one of the first and largest anti-aspartame sites on the Web, I recently tried to get DORway mentioned on a Wiki article about aspartame controversy – that’s it. I just wanted the site included as a player in this arena, as my father worked very hard to inform the public about this health issue. As a side note, it’s important to point out that Wikipedia has two articles about aspartame – one that’s a “Rah, rah, go aspartame!” version and another that’s SUPPOSED to be a fair outline of the controversy surrounding aspartame and its road to approval. I didn’t even bother going for the aforementioned article, as it seemed a long shot after reading its tone. I have to admit that after reading as much of the background discussion as I could tolerate, I was a bit incensed and went into it without my usual composure. In fact, I think the title to my initial query was “You’ve got to be kidding!” Anyway, I wasn’t asking the powers that be to claim our side of the controversy is right. I just wanted to establish the simple fact that DORway has been an integral part of this controversy and, as such, should be included in the controversy article. I was promptly chastised, told that we (DORway) weren’t legit, that they would not give us a voice in the debate. It’s also important to note that while they don’t consider us worth mentioning, they have no problem linking to documents on our site. OK, so as the “discussion” proceeded, no matter what argument I presented, a giant Wikipedian ruler came down on my proverbial hand. “No, no!” the Wiki demi-Gods said, “Aspartame good, DORway bad!” So I gave up.
Then I got a letter from a well-meaning soul who was banned because he, too, was trying to get a fair representation of both sides of the argument (funny how it doesn’t matter how much reputable science sits squarely on the “anti” side of the aspartame controversy, it’s just not good enough for Wiki). The editors of Wikipedia, in my humble opinion, are wearing glasses about as thickly shaded with agenda as is possible. And before you point that analogy back in my direction and say that I have an agenda as well, I’ll save you the trouble. Of course I do. The difference is that I’m not busy taping over anyone else’s mouth or furiously erasing their perspectives with a giant Web eraser. And I’m not running a giant social artifice that, in spite of its self-proclaimed purity of purpose in the world of scientific debate, has been accused of being little more than another cog in the wheel of the corporate machinery. Whether or not Wikipedia is guilty of what people accuse them of is for you to decide, but I can tell you that, as the editorial director for a number of magazines (none of them related to aspartame), I have fired editors for using Wikipedia as a source. In the world of reputable journalistic publications, they are largely considered unquotable and unworthy of citation.
So I was bored one day, and as bored people do in 2011, I was surfing the Web. And I found this great article titled “Wikipedia is a Joke.” I already knew that, but still, I wanted to see why these other people thought so, too. The article has absolutely nothing to do with aspartame, but everything to do with Wikipedia’s epic fail as a reliable source.
From the article: “Any moron can, with a few mouse clicks, post anything at all he wants.” And, “You may think that the truth will win out, that the “good” editors will gang up on the vandals and expend more energy fixing mistakes and improving articles than the vandals spend wrecking them.Well, you sure are naive!”
I couldn’t have said it better. Here’s a particularly funny comment from the article, although the article is worth reading for yourself:
“You are 100% right on. Wikipedia is a worthless, steaming turd. One that is monitored 24/7 (just like you state) by kooks with biased political, social, personal, religious, etc… agendas. And while they can cite the most obscure editorial from the most insignificant, incredibly arcane website to support their opinions, 1/2 a dozen credible references are not good enough to dispute their inane babblings.”
And another: “Wikipedia is biased, inaccurate and unreliable – not just because “anyone can edit it” but also because of the small army of volunteer editors, who are given additional powers. Each one operates his/her own little fiefdom and seems to take delight in twisting the site in their own personal direction”
And another: “I used to think Wikipedia was okay (although was always aware the information could be unreliable) but recently have come to really hate Wikipedia. They say anyone can edit the material, but that’s a blatant lie – my changes are always removed and the “information” put back to how it was. Also, they pride themselves on the site being uncensored (and no-one’s against freedom of speech right?) but, in my opinion, this results in some very dodgy statements (and pictures) being submitted – and good luck trying to get them removed! Ironically, my efforts seem to be continually censored! What a joke!”
Yeah, funny stuff. And boy does it feel infinitely better to take the occasional break from raging against the machine to just look at the lighter side of life … especially when it evokes a bit of a bathroom humor. At eight, my son would have thought it was pretty funny. Come to think of it, he probably would at 26, too. After all, sometimes it pays to look at life through the guileless eyes of babes.
Sidenote: Although I firmly believe everyone has a right to an opinion and a voice, recent comments here resorted to a very unproductive tone and, after considering it carefully, I believe these type of comments do nothing but undermine the spirit of why this site exists. I removed them and, unfortunately, have closed comments on this article. If you have questions, feel free to email them.