Little did I realise when I wrote a web page for a friend on Brighton that it would become embroiled in controversy.
A friend spent a very happy summer on the South Coast near Brighton. So that she had something to remind her of those happy days, I wrote for her a web page on Brighton and the surrounding areas. Little did I realise then that this web page on Brighton would become embroiled in a controversy on Wikipedia.
A link was made to my web page from the Wikipedia Brighton page, to be promptly removed, to be reinstated, to be removed, almost ad infinitum.
What appears to have happened, is that a couple of somewhat childish individuals (one describes himself as an environmentalist who enjoys driving a gas-guzzling 4x4!) have claimed the Wikipedia Brighton page as their own personal space. Anything that appears that has not been put there by them, or has their approval, is promptly removed.
A discussion on the Talk page (click link top of Wikipedia Page) gives an insight to their somewhat perverted rationale for removing the link. A rationale that is convoluted and internally contradictory.
The linked page is a reproduction of what is on the Wikipedia page, is original research, has not been verified etc etc.
There appears to be a lack of any understanding of or training in local history research. For example, the need to reference primary original source documents, first hand eye witness accounts etc etc. But even then, as any historian worth their salts will tell you, you have to exercise extreme caution, know how to interpret, understand the context etc etc.
This has not been done for the Wikipedia page (apart from reference to government statistics). To a lesser extent has not been done on my page either, but at least my page is mainly a contemporary account, lots of pictures, and wherever possible, without becoming tedious, I have expanded on the points made, provided links etc. I have though, I hasten to add, not provided links to Wikipedia, as I regard it as a flawed source. And even if I had checked Wikipedia, and was happy with what I had found, there is no guarantee it would be correct the next day or the following day.
Interestingly, no comment that my page was inaccurate.
Unlike a published paper in a journal, or a widely recognised encyclopedia, Wikipedia is not peer reviewed. Unless you consider a million monkeys pecking away at a keyboard can produce something worthwhile, other than by random chance.
One of the individuals, speaks of Wikipedia being a self-healing database. It is nothing of the kind, and simply demonstrates ignorance of the subject.
I have created original Wikipedia pages, corrected and added to existing pages, but I would only do so where I knew the subject matter.
It is not only Brighton.
Similar problems have arisen on a page on Aldershot. It claimed that a shopping centre generated employment and there were now fewer empty shops. Neither statement was true. When this was corrected, the correction was referred to as vandalism and expressing a negative point of view, and promptly removed. The person who did so was not a resident or someone who was familiar with Aldershot. He then made the extraordinary statement that 'accuracy' was not important.
I am sure others can give many more examples.
Brighton-based SchNEWS was at one time removed from the Brighton Wikipedia page, but does, at least for the moment, appear to have been reinstated.
The Brighton controversy has now been referred to 'mediation'. Another example of giving Wikipedia a veneer of legitimacy.
Does the 'mediator' know Brighton? Will he/she be visiting Brighton? Will they be checking out the 'facts', citing reliable sources?
I doubt it.
The impartiality of the 'mediator' was brought into question when comments by the mediator were found on the personal page of one of those who had repeatedly removed the link
'Hi Kieran, It looks like the other participant BrightonKid is either not interested in participating, or simply, the account was only made to vandalise the page. I've had a look at the link, and i would say myself that the link should be omittedSee below If he decides to come back within 7 days, we will mediate, otherwise: Case closed. Thanks --Deon555|talk|e 00:07, 4 August 2006 (UTC)'
Minds would appear to have already been made up.
Following exposure of the lack of impartiality by the 'mediator', the case was promptly closed, re-opened, and a new mediator to be appointed!
Watch this space!
There is also a straw poll on the Talk page, but how many visit to participate? But please do.
The best judge are those who know Brighton.
Please visit the linked page. Is is a worthwhile page on Brighton?
If yes, please restore the link, and add you view on the Talk page.
A superb example of the puerile behaviour, was shown when the link was (temporary) left in place but labelled 'controversial' and demoted down the list of external links.
Logic would suggest a page on Brighton, rather than a specific aspect of Brighton, would appear at or near the top.
Similarly, a criticism that the link was called 'Brighton'. As the link is to a page on Brighton, the linked page is entitled 'Brighton', what else would one call the link? Skidrow-on-Sea as Brighton is always referred to by Private Eye maybe!
Wikipedia gives a false impression of structured knowledge. Wikipedia appears to have everyone involved to comprehensively build a corpus of knowledge in an organized fashion. But its claimed strength, is also its weakness, anyone and everyone can change anything and everything. Only some seem to be more equal than others when it comes to effecting changes.
How many monkeys does it take to edit an encyclopedia?
The Wikipedia page on Brighton or Wikipedia should not be confused with Brighton wiki, which is a collection of articles on Brighton, produced by local people or people who know Brighton to try and build a core of knowledge on Brighton. Brighton wiki makes no claim to be an encyclopedia.