Scientology and Wikipedia

I’m going to go way out on a limb here and say that I’m not a fan of cults or coercive psychology. So when a Wikipedian noted that there are now 240 Scientology articles in Wikiproject:Scientology, I became a bit alarmed.

Digging deeper, what I discovered surprised me…

Of the Wikiproject:Scientology Participants, this Wikipedian identifies six participants as proponents of Scientology, and eighteen as critics of Scientology. Far from using Wikipedia to advertise Scientology, the Scientology articles appear – in my own opinion – to be surprisingly neutral-point-of-view.

If a potential recruit is interested in joining with Scientologists like John Travolta and Tom Cruise, their google search will likely lead them to articles like Lord Xenu from Wikipedia (this is not a joke)…

Xenu was the alien dictator of the “Galactic Confederacy” who, 75 million years ago, brought billions of aliens to Earth in DC-8-like spacecraft, stacked them around volcanoes and blew them up with hydrogen bombs. Their souls then clustered together and stuck to the bodies of the living, and continue to wreak chaos and havoc today.

If that doesn’t educate people on the nature of Scientology, I don’t know what will.

Why I Like Wikipedia

If Wikipedia can write in neutral-point-of-view about Scientology, there is hope for mankind. I admit, some days Wikipedia can get me down. Maybe I get stuck in an edit war. Or maybe a Microsoft employee accuses me of libel and says Wikipedia is a Giant Joke. But then other days, I discover something great on Wikipedia. Scientologists working together with Scientology critics to write neutral voiced articles.

In all sincerity, that is quite honestly a great achievement.

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6 Responses to Scientology and Wikipedia

  1. David Gerard says:

    Thank you! As the ardent critic who started the project page, I’m really very pleased with how good the articles are. Even given some blazing rows and at least two arbitration cases so far …

    This is why I think that Wikipedia’s greatest innovation, far greater than merely letting anyone edit the site, is Neutral Point Of View. Scientology critics’ web pages are long on facts and references, but a lot are so bitter and angry as to be almost unreadable; pro-Scientology web pages are much nicer but leave out rather a lot that critics consider rather important. NPOV gives a formulation to write something usable.

  2. Jon says:

    David,

    You guys are doing great work. Quite honestly, I was getting bummed about an ongoing edit war on Wikipedia, and beginning to lose my faith today… Discovering the balance and NPOV on the Scientology Project actually made my day. Seeing the cooperation – it’s like watching cats and dogs playing together – it makes me believe in world peace!

    Seriously, your work on Wikipedia will help positively inform a lot of people.

    Jon

  3. llywrch says:

    Edit wars like the one you link to, Jon, can truly drain one’s enthusiasm for Wikipedia — especially when one feels that she/he is alone in fighting against an obvious trouble-maker.

    The only remedy I’ve found is to put your self in the other’s place, & see all of the mistakes this person is making — & laugh at them. Okay, laugh at the most obviously stupid ones. Hopefully that gives you the strength to see the matter to the end.

    Geoff

  4. Jon says:

    Geoff,

    Thanks for the moral support on Wikipedia AN/I!

    Very jealous you will get to hang out with Jimmy tonight. You better blog about it!

    Jon

  5. llywrch says:

    Jon wrote:

    > Very jealous you will get to hang out with Jimmy tonight. You better blog about it!

    Tonight? All I know is that he’ll be in town Monday night.

    Do you know something I don’t?

    [Geoff exits stage right, to check his email]

  6. Jon says:

    Woah, I don’t know how I read that as Thursday. It definitely says Monday. My mistake.

    My doctor keeps telling me to lay off the crack pipe, but what do doctors know?

    Have fun next Monday!

    Jon

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