Wikipedia 10K Redux by Reagle from Starling archive. Bugs abound!!!

<-- Previous | Newer --> | Current: 980822260 JoshuaGrosse at Tue, 30 Jan 2001 02:37:40 +0000.


I think that this article, and presumably the source upon which it is based, is very biased and anti-American.  Of course, there have been dark moments in UnitedStates history, but what about the rest?  What about freedom? What about a nation of ideas and laws, not of men?  How about the incredible wealth generated by freedom?  How about the UnitedStates role in saving the world from fascist/socialist tyranny in WorldWarII?  Surely these deserve some positive treatment here... --JimboWales

''I think the article is being remarkably fair.  What you mention above are all great theoretical traits, but have been fairly inconsistent in application.  In particular I think you will find that when times are difficult, ideologies are neglected.  America's record in dealing with other nations is especially poor - one of genocide and imperialism.  Their involvement in WWII is praiseworthy, but like everyone else their tactics were Draconian.''

''This isn't to say America isn't a good country; I would say it's running on the better side of par.  But I think this is fairly close to what a real, objective summary (maybe a little bit of negative propaganda but nothing compared to the positive stuff you normally get) would look like.  Leaves out good things, but also bad things, being a summary.''

''Meanwhile, instead of going ahead and adding good and deleting bad and deleting good and adding bad, and so forth, I suggest we have a separate discussion on what is an appropriate take here on HistoryOfUnitedStatesDiscussion.  Leave this as is for now, and know that it is controversial.  --JoshuaGrosse''


Joshua, here is my view: I think we shouldn't aim for objectivity; we should aim for lack of bias.  The way to achieve lack of bias is to ''explicitly acknowledge'' within the article itself points on which there is disagreement, and make sure that the body of the article does not betray any particular position on these disagreements.  Thus, lack of bias is not achieved by striking a middle position between the views that the U.S. had a glorious wonderful history and that it was dark and evil.  It is achieved by relating what objective facts everyone can agree on, and then making explicit what points people disagree about.

By the way, anyone is free to change this article at any time, you know.  :-) -- LarrySanger

''My bad, what I meant was a treatment which is accurate rather than opinionated, not completely detached.  Of course anyone can edit the article at any time, but rather than have it completely rewritten whenever some pro/anti zealot comes along, or have it completely filled with the reasons for every position, I figured the latter could be collected on a separate page.  Only now we have two of those....''

Perhaps the sensible thing to do here would be to create an outline covering major historical periods and topics, creating links to each subcategory, and then allowing the subcategories to be filled in over time.

''I agree this should be done, but not at the expense of a decent over-view.  Especially not when the eras are so event oriented.  For instance, the Spanish-American war is of great importance to American history.  But where does it fit into the categorization scheme - the industrial age?  That topic sounds like, by default, it should be about trains and factories, not wars.  So, in short, I think the page should be kept as summary first, and sub and related topics second.''

''As to my second comment, please neglect it - apparently I missed out on how the slashes work.  That's pretty cool.'' --JG