How Wikipedia handles conspiracy theories | Jimmy Wales and Lex Fridman | Summary and Q&A

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June 20, 2023
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Lex Clips
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How Wikipedia handles conspiracy theories | Jimmy Wales and Lex Fridman

TL;DR

Wikipedia strives to recognize and contextualize both mainstream and fringe ideas, but false neutrality is avoided. The inclusion of controversial topics is based on their significance and historical context.

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Key Insights

  • 💡 Wikipedia recognizes and contextualizes both mainstream and fringe ideas, but avoids false neutrality.
  • 🫓 Controversial topics like the flat Earth theory are included, but with skepticism and historical context.
  • 😷 Wikipedia strives to fairly represent all meaningful oppositions, such as debates about the efficacy of masks.

Transcript

as you mentioned mainstream and Fringe there seems to be a tension here and I wonder what your philosophy is on it because there's mainstream ideas and there's Fringe ideas uh you look at lab League Theory uh for this virus that could be other things we can discuss where there's a mainstream narrative well if you just look at the percent of the pop... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What is Wikipedia's philosophy regarding mainstream and fringe ideas?

Wikipedia aims to recognize and contextualize both mainstream and fringe ideas, but it avoids false neutrality and focuses on meaningful oppositions.

Q: Does Wikipedia include controversial topics like the flat Earth theory?

Yes, Wikipedia includes a section on the flat Earth theory, acknowledging its historical significance, but it is also skeptical of those who genuinely believe in it.

Q: How does Wikipedia handle discussions about the efficacy of masks?

Wikipedia treats the discussion about the efficacy of masks as a reasonable conversation, addressing which authorities have made what claims to fairly represent the different viewpoints.

Q: Does Wikipedia strive to avoid bias and personal attacks in debates?

Yes, Wikipedia aims to represent thoughtful and interesting debates, avoiding personal attacks, and embracing a diversity of perspectives.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Wikipedia aims to represent both mainstream and fringe ideas, but it strives to appropriately contextualize them.

  • The inclusion of false neutrality, such as mentioning the moon being made of cheese or the flat Earth theory, is avoided.

  • There is a discussion about the importance of fair representation of meaningful oppositions, such as the efficacy of masks.

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