Thursday, July 27, 2006

Wikipedia - Inaccurate 1970's Information

I've never really understood the idea behind Wikipedia. It's an online encyclopedia that anybody can contribute to at the drop of a hat, so facts seem to alter daily, but although it is, no doubt, monitored, it is massively guilty of 1970s hype.

I fear that 1970s revivalist geeks and nerds are rewriting the decade for Wikipedia, just like the researchers for the BBC's I Love 1970s and channel 5's That Was The Decade That Was series did for television in Britain.

Suddenly, the 1960s, a genuine era of rapid change, are unimportant.

Whilst stating that events are often wrongly attributed to the 1960s, Wikipedia then goes and does exactly the same thing with the 1970s. I certainly don't remember the feminist thing being the "be all and end all" of the 70s. It began in the 1960s (indeed media from that era suggests that it was very well advanced before the end of the decade), and was just as prevalent in the 1980s as in the 70s.

Gay rights? True, there were developments there in the 1970s, but the intial impetus came from the 1960s (homosexual acts between consenting adults in private were legalised in England and Wales in 1967) and the developments continued into the 80s and 90s and, indeed, beyond. The impact of AIDS, once touted as a "gay plague", had a huge impact on gay rights campaigns.

According to Wikipedia, everything of import happened in the 1970s.

The UK TV section refers to "innocent" 70s sitcoms. I remember an awful lot of smut. Isn't rosy coloured emotionalism clouding objectivity?

The Wikipedia 1970s section is HUGE, compared to its miniscule 1960s section. How this can be justified, I really cannot begin to imagine.

But then I do not understand the idea behind an online encyclopedia where anybody can write anything anyway.

The "let's glorify the 70s" ethos spills over into Wiki's accounts of adjacent decades and other sections, giving a unique and totally inaccurate account of the importance of the 1970s as a 20th Century decade. What is written is very similar to the (perhaps sometimes rather over-the-top) accounts of the glories of the 1960s in the media of the 1970s and 1980s.

Except that the 1960s were genuinely worthy of note.

There is something extremely amateurish about the 70s hype allowed on Wikipedia. One can smell the reasoning behind a lot of the waffle...

I write good things about the 1970s because it was my youthful era and my generation are special!

I write good things about the 1970s because I'm a nerd with no life in the current day.

If Wiki's 1970s information is anything to go by, then I certainly wouldn't use the site for research purposes. It is simply not of a standard professional enough to be trustworthy.

In fact I can only recommend that serious researchers avoid Wikipedia - or take the whole thing with a large pinch of salt.