13 December 2012
The Subjectivity of Literature and History
“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring two pence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it,” (Clive S. Lewis) was once said by the famous novelist, broadcaster and scholar, Clive Staples Lewis. Although this legendary man’s words are heroic, these words can be easily cast into the deep fiery pits of irretrievable lies by three significant men: The omniscient appearing founder, the scientist, and the simple desert handyman.
Wikipedia is the largest and most popular general reference work encyclopaedia on the internet with an estimated 365 million readers worldwide, while it is also recognized internationally with a vast selection of languages to express the website’s multilingual diversity. (Wikipedia) With such a great reputation, Wikipedia still manages to prove C. S. Lewis’ quote completely incorrect by expressing the fallacies strewn across the internet. Wikipedia was founded and developed by a former philosophy professor Larry Sanger with his co-founder and financial manager Jimmy Wales after their launch of their previous encyclopaedia, Nupedia, did not turn out to be as successful. (Wikipedia) Wikipedia is often the reference website highly frowned upon in an academic environment due to the ability and privilege given to the website’s anonymous users to edit and manipulate data and information within each page. Although each page on Wikipedia has a reference area where other texts used to create the information presented are mentioned, these sources may not be applicable. This can occur in multiple different situations such as the information extracted from books turn bias when recorded into the Wikipedia article, or a connected website or database that has data that is not applicable due to lack of recognition. These examples of text manipulation brings recognition to an important principle of literature that must be stressed much more than it is: As privileged human beings that were given the gift of expanding knowledge and thought processing, we can literally write whatever we want. This important principle may leave information found in absolutely any article inapplicable due to the misfortunate event of a biased or incorrect article being sourced multiple times resulting in manipulated and false information. Although the key principle becomes recognized when analyzing the references, an opposition can be raised in the defence of the safety and subjectivity of Wikipedia alone. Wikipedia contains many protective locks on many select pages in order to protect certain information found on such a large encyclopaedic website. These locks can range from the heavily protected full protection locks, to lightly protected pending-change protection locks. A full protection lock assists in the prevention of editing by community residing reviewers, registered members or anonymous editors. (Wikipedia:Protection policy) Only administrators can edit these full protection locked articles. Certain articles protected such as anti-Semitism, mass killings under communist regimes and Sadia Dehlvi are locked under full protection to prevent vandalism caused by people of inconsiderate opinion that may be offensive to certain people. (Wikipedia:Protection Policy) The lightly protected pending-change protection locks are often located on the majority of the articles on Wikipedia which allow all editors including anonymous and registered public editors to contribute to the article. (Wikipedia:Protection policy) These contributions do not publish right away to prevent vandalism; the contributions are seen by a community residing reviewer that looks over the information and verifies its likelyness if a source is provided by the editor. Although...