Where’s the secret sauce?

David Gerard once memorably described neutral point of view (NPOV) as “Wikipedia’s Secret Sauce”. Given the trouble some people have in imitating it, that metaphor seems pretty apt.

I have to admit along with many others I was recently amused by Conservapedia (subtitled “A conservative encyclopedia you can trust”). Visiting it again recently it does appear they’ve found a decent designer and spruced up the site. However they make absolutely no attempt to be neutral. The clue starts in the name, and continues with such tidbits as “Today’s liberal falsehood:” and “Bible Quote of the Day:”. And that’s just on the main page! Don’t even think about vandalising though, as apparently its punishable by up to 10 years in jail :-/ Makes you wonder why Wikipedia doesn’t do something like that about vandals… oh wait… because it’s total nonsense.

Anyway, clearly not anywhere near NPOV, but then they’re obviously neither claiming nor aiming to be. But recently I discovered another site – the MuslimWikipedia. Now this has some great articles on Dubai Megaprojects and Dubai skyscrapers which make me drool and want even more to visit Dubai some day. However what fascinated me most was this gem from their introduction:

Firstly there are guidelines, such as all work has to be sourced and referenced.

Secondly the MuslimWikipedia has a NPOV policy, i.e this isn’t the place for Peoples points of view.

Thirdly the MuslimWikipedia is to present Islam, its History, its people, its tenets, its faith, its ideas in a POSITIVE light, and hence negative views of Islam are against the Muslim Wikipedias policies.

Now am I the only one who sees a slight conflict between the second and third guidelines?

3 thoughts on “Where’s the secret sauce?”

  1. Ooh, my first comment! Hadn’t thought of the fact that it’s a trademark violation, thanks for notifying people. Though at least they’re not doing anything particularly Evil, just dumb.

  2. Erik sent them a polite note and they’ve changed it to MuslimWiki, a much better idea :-)

    Policing the “Wikipedia” trademark is pretty important, else it will become a generic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.