Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger has slammed the site’s leftist bias and claims its days of ‘neutrality are long gone’ in a new interview.
Sanger, 52, called alleged bias on the site he co-founded in January 2001 with Jimmy Wales ‘disheartening’ in an interview for a Fox News analysis.
According to his own Wikipedia page, Sanger has long ‘been critical of the project,’ and described it as being ‘broken beyond repair’ in 2007.
‘The days of Wikipedia’s robust commitment to neutrality are long gone,’ Sanger said.
Larry Sanger, 52, called alleged bias on the site he co-founded ‘disheartening’ in an interview for a Fox News analysis
His own Wikipedia page documents a long history of criticism against the site he co-founded
‘Wikipedia’s ideological and religious bias is real and troubling, particularly in a resource that continues to be treated by many as an unbiased reference work.’
Wikipedia pages related to socialism and communism contain show how the website has ‘become merely left-wing advocacy essays,’ according to Fox News.
‘The two main pages for “Socialism” and “Communism” span a massive 28,000 words, and yet they contain no discussion of the genocides committed by socialist and communist regimes, in which tens of millions of people were murdered and starved,’ the Fox News analysis claims.
Sanger told the outlet he is now working on a new ‘Encyclosphere’ project but said he doesn’t think Wikipedia could be ‘salvaged.’
His own Wikipedia page documents a long history of criticism against the site he co-founded.
Sanger’s woes with the company were first revealed in 2004 when he wrote an article for the website Kuro5hin.
Sanger’s article claimed that Wikipedia, which calls itself ‘the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit,’ is not perceived as credible by librarians and academics because it lacks a formal review process and is ‘anti-elitist.’
In 2007, Sanger criticized Wikipedia again after the launch of Citizendium, another wiki-based encyclopedia he created to address the ‘flaws’ with Wikipedia.
Sanger said Wikipedia was ‘broken beyond repair’ and had ‘a whole series of scandals’ from ‘serious management problems’ to ‘frequently unreliable content,’ according to IT News.
The techie again distanced himself from Wikipedia in September 2009 when he claimed: ‘I thought that the project would never have the amount of credibility it could have if it were not somehow more open and welcoming to experts.’
‘The other problem was the community had essentially been taken over by trolls to a great extent. That was a real problem, and Jimmy Wales absolutely refused to do anything about it,’ Sanger told Internet Revolution.
Sanger sent a letter to the FBI in April 2010 claiming that Wikimedia Commons was hosting child pornography, according to a BBC article.
‘I think Wikipedia never solved the problem of how to organize itself in a way that didn’t lead to mob rule,’ Sanger said in an interview with Vice in November 2015.
‘People that I would say are trolls sort of took over. The inmates started running the asylum.’
In the Vice interview, Sanger equated the alleged trolls that took over the platform with modern-day social justice warriors.
He again called Wikipedia ‘a broken system’ in a May 2019 interview with 150Sec, his page noted. He said the leaders did not ‘come up with a good solution’ ‘to stop bad actors from ruining the project.
Sanger described Wikipedia as ‘badly biased’ in a May 2020 blog post in which he claimed the site no longer had an effective neutrality policy.
‘The notion that we should avoid “false balance” is directly contradictory to the original neutrality policy. As a result, even as journalists turn to opinion and activism, Wikipedia now touts controversial points of view on politics, religion, and science,’ he wrote.
A Fox News analysis claims that Wikipedia articles on Socialism and Communism are biased
Sanger claimed in his blog post that the Wikipedia article on Donald Trump is ‘unrelentingly negative’ but the site’s article on Barack Obama ‘completely fails to mention many well-known scandals.’
‘As you can imagine, the idea that the article is neutral is a joke. Just for example, there are 5,224 none-too-flattering words in the “Presidency” section,’ Sanger wrote.
He added: ‘Wikipedia frequently asserts, in its own voice, that many of Trump’s statements are “false.” Well, perhaps they are. But even if they are, it is not exactly neutral for an encyclopedia article to say so.’
Sanger’s comments to Fox News had not yet been added to his Wikipedia page by Saturday night.
The Wikimedia Foundation responded to Fox News with a statement noting that: ‘Wikipedia is a living, breathing project, and is always evolving just as our shared understanding of a topic does.’
The response also noted that the foundation does not directly control content on Wikipedia, which is written by volunteer editors.
A Wikimedia Foundation spokesperson said that a Harvard study ‘shows how the more people edit an article, the more neutral it becomes,’ according to Fox News.
The spokesperson ‘also pointed to another study that found that page quality is higher when editors are more politically diverse, and lower when they think alike,’ according to the Fox News analysis.