I keep telling anybody who’ll listen, anytime the subject comes up: Always go to the Wikipedia talk page when you do your “researching” on Wikipedia!. Take what you read in the main article with a huge grain of salt if you find a big back-and-forth melee going on in the talk page, for you can take it to the bank that if there’s a disagreement going on between conservative and liberal editors, it will be “resolved” by way of the liberal editors locking the article down after they’ve made sure to get the last word in. Which means what you’ve just read is mostly nothing but pure bovine product. If you’re gleaning this information for any kind of actual purpose, it goes without saying that this is something you should know. Information is meaningless without the “meta data”; without context.
And if there isn’t anything going on back there at all, you should probably still take the main article with a grain of salt because you might be reading a bunch of “everybody knows” gibberish without too much thought behind it.
Our first example is Socialism. The discussion behind this article has always been bubbly and effervescent, as one would reasonably expect. But did you know how convoluted and complicated things can get?
 Should wikipedia cater to fringe views?
- It is not a fringe view and warrants a brief message. Not everyone believes that in the Soviet Union the people had effective control and owership of the economy and that the Communist Party represented the popular will. TFD (talk) 22:49, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
- You seem to be using the word socialism as a synonym for democracy. In that case the term socialism is completely redundant and useless. A50000 (talk) 20:21, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
- No it would mean that the concept is useless and redundant. TFD (talk) 21:31, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
- What concept? A50000 (talk) 21:46, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
- Socialism. TFD (talk) 22:02, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
- What is your point? A50000 (talk) 22:09, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
- You argued that because in democratic countries the people have effective control and owership of the economy that the term socialism is useless and redundant. My point is that is an argument that the concept, not the term, is useless and redundant. TFD (talk) 22:31, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
- You have completely misunderstood what I wrote…
I only excerpted part of it…
This conversation was started in the last week-and-a-half or so. It’s pretty typical for the Socialism talk page; but, we’ll be finding better examples than that, under other entries, of this I’m quite sure…
In the case of this particular topic, one should already have one’s cackles up before one thinks of flipping to the Talk Page, because of the clear and obvious interest an agenda-driven progressive individual or group might have, in distorting the definitions. Also, as I pointed out back at my own place awhile ago — we can’t rely on the textbook definitions of “communism” and “socialism” because they simply don’t work.
There is an important lesson to take away from this. You have to be careful about what you’re reading. We have a tendency to take things for granted when we read them on the “innertubz,” to suspend reasonable questions we might have had if we’d heard the same thing from an actual human being.Loading Likes...