Jimmy Wales rants at holistic healers petitioning Wikipedia

25 Mar 2014
Jimmy Wales

Wikipedia founder attacks "lunatic charlatans" calling for a less aggressive stance to holistic healing

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has issued a sharp response to petitioners calling for his site to "allow for true scientific discourse" on holistic healing.

The petition, currently running on the Change.org site, claims that much of the information on Wikipedia relating to holistic approaches to healing is "biased, misleading, out of date, or just plain wrong". It has attracted almost 8,000 supporters at the time of publication.

What we won't do is pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of 'true scientific discourse'

"For five years, repeated efforts to correct this misinformation have been blocked and the Wikipedia organisation has not addressed these issues," the petition claims.

"As a result, people who are interested in the benefits of Energy Medicine, Energy Psychology and specific approaches such as the Emotional Freedom Techniques, Thought Field Therapy and the Tapas Acupressure Technique turn to your pages, trust what they read, and do not pursue getting help from these approaches which research has, in fact, proven to be of great benefit to many."

Wales's response to the petition, posted on the same page, is far from conciliatory: "No, you have to be kidding me," he writes. "Every single person who signed this petition needs to go back to check their premises and think harder about what it means to be honest, factual, truthful."

"Wikipedia's policies around this kind of thing are exactly spot-on and correct. If you can get your work published in respectable scientific journals - that is to say, if you can produce evidence through replicable scientific experiments, then Wikipedia will cover it appropriately.

"What we won't do is pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of 'true scientific discourse'. It isn't."

Edit wars

Wikipedia has been caught in many so-called edit wars over the years, on a variety of controversial topics, and has frequently been accused of granting disproportionate control to a small cabal of editors.

Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger left the organisation in 2002, claiming it had been "taken over by trolls to a great extent", and set up the rival Citizendium, which offered bylined articles that had been reviewed by experts in their respective fields.

Although Sanger left Citizendium in 2010, the site continues to this day, with around 16,700 articles.

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