<CPOV> The Wikipedia Cult

Jon Awbrey jawbrey at att.net
Mon May 31 16:06:41 CEST 2010

Nathaniel & All,

The good of a concept or a term of description, more or less following
Kant and Peirce, is that it unifies a manifold of sense impressions.

As it happens, my work on social and technical means of facilitating inquiry
led me study the factors that "block inquiry", in other words, that inhibit
critical reflective thinking, long before I ever encountered the worldview
of the Wikipedian true believer.  One of the telltale signs of a closed
belief system that I kept noticing was one that I dubbed the "cul-de-sac" --
rhymes with "cultist act".  This is any plank of a belief platform that
keeps those who stand on it from reflecting critically on its fundamental
structures and evaluating their suitability for the espoused common purpose.

For my part, I am skeptical of the hypothesis that "Peter Damian" asserted
to lead off that sample thread -- I don't think I'd trace every deleterious
effect of the Wikipedia Complex to a ''single'' mad belief, but I can see
some sense in trying to unify the manifold of otherwise senseless impressions.


nathaniel tkacz wrote:
> i don' think the question of whether wikipedia is or is not a cult is a
> useful one. what is there to add by calling it a cult? what does it get you
> besides a scary term? it seems clumsy and glib. i don't think there is any
> insight in lengthy debates about this. our task here should be to aim higher
> than these kinds of debates.
> for the record, going by the wikipedia review definition one could argue
> that they themselves have cult-like sensibilities: there one mad belief is
> that wikipedia is a cult! (and of course it would be denied, and of course
> that would only strengthen the argument, but not make it a good one!)
> best
> Nate Tkacz
> Research Fellow,
> RMIT University
> Twitter: http://twitter.com/__nate__
> Homepage: www.nathanieltkacz.net
> Current project: http://networkcultures.org/wpmu/cpov/about-2/
> On Mon, May 31, 2010 at 11:18 PM, Jon Awbrey <jawbrey at att.net> wrote:
>> Of course every cult or groupthinktank
>> will have its checklist of reasons why
>> it isn't a cult or groupthinktank ...
>> There are numerous long-running threads
>> at ''The Wikipedia Review'' on this issue --
>> Here's just one:
>> http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?showtopic=17175
>> Jon


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