The Truth According To Wikipedia

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Ratings: 7.45/10 from 20 users.

The Truth According To WikipediaGoogle or Wikipedia? Those of us who search online - and who doesn't? - are getting referred more and more to Wikipedia. For the past two years, this free online encyclopedia of the people has been topping the lists of the world's most popular websites. But do we really know what we're using? Backlight plunges into the story behind Wikipedia and explores the wonderful world of Web 2.0. Is it a revolution, or pure hype? Director IJsbrand van Veelen goes looking for the truth behind Wikipedia. Only five people are employed by the company, and all its activities are financed by donations and subsidies. The online encyclopedia that everyone can contribute to and revise is now even bigger than the illustrious Encyclopedia Britannica.

Does this spell the end for traditional institutions of knowledge such as Britannica? And should we applaud this development as progress or mourn it as a loss? How reliable is Wikipedia? Do the people really hold the lease on wisdom? And since when do we believe that information should be free for all? In this film, "Wikipedians," the folks who spend their days writing and editing articles, explain how the online encyclopedia works. In addition, the parties involved discuss Wikipedia's ethics and quality of content. It quickly becomes clear that there are camps of both believers and critics.

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56 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Christopher S Andrews Jr

    For being so intelligent they're missing the whole point of the internet when it comes to blogs, media, and other forms or social networks. Many are relying on the internet as an unbiased place of information because our current traditional "news outlets" are corrupt controlling propaganda machines, owned by the 1% that are manipulating our opinions of events by showing us the information they want us to know or focus on.

  2. Jacek Walker

    Anyone trying to tell me what to watch, to eat or read have already lost me. It a sort of violence and I really don't like it and don't accept it.

  3. Guest

    Hum... Reminds me that at work while searching for new sources of raw material on Google I often need to type into the Google advanced search engine -Wikipedia so that their website doesn't come out in the results.

    But at other times, Wikipedia is reliable enough as when one wants the solubility of a given salt in water for instance. They have all these type of datas.
    Copied from some handbooks I guess but with some nice colors & designs as well.

    In the end, who would waste time to enter false chemical datas in an Wikipedia webpage?
    Beside, Wikipedia admin would know and be advised pretty swiftly.
    I didn't had any Chem Handbook for years!
    Even in organic synthetis, I have electronic PDF file books. I carry my library on a 32 Gigs MemStick!

    But there are time not to trust many websites and simply filter these nuisances.


    1. Freemon Sandlewould

      Wikipedia is quite useful in all case when used correctly. If you want to go there and get a recipe for baking advanced organic molecules perhaps you are the one that is error. If you want to get a good overview of an area Wikipedia is the place.

      From what I've seen Wikipedia haters are pretty odd people with a bent towards authoritarian rule.

  4. knowledgeizpower

    Woah whats going on over here on this Doc I must have missed something...I just read over the comments Hmmm...I think I must give this one a View.

  5. human2011

    Wikipedia sucks.. Its admins hold all the powers and will remove any thing until they want it there.. If you argue or try to reason with them; they will ban you or worse your ip.. So it is free to edit but not available for all. Most admins of wikipedia are of western origin and the whole wikipedia is written from their viewpoint. Thus they banned IPs covering Northern Utah once due to scientology and mormons. Similarly they write degrading pieces about Hindu culture and India and Muslims and Middle-east.. Totally biased.. I had to fight for a month and got cyberbullied and banned many times when some admins got adventurous and added sub-sections like Hindus and Arabs have genetic defects which decline their cognitive abilites and they were basing these arguments on some obscure article in an obscure journal.. I have now enough of them...

  6. Snoik

    Hmmm... anyone who says the words library and book with the fingered inverted commas definitaly needs to be taken outside and given a slap.
    His tone of voice is as if those words are myths as if anyone using them is a cretin. I read, therefore i have the right to critisize and condone.

  7. Shah Gee

    Very Nice Documentary ... we should open ours Minds now

  8. poorenglishjuggler

    what the hell is an Internet Guru? I wanna be 1

  9. Allison Hunt


    Want proof? Go to Wikipedia and try to look up Sayanim (singular sayan). It's not on Wikipedia because the entry has been permanently deleted by Jew Wikipedia owners. A Sayan is a Jew willing to commit crimes for other Jews while asking as few questions as possible (thus limiting liabilities to all involved). The Jew network of Sayan is referred to as Sayanim. Abraham Zapruder (the Russian Jew dress maker from Dallas who claimed taking the 1963 JFK assassination film) was a Sayam.

    Not only is Wikipedia biased, it has a particular bias... a Jew bias. The fables promoted by Wikipedia (and supported by the American ruling regime) regarding 9/11 is a Jew bias. The fable promoted by Wikipedia (and the US government) that the Apollo program had men walking on the moon is also a Jew bias. And so on and so on. Want to know more? I would recommend articles written by John Kaminski.

    If you need to know standard bolt sizes and threading, Wikipedia is fine. However, anything that could possibly spin political, will. And that political spin will agree with the Jew agenda. Caveat emptor.

    1. snoopysnoopypoopdog

      Why is anti-Semitism cool?

    2. steamknife

      Obviously Allison has crossed the line into an antisemite. However, if a term exists (not matter how disturbing), they should not be filtered and deserved to be known. I believe the word "Nigga" is much more offensive than "Sayanim" and yet that "N" word is available for search on Wiki. Also, the word "Chink" can be found on Wiki. Should those 2 words be filtered? I don't think so and neither does "Sayanim".

    3. will

      I found it on Wikipedia under:
      Clandestine HUMINT operational techniques

      Sayanim are Jews living outside Israel as foreign citizens that volunteer to provide assistance to the Mossad. This assistance includes facilitating medical care, money, logistics, and even overt intelligence gathering, yet sayanim are only paid for their expenses. No official number is known, but estimates put the number of sayanim in the thousands. The existence of this large body of volunteers is one reason why the Mossad operates with fewer case officers than fellow intelligence agencies.

      Another kind of resource could include foreign offices owned or operated by nationals of the country in question. A step farther is a proprietary, or business, not just individuals, under non-official cover. Both kinds of business can provide information from recruitment, unwitting agents, or support functions. Small and medium aviation-related businesses have been popular US proprietaries, including Air America and Southern Air Transport.

      Once the service has a presence in aviation, it may become aware of persons, in private business, civil service, or the military, who fly to destinations of interest. They may mention it in innocent conversation, such as at the airport's restaurant or bar. They also may be assumed to be going there, based by analysis of flight departure times, aircraft type, duration of trip, and their passengers or cargo.

      Having routine access to an airport can reveal: "Who’s coming and going, on and off the record? What’s in the hangars and warehouses? What are the finances? Political connections and loyalties? Access to planes on the ground? Flight plans?" It must be emphasized that a transportation-related proprietary—truck stops, boat maintenance, and other industry-specific businesses, have to operate as a real business. Occasionally, they may produce a profit, and that can be confusing for headquarters financial managers, provide a local but perhaps traceable source of funds, or both .[8]

      Public relations firms have long been useful proprietaries .[9] In a given country of operations, or perhaps adjacent countries that are concerned about the actions of their neighbor, news releases placed by experienced public relations professionals can help mold relevant opinion. Care must be taken that the news release does not "blow back" on the clandestinely sponsoring country.

      Another viable industry for proprietaries is natural resources exploration. If, hypothetically, a mining company operated in a country where there are both resources deposits and non-national group sanctuaries, a proprietary company could get information on both, and also provide access and support services. If the proprietary began mining operations, it would naturally have access to explosives, which might be made available to sabotage groups in neighboring areas.

    4. Israel Navas Duran

      It's not Jewish, it's a Liberal bias. For instance, I don't think the Jewish would be so eager to back the Global Warming Theory.

  10. Rachelnico

    I'm pretty sure everyone knows that wikipedia is a source of biased information!

  11. Sieben Stern

    i think wikipedia goes hand in hand with the modern day concept of 'personal truths' between religiosity's 'believe therefore it exists', and the fox news who makes facts fit the message. there is getting to be a wider and wider gap between what really is and what people manipulate others to believe.

    the truth is not popular consensus and shouldn't be left to people with a stark agenda.

    wikipedia is good for looking up nonsense trivia, like tv shows or movies.

  12. Riana

    Rather a horde of human "amature" mindsets and constant editors, than one likely corrupt and permanent expert.

    Why do people add a "holy" value to books, they are as just as opinionated as the web.

    If I read a Russian novel from the 50's about the United States it might be written by an "expert" but you can buy 1 expert more easily than 1000 amatures.

  13. Msafwan

    It is how we use it that matter, not all wikipedia article is vulnerable to random change. Article that appeal to kids and amateurs would change randomly, but article that is unthinkable by amateur would only be touched by the educated. If someone is not quite educated in technical stuff then how could imagine them exist? if someone doesn't know the term that represent specific technical term; then how would they search in google? no; it is beyond imagination how large world knowledge that exist.

  14. Tom (


    I'm not sure how your comment applies to this video however, since you bring it up, Orwell was a human being. As such, a fallible one. Like all before him and all after him. 1984, as with any piece of literature, is imperfect. I have read it. Yes, if even a single individual obtains or moves an infinitesimally small step towards gaining a piece of wisdom, it will not have been written in vain.

    The point I would like to make though is that if Orwell were around today and I was a betting man, I bet one of the things he would say is this: "the volume of doom and gloom which my book has generated has reached Orwellian proportions" (pun intended). There is another theory Mike: all prophecies, believed vigorously enough, become self-fulfilling.

  15. Mike

    "Who controls the past controls the future: Who controls the present controls the past."

    George Orwell. 1984.

    1. KingGeorgeIV

      I think we can all agree with that

  16. BlaketheSnake

    I think the strength of the internet is its ability to connect people to each other and to information. It is a tool like any other and it's uses are only limited by the imagination.
    We live in an individualistic society, so naturally we have a "narcissistic" side to its use.
    But communal cultures, or more active citizens, or those who work for social progress can and do use it in a very different way.
    Its a bit like the telephone, you can use it to gossip about vain things, or people can have serious and insightful conversations on it and then get to work.
    Also something to keep in mind though, when television was making it's first appearance, a lot of the same things were said of it. That it was going to bring free and instant knowledge to the masses and allow for a more informed populous. Now we simply call it the "boob tube".

  17. Hodin

    I personally found it all a bit silly. Yes, social media is inherently narcissistic but is it really that big of a deal. I think this guy to basically be an intellectual snob with no sense of proportion. It's not like he's showing surgeons learning how to do surgery from some wiki. Hillary Clinton made the same case in trying to regulate internet bloggers. If you can't use critical thinking I don't think switching to some other media format is going to help you much. I've always believed that learning how to think to be more important than rote learning.

    Just my $1 (inflation)

  18. Creatio-whaa!?

    This guy in the red is a moron who fancies himself MUCH more insightful, original, and intelligent than he really is. Who the **** is he to preach to me about what is the right, proper, best way to use my technology/computer/internet, what to read, how to spend my time? His whole rant is that mass expression via the internet is inundating humanity with a flood of banality and he is merely adding his own hypocritical, unoriginal, overused, rehashed, faux-intellectuality to the tidal wave... give me a freaking break.

    He's like the guy in line at Starbucks talking in a too-loud "I want to be heard" voice, *****ing about how the coffee industry is horrible and exploitive of the poor coffee farmer, then he steps up to the counter and orders a double late without missing a beat, and continues his asinine conversation with his pal as they go to sit down.

    Or he's like the guy what will go on and on and on about the terrible, community-destroying, worker-enslaving, immorality that Wal-Mart represents, while half the **** in his house is from Wal-Mart.

    His essential viewpoint and the uninformed, "oh goodie goodie, look at me, i'm original!" garbage is the EXACT kind of vapid crap that is gumming up the internets!

    At any rate, he misses the point. The one element he misses is that the internet represents CHOICE. Nobody is forced to read ANY website, blog, tweet, facebook page, etc. If you view the internet as a whole, yeah, there are a lot of pointless, annoying, trashy, banal things I don't like. So what? I don't go to those sites. No big deal. And hey, somebody might just happen to have like stuff that I find dumb. That's the cool thing about choice.

    Oh and my 2 cents on the Wikipedia topic: For a general introduction to a new topic or as a quick reference guide, Wikipedia is great, and the information is, generally speaking, quite reliable. The more in-depth and meticulous you get in your research, the bigger the grain of salt.

    For example, in my Greek History class, my professor openly admitted to using a couple pictures from Wikipedia as examples of particular architecture in Athens, but she noted that picture X was labeled as a "temple" on Wikipedia, while it was actually a civic building. Now, trust Wikipedia? Or trust the PhD who has physically been to the exact location in the image several times and conducted archaeological digs in the area on a couple occasions? I'll go with the PhD, duh.

    For me, that illustrated my view nicely. Actual knowledge, hard work, and study will never be obsolete. And when in doubt, go with the person with training, experience, and expertise in the subject matter. However, for general elementary level introductions to virtually any topic on Earth, Wikipedia is a fantastic and extremely useful tool.

  19. James Kikon

    Well, I am not here to attack anyone but I would say Andrew Keen's views are very conservative for any good. But both sides have some relevant points I thought was good to know.

    Even before watching this documentary, I myself realized after using Wikipedia, that it cannot be totally trusted, and the creditability of the authors is a matter of concern. All I can do is to be skeptical and keep on searching till I find information that is closest to what I am looking for.

    I do check out Wikipedia or Google, but as a first source of reference. There is so much information on the Internet, and that has its pros and cons. But so are any other traditional sources. There are so many books written on a subject by so many authors, with different views. I can't agree with them all? Unless a good book is referred to me by a creditable person, I would spend good amount of time in the library. The same is the case with Internet information. I have to be skeptical till I find something I believe is nearest to what I am looking for or that I am contented with.

    Well, all I have to say is that the internet has given us a great platform for every one to share and communicate.That is the plus point. And Social Networking is good. Even 5 minutes fame :). But Wikipedia model might not be so good for matter of serious information, where just anyone can log in and tamper good information already there. Its true that we might take some not-so-accurate information written by a kid to be true. We have to crosscheck what we are reading.

  20. Dodgy

    When I first heard about wikipedia it was on NPR in my car. I was so blown away by this and knew that it would take off, when I got home I pushed my boyfriend out of the way talking to me and said I've got to hear the rest of this and turned on my home stereo to the station to absorb how far they had come on the project because I don't think they had said the domain name yet.

    Ways that I think wikipedia can be used as a tool.

    When I read something on wikipedia sometimes it's for a refresher. I have already been taught this by an "educated person regurgitating what the textbook or encyclopedia called truth" ie:a teacher. I have heard that side, what I get sometimes from wiki is a reminder of the specific details and I can compare that to my own memory refresh and say whethere I had heard or not of that portion then research that minutia.
    Lesson: Reading a wiki can sometimes enhance what you already know or refresh what you haven't used regularly and bring it all back.

    I have a technical job. I do programming but sometimes a client wants to know the whys of something or I need to explain a term. With wiki I can go check for the term if I agree that this is a good way to explain it, I can then send it to them to view. In a way I peer reviewed it before I approved it. It also kept me from typing it all out - saving me time!
    Lesson: Wiki can be used as a resource to quickly deliver as much information as someone wants to research about because it's linked. All they need is a starting term and they are off. It saves time - rather than say the same thing (if you agree) send the wiki link.

    The only thing I see as agreeable about the man in the red shirt was when he said that we are becoming a me me me on the net. I have multiple companies right now all asking me to make them #1 on google search results and they all do the same thing. How can I please them all? And when another one comes along - they will also want to be first.

    Blogging I don't find as exciting as some. Ok, it's someone's opinion but I like it shortened like this comment I'm posting. I don't need to return daily to see their future comments and e-stalk them (rss feed them).

    Myspace, twitter, facebook - all junk to me and just a way people are being comforted into giving up way too much information. I really predict doom on this one and will not subscribe to them. As if I even need another thing to keep me on the net with inbox information about everytime someone ate a meal or did "a thing". I would worry about social media before I would be concerned about OCD editors on wikipedia that feel like they make a contribution to the world by participating.

    That's just my view tho - another internet nobody who you can't touch or see :D

  21. James

    I am not here to back up Keen's opinion but I don't understand how personal attacks are supposed to counter his argument.Your mention of musical genius will not work unless you are going to say that someone could become musicians like Mozart or Hendrix through reading. In addition, his point about the "hippies" had to do with denying forms of authority including specifically authority over knowledge. Keen did not say that hippies were stupid or make any comment close to that. Keen's criticism of genius had to do with knowledge that can be learned and there are several historical examples behind his point. Darwin hastily published his Origin of Species because there were others who were about to publish theories very close to his. Watson and Crick are usually the only names remembered for discovering the helical structure of DNA while all the other contributors are long forgotten. Einstein came up with the idea of relativity but looked to the mathematics created by others in order to prove it. This was the point he made against geniuses! Often what we refer to genius relied upon the works of many individuals, not just one! There are countless examples, like those I have mentioned, found behind most of the so-called great discoveries. And his criticism of blogs was meant to illuminate the fact that there are no constraints or any level of journalistic integrity such as that which goes into a newspaper publication. You can't even write a letter to the editor without them confirming the identity of the author! CNN is more entertainment than news. It is filled with panels of self acclaimed experts that do nothing more than throw their opinions out at the viewer. News is "what actually happened", not what will likely happen, or not likely happen. These conjectures make up almost 90% of CNN's daily broadcast. I am sure there are tons of examples of CNN's mistakes when taking into account how much of it is not even news. The reporting of Michael Jackson's death on CNN is a prime example of the almost unthinkable amount of reporting CNN can create from such a small number of actual facts! When you think of it, CNN is really more like a collection of bloggers than a news source.
    You are right that criticism is nothing new. Writers are traditionally criticized by the same and musicians by musicians, scientific discoveries by scientists and so on. Criticism is essential to many processes. Where would medicine be today if we dismissed all criticism of established practices or treatments? Keen is an expert on forms of knowledge and he never strays from that position.
    It is ironic that the very thing you accuse Keen of doing is exactly what you are doing in your comment. You accuse Keen of not having the credibility to knock the achievements of those you list (arbitrarily I might add) and yet you criticize Keen's argument even though you are completely ignorant of the points he actually made in the interview. That is why you have to attack him personally, I suppose, rather than produce any legitimate counter whatsoever to his claims. Such pointless and useless criticism like yours is a common ingredient of online comments and blogs. If he was really as stupid as you seem to think, I doubt the producer would have spent so much of the documentary on Keen's argument. Finally, saving the fact that English might not be your first language, your comment appears to be the rant of someone clearly uneducated which further diminishes your own credibility regarding forms of knowledge.

  22. Marko

    Andrew Keen absolutely don't know what he's talking about. Somewhere at 40:00 he said that he don't believes in concept of genius. Then what Mozart was?! Beethoven, or Felix Mendelssohn. I mean, one of my favourite classical pieces "Fingal's Cave" Mendelssohn composed at the age of 21! Mozart died at 35, nowadays you have thousands of people who still study music at that age.
    Keen probably never had talent in anything except talking BS about someone's else achievements, that's his way to pick some glory. Like some parasite. Humanity always had this kind of parasites, they wait other people to think of something, invent something and then they appear spitting on it. That's the only way for them to exist. He calls himself elitist. What a joke. You know, he has more education than Bill Gates and Steve Jobs together, so they are amateurs that don't know anything, and Andrew Keen is a BRAIN OF MANKIND. He's just on the lowest levels of stupidity. He also hates people who have their blogs and that they should read newspapers. How many times CNN was caught in lie? Oh, no, that doesn't happens in Andrew Keen's narrow minded world. Everything that he sees on TV and read in newspapers is true and fact.

    He also hates hippies...Hendrix didn't had any musical education. Maybe he should pay a visit to Wikipedia and f***ing read something.

    1. mike

      He said reliable newspapers etc. If people spent as much time being critical of & holding the mass media accountable to what they print or air, there wouldn't be vagueness about what is or is not a fact. Then the individual can make an informed opinion.

      What we should have done is kept the media from being controlled by a very few individuals. We should be trying to get media groups that are small and well informed; not small people contributing to huge media projects with little creditability.

      He's also not spitting on people's achievements; he's critiquing the way that egoistic little children are devaluing something that has a great potential.

      His mention of Ayn Rand's notion that an individual is greater than a group was great. A record producer has an engineer, an artist, and a bunch of other people supporting the effort to realize a great vision/ idea. The thought that some kid with a laptop and protools is going to make the next 'White Album' is an amateur way of thinking. Professionals put in the work.

      And where would Mozart's music be today if he had never learned to notate music? He would be another legend/ fable in the annuls of truthiness.

  23. James

    Back to Wikipedia. As a scholarly resource, Wikipedia is unusable anyway since all professors (at least all those I have studied under) refuse to accept its legitimacy as such. However, I have found more value in its collection of sources when researching a topic. While the information written in a Wikipedia article is often too general or biased, many of the links posted in the lists of sources or those found at the end of the article are often quite exceptional. Many of the best websites I have found through Wikipedia would have taken me eons to find through traditional search engines. Therefore, I often use Wikipedia as a starting point to discovering useful and comparably legitimate sources of information. Personally, I think Wikipedia poses less danger to developing minds than television does. Learning has always been about the search for truth and not simply a regurgitation of what we have read so I don't consider Wikipedia a threat to its existence. The internet took shape during my thirties as well and after experiencing higher education during both its presence and its absence, I must applaud the internet's development. I think of how much the music industry changed with the epoch of Napster and how many record discs and tapes once contributed to our waste. Having originally cried the blues, the music companies now rake in the profits made selling the songs one at a time, charging three times the amount that once required the additional production of an album, cassette, or cd. Now with the popularity of ebooks growing, many publishers and romantic book lovers lament the foreseen death of its traditional form rather than applaud its transition to one that does not require the added environmental damage inflicted by the paper industry. Again, considering the small number of books that fill our libraries and collector's shelves, most copies end up in our garbage anyway. I now have access to an online library that exceeds my wildest dreams. The internet also provides a forum for open and unrestricted publication for writers whose work might never have reached outside the author's walls in the past.

  24. Tom (

    Mike in Boulder,

    Fair point. I'll take that one on the chin.

    Without trying to excuse my negligence, the article I had in mind when I wrote what you quoted was out and out mischievous. Although I was not in any way informed on the topic (I confess, I forget which subject it was), I knew that someone had gone in there to play a prank. The article was two to three sentences long and was making jibes regarding the topic. I dismissed it out of hand without a second thought and moved on. For me at the time, it was half a minute wasted and nothing more. I agree. The best thing to do would have been to raise an alert. Having forgotten what it was, I can now only apologise for, yes, my negligence. You have my support in the argument you have just made.

  25. Mike in Boulder

    "I have gone to topics which I know something about and read articles which are down right mischievious. That doesn’t happen in an environment where an author must submit his/her article for review."

    Tom, those Wikipedia articles *were* submitted for review ...yours! If you are such an expert on those topics, who better to play the role of skeptical editor? When you threw up your hands in disgust, you were giving the articles your tacit approval. You should've just edited them, tagged them for whatever fixes were needed, or attempted to collaborate with the other author-editors by raising your concerns on the article discussion pages. That's what everybody else is doing, at least on the articles that *do* meet with your approval. That's why it works!

  26. Tom (


    I'd have had something different to say if it wasn't so obvious that you are making yourself anonymous.

    Your interest seems to be to attack the person rather than put in the effort to make an argument. A foundation in what I have said or an example of what you have experienced in this world doesn't seem to even be in the ballpark at this stage.

  27. J

    @Tom: Way to nit pick someone to make yourself feel better. You are a shallow human being. Happy Trolling!

  28. Tom (


    "It is sad, however, that you require the Internet to give you greater levels of confidence."

    Excuse me? Where did I say that I *require* the Internet to give me more confidence? Should I also tell you that it is sad you require the military to give you more confidence?

    I limited my response to what you wrote in your comment.

    From my experience, reading books, magazines, newspapers, listening to a radio or watching TV requires no greater mobility than using the Internet. Audio books also just came to mind.

    You write:

    "I have done nothing but surf the Internet since late January to the end of August 2010. At least 12-14 hours a day. (I’m recovering from a bad accident)."

    I'll leave it for others to judge how they interpret the word 'surf'. If you use the Internet to communicate with family and friends, send gifts and work on video and music clips (all admirable activities), why attack it? The very point I was making is that it opens doors.

    I wish to ask you something: when someone puts you down by calling you a Troll, how do you respond? I want to be clear on something. I have nothing against you as a person. I'm sure you are an intelligent, living, breathing human being - as I am. As we all are in our own way. My objection is to what you have said. If raising an objection is equivalent to trolling in your mind, I'm happy to wish you luck and go our separate ways.

  29. Viking

    @ Tom:
    I'm sure you are a much better and efficient person than I am and thrive in your super human cleverness. Bravo! It is sad, however, that you require the Internet to give you greater levels of confidence. Try serving in the military. That helps with confidence as well. Surviving a good fire fight or getting back to base from a patrol in hostile territory does wonders for confidence, believe me.

    I'm paralyzed from mid-chest down. The doctors are extremely cautious about my mobility and frown on too much activity at this time. I figure they know what they are doing. For now, it's staying immobile as much as possible.

    I communicate with my family and friends, send Christmas and birthday gifts, and work on video and music clips for a friend's production company. 10 of those hours spent online are work related.

    You read too much into a person's passing comment. I suppose that makes you more confident and even more clever. You are proof of Troll's existence. Happy trolling! :)

  30. Tom

    Viking (28-August-2010),

    If it takes you 12-14 hours a day, for seven months to work out that the Internet is a waste of time *for you*, my strong view is that you lack imagination. Weren't you able to think up something else to do? Even something as traditional as reading newspapers, books, magazines.

    For many of us, the Internet has opened doors. I can chat to people from all over the world, exchange physical gifts with them, obtain a sense of culture from all corners of the planet. I have even been blessed enough to travel to five continents and meet those I have come into contact with online. It was at about the age of ten that I became involved with the Internet's pre-cursor: bulletin board systems. That was over twenty years ago. I have not looked back.

    In addition, I have learned far more and been able to research *and cross-check* far, far, FAR more than what I would ordinarily be able to with mainstream newspapers, radio, television and print libraries.

    Lets talk about the level of confidence I have in my knowledge as a result of the Internet. It exceeds that which I would have been able to garner from mainstream sources by a factor that makes astronomical numbers look microscopic.

    Bad accidents can have silver linings for many people. I'm not sure which is more unfortunate: the bad accident or your waste of time. In any case, a speedy recovery from here on out.

  31. Viking

    @ Eric:
    "eric11/16/2009 at 21:45
    i wonder if some of you actually think that cause of the web we are more in touch with the truth, when there is more nonsense on the web than anything else, the truth is not knowledge, on the contrary without understanding knowledge is like a brittle stick"

    I must agree with you. I have done nothing but surf the Internet since late January to the end of August 2010. At least 12-14 hours a day. (I'm recovering from a bad accident).
    I have been blown away by the misinformation that is presented on the web. It is baffling and unnerving and it sincerely worries me for the future minds and sensibility of our collective children. I was in my 30's when most of us where introduced to the marvel of the Internet. I have seen the way it has grown and affected public opinion. There is a monster in that Pandora's Box.
    @ Look@me:
    "Look@me06/05/2010 at 00:22
    I am sorry for wasting your time. I just want my 15 words of fame!"
    Thank you for the laugh! It really was 15 words, too. Aren't we clever? :D
    Best Wishes and thanks for adding some lightness to the often heavy plodding of a comments section. :)

  32. Lev821

    I know Wikipedia has been critised for not being exactly truthful sometimes, but I would rather trust it than any newspaper and biased news programmes.

  33. Tom


    I would like to take you up on your claim that

    "In point of fact, Wiki has shown to be marginally more accurate then many of those sources."

    How were you able to come to this conclusion?

    You can see from my comment immediately before yours that I, generally, support wikipedia. To go so far as to say that it is *more* accurate, if even only marginally, than encyclopedias and peer reviewed articles though is taking it too far in my view.

    I have seen some shocker wikipedia articles. I have gone to topics which I know something about and read articles which are down right mischievious. That doesn't happen in an environment where an author must submit his/her article for review by his/her peers. Where do you get the idea that wikipedia is more accurate?


  34. GeorgeF

    The point that they all miss, even peer reviewed articles, such as ones that appear in encyclopedias and (specialized) journals, have shown no more accuracy than Wiki! In point of fact, Wiki has shown to be marginally more accurate then many of those sources. The only reason it is not cited more frequently, is simple: The powers that be are not willing to admit that they are not the sole keepers of knowledge they would like us to believe they are!

  35. Tom

    From personal experience, I have refered to wikipedia as a first point of contact on subjects which I have taken seriously. I have then followed up the knowledge obtained there with independent sources such as NASA's website, university websites, specialist organisation websites and the wikipedia information has turned out to be correct. It behoves me to say though that, so far, about 3 topics have been researched. That is not much.

    More generally, here is my thing with traditional sources of information: it is harder to verify what is written there, unless you return to the web. The web also allows you to email people who have written an article (or participate in the discussion page with respect to wikipedia).

    In the documentary, I liked the African man the most and especially what he said at the end. I've seen YouTube videos of people's backyards and had a chat to them about it. No expert, no matter how many PhD's they have, would be able to come in and give me information which is superior to the person living there on a daily basis. On top of that, the YouTube uploader doesn't have to meet deadlines, sell newspapers, increase ratings or fight for additional research funding.

    To Judy Burns. Point me to an Encyclopedia Brittanica article which informs me about the last 18 months of drought currently being experienced in Australia at the moment. Wikipedia allows farmers to provide that information.

    On another note, anonymity can produce positive outcomes. There is a website called which allows someone within a government, a corporation or other institution to leak documents, videos, audio tapes etc. to the site. The site is built on a technical foundation which makes it impossible to trace where the information has come from. Sources therefore have the confidence that they will not be subject to retribution for the leak. This is a significant development on the web. It means that for the first time in human history, governments can't hide from the people, businesses can't hide from their customers/the community and corruption is far more easily exposed.

    I think I will continue to intelligently and with discernment continue to use the web to inform myself on matters which interest me.

  36. judy burns

    Andrew Keen is the one who knows what he's talking about, people. The kind of extreme intellectual relativism which those who support wikipedia espouse has no real worth. We will all be losers if we go down that path.

  37. Look@me

    I am sorry for wasting your time. I just want my 15 words of fame!

  38. Gromath

    I won't deny it's a quite interesting subject but this should have been called Wikipedia: A look into pompous nerds trying to use big words while acting pretentious. "intellectual masturbation" didn't George Constanza use that same phrase once?
    and what's with that bluegrassy that supposed to give it an ironic air to it?

  39. Raymond

    A real truth will stand the test of time. It should not up to the judgment of one entity to decide whether something is a truth.

  40. Divine Comedy

    Ok Keens does have a few points but he is mostly off the mark.

    First he says that technological advancement is not inevitable. But I heartily disagree, it has been proven through out the course of history that everything that can be done will be done. Every advancement in technology that is possible will be realized. The only way to fight this is with communitarian legalization of technology, and that is rather absurd from a modern point of view. And just as impossible as prohibiting alcohol to put in practice.

    Second he keeps going on and on about how expert opinions are valuable. Well no one saying that they are not. Expert opinions and validated sources are still required for any kind of academic or professional research. Also people who are truly interested or need serious information on something don't rely entirely on Wikipedia, and if they do then they are not individual that care to much about the information they get and would not do in-depth research with or without Wikipedia. For instance the other day, my grandfather (who is a big fan of technology) asked me about laser eye surgery just because he was curious, so not knowing to much about the subject i showed him the Wikipedia article, which gave a great organized and easy to follow overview. Now if i was considering getting such a surgery i would of course do in-depth research call the clinics get all the statistics and so on. but for the porpouses of curiosity this did just fine. Now if there were a few pieces of false info in the huge article, who cares, its mostly accurate and satisfies curiosity, in a serious matter more research is needed. if someone decided to have their eyes sliced open based solely on a wiki article then they most likely would have done no research at all if wiki was not available. In the case of academic research teachers always tell you not to use wiki as a source, which is perfectly legitimate. If someone is doing serious research they are not likely to use either wiki or a regular encyclopedia. Sometimes however back in high school i would use wiki as simply a source for sources, i would look up the wiki article on say hurricanes not even read it and go straight to the sources cited and try to pick out the legitimate ones. No one is taking wiki to be a verifiable source of info in a serious context, but for the purposes of curiosity and generally increasing knowledge its a great resource. And lets be honest most of the information on wiki is correct.

    Third, Keen seems to have this ultra conservative idea that there is a clear right or wrong and you must have a degree to have this ultimate knowledge, or further you need a degree to even open your mouth otherwise you should not be allowed to speak by law. Expert opinions are valued more because they have spent much time in trying to understand their area of study, and this is justifiable but it does not mean that everyone with a masters automatically has important things to say, and everyone without one can only say rubbish. People should be allowed to say, listen to, and read what they want. if you require a degree from someone in order to lend them your ear, fine, but to advocate that we need to stop technology in its tracks to shut up these morons on the web is absurd. Be they morons or not they have a right to speak and other morons have a right to listen.

    Fourth, he seems to have this weird dislike of technology. Computer bad, books good. Why? Just why? Can a moron not write a book? Its funny that he holds books in such high regard, when in fact the same things that he says about mass participation and mass access to knowledge with regard to the internet, could have easily in their time been said about the printing press. Its the same kind of technological advancement that was scary, inevitable, and allowed more information to be communicated to more and by more people. So to say the web is different is just close mindedness and lack of historical perspective. (something that could perhaps be remedied by reading varied opinions on the web)

    Finally , about the one point that he does get right. Increase in technology in general, but particularity personalized technology does tend to make us more lonely isolated and diminishes a sense of community. I wont go into detail bu i think this is and inevitable consequence, and its been happening progressively throughout history the internet is not a a specific phenomenon in this case.

  41. enys

    Andrew Keen is a conservative prick.
    He should be glad that I discovered his ugly mug through this web 2.0 site and actually shed him a thought or two.
    If it wasn't for this site he would already be forgotten. Anyways very good documentary!

  42. alberto

    sorry if I misspell something, english is not my first language.

    @ andrew keen & other critics of web 2.0:
    I think they expose a fair point, information gathered by thousands of unqualified people might not be the most accurate of sources, BUT, it's a valid source as well... this critics should create their own version of wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia run by experts and professors from around the world, that way people could choose where to get information from. Andrew keen seems to be stuck in criticism, if he's so passionate about truth and accurate information he should work on providing an alternative to wiki and such. He definitely oversees the power of free knowledge gathered by people from around the world. I think the main problem with this experts is that they want to get paid to share their knowledge and thats outdated.

    I'm happy with my unperfect but very useful wiki for now.


    1. Jacek Walker

      Hahah! Yea, are they the same "experts" who predicted the financial world crisis of 2008 before it started, I wonder.... ?
      Well, somehow I cannot remember their names. Not a single one.

  43. eric

    i wonder if some of you actually think that cause of the web we are more in touch with the truth, when there is more nonsense on the web than anything else, the truth is not knowledge, on the contrary without understanding knowledge is like a brittle stick

  44. nick

    that guy wearing red is missing the point so spectacularly and basically making a dick out of himself but hes so smug about it

  45. landosone

    Wikipedia makes sense. Neverending ability to revise and update entries and it beats purchasing an encyclopedia that becomes outdated as soon as it leaves the store. Community edited citations! Brilliant!

  46. Smith

    Ha, ha. The power of the authority. Index Librorum Prohibitorum (List of Prohibited Books). It has gone already.
    It's a time to create an index of knowledge and forms of expression proscribed by authority, so we have new European Union telecommunications regulations packet and there will be no such a problem soon.
    What the truth is? Where is the truth? Who has monopoly on it?
    Can you distinguish the difference between knowledge and opinion?
    Mostly you don't have any knowledge but you have a lot's of opinions dictated by authority. These opinions you recognise as a truth.
    So ",,,just do what they told you" despite to explore by your self, or try to be sceptic about authority.
    I recommend this book, for beginning : „Irrtümer der Wissenschaft. Verkannte Genies, Erfinderpech und kapitale Fehlurteile”, 1997 München by Luc Bürgin ("Mistakes of science, forgotten genius and their struggle.")

  47. Sam


  48. Sam

    whiny little smart-ass in the beginning doesn't like technological advancement, apparently