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Matty, I am a weirdo, I use Wikipedia!

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So I am A weirdo! :-)

I use Wikipedia and I contribute.

And what I can say is, that in my area of competence (statistics, mathematics and natural science) the information on Wikipedia are as accurate as in every other Encyclopedia.

I know,  it's en vogue speaking against Wikipedia now. "Nature took" the time and analyzed the data. (

And it's surprising that people on (I mean those who contribute on the fears of part) are against the principle of an open encyclopedia. Because the fears of part on is little else.

If somethings fundamentally wrong on Wikipedia it'll be corrected very soon. So it is on An often frequented open source project doesn't need an academic or scientific supervision, as long as the average contribution is good enough and/or the board is frequented  high enough by different people.

By the way, your beloved LINUX also is an open source project and the code gets better and better because many people contribute and test and if it is wrong they correct it. And now tell me Linux isn't the best operating system. There are many scientist and academics working on Windows, though! ;-)

Just my thoughts.


I don't know how accurate or inaccurate Wikipedia is (as a whole), but if it's truly open source, that does make it subject to less verification and editing controls than a traditional encyclopedia.  And vice versa, if it's subject to too much editing, (as in anyone can change any comment, anytime), that too would impact the reliability of the information.  I would assume that for most typical internet researches, it's probably not that bad of a source, and probably no less reliable than many other websites.  But that's not to say that it should be considered on par with every other encyclopedia.

Let's look closely at the topic you recently used it for.  You included information in the forums as if it was the authoritative source for determining which global organizations were terrorists.  Now I don't know most of the organizations on that listing, (and I suspect you don't either), but with a simple quick scan, I noted that the ANC was included (twice).  Once for being a terrorist organization and the second time for being a communist/terrorist organization. 

That's bullshit (as I already explained in that thread)....furthermore the ANC renounced its communist platform decades ago (nowhere was that they were presumably branded communist for life) and yet it's still included under the communist section.  Any knowledgeable (non-bias) reader of South African politics would know that the ANC party is far more pro-business/free market economy than Wikipedia would suggest.

The list also excludes all governmental and quasi-government organizations, (i.e., the apartheid South African government for example), that also (or have) commit(ed) acts of terror.

Now what about the other organizations that I know little about.  How can I now trust that the list is accurate, if I would dispute a couple of the few organizations that I am aware of.  To me, the entire list becomes suspect.

Hi Dark,

I'm not against Wackipedia - but I do use its pages with discretion. I tend to use it more as a springboard and not so much as an end result. I think it's a valuable tool when correctly used.


Hi Cliff

No I haven't used it as the authoritative source, I stated bold and clear that it was a "quick research on Wikipedia".

Authoritative source? No

Bullshit: No

Whats the authoritative source?

A governmental organisation?

George W. Bushs axis of evil?

John R. Boltons " beyond axis of evil?"

Mahmouds Ahmadinejad?

Another encyclopedia? Britannica, Brockhaus etc.

The UN

Swiss government ?

The ANC Homepage ?

I can only again quote Professor Adam Roberts:


The definition of terrorism

Since there are common factors, it ought to be possible to define terrorism. In the 1960s the UN General Assembly embarked on an attempt to do this. Initially little progress was made, partly because many states were reluctant to go far along the road of outlawing terrorism unless at the same time the 'causes of terrorism' were addressed. Other states saw this approach as implying that terrorism was a response to real grievances, and thereby insinuating that it was justified.

Thus the main emphasis at the UN was on limited practical measures. In a series of 12 international conventions drawn up between 1963 and 1999, particular terrorist actions, such as aircraft hijacking and diplomatic hostage-taking, were prohibited. As the 1990s progressed, and concern about terrorism increased, the UN General Assembly embarked on discussions about defining and outlawing terrorism generally. Its Legal Committee issued a rough draft of a convention, which:

    Reiterates that criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstances unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or other nature that may be used to justify them.

'Is it reliance on terror that truly distinguishes a movement from its political opponents?'

There are still disagreements between states about this draft convention. Even if it is eventually agreed, there is a difference between agreement on the general principle of outlawing terrorism and its application to particular facts. The labelling of individuals and movements as 'terrorist' will remain complicated and highly political. Two key questions arise: (1) Is it reliance on terror that truly distinguishes a movement from its political opponents? (2) Even if parts of a movement have employed terrorist methods, is 'terrorist' an accurate description of the movement as a whole, made up of many different wings, and employing many different modes of action?

- end of quote -

There have been different wings with more or less fundamental believes in the ANC as well.

ANC's militant part was  Umkonto we Sizwe, founded 1961 by the ANC and the SACP (Nelson Mandela itself  had an important role in this organisation and it needed much discussion with Albert John Luthuli,  President of the ANC at that time, to convince him). Albert John Luthuli by the way is holder of the Nobel price award. 

While it was most of the time sabotage, there have been casualties (for example 1986 when a car-bomb detonated in front of a Restaurant in Durban leaving 3 dead and over 70's injured).

Carbombings are terror acts if we like it or not and no matter what the background was, according to the UN def nition.

That the ANC as a whole was and is very important,  without question.

As you said terrorism  is in the eye of the beholder. But then again many (or most) organisations of that kind fight for their believes. And supporters always find that it's not a terror organisation or the terror acts are justifiable because they live in a climate of repression or unfairness and fighting for a bigger picture and fairness. I have Irish friends that support the IRA.

Nevertheless it's still a form if terror.

I am a supporter of the actions of the ANC. But to support the ANC, it was important for me to understand the history of this organisation and party.

The ANC today is highly respected everywhere.

I also like my country Switzerland even it was founded on an act of terror (the murder of Gessler). At least this is what Schiller wrote....

All the best


Matty the Damned:
I'll comment on this in the goodness of time.  ::)



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