Is the infinite banning of a person or persons from Wikipedia tantamount to destruction of free speech? It's a difficult argument for people to make as many would say 'well, you have the right to say anything you want and you don't have to use Wikipedia'.

And what they say may be true... But context is often the key to putting forward a message, and Google creates a prominent platform for Wikipedia, and with most of its competitors essentially copying Google -- perhaps due to its success; I'm not a 'Master Mason' so I wouldn't know all the insider practices of businesses -- doesn't Wikipedia end up being the defacto source for 'Truth Creation,' that is, the go-to source for those who wish to access a truth becomes a go to source for those with an interest in governing by creating those things which people believe to be true, assuming most people live their own lives according to what they believe...

So it is that when the defacto government is those people who create the truth as it is perceived, a ban from one of the main sources of truth creation amounts to a ban on political action, and thus a ban on some forms of democracy and the right to report events as they occur.

Or do people disagree? Either because there are other, more prominent methods of creating truth, or because they have some other issue with the lines of reasoning presented thus far?

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    What the hell is "Truth Creation"? Are you living in 1984 (the novel) world? Or is it A Brave New World? If you take whatever you read in Wikipedia as "the Truth" because it is in Wikipedia and you cannot bother to investigate further, the problem is not Wikipedia but you and your lack of effort in searching for the actual facts (LOL at defining Wikipedia as "the source" when it explicitly asks for references for anything, and there has been public exposure of parties trying to manipulate it). – SJuan76 May 8 '16 at 18:09
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    And no, a ban of Wikipedia does not amount to a ban of political action (get your ass out of the couch and distribute leaflets saying whatever you want to). – SJuan76 May 8 '16 at 18:10
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    @Peter David Carter this might be a philosophical issue, but nor Wikipedia nor anybody else creates the truth. At most, they tell the truth (people can lie, be deceived, or simply not know something). Wikipedia is a very well-known platform, but it's not the only one. There are a lot of forums, blogs, Youtube channels, political movements,... Think of Wikipedia as a huge, private association writing books and articles according to some mechanisms (moderators,votes,..) As you join it, you accept them. If you aren't satisfied, you are free to spread your thoughts in other ways. – A. Darwin May 8 '16 at 18:46
  • @A.Darwin + SJuan76 I wonder if perhaps there is a difficulty of communication willful or otherwise. I would ask if a journalist were banned from reporting or a person banned from distributing certain leaflets if that would be curtailment of freedom of speech. If so, what's the difference? My feeling is that you have been conditioned to think in a certain way... though I appreciate differences in Wikipedia and websites in general, compared to my examples... which is partly what I was getting at in my question... control systems engineering is a subtle thing, politically speaking... – What's in a Google Search May 8 '16 at 19:31
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    A newspaper can fire journalists who don't write the articles they want them to. A real estate owner can forbid people to distribute leaflets on their property when they don't agree with them. Wikipedia can ban people when they don't like their behavior. I fail to see a difference. – Philipp May 9 '16 at 0:01

In those jurisdictions where one enjoys the right to freedom of speech, it usually only applies to the actual government. While the government is not allowed to limit your freedom of speech, this does not extend to private people. Freedom of speech does not mean that any private people are obliged to provide a platform for you to exercise your freedom of speech.

Wikipedia is operated by the Wikimedia Foundation, which is a private, non-government organization. They have the right to set terms and conditions for using their services and have the right to expel anyone from using their services when they don't want them to contribute for whatever reason. Forcing the Wikimedia Foundation to allow everyone to post anything they want on their services would be a violation of their freedom of speech (as well as several other basic freedoms).

Keep in mind that Freedom of Speech also means Freedom to Lie. The price for a society where freedom of speech is valued unconditionally is that not every source is trustworthy. This also applies to Wikipedia. Wikipedia is not "creating truth", it is "documenting truth as perceived by the authors of the article". That's why one should never use Wikipedia as a source for a claim. If you use Wikipedia for research, look at the references the article cites, estimate if you consider them trustworthy, and use those as a source.

I know that the current situation we are heading for on the Internet, with one single, privately operated website for each kind of speech (Youtube for videos, Twitter to spread slogans, Facebook for writing opinion essays, Wikipedia for factoids etc.), is not ideal. It gives whoever controls the platform the possibility to sway public opinion by deciding what kind of speech to permit on their platform. But politics.stackexchange.com is not the place to find a solution for this problem.

  • How are you defining 'actual government'? The Pirate Party, for example, might define it in rather a different way to The Labour Party UK, or Partido Del La Red of Argentina, or perhaps even The Green Party... The issue addressed, however, was not authoritativeness, but freedom of speech, so your answer has gone off on something of a tangent unrelated to my question. – What's in a Google Search May 8 '16 at 9:55
  • @Peter David Carter IMO the 'actual government', for the purpose of this answer, is the government currently in charge in your country, if its laws/Constitutions/... ensure (at the very least theoretically) freedom of speech. Of course, you might say that the government can limit this freedom, but that is another issue. Bouncers can deny you access to a private club (even in a permanent way if they wish so), but this doesn't endanger freedom of movement. Much in the same way, Wikipedia moderators(=bouncers) can deny you access to their "club", and this doesn't endanger freedom of speech. – A. Darwin May 8 '16 at 18:57
  • I would not suggest bouncers as being elevated to the position of 'truth' creators in the eyes of the citizenry nor as persons elevated to such by people in positions of authority, such as the writers of algorithms (Google or otherwise)... – What's in a Google Search May 8 '16 at 19:40

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