Tuesday, 24 February 2009


Most internet users know what Wikipedia is but if there are still some who don’t, please enter ‘’what is Wikipedia’’ in Google to read about this online encyclopedia.

In their own site, Wikipedia claims that ‘’12 million articles (2.75 million in English) have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world, and almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone who can access the Wikipedia website.’’ This of course sounds great in theory but how true is it in reality?

We recently submitted some facts about unintended consequences of comprehensive smoking bans in Canada and we cited sources such as Statistics Canada and the RCMP to back up our addition to their own definition of smoking bans. We were simply and objectively attempting to bring to the attention of the Wikipedia readers that comprehensive smoking bans caused a serious contraband problem in Canada especially in Ontario and Quebec while not making any dent in the smoking prevalence. We believe that citizens and governments throughout the world should be informed on all sides of the issue and be made aware that comprehensive smoking bans can and, more often than not, do bring about serious perverse side effects.

Here’s exactly what our addition to the Wikipedia smoking bans definition stated and the sources:

In Canada, while smoking prevalence was steadily decreasing up to and including 2004, it [http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/080825/d080825b.htm] stalled since 2005 the same year the two biggest provinces (Ontario and Quebec) adopted some of the world's toughest legislations to be implemented in 2006. [http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/fio/tobacco_strategy_2008_e.htm contraband tobacco] has reached alarming proportions since the ban, selling at a fraction of the price of the legal products.

The Wikipedia engine hardly had time to digest our entry and the web crawlers to detect it, that it was already taken down from the Wikipedia website with the following notation: (Effects on tobacco use: Removed Canada info. Unfortunately the cites did not say this and it looks like a case of synthesis.)

We will let our readers be the judge if the Statistics Canada and the RCMP ‘’cites’’ did not say what we reported but we nevertheless did not argue this decision since it is apparently a waste of precious time to get Wikipedia to report without a bias. In fact after reading articles in FORCES about this very same problem we tend to agree with them that ‘’ Wikipedia, like most of the mass media, is not a genuine information source on such issues, but rather an indoctrination tool’’.

You can read FORCES and Dave Hitt’s experiences with Wikipedia at: Wikipedia Hijacked by Antitobacco and Hijacking of Wikipedia Confirmed

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