July 16, 2009

Buddhism on Wikipedia sucks

Over on his blog, Ven. Shravasti Dhammika discusses the regrettable state of most Wikipedia articles on Buddhism.
A few of the entries that directly relate to Buddhism; e.g. Nirvana, Dharma, Bodhisattva, Dalai Lama, etc. are well-done, while most are too brief or superficial. Perhaps the entry ‘The Miracles of the Buddha’ is indicative of most of those directly related to Buddhism. It has only one reference to the Tipitaka and no actual quotations. It makes no mention of the earliest, the early and the later traditions but lumps them all together as if they were all equally authoritative and valid. It casually confuses ‘popular tradition’ with scriptural teaching. It does not explain the Buddha’s attitude to the subject in full. At its best it is a superficial overview, and at its worst incorrect.
I’m right with there with Ven. Dhammika. The current state of Buddhism Wikipedia pages is so bad that I’m not even willing to begin to want to try to fix them up. One of the chief problems is that many of the current contributors clearly lack even a basic understanding of what Wikipedia is about. I’m hoping other Buddhists out there will be both ambitious and educated enough to take this project on.

5 comments :

  1. Hello,

    (wrote same comment on Ven. Dhammika's blog)

    Speaking as one who does actively write Buddhist articles for Wikipedia, I can say from personal experience it's harder than one might think to put together a cohesive article on a subject like religion. In addition to researching the topic well enough to know it, one also has to be familiar with Wiki-markup language, templates and such to present it properly.

    Then, in spite of your efforts, someone else comes along and alters it a week later.

    I wrote a significant amount of work on the "Buddha" article, but it's hardly recognizable anymore.

    Nevertheless, I know some of the guys on the "Buddhism" WikiProject and they're good guys/gals, and are trying their best. Give them a break, or help in the efforts, ok?

    As a Buddhist priest in Japan wrote: criticism is something best restrained or not done at all.

    Thanks!

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  2. Good points. I'm glad you commented :)

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  3. Er, allowed "me" to comment. Stupid lack of proofreading. :p

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  4. "life without desire is death" Buddha

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