QED

Something Wiki This Way Comes

Wikipedia is a useful resource.  More often than not, it is my first port of call when confronted with a topic about which I know little or nothing.  It is generally trustworthy as a start point for research into historical or geographical matters, for instance.    Of course, I have always been wary of it in relation to anything contentious, particularly in regard to climate change/global warming.

Nonetheless, the subject of Bruce Pascoe – admittedly a contentious topic – tempted me to venture into the bowels of the beast.  I have been frustrated by the determination of the Pascoe cheer squad – effectively everyone on the Left – to ignore the existence of my expose of his faux history, Dark Emu. I had noticed that the Wikipedia article on Pascoe made no mention of my book Bitter Harvest, which is the most authoritative, almost the only, counter to his blatant nonsense, misquotation and fabrications.  I had also noticed that the article canvassed the issue of his dodgy Aboriginality and so it occurred to me that there might be a place in the article for a mention of the existence of Bitter Harvest.

So I jumped in and registered as a Wikipedia editor.  The process was not without its glitches.  I was required to provide a user-id and I first proposed my own name.  That, of course, had already been taken, as had every conceivable variation that approximated my name.  So I chose a childhood nickname, PetroAntonio.

Under that name I posted the following addition to the Pascoe Article:

Pascoe’s claims in Dark Emu have been challenged in a 2019 book by Peter O’Brien, ‘Bitter Harvest – the illusion of Aboriginal agriculture in Brue Pascoe’s Dark Emu’, published by Quadrant Books.

My edit appeared for an hour or so and then disappeared.  So, thinking I had maybe stuffed up in some way, I re-posted the entry.  Later that day, I received an email from one Bacondrum informing me that I had been engaging in an ‘edit war’, and was at risk, if I continued down this path, of being barred from editing.  This was the essence of the message:

You currently appear to be engaged in an edit war; that means that you are repeatedly changing content back to how you think it should be, when you have seen that other editors disagree. Users are expected to collaborate with others, to avoid editing disruptively, and to try to reach a consensus, rather than repeatedly undoing other users’ edits once it is known that there is a disagreement. Points to note:

Edit warring is disruptive regardless of how many reverts you have made;

Do not edit war even if you believe you are right.

If you find yourself in an editing dispute, use the article’s talk page to discuss controversial changes and work towards a version that represents consensus among editors.

I responded to Bacondrum to the effect that I could not understand why my contribution had been deleted as it was factual, uncontroversial and non-abusive.  I signed the email with my own name.

I had received no notification from anyone as to why they found my addition unacceptable.

Subsequently, I realized that I should have initially submitted my edit via the article’s ‘talk’ page, wherein a cabal of gatekeepers would decide whether or not it was acceptable.

So this I did.  Here is the exchange that eventuated:

I am new to Wikipedia and it seems I did not understand how to process an edit. I inserted the following passage:

‘Pascoe’s claims in Dark Emu have been challenged in a 2019 book by Peter O’Brien, ‘Bitter Harvest – the illusion of Aboriginal agriculture in Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu’, published by Quadrant Books.’

which was subsequently deleted. I did not receive any feedback or suggestions as to why this happened. I guess that was because I did not use this forum initially.

I would like to request that my edit be re-instated. It is a factual comment, it is relevant, it is not controversial and it is not abusive.

Thank you — Preceding unsigned comment added by PetroAntonio (talk • contribs) 01:05, 28 September 2020 (UTC)

Bacondrum assembled some lies and dived back into his efforts to make a silk purse out of Pascoe’s sow ear. He responded:

Peter O’Brien is not a subject matter expert, the book was panned/sold poorly, poorly received by academics and published by an unreliable source of which Peter O’Brien is also a regular contributor. You have a serious conflict of interest issue which has not been declared and you should not be editing this article. Bacondrum (talk) 01:45, 28 September 2020 (UTC)

I responded:

I did not write ‘about’ my own work. I simply pointed out its existence. My book has sold out its first print run and I invite you to identify who has panned my work and on what basis.

Bacondrum, an aspiring sophist, next tried this on for size:

If an editor is pointing out the existence of their own work then that editor is obviously writing about their own work and it’s not permitted. Please see WP:PROMOTION and WP:CONFLICT. Bacondrum (talk) 01:53, 28 September 2020 (UTC)

At this point I was reminded of the old joke that God must surely love fools because He made so many of them and it was clear I had encountered one of this sub-category of humanity’s masterworks

Bacondrum, it seems to me that this article is deficient in that it fails to mention the existence of a serious, well-researched 300-page book rebutting Pascoe’s claims. It should not matter whether it is me or someone else who rectifies that omission. However, since you did not know I was the author at the time you first deleted my contribution, it is clear that the real reason you objected is because the book is published by Quadrant. Regardless of your personal ideology, Quadrant is a serious and successful publication that survives without any help from the public purse and represents the views of a significant portion of the Australian populace.

However, I realize I am wasting my time here and I don’t really care enough to waste any more time on this matter. I am busy putting the finishing touches to the second, expanded edition of my book which will be in production shortly. Adios. — PetroAntonio

As a dog returneth to his vomit, Bacondrum regurgitated more of the same lies:

Yes, of course Peter O’Brien thinks his own books are great and his publisher is great. However, Peter O’Brien is not a subject matter expert, the book was panned/sold poorly, poorly received by academics and published by what is widely considered an unreliable and highly partisan outlet. One does assume though that they have some ethical standards and would never try to surreptitiously promote an obscure book they published as encyclopaedic content, surely they’re above that? Bacondrum (talk) 05:49, 28 September 2020 (UTC)

To which I replied, more in disgust than anger

As I said, I no longer care about this article but I cannot let those slurs go unanswered. If the subject matter is history, then, yes, I concede I am not a historian. But then neither is Bruce Pascoe and it does not take a historian to check Pascoe’s sources and discover that he almost uniformly distorts or misquotes them.

As to my book, I again invite you to quote those critics who ‘panned it’. When I registered to be a Wikipedia editor I tried to use my own name or something close to it, but I could not do so. So I chose an old nickname. When I responded to one of your emails, I made no attempt to disguise who I was, signing my response Peter O’Brien. So, no, I did not try to surreptitiously promote my book. — PetroAntonio

Then came Wikipedia editor HiLo48, whose Wiki background page will strike some as a huffy and extended testament to self-absorption.

Quadrant is not regarded as a reliable source for Wikipedia content in general … In addition, it’s credibility on this topic was extensively discussed on this Talk page before. It really does seem to be a waste of time to be discussing this again. – HiLo48

So far, no substantive response to the points I raised. — Preceding unsigned comment added by PetroAntonio (talk • contribs) 09:08, 28 September 2020 (UTC)

And you have made no response to the archived material I linked above. Please stop wasting out time. HiLo48 (talk) 10:03, 28 September 2020 (UTC)

You first. — Preceding unsigned comment added by PetroAntonio (talk • contribs) 10:14, 28 September 2020 (UTC)

“I don’t really care enough to waste any more time on this matter” lol. Bacondrum (talk) 11:17, 28 September 2020 (UTC)

The intellectual heft of Mr Bacondrum can be judged by the fact that he apparently thinks quoting my own words back at me and the use of ‘lol’ puts an argument beyond doubt.

Mr Bacondrum describes himself thus:

I’m interested in death cults, fascism (decidedly anti-fascist), monsters and the ways in which history and politics intersect with the morbid … obscure music, politics, history, art, culture, geography etc. Living and working on the land of the Wathaurung people of the Kulin nation.

He’s a self-proclaimed anti-fascist, anti-monarchist environmentalist socialist who does not believe in human races except as a social construct.  He supports Marxist economics and wants to soak the rich to provide education, health care and welfare for everyone.

Having engaged in this exercise vis-à-vis Bruce Pascoe, I thought it might be worthwhile to look at the Wikipedia Dark Emu article’s talk page.  And to my surprise, there was some discussion about including a mention of Bitter Harvest in that article.  And not to my surprise the most vociferous opponent of this proposal was Mr Bacondrum.

Here are some of his contributions to the debate:

There’s a general consensus that Bitter Harvest: The illusion of Aboriginal agriculture in Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu is a hatchet job, a stridently biased work with an agenda, it’s not reliable, views expressed are fringe – it’s an attack piece. It is published by Quadrant. Peter O’Brien has dedicated a lot of time to writing defamatory and deranged attacks on Pascoe in Quadrant, such a vitriolic and stridently biased punter cannot be considered for inclusion

Bitter Harvest is published by an unreliable source. Bitter Harvest hasn’t been refuted because no one takes it seriously enough to bother.

Bitter Harvest is about as obscure as a published work can be, there’s no grounds for it having an article. Bacondrum (talk) 00:50, 13 March 2020 (UTC)

Actually, I just had a look at Peter O’Brian’s (sic) work and I’ll be opposing any inclusion of any of his work as it is essentially deranged stalking. Just look at the time and effort this man has put into defaming Pascoe:

https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/history-wars/2019/11/fauxboriginality-the-mount-elephant-myth/

https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/qed/2019/12/a-dark-emu-ally-flips-the-bird-at-truth/

https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2019/12/the-bogus-aboriginal-world-of-bruce-pascoe/

https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/bennelong-papers/2020/02/the-further-fictions-of-dark-emu/

https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/bennelong-papers/2020/01/black-like-bruce-the-afp-takes-up-the-case/

https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/qed/2020/01/bruce-pascoe-tribal-elder-of-the-seagull-mob/

and there’s plenty more of this unhinged ranting. Completely unacceptable to include the criticism of an author who has clearly been fixating on and stalking Pascoe, such stridently biased and unreasonable views are beyond fringe.

Scott Davis had this to say:

I have not read either book, but have followed this and discussions like it across several talk pages. Since there seems to be some support to mention Bitter Harvest, and a bigger push not to give it too much emphasis, but no proposed words, here is a quick first draft to work from to keep the conversation moving on content. I would expect it to follow the paragraph beginning “The main criticism…”.

Another criticism raised by some parties is an allegation that Pascoe has omitted, misinterpreted or over-emphasised some of the original material. Much of this criticism is collated in a book named Bitter Harvest: The illusion of Aboriginal agriculture in Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu by Peter O’Brien.

Bravo, Scott Davis! But the prolix Mr Bacondrum was having none of it, launching into a diatribe that makes one wonder if anyone, even shouty sorts who cannot spell their target’s surname correctly — can become an online encyclopaedia editor. Apparently Wikipedia accepts all comers.

Despite the overwhelmingly positive response, the many awards and accolades this work has received, I’m okay with the inclusion of mainstream criticisms from reliable sources – but not Quadrant and Peter O’Brians (sic) vitriolic rubbish, I know it is harsh, but I’ve actually had a read and to put it politely, it’s tedious (no I didn’t read it all, because it’s a woeful excuse for a book).

Who is Peter O’Brian? A regular contributor to Quadrant, an unreliable source. Who publishes Bitter Harvest: The illusion of Aboriginal agriculture? Quadrant, an unreliable source. How many units has Bitter Harvest: The illusion of Aboriginal agriculture sold? Hardly any. If criticisms are to be included they need to come from reliable sources. The inclusion of this poorly written, unpopular, stridently biased, unreliable attack piece is not on, it is massively WP:UNDUE, a blatant hatchet job produced by an unreliable source that’s barely sold a few dozen copies. I’ll fight its inclusion with all means available.

Bitter Harvest deserves no mention at all, any mention would be completely undue – the book is awful, hardly anyone one has read it. I do also agree with Scott that calling detractors (no matter how tedious their tired old agenda driven clap trap is) “discredited and convicted bigots and liars” would not be even in the same dimension as a reasonable inclusion. Only mainstream and reasonable criticisms should be included, really. The argy-bargy with Bolt et al is really a feud between Pascoe and the “usual suspects”, it’s covered in the Bruce Pascoe article, this article is about a widely acclaimed, award winning book which posits arguments that have been very well received by the overwhelming majority of Pascoe’s peers, even those peers that have questioned his assertions have gone nowhere near the vitriolic response of O’Brian and the other “usual suspects”.

Hardly an objective editor.  I would bet pounds to peanuts that Mr Bacondrum has not read my book, but I’m damn sure he suspects that it is devastating to Pascoe’s credibility. And that would be true of every other Pascoe cheerleader, including Professor Marcia Langton.

Bitter Harvest can be purchased here

41 comments
  • Patrick McCauley

    Wow … even Wiki is poisoned. If we can’t weed Pascoe out as a liar – we won’t be able to weed out all the other much less obvious liars cheats and thieves.

  • Tony Yates

    Peter, your experience with Wikipedia & the Pascoe article is typical of what has happened on most of the articles dealing with what might be called Australian Aboriginal history. Look at the edit history of the article regarding the “Stolen Generations” as an example. Any material that contradicts the preferred narrative is edited out or so severely re-edited & limited that it is impossible for any reader of the article to understand the arguments & evidence contained in the ‘contrary’ material. Any historian or other source who advances an explanation or account of the events that doesn’t fit the narrative is labelled ‘fringe’ or ‘unreliable’ or both. Even the briefest mention of contrary theories or evidence is attacked as WP:UNDUE. They aren’t required by Wikipedia to support those characterisations with evidence so they are constantly used as excuses to control to material in an article. There are supposed to be Wikipedia Administrators whose roles are supposed to include preventing this sort of abuse but Administrators, particularly in the field of Australian Aboriginal history, work to reinforce & support the preferred narrative, not to prevent bias or misinformation. Appeals are pointless jokes. Wikipedia has become infamous for this sort of thing. It’s not an online encyclopaedia, really it’s a ‘progressive’ blog.

  • ianl

    >” … even Wiki is poisoned”

    For a very long time now. Our lefty friends have always sought to control the public information flow as a conduit to power. Wiki is a perfect vehicle to control the naivety of the hoi polloi.
    A colleague well known for his hydrogeological expertise published a short article in Wiki on some groundwater aspects. As with Peter O’Brien, he found the article editorially mauled by others within an hour. He re-edited and while he was still in edit mode, the text changed back again as he watched. Four times this happened. In the end he deleted the article rather than allow deliberate disinformed propaganda to remain under his name.

  • alandungey

    Almost everyone who has ever attempted to edit a Wikipedia page has made a similar discovery to yours, Peter. Their editors are frequently stubborn and so biased that it is impossible to make even the simplest and most uncontroversial corrections. I would be very interested in seeing if you were able to create a Wikipedia page for your own (important!) book, so that there is at least some record on Wikipedia of the fact that the errors and distortions in ‘Dark Emu’ have been exposed. It should at least be mentioned here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitter_Harvest

  • alandungey

    Almost everyone who has ever attempted to edit a Wikipedia page has made a similar discovery to yours, Peter. Their editors are frequently stubborn and so biased that it is impossible to make even the simplest and most uncontroversial corrections. I would be very interested in seeing if you were able to create a Wikipedia page for your own (important!) book, so that there is at least some record on Wikipedia of the fact that the errors and distortions in ‘Dark Emu’ have been exposed. It should at least be mentioned here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitter_Harvest

  • lbloveday

    Wikipedia gets rationally indisputable recent facts wrong and fails to corrects them when pointed out.
    .
    The entry for Anthony (Tony) Mundine the elder includes:
    .
    “Anthony “Tony” William Mundine OAM (born 10 June 1951) is an Australian former boxer, and one of the country’s most accomplished indigenous fighters. The only Australian boxer to compete professionally in **four** weight divisions”.
    .
    Jeff Fench, born & raised in Australia, held 3 word championships as a Bantamweight, Super Bantamweight and Featherweight, then unsuccessfully fought for Super Featherweight and Lightweight titles. FIVE weight divisions which I have several times pointed out to Wikipedia over a number of years, but the claim about Mundine is still there. Maybe they think that five does not include four!

  • lbloveday

    world

  • March

    The earlier attempts to add balance to that page I think came from authors of the dark emu exposed site. The gate keepers on the side of beelzebub in stymying any intrusion of facts.

  • Tony Tea

    What are Bacondum’s academic and literary credentials that make him enough of a “subject matter expert” to blackball Bitter Harvest?

  • March

    I have tried twice now to get our local library to purchase a copy of Bitter Harvest, twice rejected. I’ll try a third time.

  • MungoMann

    I too had a long running battle with this Wiki-editor Mr Bacondrum late in 2019 when I tried to just add to (not delete or modify) the Bruce Pascoe and Dark Emu wiki pages to reflect your book Bitter Harvest, articles in Quadrant and reports in The Australian, Herald Sun, et al. But Mr ‘Cancel Culture’ Bacondrum, who obviously has no life outside his Progressive crusade on Wikipedia was always there to delete my additions so I gave up. However, for what it is worth, I finally scored over his attempt to have my ‘problematic’ Wikipage on the Warrowen Massacre deleted – enough other fair minded Wiki editors came to my aid and rebuffed his efforts to delete this page on the massacre of some 77 Aboriginal men women and children in Brighton (Melbourne) – rather ‘problematic’ for Bacondrum was the fact that the perpetrators were not the ‘usual settler suspects’ but rather another group of Aborigines.

  • IainC

    March – I, astonished, borrowed Titania McGrath’s “Woke” from our local library, and can only assume they ordered it in error, assuming it was a deadly serious “progressive masterpiece” rather than a rampant p-ss-take. Sadly, these days, it’s now impossible to tell the difference.
    A famous physicist once opined that (paraphrasing) “physics is fundamental, the rest is stamp collecting”. As a chemist, I demur, but there is certainly a universally accepted pecking order of “fundamental seriousness and importance”. Physics (channelling Dante’s levels of Hell, first circle), chemistry and biology/biochemistry (second circle), and so on down the rankings, plunging through the wastelands of climate science, behavioural science, nutritional science, finishing at the 9th circle with intellectual monstrosities like gender studies and intersectional theory. Unfortunately, history has spiralled down from a respectable factual discipline to an abysmal subjective ideological cesspit, with the latter stamping down with Orwell’s boot on any attempt at the former. I fear that history will comprise “opinion directed towards a desired ideological conclusion” for a few more years yet. Hearteningly, we know that the dam’s breach and collapse starts with the failure of a single stone, and we can only hope that hammer-blows like “Bitter Harvest” will weaken that stone.

  • Tricone

    I guess I’m naïve as I always thought Wikipedia was a remarkable and reliable resource and indeed have donated to it several times.
    .
    The quoted emails/comments from these two Wiki editors were a sore disappointment to me.
    Not just their naked bias, but the poor writing and contemptuous tone. .
    .

    I’ve heard of “appeals to authority” but in this case the authority they’re appealing to seems to be themselves.

  • Doubting Thomas

    If you think that’s bad, search Wikipedia for biographical information about the better known global warming sceptics.

  • Peter OBrien

    Today, a conversation between Bacondrum and HiLo48 was brought to my attention ( https://www.wikizero.com/en/User_talk:Bacondrum) in which Bsacondrum opines:

    “Quadrant is a cesspool of unethical and unqualified lunatics, that much is certain. The real question is at what point does this kind of bizarre fixation on people like Pascoe qualify as deranged stalking? I mean the guy thought it was worth writing a full 300 page book attacking him, if I was Pascoe I’d be seeking an AVO”

    Bacondrum will probably read this so let me respond here. Pascoe will not apply for an AVO for the same reason he will not sue me for defamation, even though I have publicly called him a liar on numerous occasions. Because he knows I am right.

  • DG

    I made an edit to a wikipedia page on an obscure area that I am one of the few experts internationally. Anticipating that it would be mauled by the clods that run wikipedia, I merely screen shot-ed the article with my contribution and left with the satisfaction that the truth had been spoken, if only with brief exposure.

  • Dave Carter

    I have long suspected that Gramsci’s footsoldiers- let’s call them Browncardigans- have engulfed Wikipedia. To confirm it, log on to the site and try to find anything about Gramsci’s long march. It’s barely glanced at with some drivel about “counter-hegemony”.

  • MungoMann

    For those that are interested, here is the link to Wikipedia’s list of sources which are nominated as fully acceptable, partially acceptable and definitely not acceptable and hence banned. Naughty boys at Quadrant and girls at Quillette!! https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Reliable_sources/Perennial_sources

  • Andrewurban

    Reliable sources??? Curated by Wikipedia??? That’s about as reliable as private security guards at a quarantine hotel in Melbourne.

  • Petronius

    This article is a great insight into the problematics of Wikipedia. How is that a better system cannot be set up so that a editors of political type cannot ride roughshod over informative contrary opinions? How is that this same political type can cite Quadrant and Quillette as ‘unreliable for factual reporting’ when in fact these publications merely go against the grain of Leftist thinking. It would seem that the gnomes at Wikipedia are complicit in allowing this system to exist.

    Goodbye regular donations.

  • Adelagado

    Been there, done that, and eventually realised the only choice is to turn away and forget about it. Many of the busiest editors at Wikipedia are simply egomaniacs. They have a set view and are not open to any debate. They perfected ‘Cancel Culture’ before it had the name. They know all the WP:BS rules and will tie you up in waffle. Then they bring in their buddies to jump on the dogpile. Screw ’em.

  • Tricone

    “Goodbye regular donations”
    .
    Yes, me too. Not that they’ll miss me.
    It’s a shame to see a great resource ruined by spiteful partisanship from such individuals.
    .
    I don’t see how a book publisher is a “source”.
    The author’s words and references are the source.
    .

  • lbloveday

    Thanks MungoMann.

  • lbloveday

    Tricone – I guess I’m naïve as I always thought Wikipedia was a remarkable and reliable resource
    .
    No, you are not naive, it is, when used as I do – to access factual data – remarkable and reasonably accurate (I pointed out the Mundine error, so know it’s not perfect, but neither is the Encyclopedia Britannica!). For example, some I have recently accessed on Wikipedia
    .
    List of GDP (nominal/PPP) for all countries, gross and per capita, by each of several sources such as World Bank,
    Production of various grains per country.
    Filmology of John Wayne,
    Lyrics of No Milk Today
    Highest grossing movies/film stars
    Melbourne Cup winners’ details each year since first ran 1861
    Details of Yeppoon………………
    .
    Out of interest, I looked up its entry under “Quadrant (magazine)” and found it fair enough, with even its comments on the current on-line editor and the Katherine Wilson saga being accurate.

  • Lacebug

    I just added this to the Wiki page: Similarly, Peter O’Brien, in his book Bitter Harvest, disputes the claim that Aboriginal people were agriculturalists.

  • Lacebug

    WOW, that didn’t take long. Within 30 seconds I received this message: Hello and welcome to Wikipedia! Thank you for your contributions. I hope you like the place and decide to stay. Unfortunately, one or more of your recent edits to the page Dark Emu (book) did not conform to Wikipedia’s verifiability policy, and may have been removed. Wikipedia articles should refer only to facts and interpretations verified in reliable, reputable print or online sources or in other reliable media. Always provide a reliable source for quotations and for any material that is likely to be challenged, or it may be removed. Wikipedia also has a related policy against including original research in articles.

  • Lacebug

    Glad they haven’t yet discovered my cheeky edit of the the Frightbat Farrelly Wiki page where I say she has only ever designed a carport! It has even been quoted!!

  • Tony Yates

    lbloveday – Wikipedia tends to be reliable if you are searching for something uncontroversial, something that there is no reason to try to bias or misrepresent. No-one has any strong reason to want to misrepresent the lyrics of “No Milk Today” or the list of Melbourne Cup winners.
    Where Wikipedia falls down badly is in areas of controversy, especially where ideology is involved.
    Wikipedia was developed based on the notion that the truth is to be established through consensus. In other words, the truth is voted on & those with the numbers to win the vote get to declare what the “truth” is. They also get to declare what is not “true” & what sources are “unreliable” or, as MungoMann put it, what sources are “fully acceptable, partially acceptable and definitely not acceptable and hence banned”.
    This incentivises groups who desire to control the “truth”, as disseminated to the general public, to fight to control Wikipedia articles & the ‘list of sources’.
    With articles where there is wide public interest, there may be enough people/editors committed to a fair & accurate representation of the subject matter who are motivated to keep an eye on the article & to use their numbers to eliminate or reduce the bias.
    On articles with a small number of interested editors, the phenomenon of page or article “commandeering” is well established. The Bruce Pascoe article is an example of this. A small group of editors can commandeer the article & remove any content they don’t like as there may be only one or two editors arguing for its inclusion. You might think that, if Peter were able to rally enough interested parties, he might overcome this. But the editors currently in control will rally other like-minded editors & they never, ever, give up. The article may settle down to a reasonably fair representation of both sides of the issue but sooner or later the Bitter Harvest material will be edited out again & this will be repeated until those arguing for the inclusion of the Bitter Harvest material just give up. It’s how Wikipedia works. It’s a post-modernist encyclopaedia & “truth” is whatever they say it is.
    The article on ‘Quadrant the magazine’ may be “fair enough”, relatively speaking, but this is only because they don’t need to control the article on it as tightly when it has already been declared an “unreliable” source. How many people will ever look up the article?
    Still, its mention of the Katherine Wilson saga doesn’t make any mention of criticism of the claims that it was a successful Alan Sokal style hoax. Keith Windschuttle responded: “A real hoax, like that of Alan Sokal and Ern Malley, is designed to expose editors who are pretentious, ignorant or at least over-enthusiastic about certain subjects. The technique is to submit obvious nonsense for publication in order to expose the editor’s ignorance of the topic. A real hoax defeats its purpose if it largely relies upon real issues, real people and real publications for its content. All of the latter is true of what “Sharon Gould”[Katherine Wilson] wrote. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of the content of her article is both factually true and well-based on the sources she cites.”

  • L Louis

    Peter
    At least, you have rendered a valuable service in exposing Bacondrum as unfit to be an editor, and in alerting researchers that Wikipedia is not an infallible source. I would not recommend that you respond to his ad hominem attack on you and the Quadrant “cesspool” with a tu quoque, though it is entirely relevant that his publisher is Magabala Books Aboriginal Corporation which receives financial assistance from the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, and the State Government of Western Australia through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, and also from corporate, community and philanthropic partners. Magabala Books Corporation’s stated objective is “restoring, preserving and maintaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures”. And it is legitimate to ask whether it requires the peer reviewing demanded by scholarly publications.

    The Wikipedia entry cites an article by Professor Tom Griffiths (Director of the Centre for Environmental History at ANU) in Inside Story , not a learned journal, as a source about Pascoe’s ancestry; and instead of an anthropologist, or archaeologist refers to “ A favourable review of its[Dark Emu]cultural implications in the academic online magazine The Conversation …” This “magazine” is ruthless in refusing to publish any criticism of Dark Emu, and the author of the review is Tony Hughes-D’Aeth (Associate Professor, English and Cultural Studies, University of Western Australia) who asserts that Pascoe, “a rigorous and exacting judge of the historical record.”… “assembles a persuasive case that Indigenous Australians farmed their land, lived in villages, built houses, harvested cereals, built complex aquaculture systems — possibly the earliest stone structures in human history — and led the kind of sedentary agricultural lives that were meant only to have arrived with Europeans in 1788”. “One of the strengths of Pascoe’s book is its ability to bridge archaeology, anthropology, archival history, Indigenous oral tradition and other more esoteric but highly revealing disciplines such as ethnobotany and paleoecology.” I challenged D’Aeth to provide evidence for these opinions. He did not reply.

  • lbloveday

    Tony Yates,
    .
    And that is why I restrict my usage of Wikipedia to such matters. I only read their Quadrant (magazine) entry because of curiosity aroused by PB’s article and MungoMann’s comment.
    .
    I was surprised that there is, as best I could determine, no reference to Whatfinger, a news aggregation website that I find far better than Drudge.

  • Tony Yates

    lbloveday – I also, somewhat ashamedly, still use Wikipedia for the convenience of accessing info on the uncontroversial stuff. My comments above weren’t intended as a criticism of you or anyone else for doing that but I never miss an opportunity to put information out there, for a possibly interested audience to read, about Wikipedia’s critical flaws.
    Wikipedia raises huge sums of money annually, it has become a money machine that considerable numbers of people benefit from & it doesn’t look like it is going to disappear any time soon simply because people keep donating, many not realising that they are supporting a mechanism for spreading a lot of heavily biased & flat out false information.
    Far too many rely on biased Wikipedia articles for their information on a range of issues & don’t know that there are different fact-based opinions on those issues because Wikipedia editors censor them. So I hammer away whenever I get the chance to put that out there. If I convince one person to not donate to them or one person to cease relying on their biased perspective, I’d feel I’ve done some good.

  • bearops

    Would it be paranoid to suggest the direct as well as the highly probable indirect involvement of the propaganda machine of CCP?

  • Tony Tea

    The carport edit is still there. Took a screen shot.

  • Tricone

    Tony Yates, re the claimed Katherine Wilson hoax.
    .
    After reading this article and responses, I can’t possibly imagine why the Wiki editors didn’t include Windschuttle’s critical quote about successful hoaxes exposing “editors who are pretentious, ignorant or at least over-enthusiastic about certain subjects”.

  • dolcej

    Time for some serious lawsuits against these wiki trolls who thing they can defame and slander people without consequence.

  • rosross

    It has long been known that Wiki is not reliable. It is not accepted as a source by any reputable university in the world, if any exist of course.

    It is not professionally edited, indeed, it is not even edited, and therefore not reliable, particularly on contentious issues. More time can be wasted trawling links to try to find information of value, which is better spent looking elsewhere and avoiding Wiki completely.

  • Elizabeth Beare

    I studied anthropology in the 1960’s at the University of Sydney. With regard to research on traditional aboriginal cultures, some serious researchers were jumping off that ship already, as their findings were being compromised and critiqued by newly arisen ‘in-culture authorities’ who knew better, unsubstantiated but loud. Pascoe is simply the latest iteration of that ilk; very weak and misinterpreted data, and highly over-blown claims for it. A tragedy for any genuine understanding of the real achievements of pre-contact aboriginal Australian culture and thought and the contribution that a culture of such time-depth has made to our comprehension of the variety of human experience on this planet.

    I’d say it is now that traditional Aboriginal culture is a departed field of genuine study. As with climate change and a number of other highly ideological leftist concerns, don’t go to Wiki for unbiased information. It will not be there.

    I am proud to write for Quadrant Magazine, where a range of intellectual opinion is presented in a very literate form, and for the ability to comment freely here. We should recognise that Wikipedia was never a source for anything but preliminary research anyway; my students were made well aware of that. Wikipedia is far better on issues of non-contention in science, such as genetics or astronomy, although even there what seems the consensus, as in all science, is still up for further analysis and results. That’s how science rolls.

  • Peter OBrien

    Elizabeth, you say ‘Pascoe is simply the latest iteration of that ilk; very weak and misinterpreted data, and highly over-blown claims for it.’

    I fear you give Pascoe too much credit. His data is weak but he does not ‘misinterpret’ it. He deliberately and consistently misrepresents it and in many cases simply makes it up.

  • Elizabeth Beare

    “Wikipedia articles should refer only to facts and interpretations verified in reliable, reputable print or online sources or in other reliable media.”

    Very amusing, because none of that applies to the content of Dark Emu.

  • Elizabeth Beare

    Peter, yes, perhaps misinterpretation is too kind. He is of the type who see what they want to see and make things up in order to feel better about their views and to get them airtime. It’s common enough in a number of fields. Memes develop. See my recent article in Quadrant on memes about Van Gogh. Rarely however is it in as obtuse a form as Pascoe manages. He’s myth-making and enjoying it, persuading himself (viz Levi Strauss re the sorcerer and his magic) and the left are absolutely falling in line. All kudos to you for tackling the nonsense head on. Keep writing and know that informed people who can smell a rat are reading and appreciating what you are doing, throwing light on a scam.

  • lbloveday

    iinet tags Quadrant emails like today’s “The Latest from Quadrant: Vale Giles Auty” as Junk – maybe they got that idea from Wikipedia’s banned list.

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