I had been reading some plant articles on en.Wikipedia that were classified as “Good Articles.” The area where all the Good Article Reviews are posted, and the description of the project, and the template all invite other editors to post comments about the article. I posted a comment, and immediately got a response, “GA reviews have one reviewer unless a second opinion is asked for, I didn’t ask for one. So please, do not interfere with my review.”
The editor who wrote this response was nasty beyond belief, and it piqued my curiosity–what was going on?
My initial intention was to try to work with one editor who wrote a lot of Do You Knows and Good Articles in the area of plants and get him to stop putting seed planting how to’s in the articles. He seemed to be, from an initial inspection of his talk page, willing to work with other editors in areas where he lacked knowledge. But the nastier the reviewer became, the more curious I became about what was going on with these articles, the supposed newest and best of en.Wikipedia. The problem was the WikiCup, I soon found. These editing areas contribute to points for the WikiCup and require that, in order for articles to be stamped as Good or a DYK, the editor must review another editor’s contribution. There are far more editors contributing extremely poor science articles (more about why later) than there are editors willing (and able) to promote them. This means that editors with no knowledge in these areas must read and okay these articles. If you have someone, like me, looking too closely, you might raise the issue to the community that a lot of crap is being promoted as science on en.Wikipedia. A lot of bad science. Many metric tons of granitic lava flows being promoted all across the web so editors can give each other barnstars.
Correcting the bad science on en.Wikipedia, or, more particularly, interfering with the collection of WikiCup awards, is considered a very bad thing for editors to do on en.Wikipedia, and users who do this are going to face rampant hostility for doing so.
I corrected a couple of sentences in the Desert article, for example, and removed a sentence about all cacti not having leaves (some do) and a sentence implying that C4 photosynthetic plants, like CAM photosynthetic plants, open their stomata at night to allow gas exchange. The editor scolded me for making the article unpretty by removing the incorrect information about cacti, then returned the incorrect C4 information. In spite of this, and in spite of the amount of garbage produced by this editor, he was still willing to make the corrections I requested and work with me to improve his cultivation sections. A little grudging, but certainly willing.
Knowing full well how bad the Pedra da Gávea article geology section is, it should be removed immediately from en.Wikipedia. Instead, the editor who promoted it to Good Article is fighting tooth and nail, via personal attacks, to keep the information on en.Wikipedia. This is generally a successful way to maintain bad science on en.Wikipedia, be nasty to chase away editors with knowledge who can interfere with your article creation.
Wikipedia is not about knowledge. It’s a boys’ camp. Atta boy.