The least empathetic social media: Wikipedia

Does Wikipedia the website belong to the so-called ‘social media’? Considering the anti social behaviour on the site you might doubt. Take this: If a person is afraid of (seeing) spiders, and comes to know that this is called ‘arachnophobia’, would it be a good idea to check it out at Wikipedia?

Maybe not. The article ‘Arachnophobia’ exists in 28 languages, and in 22 of them you see a picture of a spider. In af, cs, de, eo, et, is and ru it is even a photograph, usually of an especially big, fat spider. The others show a drawing. Wikipedia in Russian, to make sure to scare off really everybody, put in the drawing and a photograph.

On some of the talk pages, there has been actually controversy. User:Thomas, der Bader (a physician, by the way) on the German talk page said: ‘Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, no cosy forum for arachnophobics.’



3 thoughts on “The least empathetic social media: Wikipedia

  1. I don’t think it’s very productive to mix in criticism of the certainly sometimes anti-social behaviour amongst Wikipedia editors with this topic. For what it’s worth, the foundation will hold a referendum on personal image filters in August, where arachnophobics and others can have their say.

    To do justice to (at least) the German article, I think it is necessary to add that the picture is below the fold and to illustrate one possible therapy. So if the patient comes to Wikipedia in search for a solution to his problem, he’s well served. If he’s looking for hugs (“empathy”), nothing can outdo RL.

  2. Hello Tim, I am afraid that this issue will not be part of the referendum. The picture you are talking about shows a spider on a person’s hand – this does not really add valuable information to the subject. And – given what a phobia means, or means to some, I don’t think that he is well served. Kind regards – Ziko

  3. Hi Ziko, together with a colleague I created Manypedia, a web tool for comparing different Linguistic Points Of View (LPOV) across different language Wikipedias.

    Since you mentioned the Arachnophobia page, I thought you might be interested in this comparison (en-ru) as a starting point|en|Arachnophobia|ru

    But you can check any page and you compare any 2 languages.
    If you have feedback, suggestions, I would be happy to hear it. Take care.

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