Wikipedia on MDMA

February 9, 2007

The Wikipedia entry on MDMA is a classic example of the limitations of this public encyclopedia approach. The “winner” in this case is the viewpoint of those with the will and spare time to take over the entry and constantly edit the content. Read over the talk page and see if this seems like a reasonable process to generate an encyclopedia.

Should scientists care? Certainly. We should not abdicate our authoritative role in the public discussion of scientific topics. MDMA and delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol may be somewhat unique in the drug-of-abuse world since the advocates are so fervent. But similar situations can be found with other public health and ecological science areas. Stem cells, autism, climate change- ring any bells? All areas in which the actual science has been obscured by political agenda, commercial agenda, (well-meaning?) lay public advocacy and the like. It is particularly annoying and insulting that in many areas the motives of scientists are questioned to advance the agenda, thereby creating unwarranted public suspicion of the scientific enterprise.

Lose public support, lose Congressional support, lose public funding of biomedical science.

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4 Responses to “Wikipedia on MDMA”

  1. reader Says:

    Oddly, the wikipedia has two entries for mdma, the main one which is mediocre and a more obscure one for the effects of MDMA on the human body, which is actually pretty reasonable:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_MDMA_on_the_human_body

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  2. drugmonkey Says:

    That schism happened long after I wrote this post I think. If you go into the discussion you can see when/how and who was driving the split. You will also see that to this day there are self-appointed radical defenders of a certain tone over there that is reflexively anti-science.

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  3. [...] but one of the primary motivating factors triggers for ranting in this whole blogging thing was a dissatisfaction with the Wikipedia entry on MDMA. (It is a point of some pride that the current version of that entry references two posts of mine, [...]

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  4. [...] third DrugMonkey blog post I wrote was entitled Wikipedia on MDMA, posted Feb 9, 2007. I was reminded of this because of a recent call from the NIH for scientists and science writers to [...]

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