We all love Wikipedia. Or at least I do. It really is a wealth of information like no other kind before. What makes Wikipedia great is the ability for anyone to add or edit information. Unfortunately this is also its greatest flaw.
Sometimes errors are blatant, like when the word “PENIS” shows up eight times in an article and doesn’t make sense in context. Or if in the Barack Obama article you see sentences like “President Obama is a known communist and is leading this country into fascism” and “Obama’s favorite pastime is killing infants for sport and eating them.” These mistakes are usually corrected in a matter of minutes or hours (after all everyone knows Obama’s favorite pastime is not killing infants, but the elderly). But some anonymous editors are quite savvy about their writing and can mislead readers a bit more subtly, with their words remaining for months or years. Regrettably this is the case when you type “Fort Collins” into the wiki. There’s a lot of information in there about the city, but it seems obvious to me that most of it was written by someone working for the city as more of an advertisement for Fort Collins, than objective facts. I’d like to think the city would not engage in such duplicitous activity, but there it is.
I read this about two years ago and eventually tried to edit some of the more egregious areas by simply removing opinions and adding a bunch of s to sentences with more dubious claims. However, I conclude that someone at the city is working for the express purpose of making sure the FoCo Wikipedia page functions as a propaganda arm for the city rather than an unbiased article, because that page has remained almost static since I first saw it with all my editing being undone except one or two s.
Questionable statement: “The city has a thriving local music circuit”
This sentence probably bothers me the most because I am a musician in the local “circuit” (by the way…circuit? Who says that?). The truth is it’s very difficult to confirm or deny that statement. How can you prove one way or the other if local music is thriving? You can’t. Do local bands exist in Fort Collins? Certainly. Are they “thriving”? Are the clubs “thriving”? Hard to say. I can say with some authority that my band is not thriving financially, nor is any other band or artist that I know. In fact, we usually lose money every time we play. Are the clubs thriving? I have no idea, although the fact that the majority of them manage to stay in business suggests that they are at least breaking even. I imagine, though, that the bulk of their revenue comes from the national acts that come through on tour rather than the local acts. In fact, the Aggie Theater books national acts over locals by a huge margin. I’m only guesstimating this stat, but it’s probably 7 nationals to every local or something.
I would also like to add from a purely subjective viewpoint that most bands in Fort Collins suck ass. Except for my band, of course. But seriously, no one from Fort Collins is going to be the next Nirvana, not even close. It’s funny how the article states that FoCo has “a thriving local music circuit” yet nowhere else in the article is music mentioned. We have such a great scene that it’s not worth talking about in Wikipedia, yet there are plenty of insipid and banal statements about the city, such as “Parcel service for Fort Collins is provided by FedEx…” or “Fort Collins once had a trolley service…but it was torn out after ceasing to be profitable in 1951.”
Read the page for yourself. Any minor aspect of the town of even little consequence is built up to sound like the most innovative or amazing thing around and it’s just not true. On the bright side, if Fort Collins’s campaign of misinformation on Wikipedia is the worst thing about it then the city is probably doing alright.