wikipedia logoHow big a battlefield is Wikipedia? It's a big one, even if we ignore all that Sarah Palin stuff. The latest round of edits v. counteredits comes on the hybrid car pages. AutoblogGreen was sent the an anonymous message through a friend (reprinted in whole after the jump) that describes the ongoing disappearance of Wikipedia articles about hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Camry Hybrid, Toyota Accord Hybrid and Ford Escape Hybrid. Why are these pages disappearing? Is it a giant conspiracy against green vehicles? It's not easy to get clear answers from the jargon-filled Wikipedia "talk" history page on the issue, but the answer seems to be "no." But people certainly disagree with each other about what's important.

What appears to be happening is that some Wikipedia editors are making the case that certain hybrid models aren't different enough from their standard gas-burning counterparts to warrant separate pages. Others say, no, they should, because automakers shouldn't get a ton of credit for making a slightly greener version of their old cars. Give us something new that represents a serious change, and the world will pay attention. The "disappearing" model pages have just been merged, so a lot of the info is still there.

What's more interesting is that discussion is also taking place to merge articles about pure electric or plug-in versions of existing models, like the Toyota Prius Plug-in, Mini E and Mitsubishi i MiEV. In these cases, isn't the new powertrain a big enough deal for its own Wiki entry? Our tipster writes:

Reading through the long discussion is amazing, info related to the environmental and social impacts of automobiles is called green fancruft, Wikipedia jargon for information relating to a particular topic that is only of interest to other fans. ... And we thought that electric-drive powertrain cars and their relationship with mitigating greenhouse emissions and contributing to reduce dependence on imported oil were already mainstream. It could be that the glider is more important that what is under the hood, or that fueling from a pump or a plug is the same? Please, wake up, we are in the 21st century!


Make sure to check out the full submission after the jump, then head over to Wikipedia and contribute if you've got some clout there.

[Source: Anonymous, Miss Electric]



AutoblogGreen was sent the following anonymous message through a friend:

I consult Wikipedia often and a few years ago did my bit in trying to upgrade the article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plug-in_hybrid , which at one point was a "Featured" article. For anyone who has never submitted an addition/correction to a Wikipedia article, you may never have noticed that each article has a related "Discussion" page and a very useful "History" tool that lets users track who made what revisions over time. I warn you that Wikipedia has developed some pretty complicated rules and its own terminology in an attempt to ensure high quality for open-source evolving articles.

Here's the report; please let me know if you write about it or have questions for the correspondent.

Hybrid articles are disappearing from Wikipedia

Wikipedia in general has a comprehensive and updated coverage about green cars. Surprisingly, during the last months articles dealing with some best selling hybrids have disappeared, including the Toyota Camry Hybrid, Toyota Accord Hybrid, Ford Escape Hybrid, and the new Korean Hyundai Elantra LPI Hybrid. Hopefully Wikipedia keeps track of the history of all edits, so after some searching, we discovered that articles have been merged systematically, and currently here is a heated ongoing discussion to carry out more mergers, including the Civic Hybrid, Fusion Hybrid, Prius Plug-in, and actually there is a waiting list, including the Chinese BYD F3DM plug-in, and the all electric Mitsubishi i MiEV, the Mini E, Toyota RAV4 EV, Ford Focus BEV, BYD F3DM and even a couple of the electric cars launched in California in the late 1990s. (see the whole list here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Automobiles#Case_by_Case)

What is going on? Based on the still open discussions we found that a majority of the members of the WikiProject Automobile consider that all autos from a given generation should be consolidated in just one article, regardless of their powertrain, the exterior (glider) is more important (a gasoline engine is as good as a plug-in hybrid?). On the opposing side, a bunch of three to four editors are defending not very successfully to keep the separate articles for hybrids and other advanced technology cars. Skipping some of the Wikipedia technicalities, those opposing the mergers argued that those vehicles are notable enough to have their stand alone articles (some of them had been available for years) and these cars feature environmental performance content not found in the regular parent article. So far, the automotive guys have a majority vote so that is why the articles are disappearing. Reading through the long discussion is amazing, info related to the environmental and social impacts of automobiles is called green fancruft, Wikipedia jargon for information relating to a particular topic that is only of interest to other fans (see definition here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruft). And we thought that electric-drive powertrain cars and their relationship with mitigating greenhouse emissions and contributing to reduce dependence on imported oil were already mainstream. It could be that the glider is more important that what is under the hood, or that fueling from a pump or a plug is the same? Please, wake up, we are in the 21st century!

If you had any doubts of the anti-green bias, just check the brand new discussion that began yesterday here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Automobiles#Excessively_crufty_fuel_economy_tables

For the ongoing discussion about the Toyota Prius Plug-in see here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Automobiles#Toyota_Prius_Plug-in_Hybrid
the Civic Hybrid here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Automobiles#Honda_Civic_Hybrid and the Fusion hybrid here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Automobiles#Ford_Fusion_Hybrid

And most people think Wikipedia is controlled by liberals
!