Wikipedia, the online “free encyclopedia” written and edited by its users, now includes dozens of detailed suicide methods with descriptions of ways in which people can mutilate or kill themselves.
The following are among such techniques described in vivid detail: beheading, cutting oneself, drowning, suffocation, electrocution, use of explosives, hanging, vehicular impact, jumping from bridges and towers, drug abuse, inhaling and ingesting poisons, suicide by fire, stabbing, shooting, starvation and suicide attack.
When WND contacted a representative of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, she said, “A site detailing the different methods someone could use to kill themselves could definitely be harmful to the public.”
However, Jay Walsh, head of communications for the Wikimedia Foundation, said the organization does not take responsibility for editing the content of its pages.
“The Wikimedia Foundation operates the software and maintains the servers that power Wikipedia; however the entire Wikipedia project is maintained exclusively by
volunteers,” he told WND. “No paid staff make edits to content, rather members of the volunteer community will add or remove information at their discretion and within the
auspices of the editorial pillars of Wikipedia, which generally include: noncensorship, neutral point of view, no original research and, to a similar extent, addressing the question of ‘notability.'”
In a May interview with Walsh about Wikipedia’s pornographic content, he gave a similar response, saying the website will not remove objectionable material:
“We don’t censor any of the content. There are a number of images that people might be alarmed by. … You could open up a classic Britannica or World Book Encyclopedia, and you’d find entries on sex and sexual topics, perhaps not as deep or prolific as you might find on Wikipedia, but that’s kind of a reality of the 21st century.”
Wikipedia also links to suicide strategy books at the bottom of the article such as “Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying,” “The Peaceful Pill Handbook” and “The Complete Manual of Suicide” for further reading.
In a recent suicide study, researchers from the Universities of Bristol, Oxford and Manchester imitated a typical Internet search performed by a person looking for instructions and information about suicide methods. They used the four largest Internet search engines available – Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask.
The researchers published their findings in an April 12, 2008, article titled, “Suicide and the Internet.” The study found, “The top four sites provided not only information but also evaluation of methods of suicide. This included, for instance, detailed information about speed, certainty, and the likely amount of pain associated with a method.”
Of the three most frequently appearing websites, one is openly satanic and all are pro-suicide, the study reported. “Wikipedia was the fourth most frequently occurring site.”
Note: Concerned individuals may contact Wikipedia.
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