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Wikipedia To Unlock Frequently Vandalized Pages

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the when-hitler-came-up-with-scientology dept.

Wikipedia 244

netbuzz writes "In an effort to encourage greater participation, Wikipedia, the self-described 'online encyclopedia that anyone can edit,' is turning to tighter editorial control as a substitute for simply 'locking' those entries that frequently attract mischief makers and ideologues. The new system, which will apply to a maximum of 2,000 most-vulnerable pages, is sure to create controversies of its own."

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Hypocrisy (1, Insightful)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581294)

The "locked" articles are guarded by ideologues whose views differ from the "mischief makers and ideologues" Wikipedia hates.

Re:Hypocrisy (4, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581356)

It's not hypocrisy if the rules or "ideals" are open and clear. Their "ideal" is an honest attempt at a neutral point-of-view. If that offends you, then perhaps Wikipedia isn't the site for you.

Re:Hypocrisy (2, Insightful)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581384)

Who gets to define neutral though? One man's fact is another man's propaganda.

Re:Hypocrisy (3, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581428)

One can only make an honest attempt. For most topics, it should be possible to find an impartial editor. There may be some fringe topics where an impartial POV is impossible, but those topics aren't terribly important in the grand scheme of things.

Re:Hypocrisy (4, Insightful)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581842)

For some topics, it's difficult to find an impartial-but-competent editor. Take politics: if the editor understands the topic, they will very likely have a personal position on it. If they don't understand it, they probably won't be able to figure out what's worth including, and how much coverage to give different points of view. (Articles that simply list every possible point of view -- like "Some people believe this; other people believe that..." -- are rather useless.) At some point, someone needs to make a judgement over which points of view are fringe and which are mainstream, if only to convey that to their readers, and that is a judgement that someone will always contest.

Re:Hypocrisy (4, Insightful)

uncqual (836337) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582276)

Articles that simply list every possible point of view -- like "Some people believe this; other people believe that..." -- are rather useless.

Agreed that listing every possible point of view (including nut case ones) in detail is not very useful. However, listing main points of view and giving the primary arguments for each is quite useful.

Picking the first hot topic that came to mind led me to the Wikipedia article on gun politics in the USA [wikipedia.org] . While this article has a lot of warnings (including neutrality) at the head of it, it seems like a fairly balanced coverage. Nuts on either side won't like it, but I think knowledgeable and open minded people, even those who lean strongly one way or the other, will find it tolerably neutral.

People who can do this exist for most topics or, at a minimum, a couple people who are open minded and knowledgeable but are on opposite 'sides' of the issue exist and could work together to make the judgment.

The problem is, most of these people have real jobs (often in academia or in think tanks) and probably unlikely to spend their time on Wikipedia when they could be publishing their insight and research either for creds or for money. They are also likely to be unwilling to spend the necessary time to defend their contributions from editing by people who know little about the topic or are unable to accept that any position but their own could be useful.

Re:Hypocrisy (2, Informative)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581852)

Wikipedia's approach isn't even close to an "honest attempt", however. The methods by which their administrator clique treats outsiders are ridiculously jackbooted; organized groups have been able to get a few admins in place [livejournal.com] and then simply use them to run roughshod over anyone who comes in in good faith to try to repair the damage done by partisans taking over articles.

There was a kerfluffle a few years ago when an organized Arab group went nuts trying to remove the Hebrew translations of certain regional (common to both Israel, Syria, Lebanon, etc) dishes like Za'atar and Felafel. The end result was the bannings of anyone who tried to defend it, on behest of the organized crew. Just one example, but a common theme. When the various organized groups (the "Shi'a Guild", etc) who were organizing to POV various articles on wikipedia were told "not in public", they didn't vanish, they just moved to outside forums like soundvision.com and started organizing from there.

And who can forget the various scandals like the Durova's Hit-List Scandal [theregister.co.uk] ?

Or the time they altered the rules so that an administrator can call someone a "sockpuppet" at any time, and NO amount of proof - not even a "checkuser", because they changed the rules so that "checkuser" can ONLY establish guilt, not innnocence - can ever clear their name?

The phrase "honest attempt" should not be used in conjunction with Wikipedia. The whole way the system's set up is just corrupt, top to bottom.

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582100)

as in every system, power to influence people attracted people with an agenda, and organized people always beat honest disorganized individuals. that is, in the end, the fate of every system, to became a bureaucratic dictatorship (or oligarchy if it makes you feel better)

Re:Hypocrisy (3, Informative)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581444)

Neutral is identifying the men (or newspapers or whatever) who are stating the "facts", and stating that they are stating those facts, without stating that they're right. (The fight then becomes "whose opinions do we bother to list here, and whose are irrelevant?" and that's usually quite a bit less controversial. not controversy-free, but less controversial.)

Oh really? Then... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32581830)

...which is the correct "neutral fact" regarding the recent Taliban act which took the life of a 7 year old boy for spying? They say they "punished" him, we say they "murdered" him. Who is correct?

Re:Oh really? Then... (4, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581944)

The Taleban put a 7 year old to death for spying. That's as neutral and baldly factual as it gets. Neither of your statements are correct, they are emotion-filled words meant to evoke a response and not state facts.

Re:Oh really? Then... (1, Troll)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581998)

The Taleban put a 7 year old to death for spying.

Begging the question: Was he spying?

Re:Oh really? Then... (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582064)

Begging the question: Was he spying?

Not according to the Taleban at least.

Qari Yousef Ahmaid, the Taleban spokesman, denied that any of his militants were involved. "The Taleban's enemies are the Afghan Government and the foreign forces," he said. "We never kill children. Everyone knows a seven-year-old can't be a spy."

Re:Oh really? Then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32582080)

Who cares (in this context at least)? That was the charge.

Re:Oh really? Then... (2, Insightful)

cencithomas (721581) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582084)

Begging the question: Was he spying?

So let's change it to

The Taleban put a 7 year old to death for allegedly spying.

Re:Oh really? Then... (2, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582450)

Yes, that would be more appropriate.

However, I found it ironically illustrative of the fact that when someone claims something is “as neutral and baldly factual as it gets”, even if they’re honestly trying to make it neutral there’s still a very good chance that it isn’t. PitaBred still fell into a logical fallacy with making what he thought was a purely factual statement.

Re:Oh really? Then... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32582284)

"Begging the question" doesn't mean [wikipedia.org] what you think it means.

...Unless you go in and change it to mean what you think you mean.

Re:Oh really? Then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32582338)

I could care less about what you have to say.

Re:Oh really? Then... (0, Troll)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582408)

Joke’s on you... I used it correctly, but deliberately made it appear as though I was using it incorrectly, knowing that grammar Nazis would doubtless crawl out of the woodwork to correct me.

Re:Oh really? Then... (4, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581972)

An NPOV position which should make the truth clear enough could go something like "The Taliban executed him, stating that he was a spy; this has been decried as bloody murder by (identification of some groups doing the decrying, with citation)."

See? Not hard. Perhaps it's not as good at galvanizing people into righteous outrage as the phrase "brutally murdered" but that's just the price you pay sometimes. It's an encyclopedia. I don't think Britannica would use language quite so loaded either, you know?

Re:Oh really? Then... (5, Insightful)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581976)

What makes you think you have to choose one of those two? Or, to put it differently, what part of "neutral" don't you understand?

If I take your account at face value (not being familiar with the incident; would perhaps be nice of you to provide a link, but I know that's asking a lot around here), then here would be some neutral facts:

- The Taliban did (something), killing a 7-year-old boy
- The Taliban say the boy was spying and that they punished him
- Critics of the Taliban say that the punishment was unjust and constitutes an act of murder

Perhaps there are some other facts, such as evidence supporting or refuting each side's claims. Perhaps there aren't. But frankly, if that's your example of a "hard" problem for being neutral, then I'd have to conclude there's no problem and you just don't know what neutral sounds like.

Re:Oh really? Then... (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582142)

It's maybe off-topic, but the consensus seems to be that the Taliban were punishing the 7-year old boy's family.

Re:Oh really? Then... (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582174)

Punished him, where the correct punishment for his act in their eyes was death?

We punish people with a death sentence in the US, we're far from the only ones. That some are quicker to carry out that sentence and/or looser to apply it does not make it cease to be a punishment in the eyes of those conducting the deed.

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581980)

As a historian once told me, a statement of pure facts would render everything meaningless. It would reduce history to mere chronicle. It's all "what" and no "why." Nothing can have an effect, things just follow one another in a rote manner with no real connection of cause.

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581456)

One solution would be to allow both sides to be expressed. Abortion is a good topic:

If the abortion entry has a section regarding pro-abortion, and another section regarding anti-abortion, each written by people that hold those views, that would be neutral. To me, neutral doesn't mean there aren't sides taken...it just means both sides have to have equal representation.

Just my thoughts on the matter.

Re:Hypocrisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32581518)

One solution would be to allow both sides to be expressed. Abortion is a good topic:

If the abortion entry has a section regarding pro-abortion, and another section regarding anti-abortion, each written by people that hold those views, that would be neutral. To me, neutral doesn't mean there aren't sides taken...it just means both sides have to have equal representation.

O.k., but I want my view on abortion listed before my opponents' view on the Wikipedia page.

Re:Hypocrisy (1, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581528)

If someone is truly that petty, we settle it the only way reasonable people do: alphabetically.

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581672)

My pro -abortion side is titled "Aborted". That should get me before Anti-Abortion. FTW

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581860)

I just started an Anti-Abortion section called "AAAbortion". FTW, my foot! In your face!

Re:Hypocrisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32581894)

My pro -abortion side is titled "Aborted". That should get me before Anti-Abortion. FTW

obviously the only way to solve this is to ro-sham-bo.
that'll end this whole debate once and for all.

Re:Hypocrisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32581696)

Reasonable! How about the number of strokes [wikipedia.org] in the Chinese spelling of the word?

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

IshmaelDS (981095) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581872)

uh, why not just use columns? split the page down the middle and one side is anti the other side is pro. no one get's top billing that way.

Re:Hypocrisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32581990)

uh, why not just use columns? split the page down the middle and one side is anti the other side is pro. no one get's top billing that way.

O.k., but I want my view on abortion listed on the left side of the Wikipedia page.

(see where I'm getting at? there are some issues people won't settle on. case-in-point, look at the recent mohammed picture controversies. One side wants to be able to show the images, the other side doesn't. You can't kind of do either, it's one way or the other.)

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582078)

It would be reasonable to randomly choose the side to be presented first. However that would probably be difficult to do in the framework Wikipedia uses.

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582198)

2 column format by-atch.

If there are too many mainstream views on the topic to give each a column, then you pick an arbitrary choice -- either random order on page load, alphabetical, chronological by earliest reference, or something else at random.

Fringe views get listed after the mainstream ones with a similar layout structure.

Re:Hypocrisy (4, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581570)

I think this idea that there are two-sides to everything is actually a significant problem in politics, and especially in media. "Balanced" should not mean getting a frothing-at-the-mouth liberal shouting at a born-again-conservative... it should mean getting some people who can see multiple sides of an issue and trying to be honest about the relative merits of both sides.

Let's use your example of abortion. Setting someone who is "pro-choice" against someone who is "pro-life" does not really capture the issue very well - only the extreme edges. I'd wager that most people would lie somewhere in the middle... most people would probably not object to abortion when the fetus is deformed or the mother's life is at stake, or in the case of rape. On the other hand, most rational people seemed to find partial birth abortions pretty horrifying, and I don't seem to have much trouble finding people who dislike abortion as a form of birth control.

This muddy middle is rarely captured by polarized discussions.

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581880)

On the contrary, I for example find C-SPAN's morning call-in show as the epitome of "balance." They take a call from one raving whacko from the left, let him speak for 30 seconds, until he sounds like an idiot, and then abruptly cut him off in the middle, and then do the same thing for the whacko on the right.

It's a splendiforous counterexample to what you see everywhere else. The only time I cringe is when it's obviously someone in a nursing home (who else is going to wait on hold for hours at 6 in the morning). Then it seems cruel.

Everyone should learn from C-SPAN. "We're militantly neutral, and smug about it." Refreshing.

Re:Hypocrisy (4, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581584)

Wikipedia's neutrality policy and its style isn't really just to have two sides on a matter write a paragraph of propaganda and hope it balances out. It's to write an article whose accuracy is impeccably true by discussing the opponents and proponents in the controversy in a factual way. ("Planned Parenthood says this. The Catholic Church says that. Criticisms of the Catholic Church's position include X, Y, and Z, from organization J, K, and Q; for more information see the sub-article on this particular controversy so we don't detain the main article any further.") No one ever doubted that the one is a supporter and the other a detractor.

To take a page from Indiana Jones, it's about facts, not truth. If it's truth you're after, go study philosophy.

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

Frequency Domain (601421) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581590)

Not all sides have equal validity. "Fairness" to alternate viewpoints doesn't mean having such an open mind that your brains fall out.

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

BigDXLT (1218924) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581692)

I think that's obvious (and a technique already used.) The problem, is that one side will deface the other (sometimes blatantly, sometimes subtley). What it comes down to is that if people weren't assholes, topics wouldn't need to be locked.

You see, any time you get "word of $DEITY-of-the-week" discussions happening, one side will absolutely, posituvely, never wish to allow the other side have a say because it's a lie, and even a moderator to the topic who claims neutrality is OBVIOUSLY themselves an evil liar working for the otherside.

I like to think that more people should allow more cool heads to prevail, but then again, an angry mob can overwhelm pretty quickly too. It's a tough call to make - lock it or keep it open.

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

uncqual (836337) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582410)

This is an unfortunate consequence of 95% of the people lacking the qualifications to have 95% of their opinions. Unfortunately in the US we let these people vote. In Wikiland, we let them pollute.

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

refrigeratorpanic (1832792) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581560)

neutral is the middle ground by definition. you compromise when opinions differ. people who refuse to compromise -- their opinions are discounted entirely.

Re:Hypocrisy (4, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581588)

Who gets to define neutral though?

If you can't define 'Neutral', just look it up [wikipedia.org] .

Duh.

Re:Hypocrisy (2, Informative)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581728)

If you can't define 'Neutral', just look it up [wikipedia.org] . Duh.

I'll save you a click: For Neutral Point of View on Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:NPOV [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Hypocrisy (5, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581816)

I'll save you a click: For Neutral Point of View on Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:NPOV [wikipedia.org] .

And I'll save you another click. The text on that page has been changed fifteen times by six different people over the last twenty-four hours.

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581684)

Who gets to define neutral though? One man's fact is another man's propaganda.

Sez you.

Re:Hypocrisy (4, Insightful)

melikamp (631205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581712)

Wikipedia strives to provide a reference for every fact:

The President ran in the cornfield naked - bullshit.

On July 1 2010 New York Times reported that the President ran in the cornfield naked - fact, easily checked.

Of course, there are gray areas, but to claim that the distinction between fact and fiction is too vague to achieve a decently neutral point of view in most cases is just pure sophistry.

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581750)

Who gets to define neutral though?

If old media is any indication the answer is Rupert Murdoch, for reasons passing understanding.

Re: Neutral (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32582138)

Easy. "Neutral" means "agrees with the opinions of liberal white, upper-middle-class college-educated geeks living in a large coastal city in the United States."

Re: Neutral (3, Insightful)

enderjsv (1128541) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582352)

Easy. "Neutral" means "agrees with the opinions of liberal white, upper-middle-class college-educated geeks living in a large coastal city in the United States." [citation needed]

Re:Hypocrisy (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581476)

Yeah, but they aren't "open and clear" they change depending on the editor and which page.

Not to mention that even simple edits like updates or the like get reverted randomly.

In the end Wikipedia manages to scare away potential editors rather than attract them.

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581632)

Yeah, but they aren't "open and clear" they change depending on the editor and which page.

There are certainly problem page editors, just as there are problem individual contributors. This is an inherent problem, and it seems to be one that Wikipedia is constantly experimenting/struggling with. I cut them some slack, since no one has ever done anything like this before. Certainly I think that calling them "hypocritical" is a bit overboard.

It's interesting how it is evolving back towards a trust model.

Re:Hypocrisy (2, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581694)

There are a -lot- of problem page editors on the weirdest articles. If you are an anonymous contributor, chances are that your edits will be reverted without someone even looking at them. Heck, even citations are reverted because they "look suspicious". I used to contribute some to Wikipedia whenever I saw an error, however, there has been too many times that my edits have been reverted without anyone looking at them or reading them. Even simple things like correcting spelling mistakes all too often get reverted.

Re:Hypocrisy (2, Informative)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581784)

They don't have a neutral point-of-view. They are promulgating their point of view and squashing any dissenting opinions.

Re:Hypocrisy (0, Troll)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582362)

Looking at the modding here on slashdot, I can see the "ideals" of the wikipedia crowd quite well.

Re:Hypocrisy (0, Flamebait)

DJ Jones (997846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581360)

Parent raped and killed a girl in 1991.

Citation is self evident

Re:Hypocrisy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32581366)

Yeah, "ideology" is why the page on electrolytes gets replaced with the words "what plants crave" every damn week.

Re:Hypocrisy (2, Insightful)

cacba (1831766) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581412)

The "locked" articles are guarded by ideologues whose views differ from the "mischief makers and ideologues" Wikipedia hates.

Such as the ideals of truth?

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582192)

For your intended meaning, you need to capitalize the 'T' in truth, and maybe slap on a trademark symbol.

no wicki (1)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581802)

I quit using it when I found various errors, slanderous articles. As you stated, the site is "allowed" to put crap on things or people their "views" are different from, but will remove any content, that directly goes against their own view. Nice idea, but, wicki has a long way to go to fix the BS that goes on over there.

Re:no wicki (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581994)

I still use the site, but I avoid controversial topics or at least take them with a huge brick of salt, because I know zealots on both sides of the fence are going to use Wikiality to fight their petty little battles. The risk arises when a reader doesn't realize that the battle for reality is taking place and stumbles into Wikiality wasteland where the tenets of truth are being changed from moment to moment. Like "Lathe of Heaven" but not as pleasant.

I can't wait to "improve" the Brian Mulroney page (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32582120)

:)

Re:Hypocrisy (0, Offtopic)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582314)

Hey, look, the Wikipedia fanboys are out in force, modding my comment down. It was +5, now it is +2.

Tools have improved for vandalism, screening works (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32581350)

(I try to volunteer a bit of my time on Huggle, a .NET application that allows for Wikipedia users with rollback permission to quickly patrol, revert vandalism, warn, and report users)

Vandalism has been down a lot from what I've seen in the past, and more and more I get beaten to the punch reverting it.

The biggest problem I see with this "pending changes" is that there will be so many edits that intentional subtle trolling (deliberately inserting incorrect facts/statistics) is more likely to get through just by the nature of the fact that experienced editors will have to read thousands of edits.

However, it does make Wikipedia more accessible to a wider variety of users and should stop scaring away new contributors. Most anonymously made edits are actually not vandalism, so it's good to see Wikipedia trying to take an approach that allows these people to contribute to "bigger" (in the sense of # of visitors) articles.

Re:Tools have improved for vandalism, screening wo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32581460)

I don't get why they won't just evolve the software and instead of fighting revert wars over publically available versions of articles, simply have working copies that need to be approved before being merged into the released article.

Re:Tools have improved for vandalism, screening wo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32581534)

My guess would be that it would violate the integrity of the project as an encyclopedia that anyone can edit freely.

There are already serious problems on many articles where an elite group of editors will choke out any edits that they disagree with, whether they are vandalism, incorrect, or perfectly fine.

After a series of 3 reverts within 24 hours, you aren't allowed to revert an article again (except with a few exceptions- self reverting, reverting obvious vandalism, etc.). If you do revert more than that, you get banned for a minimum of 24 hours.

After 3 reverts, you duke it out on the talk page, eventually someone up the chain will resolve the issue.

Re:Tools have improved for vandalism, screening wo (2, Interesting)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581664)

The WikiProject model has a peer-review process. Just create a WikiProject for frequently-vandalized pages.

ironically, I just made a joke post [slashdot.org] to that effect, but now I realize it's the best course of action.

Re:Tools have improved for vandalism, screening wo (1)

TheCyberShadow (1429099) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582042)

Isn't this exactly what this change is about?

Re:Tools have improved for vandalism, screening wo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32582482)

D'oh. I can finally shut up about that.

Re:Tools have improved for vandalism, screening wo (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582028)

Everybody knows part of the problem with Wikipedia is the automated tools, that and the insane edit counts required by people who play it as a game with the idea of "leveling up" to admin.

Try to correct a date, for example, and watch it get reverted just so someone can add another reversion to their edit count. Lather, rinse, repeat. Good data is 99% likely to be reverted at this point, because the people operating "tools" like Huggle, Twinkle, Finkle, Fuckle, Whatever don't give two shits about checking to see whether an edit is good before they revert it - the fact that you spent 2 minutes checking to see whether it was good means 2 minutes that someone else could have gotten the revert for their "score", and if you don't revert it, you don't "score" anything. So all these mindless idiots do is revert, revert, revert.

Re:Tools have improved for vandalism, screening wo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32582268)

Some editors abuse tools.

Huggle, for instance, is only for obvious vandalism (nonsense, page blanking, attack pages, doing test edits outside of the sandbox).

Using it to revert anything other than obvious vandalism (content that you believe to be non-neutral or wrong) is grounds for your loss of rollback rights and a ban from Wikipedia.

I'd say one of the bigger problem on the site is overzealous bots. They just revert with impunity.

Re:Tools have improved for vandalism, screening wo (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582478)

Using it to revert anything other than obvious vandalism (content that you believe to be non-neutral or wrong) is grounds for your loss of rollback rights and a ban from Wikipedia.

And the chance of the admins on wikipedia actually being responsible enough to do this? If you think they will, you're insane.

No, in practice, the Huggle-jockey just goes on merrily reverting whatever the fuck they can. Nobody doublechecks them anyways.

Re:Tools have improved for vandalism, screening wo (2, Insightful)

TheCyberShadow (1429099) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582140)

The biggest problem I see with this "pending changes" is that there will be so many edits that intentional subtle trolling (deliberately inserting incorrect facts/statistics) is more likely to get through just by the nature of the fact that experienced editors will have to read thousands of edits.

I wouldn't agree with this - for the main reason that (AFAIK) anti-vandalism currently relies a lot on automated processes that check for common vandalism patterns. This change will bring the changes under the scrutiny of real people (for example, if they'll add a tool to show a diff between the public version and latest unapproved version, it'll be plain obvious someone changed some numbers, etc.). There's also that "anti-vandalism patrol" involves people reading random articles in which they have no personal interest - I imagine that the task of reviewing and publishing changes with the new feature would fall to editors with some interest in the article in question.

Which pages? (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581370)

The article specifically mentions W's page, but doesn't seem to give any direction on where one might find a comprehensive list. I'd actually be kind of interested to see that.

Re:Which pages? (3, Informative)

Meshach (578918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581418)

There is a list on the following page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Pending_changes/Queue [wikipedia.org]

Re:Which pages? (2, Funny)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581464)

There's an alarmingly high number of World of Warcraft pages on that list. I think I've finally lost all faith in humanity.

Yep (2)

spitzak (4019) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581450)

This is great! Everybody will now know that Obama was born to a prostitute in Kenya, and that Bush personally parachuted from the planes just before they crashed into the towers!

Re:Yep (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581492)

They will also know that Ross Perot is actually an elephant [in a room], Fox News really is fair and balanced, and that farts smell like flowers if a woman does it.

Re:Yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32581524)

What? Bush parachuted out at the last minute?

I thought he rode the planes down but, being the great Satan that he is, the ensuing crash and fire could not harm him.

Re:Yep (2, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582110)

Don't be daft. Obviously George W. Bush is a human being, not Satan or some evil presence that has haunted man since the dawn of time.

Dick Cheney, however...

Re:Yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32582218)

Oh come on! Be realistic!

deeper problem (5, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581478)

This is supposed to open up participation by anonymous and new editors so that they can work on a small number of highly controversial articles. It might work, for those articles. But there is a broader problem that it won't address, which is that when a newbie edits *any* article on WP, they are extremely likely to get slapped in the face by having their edits immediately reverted without any explanation. I started working on WP articles in 2002, did a lot of editing until 2006, and finally gave up and munged the password to my account so I wouldn't be tempted to get heavily into it again. Somewhere between 2002 and 2006, the whole experience changed. These days, WP belongs to people who keep watch-lists of articles that they want to defend. The type of person who is successful at this game is totally obsessed with making sure that a particular paragraph in the article on shoe polish remains the way it is. Since I only edit anonymously now, I see the same experience as a newbie, and it ain't pretty. If you add a citation to a source, people will revert you because they assume the link is spam. If you clean up redundant text in an article, people revert you because they were in love with the sentence they wrote, and want it to stay in the article. Recently I added a couple of sentences to a WWII-era biographical article in which I referred to the Nazi party, and someone's bot reverted it because "Nazi" was a keyword that it was programmed to assume indicated vandalism.

Re:deeper problem (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581554)

Sounds like more fun than World of Warcraft, is there a monthly fee or is this an ad supported game?

Re:deeper problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32581642)

That's interesting. The science pages are easy to edit, and the non-science pages that every random asshole has an opinion about are more difficult to convince people that your edits to are correct.

*shrug* I've never had an edit autoreverted by a bot.

A better CMS is needed (1)

thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581662)

I can totally understand how people would defend their paragraphs. In that case, the system should allow others to attack. A really CMS should be able to list multiple versions of the same issue, along with some background information about the authors. In other words, just let the world decide who's the genius and who's the moron.

Re:deeper problem (3, Insightful)

melikamp (631205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581808)

I generally had a very positive experience with editing WIkipedia. Your examples indicate that there is a lot of bullshit going on behind the scenes, but still, we need this friction, because without it it would be little better than uncyclopedia. If I wanted to edit articles in the earnest, I would definitely create an account, I would write intelligible comments explaining my edits, and I would start asking to lock articles with dumb-skull bots guarding them, and get my way after a proper bureaucratic process. The end result is a better article, so it is totally worth the effort.

Re:deeper problem (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581854)

Recently I added a couple of sentences to a WWII-era biographical article in which I referred to the Nazi party, and someone's bot reverted it because "Nazi" was a keyword that it was programmed to assume indicated vandalism.

Should Wikipedia continue to allow personal revert-bots to troll webpages?
If it's really necessary, maybe Wikipedia should create an internal auto-revert framework and accept page specific submissions.

Re:deeper problem (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582032)

Such fanatics watching over their darling phrases, means that revert wars would be won by the folks that 'want it the most', or have the most resources / patience to throw at it. Like in a real-life war... at which point the resulting article may not reflect best / optimal / most correct / neutral point of view.

That's exactly why (IMHO) a 'benevolent dictator' model may work better (at least for some articles), if such benevolent dictator has support from enough experts / peers / visitors. And can be removed from his/her position when that power is abused. Okay - I guess I'm advocating some sort of democratic process here, to elect 'officials' that have the power to control some articles. With clear limits to that power.

Re:deeper problem (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582262)

If you clean up redundant text in an article, people revert you because they were in love with the sentence they wrote, and want it to stay in the article.

Your example perfectly illustrates one of the biggest problems. You say the text you modifed is "redundant". You are you? What makes you right and them wrong? Maybe the text was fine as written and you lack the intelligence to appreciate it. Or maybe the original author was an idiot who has no ability to write coherently. Who decides which one is correct? You? Me? The Easter Bunny?

Does this mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32581564)

that when I correct a spelling mistake or grammatical error it won't be immediately reverted?

Re:Does this mean... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581612)

Comment deleted because it was posted anonymously and must be a troll.

I can see it now (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581644)

"This page is part of Wikipedia Project:Vandalism. Please be kind."

I think it's a terrible idea. (2, Interesting)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581646)

Even leaving aside the obvious entries on religion, abortion, evolution, etc... We also have to deal with viral marketing firms who, for example, kept editing the entry for the faux-dokumentary "The Fourth Kind" trying to make it seem real.

There are simply more people willing to discredit Wikipedia, not just the small percentage of the population who indulge in trolling behaviour for shits and giggles.

Re:I think it's a terrible idea. (1)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581888)

The funny thing is that I think a lot of the shits and giggles type vandalism is done by (otherwise) productive editors of the Wikipedia. I've done a bit, practical joking sometimes, and I generally check that my vandalism didn't stick (it never does).

Wikipedia is facing marketeers and anti-wikipedia ideologues now, and they want their edits to stick. So the problem is harder.

That said, I think the problem of vandalism is overblown, and the reaction too strong in many cases. I've seen articles on my watchlist go under semi-protection for pretty minor and obvious vandalism that would have just been reverted without comment a few years ago (possibly by the same people that did it in the first place...)

Re:I think it's a terrible idea. (2)

TheCyberShadow (1429099) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582022)

How does this change affect any of this? Previously, when a new/anonymous user wanted to change something in a semi-protected article, they had to suggest the changes on the talk page and get an "approved" user to do them. Now, anyone can make changes to the page in a way that's not visible to Wikipedia visitors, and they can be approved by experienced editors. It's the same thing, except now it requires less work on both sides.

I grasp this reasoning, unlike other changes (1)

securitytech (1267760) | more than 4 years ago | (#32581746)

I can see the reasoning behind this change, unlike the let's move the search box from one side of the page to the opposite side after years of muscle memory has trained millions of people to start a search on the left because 4% more people's eyes view the right area first idea.

Interesting the search box relocation happened a day or two after Wales resigned most of his admin privileges.

Now the truth can come out (1)

uremog (931065) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582102)

Maybe now 9001 can be described as "the first whole number over 9000" now.

Be careful with Wikipedia... (1)

magnet0 (1765234) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582106)

I actually turn to Wikipedia for useful information. Vandalizers and viral marketers may be having fun with Wikipedia, but too much of that makes it less useful. Nevertheless, I applaud a system that encourages more participation rather than just locking down controversial articles. I just hope the "more editorial control" doesn't end up too heavy handed.

That will change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32582216)

The words such as "neutral" "ideals" "hypocrisy" "propaganda" "open" mean whatever i damn well edit them to mean!

2000 (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 4 years ago | (#32582508)

which will apply to a maximum of 2,000 most-vulnerable pages

I wonder why 2000? Did they look at the numbers and was there a natural break there. I wonder if the number of topics means anything.

It will also be interesting to see what the list of 2000 actually are and what made or didn't make the list.

It could just mean that much of these shenanigans will simply be shifted to the 2001-3001 topics...

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