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Wikipedia Debates Strike Over SOPA

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the but-then-where-will-we-look-up-sopa dept.

Wikipedia 175

An anonymous reader writes "Jimbo Wales has suggested that English Wikipedia restrict its services for a period to protest against the anti-piracy SOPA bill in the United States. This follows a similar action by the Italian Wikipedia last month." Reader fiannaFailMan points out another bit of Wikipedia news: they've taken the wraps off a prototype for a new visual editor. A sandbox is available to try out. The Wikimedia Foundation hopes easier, more intuitive editing will shore up waning contributor numbers.

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175 comments

Someone call me a doctor! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38367782)

I think I've got sublaxations...

Re:Someone call me a doctor! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38367834)

OK, you're a doctor.

Re:Someone call me a doctor! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38367838)

You're a doctor

Re:Someone call me a doctor! (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369444)

I haven't seen Dr. Bob online for quite a while. I'm actually getting kind of concerned at this point.

Re:Someone call me a doctor! (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369544)

I haven't seen Dr. Bob online for quite a while. I'm actually getting kind of concerned at this point.

Oh? Didn't you know? Dr. Bob accidentally revealed his true identity. I think he stopped trolling after that. Kinda sad too, he had a pretty good run.

Re:Someone call me a doctor! (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369854)

I missed that. You have a link?

Visual editor? About damned time (1, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38367794)

I went with Drupal rather than a Wiki because I didn't want to have to write everything in wiki format. Just didn't want to learn another syntax. Have been forced to muddle with it anyway to update some articles.

Re:Visual editor? About damned time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38367930)

I disagree -- for your personal use, the format cruft that visual editors inevitably leave may be fine in exchange for mitigating the learning curve.

For wikipedia, a collaborative project, that cruft will make life harder for every mediawiki-speaking editor after you, and the predictable correlation of newbies & unregistereds with use of the visual editor can only make the career-editor/drive-by enmity worse (if that's possible). There may also be issues with html comments not showing up in the visual editor, though I hope they fixed that.

Re:Visual editor? About damned time (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38367960)

the format cruft that visual editors inevitably leave

Citation needed. It's not difficult to detect and delete empty or redundant tags, or unnecessary containers, though many editors seem to get it wrong anyway.

Re:Visual editor? About damned time (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368756)

What the fuck kind of citation are you looking for, Martin Espinoza? Some bullshit academic paper describing the horrid markup generated by visual editors?

OPEN YOUR FUCKING EYES, MAN! Use such a visual editor for yourself. It doesn't even matter which one! The resulting markup will only be acceptable to fools who don't give a damn about even the most basic level of quality. These are the kind of people who should be punted from publishing content on the web. If you can't put forth the small amount of care necessary to create proper markup, then you clearly don't have the care necessary to put together thoughtful and correct written works.

Well, it seems you already knew this, given your "though many editors seem to get it wrong anyway." statement. So here's your citation: http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2573284&cid=38367960 [slashdot.org]

Re:Visual editor? About damned time (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369012)

It depends how picky you are about the code. If you bold some random text in Expression Web it will create an "auto-format-01" CSS style. It looks lame from a coding point of view, but the browser doesn't car about the arbitrary name and the page will render just the same.

Re:Visual editor? About damned time (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368060)

never mind that the editor won't resolve the problem with dwindling contributors, because that's not the reason they're leaving.

most leave because editing war had escalated until wikipedia became a dictatorial bureaucracy, where support from internal groups overcome field expertise. that's why expert are upset, because they aren't willing nor ave the commitment to prostrate for the local page dictator benevolence.

and you're lucky to be on the en.* one, smaller wikis are even worse in that regard. Italy bureaucrats have come to be a restricted elite that works by favor and allegiance, not unlike our beloved mafia.

Dear Wikipedia Assholes. FU. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368342)

Some time ago, I started to create an article on an entity which is currently in the news, causing great controversy on this side of the pond, and is generally being a dick.

Now, this entity has been slapped down in court, but is still causing merry hell.

Now, what did a Wikipedia (oh great god thou art) Editor say?
Not relevant. If this POS wins the court case, or gets law changed, or is relevant in any way, then yes, a page is warranted.

WTF???

There is now a hundred news articles on this. But, oh not, it's not in the US so it can't be that important to create a whole brand new PAGE. Oh no. Not even when existing pages link to this missing page.

Recently, this same organisation has started to attack others. Still, no page on wikipedia explaining who and what this organisation is for the public to be able to reference.

Now, how is this relevant? Easy. This is like not having a page for Tivo or similar which has and is shaping our world. Perhaps in 10 years the article will be worthless, but today it affects our lives.

It's not happening in the US therefore it isn't relevant (is what I read from the delete reasons).

This is why I don't care to edit any more. I won't. Why waste my valuable time which I am giving to contribute to the pool of knowledge when some dick deletes articles because it has not affected the USA.

FU

FO

If need be, die. See how many articles you have when your contributors twindle to the hundreds.

Re:Dear Wikipedia Assholes. FU. (1)

devent (1627873) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369016)

So which one are you talking about?

Re:Visual editor? About damned time (1)

devent (1627873) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368980)

I take another wiki format anytime over the stupid WYSIWYG editors. Because WYSIWYG is usually not what you get and all the editors are still very cumbersome and error prune. Check out textile http://redcloth.org/hobix.com/textile/ [redcloth.org] It's very easy to learn (most you don't have to learn anything), have a very clean syntax and translates good to html.

Re:Visual editor? About damned time (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369096)

all the editors are still very cumbersome and error prune

Your point is well-taken.

[Notice, I'm too classy of a guy to make any kind of joke over here.]

Re:Visual editor? About damned time (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369494)

all the editors are still very cumbersome and error prune

[Notice, I'm too classy of a guy to make any kind of joke over here.]

I'm not: You really ought to loosen up, you'll feel a lot more comfortable.

Re:Visual editor? About damned time (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38369880)

WYSIWTF

Re:Visual editor? About damned time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38369540)

WYSIWYG = deeply utterly wrong!

Because the whole purpose of markup, is to give the data semantic meaning. Not to make it look a certain way. Ever.
If you write markup, and think about looks, you're doing it wrong!
This is why Dreamweaver, Office software, and all those content management systems imitating them are so wrong and counter-productive.
What you need is, WYSIWYM (what you see is what you mean).

But you're right about "another syntax". Wiki syntax, just like TypoScript & co, is a great example of the "inner platform anti-pattern [thedailywtf.com] "
It's a more kludgy and crippled clone of HTML. It's easier and cleaner, to just write HTML, and be done with it. (In TypoScript's case it's even worse, as it's implemented in PHP, which is designed as a template language itself! ^^)

But I am, right now (well, after Slashdot... ;) developing a CMS that goes the right way. It is, interestingly, not web-interface based. All you need to input content, is a XML editor and a file manager. (Interally, it's using binary markup, and not shitty XML obviously, but that's transparent to users.) All you need to define structure, is a plain text editor and a knowledge of e.g. RelaxNG (C syntax obviously), SQL DDL, or a very simple custom format also based on markup (recommended, as the former two are mainly for easy conversion).

Fuck WYSIWYG and "the traditional approach of CMSes"! Fuck users thinking they know better, despite knowing shit about anything other than the horribly wrong approaches they got used to from other spineless developers trying to create a idiotic "analogy" to physical paper and crayons that doesn't fit!

I'm doing it right.

Strongly support (1)

Draconi (38078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38367796)

Also, [citation needed]

Finally (5, Interesting)

Deathnerd (1734374) | more than 2 years ago | (#38367798)

Big Jimbo speaks and it isn't about something that isn't feeding his wallet AND IT'S SOMETHING REASONABLE!

I'll support this. This will provide so much more (negative) publicity to SOPA than anything any other group has done to date. GO JIMBO!

Re:Finally (1)

Deathnerd (1734374) | more than 2 years ago | (#38367812)

Crap. 5:30 am posting bites me in the ass. What I meant to say was "Big Jimbo Speaks and it isn't about feeding his wallet: IT'S SOMETHING REASONABLE".

Yes I know it's an epic fail. Yes I know I should go to bed in disgrace.

Re:Finally (1)

Confusador (1783468) | more than 2 years ago | (#38367876)

5:30 posting indeed! You were just fine with the original wording, though the alternative works as well. :)

Re:Finally (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368726)

The original wording wasn't fine!!!

"is not about something that is not feeding his wallet" is the opposite of what they meant. Dropping either of the negations makes it correct ;)

Fully agree ... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38367814)

Shut wikipedia down for 24 hours (yes, that long, it should really hurt) with some placeholder site saying that this is to protest against SOPA!

Re:Fully agree ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368044)

That's it? Only 24 hours? I doubt most people visit wikipedia more than once a week. I probably hit up an article on it a couple times a week. One day will only reach the attention of a handful of visitors. Make it a full week. The world will survive if they have to get their wikipedia article from the google cache for a few days.

Re:Fully agree ... (5, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368254)

That's it? Only 24 hours? I doubt most people visit wikipedia more than once a week. I probably hit up an article on it a couple times a week. One day will only reach the attention of a handful of visitors. Make it a full week. The world will survive if they have to get their wikipedia article from the google cache for a few days.

Well, folks might notice that their newspaper is about 50% thinner than usual...

Re:Fully agree ... (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368738)

It would certainly be an interesting experiment.

Re:Fully agree ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370272)

All five people who still get a physical paper?

Re:Fully agree ... (5, Interesting)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368066)

What about a week but with a link to proceed to the content anyway?

Re:Fully agree ... (5, Funny)

CriminalNerd (882826) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368576)

I can see how it'll look:

WARNING: This is a protest against SOPA and its Nazi-style fascism. You must understand what we are protesting about to proceed.

[ ] Get me out of here!
[ ] Tell me more about SOPA
[x] Yes, I am over 18

Some good that'll do.

Re:Fully agree ... (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368318)

yep, make the placeholder site scary, like:
this is what the Internet will be when SOPA passes
image [yourdigitalspace.com]

spread the fear! spread it now!!!! </troll>

Help us Wikipedia, you're our only hope. (5, Interesting)

definate (876684) | more than 2 years ago | (#38367842)

Excellent! This would affect me heaps as I use wikipedia many times each day. Given it affects me, I know it would affect many others, and so hopefully it would raise the profile of what's happening.

Hopefully other companies which are against it, such as Google, can do something similar.

Either way, if they start doing stuff like this, that SOPA bill will get a lot more publicity about how bad it is, and it will be dead in the water.

Re:Help us Wikipedia, you're our only hope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368350)

But isn't the point of something like Wikipedia, to be always available? Once we start playing that game, taking away the resource as a pawn to achieve other goals, it stops being the resource it was meant to be. Not saying that it's wrong, but I've donated to them/it for a couple of years now, and I expect to have access to it when I need it. If it is rendered unavailable, I would prefer it done so involuntarily.

Re:Help us Wikipedia, you're our only hope. (4, Insightful)

theCoder (23772) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368782)

IANAL, but I think the fear is that if SOPA passes, Wikipedia itself could be shut down. Or worse, parts of it censored to limit information, say on methods to get around DRM, or maybe websites that search for torrents. Or whatever new and creative uses the government can come up with (recipes for creating drugs or explosives, for example, or maybe even basic chemistry information on the same grounds). This is worse because people won't notice that they're missing information; a site shutdown would be obvious. I don't know how much of that is actually possible under SOPA, but if it's allowed, it probably will be done at some point. Those in charge always push the boundaries of the law.

A quick voluntary protest now would probably get a lot more attention, especially in the main stream media, which would dearly love to ignore the entire SOPA bill, especially any criticism of it, until it becomes law.

Re:Help us Wikipedia, you're our only hope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38369560)

Works for Trade Unions.

Re:Help us Wikipedia, you're our only hope. (3, Insightful)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368752)

Can you imagine if Google, Bing, and Yahoo shut down together even for a few hours? The internet would basically grind to a halt!

Re:Help us Wikipedia, you're our only hope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38369424)

My first reaction was indignant, "They are hiding the articles I helped create."

But after thinking about it, it may even end up helping fund WikiPedia...the pix of some contributors begging has made it look like I'm watching public TV instead of the encyclopedia that caused the shutdown of the expensive Microsoft encyclopedia.

Re:Help us Wikipedia, you're our only hope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38369460)

You know, it's bothered me that Google hasn't done more on the awareness front. I feel like I need to give them some credit, they've been doing a good bit of the dirty work on this one, but awareness would be much better if they had participated in the "Stop Censorship" campaign that so many others did...

Re:Help us Wikipedia, you're our only hope. (4, Insightful)

Skal Tura (595728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369534)

Imagine if google shut down even for 1hr in protest against SOPA ... Maybe even 10minutes would have quite a crucifying effect!

Wiki who? (5, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38367852)

Get Google to go offline for day and you might wake people up. I work in a shop with a lot of techies and it has never ceased to amaze me how many never used wikipedia nor care too. As in, they don't need it. So get someone who truly matters to people, get Google to do a day of it.

As for getting for edits, get rid of the sanctimonious editors who revert everything that doesn't fit their political leaning or doesn't fit in their universe where every song by glam bands is important and characters who appeared in some obscure anime get full page treatment.

Re:Wiki who? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368058)

Actually, I'd rather see more full page (?) treatments of obscure pop culture artifacts than have that content deported by the franchise to bloated, ad-infested Wikia sites. The gall on Mr. Wales to annoy us with "a personal messages" at the end of the year while he's getting stinkin' rich from that Wikia ad money his influence on Wikipedia's policies helps generate.

Re:Wiki who? (2)

vagabond_gr (762469) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368168)

Get the whole Internet to go offline for a day and you might wake people up. It has never ceased to amaze me how many never used Google nor care too.

But now that I think about it, I know many people who don't really use the Internet that much. My mom certainly wouldn't care much. So...

Get supermarkets to close for a day and you might wake people up!

But I know some other people who ...

Re:Wiki who? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368174)

The problem is, Google is a business. Right now congresscritters really don't understand the kind of power that Google wields, and if Google uses that power for protest, the panic button will get smashed, repeatedly. Regulation would follow as fast as they could ram it though the wheels of congress.

Re:Wiki who? (4, Insightful)

ianare (1132971) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368454)

Having a private company like Google directly influencing the outcome of the legislative process is even more dangerous than this proposed law.

It would mean corporations no longer have to hide behind lobbyists (and some semblance of democracy), and can simply demand any changes they want to a law they do not agree with.

Re:Wiki who? (4, Insightful)

RogerWilco (99615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370070)

I prefer a company do something out in the open that is clearly visible, instead of money changing hands behind closed doors.

Imagine an issue where you could get both Bing (and Yahoo) and Google search to shut down during office hours in whatever country the protest targets.
I think it would be front page news around the world, affect the stock market and shock people.

It's not such a basic utility as electricity, but many people would be affected and nearly anyone would be aware.

Re:Wiki who? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369120)

Just stop deleting stuff. There is no reason not to have pages dedicated to obscure anime characters if there is enough info and references for them. Wikipedia is not paper, as they used to say, and if people have trouble finding stuff it is because the search engine is deficient.

Wikipedia used to be great for articles on obscure subjects that served as a jumping off point. Now much of the good stuff has been deleted, and people won't participate because their efforts end up being wasted. Might as well post on your own web site/blog.

Re:Wiki who? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370026)

If the United States' 6th most popular website according to the TOP500 list isn't good enough for you, what is? Yes, Google is about ten times bigger but it's bigger than eBay, Twitter, Craigslist, MSN and Bing. People will notice...

Re:Wiki who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370314)

Type anything that isn't directly related to a brand into google. What's the first hit? Wikipedia. If Wikipedia go ahead with this, I think Google and it's customer will notice...

Increased burecracy (5, Insightful)

Ailure (853833) | more than 2 years ago | (#38367858)

I know this comes up every time regarding Wikipedia, but Wikipedia simply gotten more hostile towards new contributors with it's bureaucracy and "territorial editors" (seen way too many revert-happy editors who rather revert than fix minor errors), to the point that I simple start to wonder if Wikipedia is taking itself way too seriously. Making it simpler to edit is not the only answer (though might make it simpler for the few layman who can handle bureaucracy but not the markup).

Re:Increased burecracy (2)

Ailure (853833) | more than 2 years ago | (#38367864)

Of course, I am still a fan of reading Wikipedia and I do support Jimmy's idea of taking down Wikipedia for a day. And hoping for other services to follow suit as not everyone use Wikipedia.

Offtopic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38367898)

Where have my damn mod points gone?

Re:Increased burecracy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368126)

I know this comes up every time regarding Wikipedia, but Wikipedia simply gotten more hostile towards new contributors with it's bureaucracy and "territorial editors" (seen way too many revert-happy editors who rather revert than fix minor errors), to the point that I simple start to wonder if Wikipedia is taking itself way too seriously. Making it simpler to edit is not the only answer (though might make it simpler for the few layman who can handle bureaucracy but not the markup).

Agreed.

If Wikipedia is going to protest against censorship, maybe it should protest against the censors closer to home: deletionists.

Re:Increased burecracy (1, Funny)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368252)

to the point that I simple start to wonder if Wikipedia is taking itself way too seriously.

You need look no further than the "notability" requirement to prove that.

I appreciate Wiki as a convenient replacement for the encyclopedia, but Jimbo can take his army of Undead Nazi Editors (tm) and stuff them straight up his [citation needed].

Re:Increased burecracy (0)

harvey the nerd (582806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368508)

Wikipedia has become a springboard for groups with huge financial interests like (new, dangerous and less effective) patent medicines, seize the means academic alarmists on the make, and NGOs seeking to become big players with salable influence or direct power.

Re:Increased burecracy (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369918)

I don't think it is a conspiracy or anything like that. I think that the level of pain required to get anything done has reached a point where contribution is impossible unless:

1. You're willing to pay astroturfers to navigate the process. If you're willing to pay me $100/hr for a few weeks I don't mind moderating 37 debates/votes and escalating 12 points to the arbitration committee, and backing up every three word change up with 12 pages on the discussion tab with WP:ALPHABETSOUP being every 5th word.

2. You are in a position of power within wikipedia, like you're a sysadmin or on the arbitration committee or whatever. That hasn't stopped Jimbo's articles from getting nominated for deletion, but it helps a great deal.

3. You're completely insane and care SO much about getting your three words changed that you're willing to do all that nonsense without being paid for it. In turn, when somebody else wants to change three words you become the champion of the cause of fighting it until they've done the same.

Wikipedia desperate for press (1, Insightful)

hessian (467078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38367878)

That this coincides with Wikipedia's annual beg-a-thon for funds is entirely accidental, I'm sure.

Wikipedia after all seems to be have been a Google project to keep search results relevant by incentivizing college students to plagiarize their textbooks into an online encyclopedia with the standards of a blog.

It's a great place to find information about popular culture items. But for anything else, it has a chilling effect. It dominates search results to the degree that people treat it as an absolute source, probably while quoting "1984" about the dangers of absolute, centralized power.

If SOPA reminds us not to trust governments and its manipulations, we should probably ask ourselves: what really is the difference between a democratic government and a democratic group blog like Wikipedia? If they have the same weakness, won't they fail in the same ways, but in different areas?

For example, SOPA takes down sites. Wikipedia however allows us to categorize people as criminals, hackers, anti-social, etc. and allows an "official" opinion to predominate as to the legitimacy of their points of view. How many valid viewpoints have been squelched by Wikipedians refusing to recognize them?

Put another way, if you can't trust a bunch of old guys in suits not to become corrupt, why can you trust a bunch of stoned basement dwellers to avoid corruption? It becomes important when you realize that Wikipedia has a greater cultural influence than even government does.

Re:Wikipedia desperate for press (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38367910)

with the standards of a blog.

The standards are there. Whether they're actually followed in a majority of cases is another matter.

Re:Wikipedia desperate for press (1)

PaladinAlpha (645879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368038)

The endpoint of that line of thought is "know your sources", which has been sound advice for as long as communication has existed. Wikipedia isn't perfect, but that doesn't keep it from being an amazing resource -- perhaps even revolutionary.

Re:Wikipedia desperate for press (5, Insightful)

TechnoCore (806385) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368106)

Put another way, if you can't trust a bunch of old guys in suits not to become corrupt, why can you trust a bunch of stoned basement dwellers to avoid corruption? It becomes important when you realize that Wikipedia has a greater cultural influence than even government does.

The difference is that Wikipedia is just one on many outlets of information, while SOPA tries to control the flow of information in itself.

If you feel that you cannot trust Wikipedia you can always chose another place to voice your opinion or obtain information from. If SOPA becomes reality then that might not even be an option.

Re:Wikipedia desperate for press (3, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368226)

If SOPA reminds us not to trust governments and its manipulations, we should probably ask ourselves: what really is the difference between a democratic government and a democratic group blog like Wikipedia?

Like, Wikipedia doesn't seize domains of other sites? Seriously, your point is that Wikipedia, like politicians, can also lie? Got some news for you: any webpage or other information source can. Don't believe anything just because you have read it on the Internet. The advantage of Wikipedia is, however, that it links to its sources thus you can easily check everything you read there.

Re:Wikipedia desperate for press (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369788)

Don't believe anything just because you have read it.

FTFY. You should almost never completely believe a single source on anything. And if it really matters, you should check what each of your sources based their statement on, to try to mitigate the "Wikipedia says something without attribution, news article copies Wikipedia without attribution, Wikipedia edited to cite news article" problem.

Re:Wikipedia desperate for press (5, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368334)

if you can't trust a bunch of old guys in suits not to become corrupt, why can you trust a bunch of stoned basement dwellers to avoid corruption?

While it may not apply in this specific context, there is a substantive reason.

The old guys in suits you are referring to are US legislators, the RIAA, and the MPAA. There are two significant reasons why you can trust average stoned basement dwellers to be less corruptible (assuming they are average people):

1. There have been a number of instances of members of the suspect set of old guys in suits demonstrating that they are significantly more susceptible to corruption than average people. This provides a measure which can be used to estimate the probability of a randomly selected member of the set being corruptible.

2. The process of becoming a member of the legislature or a senior executive of the **AA includes an iterative filter which (perhaps unintentionally) preferentially selects for those who are willing and capable of playing dirty. This implies that from a set of individuals who begin the process of ascending, the individuals who reach the top of the systems in question will show a biased distribution -- they will have a higher probability of being corruptible than the overall set of people who began the selection process.

Pretty straightforward, I think. Average people are less prone to corruption than average legislators or average executives of the **AA -- both according to observed results and by analyzing the selection process.

Although, I guess, it could be the case that stoned basement dwellers are also a biased set with respect to corruptibility, so I could be wrong.

Re:Wikipedia desperate for press (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368742)

Average people are less prone to corruption because they don't have any power that they can trade. People with power are corrupt, because if you have power, people will give you things if you make decisions in their favour.

The average person, put into a position of power, will make corrupt decisions.

The editor was never a problem (5, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38367880)

I've never struggled with markup and the editor wasn't a problem. Lowering the barrier to entry just means there'll be more vandalised entries and badly formatted text.

But the real reason nobody contributes is because of the perceived hierarchy and complete lack of human input at times. If I upload a photo, I get 10 or 20 robots written by random people crawl all over it demanding copyright tags etc. and spamming my personal page with their demands.

Every time someone writes a bot that believes my previous tags to be inadequate, I get spammed again and I get my images forcibly removed. There's no human control over it, and the bots are basically allowed to run riot, so even if it was perfectly acceptable when it was first uploaded, and you commented on the exact origins / rights assignment in order to prevent future problems, the next bot that doesn't spot newly-introduced-tag-X on it will just spam you and delete it.

Every time you edit an article, someone who thinks they own the article will just stomp all over it, even if your changes are minor and cosmetic and doing things like removing broken links, changing incorrect spelling, etc. God forbid you add to an article that was all but void of content with some personal knowledge and don't back it up. Surely *something* without citations in an article that's already been created and allowed to remain and even linked to is better than a page that has zero information at all, the citations can come later when people flesh out the article.

And, just occasionally, you'll write an article that will be wiped out as "non-notable", even if it's about a TV program, or a book that's selling millions of copies, or a computer game from the 80's where all its peers are already have their own articles (and the publishing house was famous and their article still sits with a broken link because it mentions that game and there's no article for it).

The problem of Wikipedia is *not* the interface. You *want* people to actually have a deal of experience with editing before they start changing prominent articles. The problem with Wikipedia is that people are allowed to discourage other contributors FAR TOO EASILY, even if their "corrections" are rolled back later.

What's needed is the same kind of system as the Project Gutenberg proofreading site has. Everyone has a login. You have to proofread the text. As you are doing so, your changes are also double-proofread by someone else in another round (there's usually 3-4 rounds). As you gain experience and your edits are "confirmed" (or at least not changed) by other people, you rise through the ranks and it's HARD to get to the point where you have prominent control over the article in question. There are no bots. There are no humans with zero experience of the wiki changing your perfectly-spelled text to junk in the process. There are no vandals that go unpunished. And it works on the same mass scale.

Wikipedia was a brilliant idea and I put a lot of work into contributing. A year later, every careful change I had made was deleted or removed, and that information never found its way back on - those articles are just empty shells now and some were deleted for not having any content after some rogue editor's culling! I haven't contributed since. Show me that the system works and people's hard work is wiped out by a bot written by a schoolkid, and I'll come back. Until then, fancy text editors mean nothing.

Re:The editor was never a problem (4, Insightful)

labnet (457441) | more than 2 years ago | (#38367984)

Even better would to have meta moderation like slashdot. When you revert an edit, at least two other unrelated parties vote if the edit was unfair. To many negative meta mods and you loose the right to revert.

Re:The editor was never a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368070)

A separate privilege for reverting would be mostly a fiction. If someone has any editing privileges, they can also revert.

Re:The editor was never a problem (1)

HyperQuantum (1032422) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368360)

How do you make sure that the two people voting are *really* unrelated?

Re:The editor was never a problem (5, Insightful)

aix tom (902140) | more than 2 years ago | (#38367990)

That's exactly why I stopped editing and adding to Wikipedia.

The problem is definitely not that the interface is hostile to people changing and adding things, it's that the entire environment has become hostile against changes and additions.

They will never bring in new people when 90% of the contributions get thrown out again anyway. If they only want a select circle of a few people contributing, then why not limit the ability to add new things to that select circle in the first place?

Re:The editor was never a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38369500)

Many people complain that wikipedia is hostile, but compared to any other community projects, they are very friendly to contributors. Compare it to the activity of contributing to Debian, or giving a patch to the kernel team, or even the simple act of reporting a bug in Mozilla (and have it taken serious). The problem of friendliness to new contributors is not a new one, and I have yet to see one that solves it.

Re:The editor was never a problem (1)

RogerWilco (99615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370242)

I've never had a contribution I made be reverted or removed. What kind of articles are people writing on Wikipedia that this happens to? (I write both on the Dutch and English Wikipedia, although not a lot).

Re:The editor was never a problem (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38367992)

Here's another way to handle the problem: When you write an original entry for Wikipedia, also put it up somewhere else, like Everything2. That way, even if some jackhole assbastard deletes your article, the work isn't wasted. As a bonus, you can cite the wikipedia article in the E2 article, and vice versa. I wrote a couple e2nodes and cited Wikipedia and then later came to find that my e2node was cited BACK in the wikipedia article! Uhhhh fail.

Re:The editor was never a problem (3, Informative)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368086)

e2node was cited BACK in the wikipedia article! Uhhhh fail.

I think Randall Munroe wrote something about that. :P

Re:The editor was never a problem (1)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368192)

Thing that made me annoyed is when I found a very good picture that was being voted for deletion because it didn't meet commons.wikimedia.org criteria since it was in breech of France's panorama copyright laws. However it was not in breech of en.wikipedia.org where it was originally uploaded and this would never have been an issue if some moronic bot (or person) had not "helpfully" moved it.

My last authored article was for a large scale computer game with millions of player that was tagged with "not notable" before that editor had even googled it. When I messaged him, he googled it, removed his tag and appologised, but if it was really discouraging to have 4 hours of my own time marked by someone as "I think this is not worth the 30kb of harddisk space it takes to store it".

Re:The editor was never a problem (1)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368244)

Amen brother. I was about to write practically the same thing.

The editor never was the problem. The culture at WP is. I used to contribute, I've not done so for a long time now. I spend my time writing for audiences that actually care about it.
WP failed when they snuffed the experts and thought that references could replace knowledge. Nope, it doesn't. References back up knowledge, they are never a substitute. There's a reason scientific papers go through peer-review and not just reference-checking.

And there's a reason real publications have editors - not bots and idiots whose egos are inversely proportional to their intelligence.

A sad story, really. It's still a brilliant concept, with a lousy execution.

Re:The editor was never a problem (5, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368450)

No, you don't understand the stance of Wikipedia.

References are the one and only - because Wikipedia articles stay alife even if no active editor takes care of them anymore. If the knowledge condensed in the Wikipedia article can't be supported by any references, no one will be able to acquire the knowledge to take care of the article again.

As an ideal, Wikipedia articles should contain all the references necessary to check every sentence of it - so someone new to the topic can work through them until he's able to maintain the article. That's what "no original research" means in the end: keeping Wikipedia articles maintainable.

Re:The editor was never a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38369462)

You're implying that Wikipedia should ultimately be a citable resource, which is just... stupid.

Re:The editor was never a problem (1)

Phurge (1112105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368378)

I was going to give this another +1, but instead I'll comment.

Firstly I'm a windows user and will never be a mac or linux user. I know my way around computers but when it comes to wikipedia's markup - I'm sure I could learn those obscure symbols if I really wanted to, but really I just can't be fucked. I bet I'm not the only one.

+5 agree on everything else - bots are cause more damage than good, deletionism is a problem, and YES - some form of community (not appointed experts) peer review is needed.

Some future news broadcast (4, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38367900)

News anchor 1: "...The 24 hour shut down is in protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act."

News anchor 2: "And in other news, thousands of students across the world have delayed handing in their homework by 24 hours, claiming that they need the extra time to make finishing touches to their work."

Re:Some future news broadcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368534)

But how would the news anchors do their research into these things if there isn't a wikipedia article for them to read?

SOPA will break the internet as we know it (2)

bridgey655 (800826) | more than 2 years ago | (#38367986)

I support wikipedia and any other organisation opposing this absolute drivel piece of legislation! This and the indefinite detention act are proof in front of your very own eyes CONGRESS AND OBAMA ARE CORRUPT AND NEED REPLACING.

Secretary of State Clinton on free internet (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368148)

SOPA probably requires ISP using DPI and such technologies recently denounced by Secretary of State Clinton as a risk to internet freedom and human rights.
Of course this only applies when used by repressive regimes and not to our dear US of A....(Patriot Act?)
Guess this RIAA, MPAA and DHS sponsored initiative will not be accepted in European courts anyway.

Re:Secretary of State Clinton on free internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38369512)

Except she mentioned that it was bad when used by both repressive regimes and democratic governments. But hey, don't let facts get in your way of a good bashing.

Nobody will notice they're gone if they strike (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368352)

What a perfect way to demonstrate Wikipedia's irrelevance!

Simpler editor != saner editors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368354)

Everybody knows it's the human editors and the edit bots that are the problem, not the editing interface.

That's not a debate... (1)

robbak (775424) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368444)

A debate is where you have a reasonable number of people on opposing sides. That was more like "Oh yes, we have got to do this" times about 500. Even the "Debate" should make obvoius what the literate world thinks of this idea.

Now, how do we get some legislation proposed that would cut copyright back to reasonable levels, like a flat 14 year monopoly on commercial distribution?

Wikipedia (1)

fa2k (881632) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368504)

People contribute to Wikipedia to help other people. There is an implicit agreement that the user provides the information to WP, and thne WP allows anyone to access it. By shutting it down for political reasons, they are violating that understanding. If they think that they can't run WP if SOPA is enacted, then sure, they should protest like hell. If it's just about the admin's ideals, then they are absolutely permitted by law to shut it down, but they may be violating the expectation of many of their more pragmatic contributors.

Publicity Stunt (0, Troll)

owlnation (858981) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368510)

Every December, Jimbo goes on the scrounge; sticks his hand out for money. And every single December there's some controversial headline about Wikipedia -- this is not a coincidence.

Honest-Jimbo isn't going to be restricting, nor shutting down, the site this side of Hell freezing over. He's making far, far too much money from it. This is just a stunt, like so many before it -- designed to make sure his source of free money keeps rolling in.

And while there's a great deal wrong with copyright laws, and it is good that it is highlighted, I dare say the main reason for Wikipedia being interested in that, is that there's huge tracts of stolen, and plagiarized, text all over that site.

Difference between this & paywalls? (1)

murdocj (543661) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368716)

How come when the NY Times puts up a paywall, Slash think converges on "ha ha information wants to be free, this will never work" but when Wikipedia proposes trying to limit access in the US to make a political statement, it's a great idea?

Re:Difference between this & paywalls? (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369826)

You can't see the difference between a corporation fiercely clinging to their failing 19th century business model and a nonprofit foundation making a temporary political statement out of concern for a bill's potential abuse?

Re:Difference between this & paywalls? (1)

murdocj (543661) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370148)

This has nothing to do with whether the motives of the various groups are good or bad or right or wrong (although I do disagree with the idea that newspapers are dead). But that's irrelevant. The issue is that we have two organizations, each of which creates a "product" that is an aggregation of information. Each organization, for its own reasons, wants to restrict the product. Why does slashdotters think one organization will fail and the other will succeed?

Someone put a news in my news... (1)

rioki (1328185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368776)

Someone put a news in my news so I can read while I read! Great!

Didn't work against the RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368786)

Internet radio did the same thing, didn't seem to help much. Wiki may get better results though.

Oh no, Wikipedia will be shut down. (2)

toddmbloom (1625689) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368832)

Now what site will I go to that's populized by elitist idiots arguing about stupid blog stories on the Internet?

Seriously, I think that Jimbo Wales is approaching Julian Assange levels of arrogance by overestimating his self-worth.

He should just stick to begging for money rather then talking about stupid political things.

Ignoranti don't care now and won't care then (2)

yt8znu35 (1202731) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368992)

Fox News is pro SOPA. Wikipedia could go offline forever and it would not make a difference. Making the SOPA bill matter to the proletariat would involve Google and Facebook going offline.

Awareness (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369026)

I support this completely. We can all live 24 hours without Wikipedia but it will do wonders for making people aware of the issue.

Wikipedia's Management Sucks (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369034)

I don't care for SOPA as much as the next reader, but Wikipedia's management really sucks. I tend to avoid that site ever since Jimmy turned it into an annoying ad-driven "give us more moneys" show.

The thought of shutting down access to Wikipedia for 24 hours to make a political statement really spits in the face of contributors that have provided either money or content.

You want more editors, just remove reversion. (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369056)

If I type a load of well researched, well cited information, and some plank can just blow it away with one click, whose view is going to prevail?

Wikipedia is premised on most editors being honest. If that's the case, it doesn't matter if it takes more than 10 seconds to remove vandalism, right?

Waning contributions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38369148)

It has more to do with the obnoxious mods on power trips than the editing interface.

Argumentum ab incommodo (1)

Bomazi (1875554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369220)

Pulling the plug will not influence the fate of the bill, it will only annoy users. I never understood the idea that you will make people sympathetic to your cause by annoying them. Putting a banner that explains why you think SOPA is wrong is a good idea. It gives visibility to your arguments and might convince people. Turning the site off is easier but accomplishes none of this. On the contrary, not being exposed to arguments against SOFA and not knowing why I should care, I might support it just to piss off the idiot that blocked my access to the site.
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