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Wikipedia Actively Battling PR Sockpuppets

Soulskill posted 1 year,26 minutes | from the citation-needed dept.

Wikipedia 166

Nerval's Lobster writes "Over the weekend we discussed news that PR firms have been selling their ability to modify Wikipedia entries to help clients clean up their image. Now, the Wikimedia Foundation's executive director has confirmed that Wikipedia editors are actively engaged in a wide-ranging battle against those PR firms. Over the past couple weeks, those editors have isolated several hundred user accounts linked to people 'paid to write articles on Wikipedia promoting organizations or products,' according to Sue Gardner. Those users' accounts violate Wikipedia's guidelines, 'including prohibitions against sockpuppetry and undisclosed conflicts of interest.' Some 250 suspicious user accounts have already been nuked. Correcting biased text is a thankless job for those Wikipedia editors — the literary-world equivalent of killing endless hordes of zombies approaching your protective fence. But that job gets even harder when a PR agency deploys dozens, or even hundreds of writers to systematically adjust clients' Wikipedia pages."

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Wikipedia is an MMO (5, Interesting)

mythosaz (572040) | 1 year,24 minutes | (#45207247)

Re:Wikipedia is an MMO (3, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | 1 year,22 minutes | (#45207273)

Seriously though, Wikipedia - the online encyclopedia - is an MMO as well.

Thousands of grinding edits, all of which are likely to be undone by griefing mid-level "players" are necessary to be taken seriously enough to rise though the levels. ...and if you get too infamous, a GM will ban you.

Re:Wikipedia is an MMO (5, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | about a year ago | (#45207833)

No kidding. So many burnt-up, cynical admins who think that they can just do what they want and abuse people - because they pretty much can. Look at the way Toddst1 treats people as a great example of how crappy Wikipedia culture really is.

Every time I see a story about Wikipedia, I remember this [livejournal.com] from years ago. And I chuckle, because that corrupt place hasn't changed one bit since. They have a new crop of Essjays now, and the Durova List behavior is alive and well too.

Re:Wikipedia is an MMO (1)

arfonrg (81735) | about a year ago | (#45208385)

I wish I had mod points, you and the post above you are dead on!

Re:Wikipedia is an MMO (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 minutes | (#45207337)

That's funny. When I went to the Wikipedia page about Wikipedia it said it was "The happiest place on Earth." Clearly these PR companies aren't having an impact on Wikipedia.

Re:Wikipedia is an MMO (1, Offtopic)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about a year ago | (#45207821)

That's funny. When I went to the Wikipedia page about Wikipedia it said it was "The happiest place on Earth." Clearly these PR companies aren't having an impact on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is pubic hair adjacent?
Disneyland made the same bogus claim in July of 1955... some judge should have at least forced them to put appropriate landscaping around the front entrance...

Thankless. Well let me be the first to say (5, Interesting)

deathcloset (626704) | 1 year,22 minutes | (#45207277)

Thank you!

Re:Thankless. Well let me be the first to say (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 minutes | (#45207291)

Yess, good for Wikipedia. It's just a shame Slashdot didn't do the same or it might still have a community left.

Re:Thankless. Well let me be the first to say (4, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | 1 year,41 seconds | (#45207461)

Give you thanks by donating to the next Jimmy Wales appeal! Who could resist that face?

Re:Thankless. Well let me be the first to say (4, Funny)

deathcloset (626704) | about a year ago | (#45207543)

Who can resist that stare!?

So personal. So appealing.

"Jimmy, here's 20 bucks man. No, just keep it dude. I'll check out your cool homepage later."

He's like that cool friend who rarely asks for anything, and when he does you totally don't mind hooking him up. His car is totally old and beat-up and has taco bell wrappers in the back seat but everyone loves riding to shows in it. And....

The analogy goes further but I'll leave it there.

some sympathy (4, Insightful)

globaljustin (574257) | about a year ago | (#45207985)

I kind of feel bad for Jimmy Wales...it seems like he's been in waaay over his head ever since I first read an interview....

He was the lesser tech of the two who started wikipedia, and he kind of screwed his partner a bit...

But...what major online company doesn't have a story like that in its history? Not an excuse but puts it in context...

Wikipedia is awesome. The internet would suck without it.

Wikipedia has never had ads or attempted to become a pay service in any way...in that way Jimmy Wales is a saint

I know Jimmy Wales seems like a cheesey step-dad used-car-salesman type but he's capable of learning and improving...

Credit him for keeping wikipedia open...

Re:some sympathy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45209065)

they should switch to ad-based. Here me out. Look at sourceforge.net. Very very open with a sprinkling of ads. No one cares.
Wikipedia should use paid editors at this point. All our money contributions are going to fighting spam. They also have too much porn, I can't imagine schools let them in.

Jim Pruett
901 213 7824

Re:some sympathy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45209117)

they should switch to ad-based. Here me out...

Hell no!

But seriously, I read the whole comment and my opinion is unchanged.

Wow, I'm going through this now.... (1)

t0qer (230538) | 1 year,20 minutes | (#45207287)

A local newspaper owner runs ads for prostitutes in his magazine. He also has a site (backpage.com) that has been accused by a local DA of being a conduit for child prostitution. An edit was made last week talking about this.

Page in question.
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Dan_Pulcrano&action=history [wikipedia.org]

Talk page with links to articles backing up the edit
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Dan_Pulcrano [wikipedia.org]

Reliable sources

        Change.org petition http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-providing-the-means-to-sell-girls-and-boys-for-sex [change.org]
        http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2013/05/22/san-jose-weekly-paper-pressured-to-remove-escort-service-ads [cbslocal.com]
        http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Weekly-Paper-Under-Fire-Over-Adult-Ads.html [nbcbayarea.com]
        http://meyerweed.blogspot.com/2013/08/san-jose-inside-vs-integrity.html [blogspot.com]
        http://www.protectsanjose.com/content/sjpoa-presdient-unland-responds-metro-editor [protectsanjose.com]

Skeezy.

Re:Wow, I'm going through this now.... (1)

mythosaz (572040) | 1 year,19 minutes | (#45207303)

Backpage is where most of the Craigslist hookers went, once they stopped asking for donations of "roses."

Re:Wow, I'm going through this now.... (1)

t0qer (230538) | 1 year,18 minutes | (#45207309)

I'm linking your post as a reliable source.

Re:Wow, I'm going through this now.... (1)

mythosaz (572040) | 1 year,15 minutes | (#45207335)

Please leave your "roses" in an envelope on the night-stand or a credenza near the door...

Some Craigslist hookers moved to the normal personals section, with the usual "seeking generous older man" lines that are synonymous with "pay me for sex," but the transition to Backpage (where they were already advertising in smaller volume) happened pretty swiftly. ...now if someone would get sock puppets off TER, we'd have some unbiased reporting.

Re:Wow, I'm going through this now.... (3, Informative)

cas2000 (148703) | about a year ago | (#45207475)

A local newspaper owner runs ads for prostitutes in his magazine.

it might be sleazy, but prostituion is a legal service - there's no reason why it shouldn't be advertised (with restrictions on appropriate style and location of advertising, of course).

presumably, his magazine is for adults and the readers know what it's about?

He also has a site (backpage.com) that has been accused by a local DA of being a conduit for child prostitution.

being accused of child prostitution is not the same thing as being guilty of it. if he's arrested, charged, and found guilty in court, then he should be sent to jail. if not, the accusation shouldn't be used as a stick to beat him with.

Re:Wow, I'm going through this now.... (1)

t0qer (230538) | about a year ago | (#45207585)

it might be sleazy, but prostituion is a legal service

Not sure where you live, but where I live it's totally illegal.

Personally, I'd rather we make it legal. I fall under the category of, "Whatever consenting adults want to do behind closed doors" but in its current, illegal state, most of the time we just have people being exploited for someone else gain (usually the pimps gain)

Re:Wow, I'm going through this now.... (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about a year ago | (#45207635)

...but prostituion is a legal service - there's no reason why it shouldn't be advertised (with restrictions on appropriate style and location of advertising, of course).

Escorting is legal, provided it's just companionship. ...pretty much ever escort isn't just an escort, however.

Re:Wow, I'm going through this now.... (4, Informative)

Nemyst (1383049) | about a year ago | (#45207891)

Wait, what? Pornography is very much legal, but prostitution is illegal in all but one state: Nevada [wikipedia.org] . Considering the GP is speaking of a man operating in California, he was acting illegally, assuming he is indeed guilty.

You're either confusing words or countries here. How the hell was this modded Informative in the first place?

Re:Wow, I'm going through this now.... (4, Informative)

Fjandr (66656) | about a year ago | (#45208277)

There's an entire world outside the US.

Legal prostitution in the anglosphere? (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#45208361)

But to what extent is sex for hire legal in Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, which are the other countries that read English Wikipedia?

Re:Legal prostitution in the anglosphere? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45208411)

But to what extent is sex for hire legal in Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, which are the other countries that read English Wikipedia?

I can't tell if Wikipedia is actively battling PR Sockpuppets for this particular article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_by_country [wikipedia.org]

Re:Legal prostitution in the anglosphere? (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#45208493)

According to that map, among major English-speaking countries, organized prostitution is legal only in a small fraction: New Zealand, half of Australia, and parts of Nevada.

Re:Legal prostitution in the anglosphere? (2)

melikamp (631205) | about a year ago | (#45208759)

At least here in USA, it's because Puritan Christians rule, and Christians tend to believe it's OK to make preaching the gospel a commercial activity, but not sex (go figure). The MO for every "respectable" movement has been the same since about 200 AD, and is the same as that of the Jewish Temple of 40 AD, you know, the one where Jesus got processed. It's almost as if the leaders of major churches actually figure things out by looking at Jesus and doing exactly the opposite: they make churches into shops, and slam the door on women who are forced into selling sex by the shitty economy. Hehe, no, that would be too ironic. I am sure, they are just re-inventing the wheel first patented by the Jewish prophets...

Re:Legal prostitution in the anglosphere? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about a year ago | (#45209161)

It is more like liberals or feminist more precisely in todays world.

Look up human trafficing.

Re:Legal prostitution in the anglosphere? (2)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about a year ago | (#45208487)

You may perhaps be surprised to find there's a Wikipedia article about Prostitution in Australia [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Legal prostitution in the anglosphere? (1)

Jamie Ian Macgregor (3389757) | about a year ago | (#45209291)

in NZ - To the extent where there are brothels in nearly every city/town and some cities have street workers too...

Re:Wow, I'm going through this now.... (3, Interesting)

pavon (30274) | about a year ago | (#45207487)

Dude, they reverted your posts because what you posted was flat-out wrong, not because they are shills. You stated that Dan Pulcrano owns backpage.com, but he doesn't own it, operate it, or have any direct control over what goes on it. His newspaper does business with it, but that is a far cry from what you actually posted.

Re:Wow, I'm going through this now.... (0)

t0qer (230538) | about a year ago | (#45207643)

Dude, they reverted your posts because what you posted was flat-out wrong, not because they are shills. You stated that Dan Pulcrano owns backpage.com, but he doesn't own it, operate it, or have any direct control over what goes on it. His newspaper does business with it, but that is a far cry from what you actually posted.

I don't think a local DA would make the claim that Pulcrano owns it unless it was true.

http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-providing-the-means-to-sell-girls-and-boys-for-sex [change.org]

Re:Wow, I'm going through this now.... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#45207733)

Because DA's aren't human and never get wrong info?

Re:Wow, I'm going through this now.... (2)

ArbitraryName (3391191) | about a year ago | (#45207853)

Did you really just say that a District Attorney would never make a mistake? The ownership of Backpage.com is trivially verifiable, you can read about the split between the publishing side and the backpage.com side all over the internet and you can read that the owners of each side are not named Dan Pulcrano [reuters.com] .

Re:Wow, I'm going through this now.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45207883)

I don't think a local DA would make the claim that Pulcrano owns it unless it was true.

The truth never got in Mike Nifong's way, nor Nancy Grace's. Just because someone's a prosecutor is no reason to take what they say at face value, IMO.

Re:Wow, I'm going through this now.... (4, Informative)

ArbitraryName (3391191) | about a year ago | (#45207693)

He also has a site (backpage.com)

Your edit was reverted because it was factually incorrect as demonstrated by your own links. Backpage.com is owned by Village Voice Media. Dan Pulcrano has no ownership interest in VVM or Backpage. It looks like Backpage pays for a link from the metroactive.com website but that's about the extent of it.

A pox on all PR/marketing firms (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 minutes | (#45207349)

Is there anything at all that advertising and marketing firms can't turn to shit? Anything?

I say name 'em and shame 'em. Where is a list of companies and people that have hired a PR firm to manage Wikipedia articles? Once I know, I'll never deal with them.

Re:A pox on all PR/marketing firms (4, Informative)

cas2000 (148703) | about a year ago | (#45207519)

Cease and Desist orders for violating the terms of service would be more effective than just naming and shaming - although that's useful/satisfying too.

also, accessing computer systems without proper authorisation is a criminal offense, not just a civil liability - so evidence can be handed over to the police for prosecution.

Re:A pox on all PR/marketing firms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45207661)

The internet crusaders and fans of pretty much anything are a nuisance as well. The annoying thing is that often the articles are pretty well sourced, but some people have changed the text (even to opposite meaning) while keeping the reference intact. Some products also seem to have a bit more sellable descriptions than others...

Re:A pox on all PR/marketing firms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45207731)

Marketing assholes turn everything to shit. Thats what they do. THATS ALL THEY DO.
A useless lying backstabbing untrustworthy middle layer of scum who produce nothing of value.

Just sue them. Send in the lawyers. Let the scum fight it out.

Altho i still favor public executions for marketers. Give the people what they want. Less ads and more death. Thats entertainment!

Re:A pox on all PR/marketing firms (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about a year ago | (#45208287)

Exactly. Lawsuits are too good for them. Burn them at the fucking stake.

Re:A pox on all PR/marketing firms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45209095)

So why do you tolerate so many of them here on Slashdot?

Microsoft have been doing this since 2007 (5, Interesting)

tuppe666 (904118) | 1 year,12 minutes | (#45207369)

To show there is nothing new under the sun...ironically from the wikipedia entry "On January 24, 2007, Rick Jelliffe made claim on his blog that a Microsoft employee offered to pay him to make corrections in Wikipedia articles concerning Office Open XML" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Microsoft [wikipedia.org]

Vandalism (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 minutes | (#45207383)

If they are intentionally editing the site to delete factual information or add fake information. Couldn't the constitute vandalism which they operators of Wikipedia could sue them for? Especially since they are doing it "For Profit" so they can't say they did so erroneously or anything?

Watch them get hit with a steep judgement against them PER ATTEMPTED EDIT and you will see them put a stop to it fairly quit I would think.

Re:Vandalism (1)

shri (17709) | about a year ago | (#45207501)

Forum owners have dealt with this stuff for a while... Shills have been around for centuries.

This is not news at all, it is the cost of doing business on the user generated web.

Re:Vandalism (1)

EuclideanSilence (1968630) | about a year ago | (#45208533)

This isn't business.

Re:Vandalism (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45209105)

This isn't business.

THIS. IS. WikipediAAAAAAAAA!

Re:Vandalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45208645)

Good luck trying that judgement. If the FCC is unable to stop robocallers where they know exactly where they are coming from, nobody is going to stop the company shills, period.

Free Market (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 minutes | (#45207389)

In action

Your post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45207473)

Stupidity in action

Re:Free Market (5, Funny)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45207521)

The free market has determined that your organs are worth more than you as a whole.

Re:Free Market (0)

Fjandr (66656) | about a year ago | (#45208305)

Many things are worth more for parts than their sum total is worth.

Personally, I think there are a lot of people whose organs would make more useful contributions when removed than the person whose meatbag holds them together.

isn't Wikipedia more like a hippie commune? (0)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#45207613)

It seems to me that Wikipedia is more like a commune than a free market. Market based companies don't let competitors edit their "product" with no oversight.

Like all communes, they are victims of the delusion that all people will always work for the common good.

Free market capitalist systems recognize the fact that people want "stuff", and will act in their own interest, and arranges things such that acting in your own self-interest IS acting for the greater good. At the most basic level, the free market says:
To get stuff, get money.
To get money, build or do stuff for other people to buy.

Putting the two together:
To get what you want, take care of other people's needs.
That's the free market. "Everyone get together and work on a shared thing" is the commie way. It works only if a) there are no more than three people involved or b) the project is controlled at the top by a free market organization responsible to their customers (Red Hat) or a harsh dictator (Linus). If you exclude the free market it either fails (Soviet Union) or has a heartless dictator (Castro) or both (Cuba sucks, even with a dictator).

Re:isn't Wikipedia more like a hippie commune? (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#45207747)

Wow in one post you showed us that you don't understand the free market, communes, or wikipedia.

well done.

Communes (1)

coyote_oww (749758) | about a year ago | (#45207773)

Communes can work on a larger scale than 3, but there are serious issues when you get above about 150 or so. That corresponds with research about the number of people that one person can know. When you get a situation where everyone doesn't know everyone, you start to get a breakdown in the trust that is essential for a commune to function. Even with a strong government, it isn't socially/economically stable anymore. And it's always hard to get the next generation to agree to the social contract, if they have other options.

One example:
http://www.hutterites.org/
They limit at about 15 families (they run to very large families) per commune.

This isn't even the worst problem with Wikipedia. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 minutes | (#45207393)

Corrections are reverted everywhere by anal deletionists/revertists.
My entire ISPs network prefix is blacklisted.
[citation needed] is abused everywhere, even for the most universally well-known accepted things.
It's biased as hell by overboard political correctness.

I bet there are a number of actual trusted editors who charge for advertising too.

The idea of an encyclopedia that everyone can edit is find and dandy and all, except people are greedy and stupid so it doesn't work in practice.

3 domains of verifiability (5, Interesting)

deathcloset (626704) | 1 year,5 minutes | (#45207413)

I wonder what articles have been targeted? (maybe a comment posted concurrently with my composition will list them).

To speculate - I've noticed that articles on wikipedia fall into the three broad categories, unsurpisingly the same as those of nouns: 1) people, 2) places, 3) things.

3) "Things" articles are the 'simplest' to disentangle or find the truth of because "things" include works of art, mathematics, science and physical objects. It's easy to tell a lie when an article says that the hit song, "I feel good" is written by Mozart, or when an article claims gravity makes things fall up. These claims are relatively easy to test or refute. The problem with these types of articles is they may require some real expertise (especially philosophical and mathematical articles) to verify - but that is also their virtue

2) "Places" articles (which include 'historical events') become more difficult because often these places do not exist any more, or the events usually have already happened, usually a really long time ago. These articles suffer the classic problems of history multiplied by the power of the internet.

1) "People" articles. These articles are rife with arguments over what actions events in a person's life are significant, and what elements of those actions are significant. The words chosen to describe a person can make all the difference - he was a "Great Leader" or he was a "Good Leader" - which one best describes Hitler*?

So I would venture that this firm has targeted articles in categories 1 and 2, although I guess there maybe product articles in category 3 which could be gainfully modified.

Ah the truth of things. And the relative truth of places and people ;)

*you graciously forgive this overused example.

Re:3 domains of verifiability (5, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#45207729)

If you read some press stories about the sock puppet companies they are mostly targeting products or corporations, attempting to manage commercial reputation.

In truth, this is not always unwarranted. When someone writes about the rash of Brakes failures on Toyota vehicles, the company ought to be able to have a clearly labeled Official Response position, rather than having them feel forced to resort to sockpuppetry to get some actual facts, or corporate nattering as the case may be, across.

Having policies in place that forbid official statements just begs for sockpuppet tactics. There have been cases where authors of books had their remarks removed because they were not considered a credible source [arstechnica.com] for information about their own books.

Furthermore, it would seem that as long as the sockpuppet was indicated, in a foot note, as a paid source of a product or company, that fact alone should make the posting more official and credible rather than less so. Who is more authoritative on the capabilities of a product than the manufacturer? Some random user perhaps?

Re:3 domains of verifiability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45208807)

Who is more authoritative on the capabilities of a product than the manufacturer?

Depends. How honest is the company? Most advertising flacks are highly dishonest. Oh how I wish truth-in-advertising laws were actually enforced.

There's a reason why people go to wikipedia rather than a company's website. People, collectively, have decided that wikipedia is far more trustworthy than the average company's website. And they're right. It is.

Allowing companies on to wikipedia will turn it into yet another unbalanced and dishonest company mouthpiece. That's not authoritativeness. That's commercial propaganda.

Re:3 domains of verifiability (2)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#45208897)

Of course I can see this creating a whole new set of problems as trolls impersonate official responses. Wikipedia would have to manage official accounts and on which pages they have permission to act in that capacity and given the ever changing nature of Wikipedia that might not be so easy. Okay so Sony can make official responses on the Sony page, what when someone makes a page called Sony BMG copy protection rootkit scandal [wikipedia.org] , does Sony get to make an official response there? What if they're unfavorably mentioned in a list of items, does everyone involved get to make their official responses on that page? It's one of those ideas that sound nice in theory but I think would get messy and unmaintainable in practice.

Re:3 domains of verifiability (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#45209025)

Sure, why not give everyone or any product or any company mentioned file a reply?
Its disk storage, at worst case, and you could apply length limits. Doesn't have to be featured on the main page, it could simply be linked as a foot note.

Disk is dirt cheap, and history would thank you. Most companies would probably not even bother.

Re:3 domains of verifiability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45209141)

Who is more authoritative on the capabilities of a product than the manufacturer? Some random user perhaps?

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I'm seeing this more on the biography side (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | 1 year,3 minutes | (#45207433)

Some of the paid PR I've seen recently has been on biographies of living persons, especially rich ones. Lots of happy talk about their charitable work and affiliations gets put in. Stuff about their career failures, lawsuits, and criminal history gets taken out. This is tougher to fight, because Wikipedia has a "biography of living persons" policy which discourages negative comments for anything short of a felony conviction. (Even after a felony conviction, sometimes.)

On the product and business side, though, pushing back against paid editing usually works.

Re:I'm seeing this more on the biography side (4, Funny)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45207491)

Wikipedia has a "biography of living persons" policy

Sometimes the solution is right in front of you.

Re:I'm seeing this more on the biography side (1)

ArbitraryName (3391191) | about a year ago | (#45207707)

Wikipedia should no longer publish information about living people? That seems counterproductive to its purpose.

Re:I'm seeing this more on the biography side (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45207933)

It was more about how, for a specific person, you can circumvent the "living person" policy.

Re:I'm seeing this more on the biography side (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45207967)

This is tougher to fight, because Wikipedia has a "biography of living persons" policy which discourages negative comments for anything short of a felony conviction.

What's negative about a verified fact? It's all in the eye of the beholder. Holding an entry for a living person to a higher standard of verification, for both "positive" and "negative" facts, makes some sense however.

Morality is a matter of not getting caught! (1)

erroneus (253617) | 1 year,1 minute | (#45207455)

People are more concerned with whether or not they are to be caught and less with whether or not it's the right thing to do. These bits and pieces of character should be coming from parents and school and society at large. I got lots of that sense growing up. I teach those lessons to my sons. I think for most people, however, those lessons never made it in and they are people of lesser character because of it. It makes me sad. None of those people even care that they are of weak and/or poor character. They care little about what they do to society, to culture, to their neighbors or just about anything that doesn't have a direct impact on their lives. I could ask "why" all day long and never get an answer that could lead to a solution. But I think since the 80s and attitude changes such as "looking out for number one" have managed to shift things in a bad and irreversable way. Am I wrong? Does anyone else here see things wrong and try to correct them when they see them? Or do you, like so many others say "it's not my business" and move on? You live in this world. Make it better if you can.

Wikimedia could copy StackOverflow's process (3, Interesting)

rgbe (310525) | 1 year,40 seconds | (#45207463)

We all know how StackOverflow works. You can always ask or answer a question, but other privileges are based on your reputation. Reputation is only gained by creating good questions and answers. It takes work to get a good reputation on StackOverflow.

I actually don't know what Wikimedia has in place, but it could implement a similar reputation based approach as StackOverflow. Of course the algorithm and mechanism would be different since Wikipedia is not a Q&A site.

To make things even harder, they could implement a reputation killer. For example: if user A improved the score of user B, then user B gets nuked because they are one of these PR firms, then user A should suffer a major reputation dive.

While I'm at it... Instead of Wikipedia begging for money once a year, they could implement a wikipedia.com site which has some light advertising. By default all users go to wikipedia.org, but for those who want can manually redirect to wikipedia.com. I would be glad to support such a system.

Re:Wikimedia could copy StackOverflow's process (4, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | about a year ago | (#45207603)

I don't think StackOverflow's solution applies very well to Wikipedia. Hell Wikipedia's solution doesn't apply well to Wikipedia, where you have people knowledgeable in fields being overruled by editors utterly unfamiliar with the subject. The problem with implementing any new system is converting anyone already in the system appropriately and how to prevent new users from being discouraged.

Instead of Wikipedia begging for money once a year, they could implement a wikipedia.com site which has some light advertising. By default all users go to wikipedia.org, but for those who want can manually redirect to wikipedia.com. I would be glad to support such a system.

No advertiser will move to advertise on a site that users won't see unless they explicitly go to it. I'd rather Wikipedia stick with the begging, much like NPR it lets them maintain a degree of independence from corporations who do shit like this.

Re:Wikimedia could copy StackOverflow's process (3, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#45208093)

We all know how StackOverflow works. You can always ask or answer a question, but other privileges are based on your reputation.

I'd hardly call that a model, it rapidly becomes as annoying as expert sex change.

Half the questions are stuffed with meta bickering about the "rules", who should get reputation, who shouldn't, disputes over whether the question is too much like some other question, a bunch of asshats duplicating and expanding on the same answer while trying to out-answer it to game the system for reputation.

I think my least favorite though is "not constructive". Yes, yes, it doesn't' have a definitive answer, but the ensuing discussion is generally pretty enlightening, and should be encouraged. And most of the real "hard" programming stuff falls into that category. (How to name things well for example (be it classes, database tables, interfaces, etc...)

No, actually that's wrong, my least favorite thing about stackoverflow is shitty hacks being up-voted. The C stuff about strcpy strncpy, or snprintf vs _snprintf vs sprintf_s etc is full of just really piss poor advice as a for instance. There's good info mixed in, but the bad never goes away and some of its rated really high.

If wikipedia followed stackoverflows model, every article would be 50 pages long of competing articles, voted up and down by

Re:Wikimedia could copy StackOverflow's process (3, Interesting)

mutantSushi (950662) | about a year ago | (#45208239)

The outcome of that would be PR firms would just have their sockpuppets build up a history of 'good editing' so that their PR-shill edits will not be challenged. Alot of that can be done by automated means, e.g. scanning articles for generic grammar issues, minimal human input to verify it makes sense, and you can have a large number of 'good editing' events build up.

Lawyer up! (1)

mutantSushi (950662) | about a year ago | (#45208263)

The effective solution is suing these PR firms, who directed their employees to do things inherently violating Wiki's terms of service and which can be found liable for civil damages in degrading the quality of Wiki's product, which is supposed to follow the terms of service.

Re:Lawyer up! (1)

rgbe (310525) | about a year ago | (#45208299)

Yeah, because Wikipedia has an army of lawyers ready to be deployed. That's why they are always running low on funds.

StackOverflow's process sucks (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | about a year ago | (#45208987)

Call it sour grapes, if you want.

I have no idea why I was banned. I have not even been there in about six months. Just got a message that I posted too many "low quality questions." WTF?

I have no way to find out exactly what was wrong with the questions I posted. Nobody complained about the questions when they were posted. The questions were entirely honest. I was always polite, and respectful.

I think people should be banned when they post constant spam, or obscenities, or racist remarks, or something like that. Just because you post an honest question, and some smart-ass Nazi troll wants to act like a big shot by calling your question "low quality" is a poor reason to ban people, IMO.

loyal shills (2)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about a year ago | (#45207493)

Pharmaceutical shills pushing dangerous "standard" medicines is a huge problem. I ran into an outside Vioxx lawyer with COI and a lot of "company loyalty". Pretty tough sledding to set it straight. Worse are the Quackwatch trolls. These contribute a lot to the bankrupting of America, and some unpleasant deaths.

Re:loyal shills (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#45208071)

Yes, lets keep a drug that helps people off the shelf becasue it has the same rate of mycardial infarction as every NAISD.

Since the withdrawal of Vioxx it has come to light that there may be negative cardiovascular effects with not only other COX-2 inhibitiors, but even the majority of other NSAIDs. It is only with the recent development of drugs like Vioxx that drug companies have carried out the kind of well executed trials that could establish such effects and these sort of trials have never been carried out in older "trusted" NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, diclofenac and others. The possible exceptions may be aspirin and naproxen due to their anti-platelet aggregation properties.

What's the big deal? (3, Insightful)

jodido (1052890) | about a year ago | (#45207527)

Anyone who takes Wikipedia's word for anything without another source deserves whatever they get, and this is not due to the growth of sockpuppets. It's always been true. A teacher I know tells her students that to cite Wikipedia "is like telling me you saw it written on a bathroom wall at the bus depot."

Wish it could apply to the rest of the Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45207531)

For many controversial topics, sock-puppetry/soapboxing is a plague on the Internet, that prevents a lot of rational discourse about a pretty wide range of stuff; now that nations and corporations can't more directly dictate what we consume through TV, they spread as much FUD as possible across sensitive topics of interest, all over the Internet.

The purpose isn't to win anyone over, but to prevent/deter anyone from learning, and I think it is going to be a losing battle, where certain topics are permanently kept muddied, such that the public can not learn in sufficient numbers, to make some topics/insight become mainstream.

This might sound a bit dramatic, but there's a gigantic information war going on (arguably has always been going on, throughout the history of all politics), between the public and those who would like to control the information we consume (for whatever purpose - usually power/profit), and most of it takes place inside our heads: we are prevented/dissuaded from learning, and taught inaccurate knowledge, by people abusing our susceptibility to various bits of false-logic/fallacies.

The Internet has been one of the best hopes of transcending all of this, but I don't think it's going to work anymore, I think there will be too many shills and sockpuppets on the Internet before too long, who are subtle enough to pass as credible, and deceitful enough to get away with destroy discourse on a lot of important topics (and I think economics is the biggest testing ground of all there).

Re:Wish it could apply to the rest of the Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45207583)

You lost me at "rational discourse".

Duh! (1)

SigmundFloyd (994648) | about a year ago | (#45207539)

Who would have thought someone would use a freely editable site to spread misinformation?

Vandals (2)

Arker (91948) | about a year ago | (#45207545)

Vandals are a plague, but *paid vandals* are much more difficult to deal with.

Paid vandals who make admin status are even worse again, of course, but I suppose that is a different subject.

Totally different suggestion... (4, Interesting)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#45207571)

Why not make it official? Let's say politician X doesn't like the article written about him. Let him add a section _under his own name_ where he says what the truth is according to himself. Obviously the reader would know that this part wouldn't be unbiased.

On the other hand, there was the case of a German politician where Wikipedia got the name wrong - and wouldn't accept his statement what the correct name is. So it would be really good if that person could add a paragraph saying "these Wikidiots got my name wrong, and here's the correct name..."

Re:Totally different suggestion... (1)

ArbitraryName (3391191) | about a year ago | (#45207751)

He could simply add that information to the biography on his personal or government web page and it could be added to Wiki from there. Adding information like that shouldn't violate any rules [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Totally different suggestion... (2)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#45208087)

" Obviously the reader would know that this part wouldn't be unbiased. "

hahaha, no.
That leads to manipulation and 'all sides carry the same weight' type thinking that is destroying actual discussions.,

Wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45207633)

Should take note of what was changed and make a special notation that that company/entity wanted this exact detail changed.

I think it would be funny to see what was changed and what it was changed to. Call them out on it

Its a never-ending job ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#45207769)

... on the part of the wikadors [urbandictionary.com] to maintain vigilance for this sort of abuse.

Vandalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45207815)

Every employee of these PR firms should be thrown in jail.

Wikipedia set itself up for this (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | about a year ago | (#45207839)

Unlike Slashdot, Wikipedia does not permit PR people to post openly under their own names. The result is what anyone would have predicted, sock puppets. Wikipedia needs to follow Slashdot's example and permit us to post under out own names.

Re:Wikipedia set itself up for this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45208015)

In this case, the puppet master created new accounts hoping they wouldn't be tied together. If someone spotted one account creating lots of overly promotional articles, people would check all new articles that account created. Instead, he would create an account, make a few junk edits to get autoconfirmed, then create a new article (and get it past new page patrol so it didn't get spotted). Then that account would never make another edit. The only way they were tied together was using 2 or 3 "sources" which existed solely of publishing press releases and nothing more. When people started looking at articles using the same "sources", the sockpuppetry (and meat-puppetry, as some were other people, likely hired) was uncovered.

Re:Wikipedia set itself up for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45208033)

Wikipedia needs to follow Slashdot's example and permit us to post under out own names.

Since PR fraud is widespread that's pretty pointless. e.g. On slashdot there's may be a dozen fraudulent sock puppet posts for every legitimate one. The 90% of advertising and PR people who are barefaced liars give the other 10% a bad name.

Wikipedia editors? (1)

painandgreed (692585) | about a year ago | (#45207843)

Great. Just great. Zombie apocalypse is a good metaphor. If everything I hear about the Wikipedia editors is even half true, they're more dangerous than the PR people to most articles. They'd be the guys guarding the zombie free compound and when you walk up waving saying "Thank God I made it to safety." they shoot you, possibly for no reason and just announce another zombie killed. There are reasons that the Wikipedia editors get no thanks and a lot of it has to do with them deleting everybodies additions in their own little private domains as well as any sort of zombie reports.

mod 0P (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45207923)

It's free. Why does the App Store need a CC? (-1, Offtopic)

myvirtualid (851756) | about a year ago | (#45208115)

I don't use iTunes or iBooks or any other Apple media apps. I've only had my Air for a few months, and I do love it so, but....

If Mavericks is free, why does the App Store need a credit card in order for me to download it?

I do not plan on purchasing anything through iTunes. Never say never, sure, but I don't. Ever.

Guess I can't have Mavericks.

Even though it's free.

Kudos, Apple, you've given me my first reason to feel less than happy about a hardware purchase I reveled in.

Illegal use of computer resources (4, Informative)

msobkow (48369) | about a year ago | (#45208355)

If someone cracks into a system, they get charged with illegal use of computer resources. if someone violates the EULA for a website, they can be similarly charged.

I see no reason why these PR firms couldn't therefore be charged with similar violations in court.

Easy to combat (1)

Tekoneiric (590239) | about a year ago | (#45208467)

This would be easy to combat. Setup an approval system in place before updates go live for a current events, products or companies.

Does the NSA use these services? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45208475)

for the pages that list classified programs?

New Tag Line Required (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | about a year ago | (#45208479)

Wikipedia: The Encyclopedia that anybody (whom we approve) can edit.

They refuse to privilege, in any way, expertise, so why should they engage in demotion of non-expertise?

Fighting the dumb fight. (-1, Flamebait)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#45208517)

Correcting biased text is a thankless job for those Wikipedia editors — the literary-world equivalent of killing endless hordes of zombies approaching your protective fence. But that job gets even harder when a PR agency deploys dozens, or even hundreds of writers to systematically adjust clients' Wikipedia pages."

Interesting... You're aware that you also allow feminists to push their ideologically slanted non scientific Marxist agenda of marginalizing men's issues to dominate state funding allocation? I mean, granted, most folks are ignorant about the movement's hijacking [youtube.com] and operate on the untested assumption that the ideology's re-branding as "Woman's Studies" courses actually furthers a fair and rational agenda; I'm a scientist, you must prove it's good for me to believe such... I have seen much evidence to the contrary. Feminism is the radical belief that no one needs unbiased peer reviewed evidence to turn Hypotheses based on emotional appeal into Theories, and these ideological Theories into actual Laws. Note: Neither Women's Rights, Human Rights, nor Men's Rights need an ideology to back them...

Perhaps the sock puppets merely took it as par for the course, since, e.g., all of the entries discussing Feminism are wholly biased, and indeed you welcome Women's Studies courses assigning their "armies" of impressionable students to work on cleaning up Feminism's image by spreading their easy to believe untruths, and removing negative discourse. Yep, that's mostly welcome unless anyone takes the time to go to war over some slanted edit, or the blatant bias makes you look too bad, you don't oppose such activity. You say you wouldn't tolerate a group of political ideologists organizing a campaign to do the same, but that's exactly what you embrace. Indeed, many edits are done as part of a project assigned by these biased groups; Some edits are reverted, but you also have fiefdoms where biased editors control which edits are and aren't included. It's telling indeed that the wiki fiefdoms of the ideologists cover their ideologies... The edit army is only one issue; IMO, the dictators are a bigger problem, but strangely Wikipedia embraces them once they gain control over an information territory.

Hell, I once tracked down and added some information to the 3D .OBJ file format page, but that showed up on the wiki-dictator's radar who had taken ownership of that page. They marked the page for delete then moved it to a private area that only they could see and edit -- I found out because I went back to add more data and reference the file format... However, the most widely supported 3D mesh file format in the world had been removed as "not notable". It came back some time later with my edits "corrected" to actually be incorrect. That was when I gave up on Wikipedia. Shit like that is commonplace. The data can disappear right from under your foot, without any real oversight, and when debating other important political topics -- such as boy's suicide rate being 8 times that of girls or over 90% of workplace deaths involving men, men being over 90% the victims of violent crimes, and over 90% of the homeless being male, and domestic abuse not being gendered [csulb.edu] , yet there's no support or funding for men's homes, only homes for battered women... that's equality? -- I've foolishly referenced factual information on Wikipedia only to have the very ideologues I'm arguing against retroactively edit the page and prevent reversions to make me out to be a misleading asshole.

Edit armies are only opposed when the owners of Wikipedia are opposed to their political agenda. A blind eye is turned when the shoe is on the other foot. I think the problem is that Wikipedia is sending mixed messages; No one knows if their sock-puppet army will be welcomed or shunned until they try to add their bias to the site. So, the answer seems plain to me. If you want to reduce the number of unwanted edit armies, just list the political and ideological biases the Wikipedia staff hold as acceptable so we can know which topics are safe to further what bias on, and which topics folks are wasting time and money adding edits to.

Australia's crooked federal police guard Wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45208787)

Australia' crooked federal police force have been deleting wikipedia edits telling people how corrupt the AFP are. Can wikipedia please add these and ban the AFP censors?:

http://www.theage.com.au/national/afp-ignored-corruption-complaint-20100524-w81a.html [theage.com.au]
http://www.theage.com.au/national/afp-allegedly-shut-down-awb-case-prematurely-20120606-1zwz7.html [theage.com.au]
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/archive/business/afp-withheld-key-whistleblower-evidence-in-kessing-case/story-e6frg97x-1226117735249 [theaustralian.com.au]
http://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/news/afp-defends-record-on-foreign-bribery-1 [lawyersweekly.com.au]
http://kangaroocourtofaustralia.com/category/australian-federal-police/ [kangarooco...tralia.com]
http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2008/s2402675.htm [abc.net.au]

"Policing a citizenâ(TM)s right to expression"

Should Duncan Kerr's concern about a pamphleteer in his electorate allow him to involve the Australian Federal Police, asks Richard Ackland.

While Justice Minister Duncan Kerr was in Sydney yesterday splashing around some federal funding on legal aid, back in his Hobart electorate of Denison things have not been entirely glossy and wonderful. Last Sunday and Monday he had Mr Mick Skrijel stamping over his borough spreading leaflets that said some beastly things about poor Dunky.

Skrijel will be familiar to readers of this column as the former South Australian fisherman who made allegations of drug trafficking and official protection. The NCA subsequently brought a drug cultivation charge against him. An inquiry into the NCAâ(TM)s conduct in this case found there was substantial evidence that the NCA fabricated the case against Skrijel in order to secure his conviction.

Kerr rejected the recommendation that a royal commission be held and has sent the matter to the Victorian Deputy Ombudsman for further investigation. Skrijel claims this is a totally inadequate response.

The material that Skrijel was distributing in Denison contained all those details, plus some flourishes that Kerr was trying to silence him. The Minister for Justice was on notice that Skrijel was going to publish this pamphlet because he had sent him a copy on January 30 and asked him to read it carefully and tell him where he was wrong.
The minister did not take up Mr Skrijelâ(TM)s generous offer. Instead on February 2 he wrote to Skrijelâ(TM)s lawyer in Melbourne, John Howie, of Howie and Maher, and said that the pamphlet was âoewildly defamatoryâ and urged that the legal implications of distributing such material be made clear to Mr Howieâ(TM)s client.

He also sent a letter to members of the media in Hobart, dated February 5, warning that he âoewould be obliged to take legal action if any of the false and defamatory material were to be repeated in the mediaâ.

That letter went to the Hobart branch manager of ABC radio, among others, on the same day that the ABC metropolitan radio host, Annie Warburton, was planning to interview Skrijel on her afternoon radio show. Before going to air she talked to a friend, Mr George Haddad, who is working with Kerrâ(TM)s campaign team in Denison. Haddad cautioned her about interviewing Skrijel because he was likely to say something defamatory about Kerr on air. Warburton then pulled the plug on the interview.

Kerr says he was concerned about his own safety and his office requested the AFP conduct an âoeassessmentâ of Skrijel. This is quaint since in the time Kerr has been a minister there has been no apprehension about Skrijel. It is only when he turns up in the electorate wanting a debate that the AFP flatfoots are called in.

On Tuesday, Warburton was visited by the Australian Federal Police, Kerr being minister responsible for the AFP. She was asked about her impressions of Mr Skrijel and his reaction to being told the interview had been cancelled. The police officer also wanted to know about Skrijelâ(TM)s whereabouts in Hobart, which she did not have. She was asked by the AFP officer to get in touch with the whistleblowerâ(TM)s organisation, ask them to contact Skrijel and invite him back to the studio on the pretence that another interview would be scheduled. It was suggested that she string Skrijel along and find out his address in Hobart, so that the copper could go and interview him about his pamphlet. Naturally, like all good journalists, and also having been a lawyer herself, Annie Warburton declined to participate in this proposal.

In fact, the AFP did interview Skrijel, on Wednesday and yesterday in Melbourne. He was asked about the wicked pamphlet: how many had been distributed, were there any others, why was he âoementally harassingâ the minister?

But why should a minister be so sensitive as to involve the federal police in the free expression of issues by a concerned citizen participating in the democratic process of an election campaign? This is an even more interesting question.

missing from Kerr's wikipedia page too http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duncan_Kerr [wikipedia.org]

A Wiki Shitlist Page (2)

snowsnoot (3389789) | about a year ago | (#45208951)

How about we publish a Wiki page which names and shames said PR companies and their clients! That way we know exactly what products and services to avoid.
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