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German Wikipedia Has Problems With Paid Editing — and Threats of Violence

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the next-time-we-leave-the-rest-of-the-horse dept.

Wikipedia 55

metasonix (650947) writes "As German journalist Marvin Oppong learned recently, there are a number of people who work to make articles about certain corporations and trade groups on German Wikipedia 'look better.' And when Oppong published his discoveries, one reaction was an openly violent threat, aimed at him, posted on de-WP's 'Kurier' noticeboard. Just as with English Wikipedia, it is apparently a 'terrible crime' to criticize German Wikipedia, even when Jimbo Wales's 'bright line' rule on paid editing is being violated. Unlike English WP, the Germans will threaten to 'curbstone' people for saying it."

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Moo (1)

Chacham (981) | about 4 months ago | (#46694269)

Wouldn't it be more appropriate to give the Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] link for Marvin Oppong [wikipedia.org] (English [google.com] ?

okay then... (0)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 4 months ago | (#46694299)

German wikipedia sucks. Just sayin'.

Re:okay then... (1)

aminorex (141494) | about 4 months ago | (#46704053)

Wikipedia jumped the shark a long time ago. Now it is just evil. Still useful, but very very evil.

Wow (5, Insightful)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about 4 months ago | (#46694343)

One person said something mean in a comment thread. Shocking! This is not the climate of the family-friendly internet I grew up with!

Seriously, a death threat is only relevant if it was specific and realistic threat.

Re:Wow (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 4 months ago | (#46694757)

One person said something mean in a comment thread. Shocking!

There is much more than that! The author also made these shocking discoveries:

1. Some people try to make themselves look good.
2. People will do things in exchange for money.

Re:Wow (1)

fermion (181285) | about 4 months ago | (#46695869)

Have you read the Wiki pages of Google or Rush Limbagh? Clearly written by shills. Have you seen the responses when one talks negatively about Google. Personal attacks are very common. This is little new, but the solution when certain agents have money to burn to create a very crafted images, is elusive.

But oh my gosh! (1, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#46694357)

Are these miscreants aware of the damage they could do to Wiki's journalistic integrity?

Wikipedia: when you want to say you fact checked , but you don't have time to do it properly.

Re:But oh my gosh! (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 4 months ago | (#46695791)

You do realize that Germain Wikipedia operates with the special flagged revisions [wikipedia.org] extension that indicates which pages have been approved through editorial review.

Unlike English WP? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46694509)

I'm sorry, but you can find threats of violence on the English Wikipedia, and other less blatantly unsavory conduct, which is even worse in its way, since it's not so easy to reject.

Threatening violence is easy enough to recognize. Other forms of manipulative conduct can be harder to spot and more difficult to expunge.

Re:Unlike English WP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46695237)

On the English WP, you'd more likely to have someone threaten to kerbstone you.

Re:Unlike English WP? (1)

mendax (114116) | about 4 months ago | (#46695609)

Only in the UK. ;-)

its a bit of an exaggeration. (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 4 months ago | (#46694511)

s/the Germans/some assclown on his iphone at a berlin pub/

Curbstone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46694547)

Okay not being a German national, what is meant by "threaten to 'curbstone' people"?
A curbstone where I live is the part of the street that is at the edge and channels water...

Re:Curbstone? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 4 months ago | (#46694633)

I am assuming it means something similar to curb stomp.

Re:Curbstone? (2)

Megahard (1053072) | about 4 months ago | (#46694725)

To put someones mouth on the curb and stamp on their head.

http://www.urbandictionary.com... [urbandictionary.com]

krauts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46695527)

krauts

Re:Curbstone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46698955)

that's disgusting! what if it hurt the teeth?

Re:Curbstone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46694793)

The article actual uses the phrase curb stomp. Apparently the submitter didn't RTFA.

I'm German and I have no idea. (1)

mha (1305) | about 4 months ago | (#46695095)

I know what it means but I can't even think of a German word equivalent. I would have to resort to describing its meaning in German using at least one long sentence.

Re:I'm German and I have no idea. (1)

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) | about 4 months ago | (#46695701)

Read the German Wikipedia article about it: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] – interestingly, the German Wikipedia seems to be the only one that has an article on this.

Re:I'm German and I have no idea. (1)

bossk538 (1682744) | about 4 months ago | (#46696051)

I seem to recall reading an article for "curb stomp" in the English Wikipedia, which had a link to "American History X." In the American History X article it looks like "curb-stomp" was linked, de-linked in Feb. 2012, and the term was replaced with a description in subsequent edits.

No matter.. (1)

mha (1305) | about 4 months ago | (#46697601)

I didn't claim that there IS no word - after all, there's a word for everything - only that I didn't know. I don't think it matters much that/if there is a word when few people know it. Even with your Wikipedia link, I most certainly have never ever heard the word "Randsteinbeißen" in my life. Worse: I am not even aware that "Randstein" is a word. For me that's supposed to be "Bordstein". Conceptually "Randstein" makes sense ("egde stone", for the English speakers), but I've never heard it before.

> interestingly, the German Wikipedia seems to be the only one that has an article on this.

I think this should tell us something ;-)

Re:No matter.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46698945)

(Mental image of M. Bison rocking out to Rammstein)

Re:I'm German and I have no idea. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46696509)

Reading the original discussion in German, it becomes apparent, that Wikipediocracy has misinterpreted what has been said:

brrr...was für ein seichtes Gelaber. Die Schande einer ganzen Zunft, wenn man bedenkt dass der Herr schon mal hier mit einem Kurierartikel, einschließlich offenem Brief geehrt wurde und anscheinend nichts dazugelernt hat oder es einfach wieder vergessen hat. Ein geistiger Tiefflieger, er soll aufpassen, dass er nicht mit dem Kinn am Borstein hängen bleibt.

Basically the author says that Oppong talks bulllshit (= seichtes Gelaber) and flies on such a low intellectual level (= geistiger Tiefflieger) that he has to take care not to crash into a curbstone. He is not threatening Oppoing. He is just visualizing what he thinks of Oppoing's proposals.

Curbstone (3, Funny)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 4 months ago | (#46694731)

> "Germans will threaten to 'curbstone' people for saying it"

Pick your punchline:

1. I'm gonna have to look that up on Wikipedia.
2. Well, that's an improvement over a gas chamber anyway.
3. I found a curbstone in Elder Scrolls Online and was wondering wat it was for.

I have to call BS on this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46694883)

It's not like the Germans to employ Gestapo tactics like this.

Re:I have to call BS on this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46695853)

You need to know that Oppong is black, and that the editor who made the comment has an 88 attached to his name. 88 is a neo-nazi code for Heil Hitler (HH, the eighth letter of the alphabet, twice). Curbstomping gained notoriety in Germany after neo-nazi youths used the method some years ago to execute a 16-year-old in East Germany.

Paid editing is fine for Wikipedia (2)

augahyde (1016980) | about 4 months ago | (#46695003)

Wikipedia is not completely opposed to paid edited. Here's a conversation I had with someone from Wikipedia:

From: Me
To: Wikipedia

I just saw this ad for a freelancer pop up (http://www.freelancer.com/projects/Articles-wikipedia/Create-wikipedia-entries.html) and thought that you might be interested in blocking the requested entries.

---

From: Wikipedia
To: Me

Paid editing is not prohibited but it is certainly not encouraged. At the moment the best I can do is to post a message on the Conflict of Interest Noticeboard alerting the regulars there to the request so that they can check whether those articles have been created and review them closely if and when they are. We do not usually block the creation of articles. However if an article that does not comply with policy and guidelines is repeatedly created, we do prevent further creation.

Thanks for contacting us. I hope this helps.

Yours sincerely,
Robert Laculus

---

From: Me
To: Wikipedia

Thank you for your response. I hadn't realized that paid article creation/editing was authorized.

---

From: Wikipedia
To: Me

I would say "permitted" rather than "authorized", although it is distinctly frowned upon. Such articles will be heavily scrutinised, and deleted if too promotional in tone. Users will be blocked from editing if it is clear that they are only editing Wikipedia for promotional purposes. In fact, unless we actually catch postings such as the one you found, or see other evidence of it, it is very hard to prove that someone has been paid to edit or create an article.

That said, his signature specifically states, "Disclaimer: all mail to this address is answered by volunteers, and responses are not to be considered an official statement of the Wikimedia Foundation. For official correspondence, please contact the Wikimedia Foundation by certified mail at the address listed on https://www.wikimediafoundatio... [wikimediafoundation.org] ."

Re:Paid editing is fine for Wikipedia (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#46695081)

Hmm, astroturfing? Or someone wanting to get someone else to do all the leg work for their end-of-semester paper?

Re:Paid editing is fine for Wikipedia (1)

augahyde (1016980) | about 4 months ago | (#46695509)

Not at all. This is a legitimate line of traffic between Wikipedia and me. I probably should have deleted the ad link, but it didn't cross my mind at the time. Unfortunately, I can not edit my entry so there it is... Out of curiosity, how could this be used to get someone to do my end-of-semester paper? For grins, I teach at a college; I am not a student there.

Re:Paid editing is fine for Wikipedia (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#46696445)

I had actually assumed such, I was only suggesting that the job-offer came from someone wanting to astroturf Wikipedia. Or... Want to do a paper on NODWIN? Too honest/untrusting to just pay someone else to do it? Well you can still hire them to do the background research for you and summarize it nicely to at least Wikipedia-grade quality, with the added bonus that on the off-chance that your professor does a cursory background check themselves their primary source will probably be the one you commissioned. Not quite sure how the food cart works into things though... maybe they just want some strategic information for meal-gathering while they write the paper?

Re:Paid editing is fine for Wikipedia (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#46696485)

Hmm, as a second thought - it could also be a potential investor or employee. It's probably a lot cheaper to commission an honest article on Wikipedia than to hire a consultant/investigator to gather similar information for you.

Re:Paid editing is fine for Wikipedia (1)

augahyde (1016980) | about 4 months ago | (#46698155)

Gotcha. I see what you were saying. I read it as you thought I was astroturfing or something else. I guess reading comments (I know, I know, don't read the comments) on sites makes me assume that everyone's on the attack.

German wikipedia (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46695009)

The german Wikipedia has more a problem with Blockwart-Administrators. I guess on the english version it's the same with "administrators".

Everyone understands what the term means, why it is there, but you cannot edit it in anywhere, they will exterminate it asap.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blockwart

Wikipedia kills itself, I had edits in the article about "Lightsabers" (well, just the german one) reverted where I made the sentences read better (nothing else and the originals were clunky). If people spend time on reverting sentences in articels on lightsabers (german version) because someone changed how the sentence looks (no matter if it is a tad better or a tad worse) you can count that as sign something is REALLY broken within the system.

Re:German wikipedia (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 4 months ago | (#46695079)

"Wikipedia kills itself, I had edits in the article about "Lightsabers"

Wouldn't that be Lightsabres ? Saber is american

Re:German wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46695655)

Saber is indeed American and lightsaber is as it should be spelled. Have you not noticed that most of the good guys speak with American accents and the bad guys speak with British ones? The big exception to that rule is Darth Vader, but James Earl Jones's voice has an accent all to itself.

Re:German wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46699641)

Except of course for both Obi-Wans and Qui-Gon

Re:German wikipedia (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 4 months ago | (#46698303)

I had some German student revert an edit I made about the second largest carnival in the UK (second only to notting hill) - I was on the council committee that organized the dam thing and was in charge on one of the events that had 1000 participants and over 200k spectators - I just gave up with wikipedia after that.

Over generalisation, much ? (3, Insightful)

aepervius (535155) | about 4 months ago | (#46695115)

" Unlike English WP, the Germans will threaten to 'curbstone' people for saying it."

Yeah because all german are like that. *eyeroll*. Or alternatively one or two scums doing it for paid money saw the danger of their revenue evaporating, or even more likely, one or two idiot thought it to be fun to threaten that guy.

Re:Over generalisation, much ? (0)

Jesus_666 (702802) | about 4 months ago | (#46696163)

Careful. You came dangerously close to criticizing Wikipedia there. If you had then as per Section 34 (1), WikiG I would have been legally required to threaten to curbstone you. For your convenience I have appended a translation of the relevant article to this post.


Section 34 Defense of Wikipedia's Honor
(1) If any German citizen becomes aware that Wikipedia is
1. criticized;
2. ridiculed;
3. slighted;
4. compared to Hitler or
5. mentioned by or in the same sentence as an Axel Springer AG publication
then the citizen is to threaten the originator of said remark with a curbstoning within no more than twenty-four hours of becoming aware of the remark unless such a threat has already been issued within that time.
(2) It is up to the threatening citizen to decide the time and place of the curbstoning, should they decide that one is neccessary.
(3) Any citizen who fails to adhere to subsection (1) shall be punished with reading no more than five threads in 4chan's /b/ board or a fine.

mod parent up! (1)

Herve5 (879674) | about 4 months ago | (#46698023)

This quote is more than an overgeneralisation. To me it's definitely on the verge of open racism.
You doubt? Just replace "Germans" with "Arabs"...

Re:Over generalisation, much ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46698249)

Yeah because all german are like that. *eyeroll*.

Are you one of those Holocaust deniers? The world knows what Germans are like. They proved who they are. They also murdered LGBT. Fuck you and you other genocide defenders.

Re:Over generalisation, much ? (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about 4 months ago | (#46699013)

How is pointing out that racism is dumb and incorrect defending genocide? Oh the irony.

Re:Over generalisation, much ? (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 4 months ago | (#46698335)

Err have you seen the politics having a riot on may day is normal in Germany - instead of say in the USA and UK being seen as an aberration

Reading comprehension (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46695249)

Original German: "Ein geistiger Tiefflieger, er soll aufpassen, dass er nicht mit dem Kinn am Borstein hängen bleibt".

Translation: "A mental low-flyer (i.e., low-flying plane), he has to take care that his chin doesn't snag the curb".

The statement is that this guy's head / brain is flying so low that any obstacle become insurmount-able, even the curbstone. It's a big stretch to see this as a threat of violence.

Re:Reading comprehension (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46695917)

That's what I thought at first. However, see comment above: http://yro.slashdot.org/commen... [slashdot.org] "You need to know that Oppong is black, and that the editor who made the comment has an 88 attached to his name. 88 is a neo-nazi code for Heil Hitler (HH, the eighth letter of the alphabet, twice). Curbstomping gained notoriety in Germany after neo-nazi youths used the method some years ago to execute a 16-year-old in East Germany." If someone with an 88 at the end of his user name made a comment about my chin hitting the curb after I made some unwelcome comments, I might wonder too what exactly they meant.

Re:Reading comprehension (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46696477)

Taking the articles into account in which the editor is involved, I'd be very surprised if that 88 doesn't have a less conspicuous origin. I can see how the meaning of the quote may be lost in translation, but it clearly means what the other AC explained: It's just an elaborate way of saying "that guy is a complete idiot". It's an insult, not a threat.

Sieg heil! (1)

mendax (114116) | about 4 months ago | (#46695747)

I'll start to worry about the German Wikipedia when a swastika appears on the main page and the those who threaten to curbstone other editors resort to more Gestapo tactics. Then we'll know that they have fully returned to their old ways. Until then, I won't lose any sleep.

So, to summarize.... (1)

metasonix (650947) | about 4 months ago | (#46697951)

So, to summarize:

1) it appears from the threads on this post that many Slashdotters find it acceptable for corporate paid editors to mess openly with Wikipedia articles.

2) and, it's similarly perfectly acceptable for anonymous Wikipedia editors to threaten people who uncover these schemes.

3) plus, Oppong is black, and the threat involved "curb stomping", a very ugly act of violence that white "skinheads" are fond of doing to their enemies. As Oppong noted, it was seen being done (by a white racist, to a black man) in the film "American History X". So acts of skinhead violence are A-OKAY on Wikipedia, because "oh well, people make violent threats on Wikipedia all the time".

I'm getting the impression that soon it will be socially acceptable for Wikipedia's cultlike fans to commit acts of real-world violence against their critics, plus any journalists who uncover Wikipedia corruption. Why?

The "threat" (2)

WoOS (28173) | about 4 months ago | (#46698869)

First, metasonix, as you get so agitated about this and looking at your posting history, can we assume you are Marvin Oppong himself.

Second, as has been pointed out here as well as in the comments to the article you cite for the threat (which only gives your ... uh ... Marvin's shortening of the threat instead of the full line), the full line in question is

"Ein geistiger Tiefflieger, er soll aufpassen, dass er nicht mit dem Kinn am Borstein hängen bleibt."
Translation (thanks to an AC) "A mental low-flyer (i.e., low-flying plane), he has to take care that his chin doesn't snag the curb".

Being German I understand the second part - as others have - as amplifying the - admittedly - insult of the first part, but definitely not a threat of violence. And you seem to understand it the same, because why else would you cite the second part out of context?

Also, the whole comment from giftzwerg (in German) [wikipedia.org] ending in the insult seems to criticize not the publication of the misuse but your proposal to solve it (independent supervision council without editing rights) as non working (due to the lack of admin rights). I.e. he seems to criticize you as too weak. Does not sound at all like a paid shill threatining you after his exposure as you make it sound.

So while you might have a point with some Wikipedian authors following commercial interest, trying to exagerate the case it by makeing up a threat IMHO weakens it serverly.

Re:The "threat" (1)

metasonix (650947) | about 4 months ago | (#46699035)

1) No, I am not Oppong. I did partly assist him with the publication of his Wikipediocracy article. That is all.

2) I don't read German and so am not privy to much of what happens on de-WP. But Wikipediocracy has a couple of regulars who follow de-WP, and they tell us that even though it is better run overall than en-WP, it has major problems with "cranks" pushing extreme viewpoints. Also, many of the worst users on Wikimedia Commons, who fight any controls over adult content tooth and nail (resulting in thousands of close-up penis photos and other disgusting stuff), came to Commons from de-WP.

3) Your nitpicking about the exact language is superfluous. Oppong himself read it as a direct and violent threat, and he contacted his local police. Who did nothing, as usual, saying that "it's an American website and we have no control over it legally". This is part of how Wikipedia gets away with its abuses and incompetence.

4) Are you "Giftzwerg 88"? Because your furious spluttering reminds me of him.

Re:The "threat" (1)

WoOS (28173) | about 4 months ago | (#46699537)

> Are you "Giftzwerg 88"? Because your furious spluttering reminds me of him.

No, I am not. But would you be so kind to explain the inconsistency of that comment above (refering to a German commentor on Wikipedia) and
> I don't read German

I find it ironic that someone posting news on slashdot about an article about conflicts of interest does not reveal that he himself has one as coauthor of the mentioned article. And defends quoting out of context by bashing people pointing it out as "nitpickers".

Threats of violence? (4, Insightful)

BillX (307153) | about 4 months ago | (#46701657)

The 'threats of violence' thing appears to be a naive misunderstanding of German, if not an intentionally sensationalist one: have a look at the comment by user "Required" following the article, which explains the original German idiom.

The actual "curbstone" quote in question is:
"Ein geistiger Tiefflieger, er soll aufpassen, dass er nicht mit dem Kinn am Bor[d]stein hÃngen bleibt."

It's not a threat to curbstomp anyone, but a colorful insult that loosely translates as "someone with such a low-flying intellect, they have to watch out for curbstones lest they hit their chin on one". Indeed, Google auto-translates it as:

"A spiritual low-flying aircraft, he should be careful that he does not hang with the chin on the curb."

So much wrong with german wikipedia (1)

YoungManKlaus (2773165) | about 4 months ago | (#46702461)

essentially the mods are dickheads and there is a debate about every 2nd article if it meets the importance criteria as if they had to fit the whole think on a single floppy and need to save bytes.

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