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Wikipedia Gets Critical Reception from UK Press at Wikimania 2014

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the wikipedia-has-the-right-to-forget-you dept.

Wikipedia 113

metasonix (650947) writes On Sunday the 2014 Wikimania conference in London closed. Wikimania is the major annual event for Wikipedia editors, insiders and WMF employees to meet face-to-face, give presentations and submit papers. Usually they are full of "Wiki-Love" and good feelings; but this year, as the Wikipediocracy blog summarized, Wikipedia and its "god-king" Jimmy Wales came under considerable fire from the UK media — a very unusual occurrence. And much of it was direct criticism of Wales himself, including a very hostile interview by BBC journalist James O'Brien, who had been repeatedly defamed in his Wikipedia biography by persons unknown.

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/./censor still in beta? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47655283)

some bugs;; Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, anonymous comment posting has temporarily been disabled. You can still login to post. However, if bad posting continues from your IP or Subnet that privilege could be revoked as well. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in the timeout corner or login and improve your posting. If it's someone else, this is a chance to hunt them down (&/or demonize them....) based on speculation of ill intent... peace out /. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m39DWVFK-Bw

talk about terror??? some of us are shaving with pliers now?... https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=wmd+morgellons+weather

the stuff we come up with? based on our never ending WMD on credit fictional deity holycost inspired spiritual bankruptcy malady;

bogus to begin with then there's http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=5517341&cid=47646895 media censorship & vandalism i can access from my pocket gadget?

all things being equitable.. any notion of real justice is based entirely on mercy, the centerpeace of momkind's heartfelt connection with creation

being spiritually & creatively merciful with each other takes out the (media/fear) drama of the always violent hateful fear & loathing punishment features. are we not each our very own reward? punish as we would wish to be punished? WMD on credit 'weather' is not punishment enough? http://www.globalresearch.ca/weather-warfare-beware-the-us-military-s-experiments-with-climatic-warfare/7561

fortunately over time the truth prevails.... see you there

Re:/./censor still in beta? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47655413)

Are you trying to say something? Then put it in an understandable form. Otherwise, stop posting that garbage over and over.

moron 'garbage' collection by tackdicks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47655621)

just don't read it?

Quit whaling on Jimmy (1)

penguinoid (724646) | about 3 months ago | (#47655303)

What do these people have against Wales?

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47655387)

Wikipediocracy isn't a "blog", it's a troll website for a walleyed lunatic fringe of Moonies, Scientologists, pro-ana activists and conspiracy loonies who got banned from Wikipedia and aren't taking it well. metasonix, the OP, is a prime example of such braincases - http://www.metasonix.com/v3/index.php/the-wikipedia-project

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (4, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 3 months ago | (#47655493)

The guy who wrote the linked article (Andreas Kolbe) is legit. He contributes quite a bit to Wikipedia and I believe is interested in making it better. He's also critical of many aspects of it, but not trollishly so.

Much of the rest of Wikipediocracy is indeed filled with unsavory characters who're angry they weren't allowed to push various agendas on Wikipedia, though. What seems to have kicked it off initially, among other things, was one of its co-founders getting banned because he tried to expand his linkfarm business [wikipedia.org] into Wikipedia.

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (1)

Gregory Kohs (3756319) | about 3 months ago | (#47655817)

Amusing mischaracterization of the 2006 version of MyWikiBiz. By the way, Wikipediocracy has its own Wikipedia article, too... and it fairly clearly shows that Wikipediocracy has repeatedly broken and/or influenced internationally-covered stories about Wikipedia. The site is very successfully reaching the goals of its mission statement, no matter how badly you wish to paint the site's leadership as "unsavory".

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47656269)

Their mission statement is quite vague (as most are...), and could easily fit in with anything from a civil rights movement to the Westboro Baptist Church if you replaced Wikipedia/etc. with another target. How successful at highlighting controversy and getting attention is not an indicator of savoriness one way or another.

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (0)

Gregory Kohs (3756319) | about 3 months ago | (#47657879)

I feel sorry for your apparent lack of success in life.

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47660625)

Great retort and illustration of what success in life is all about...

For anyone too lazy to follow links, the previous AC had a point. The Wikpediocracy mission statement could easily apply to just about any organization that is disgruntled about something:

We exist to shine the light of scrutiny into the dark crevices of X and its related projects; to examine the corruption there, along with its structural flaws; and to inoculate the unsuspecting public against the torrent of misinformation, defamation, and general nonsense that issues forth from X.”

In their case X is Wikipedia, but this statement could represent anything from someone fighting a great injustice in the world to one of bazillions of pointless squabbles that get way too much attention these days. Their success at getting noticed isn't a counterpoint to the claim they fall into the latter category.

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (2)

DamnOregonian (963763) | about 3 months ago | (#47658197)

Adorable. Like a White House press secretary, you do a little spin, and now the topic is so fucking confused that no one knows what they were even saying before the drivel spewed forth. I salute you. Hey, aren't you the tool who tried to expand his link-farm business into Wikipedia, and actively promotes paid-for PR editing? You're my hero, man.

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (-1, Troll)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | about 3 months ago | (#47655927)

Wikipedia is one big link farm, cultivated by idiot slaves to further Jimbo Wales's other businesses like Wikia. And your point was?

Re: Quit whaling on Jimmy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47656219)

Does it contain links without the no follow attribute?

Re: Quit whaling on Jimmy (1)

Gregory Kohs (3756319) | about 3 months ago | (#47657901)

For a long period of time, yes -- most of the links from Wikipedia to Wikia were exempted from the "nofollow" rule that Wales imposed personally on all of the other links found in Wikipedia. So, Wikia got a special and important boost from Wikipedia between about 2007 and 2009. And guess what? At that time, 60% of the board of directors of the Wikimedia Foundation were Wikia principals. Wikipedia editors: You scratch Jimbo's back, and he'll scratch his own, too.

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (1)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | about 3 months ago | (#47656039)

> Andreas Kolbe) is legit.

Well, this article he wrote is nonsense. I know nothing else about the guy.

He just takes every controversy and paints it as an unsolvable failure of the iron-fisted Wikimedia Foundation.

I hope he edits Wikipedia better than he writes blog entries.

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (4, Interesting)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 3 months ago | (#47656891)

Well, this article he wrote is nonsense. I know nothing else about the guy.

He just takes every controversy and paints it as an unsolvable failure of the iron-fisted Wikimedia Foundation.

Funny -- it seemed to me like one of the most insightful and relatively balanced pieces on Wikipedia I've read in some time. Despite having a number of serious complaints, the author also talks about very positive aspects of the event, as in: "Wikimania was in many ways an inspirational event. There was a palpable sense of enjoyment and celebration in the air..." and later in the final conclusion "As I travelled to Wikimania, I worried that I might hate it. But my worst fears did not materialise." He clearly cares greatly about Wikipedia and wants to make it better.

In fact, some of the potential solutions he mentions address the biggest problems of Wikipedia and could finally be the path to solve them. For example:

Medical content, notably the current initiatives to have medical articles peer-reviewed by academic experts (Cancer Research UK is involved, and is now hosting a Wikipedian in Residence), and provide readers with a permanent and prominent link to that peer-reviewed article version. It's an excellent idea that in the long run could also be transferred to other topic areas. Experts might be more inclined to contribute and review articles if their work is guaranteed some lasting presence. We hope the Foundation will support that effort.

Wikipedia has grown over the years by leaps and bounds with all the wonderful contributions from random people. But for articles that have achieved a relatively good status, Wikipedia is spending more and more time fighting the "barbarians at the gates" who want to vandalize, post misleading information pushing an agenda, and just random editors with little expertise who wikilawyer their way into having the article the way they like, regardless of an expert consensus on the topic. All of this could be solved by keeping articles more "stable" (maybe have a separate proposed edits page, or an "experimental" page that could be edited by anyone and is not the default) and incorporating advice from subject matter experts.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [stanford.edu] , which is older than Wikipedia and the best resource on philosophy on the internet, shows how this can be done well. Wikipedia wouldn't have to let go of the option for the general public to edit pop culture articles on their favorite Star Trek or Buffy or Friends episode or whatever -- but for subject matter where there is a peer-reviewed expert academic literature available and experts who are willing to contribute, why not help make that possible?

Similar policies could solve some of the biographical article problems brought up in the summary -- even just holding proposed edits in a queue for experienced and validated editors to allow them would prevent nonsense such as that mentioned in TFA where a reporter has to complain about: "I have spoken publicly about my children having been born as a result of fertility treatment. And my Wikipedia page, which I didn't even know existed, contained a phrase along the lines of 'he wasn't man enough to impregnate his own wife'," a statement that went unchallenged on Wikipedia for nearly a month. The author (and the reporter complaining here) is right -- there's simply no excuse for that sort of nonsense, particularly when Wikipedia has such a poor track record of figuring out ways for real people to correct factual problems in articles about themselves.

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (2)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | about 3 months ago | (#47657573)

> the author also talks about very positive aspects of the event

Don't be distracted. He threw in a few kind words about the "sense of enjoyment" and he finishes by saying he didn't hate the conference. Surely that's not enough to make you think the author is objective?

On everything of substance the blog entry was moan, moan, moan.

I'm very interested in discussing Wikipedia's problems.* But I've no time for disingenuous rants like this one.

(* such as declining numbers of active editors, and the increasing rate at which edits are reverted by small groups of editors who think they "own" the consensus of the article, and the declining use of Talk pages, and the lack of control over bots.)

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (1)

Mr. Somey (1200447) | about 3 months ago | (#47658895)

What you mean to say here is that you're interested in discussing Wikipedia's "problems" from a strictly internal, insider's perspective. You're not interested in discussing Wikipedia's problems from the perspective of those who are libeled, victimized, threatened, or driven out of business by it. Apparently, you think a discussion from that perspective, the external one, amounts to little more than a "disingenuous rant," full of non-objective "moaning."

Thankfully there is more to life, and the world, than what goes on inside Wikipedia - not that I would expect someone like you to ever admit it, just as you've failed to admit that you're a hardcore Wikipedian yourself. Why is that, I wonder?

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (2)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | about 3 months ago | (#47659161)

I'm interested in those problems. I'm just not interested in being informed by a ranter who's selective coverage indicates that he has an agenda other than simply providing an overview of the issues in question. That sort of person might disingenuously provide out of date info, or leave out key facts.

He makes out like Wikipedia is screwing the world, and that contradicts my observations that Wikipedia is massively making the world a better place to live in. If someone tells me the sky is usually green, that person better impress me quickly before I stop listening.

> you've failed to admit that you're a hardcore Wikipedian yourself

Oh no! You've uncovered my secret which I mention on my homepage, which I often mention on slashdot, and which was surely obvious from the context. I've added it to my Slashdot bio too now. (I have 14,000+ edits spanning ten+ years)

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (1)

Mr. Somey (1200447) | about 3 months ago | (#47659269)

Fair enough, but if you've actually looked around at some of the post-conference coverage of Wikimania in the UK press, and most other Wikimedia-related stories in the last week or so, I believe you'll objectively find that most of it is rather negative. The Wikipediocracy blog post simply reflects that. (I've seen next to nothing about it in the US press so far, by the way, which may be an interesting point in itself.)

As for the monkey-selfie story, the press coverage there has been fairly neutral, or at least non-judgmental. You actually do have a decent case there for calling the Wikipediocracy post "slanted" - I think it was mostly a case of "someone has to take the side of the photographer, and if not Wikipediocracy, then who?"

Last but not least, what's obvious to me from the context isn't always obvious to everyone else, at least when it comes to people being long-term Wikipedians.

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (1)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | about 3 months ago | (#47659709)

(Thanks for the friendly reply, quite disarming, sorry I was a bit abrasive.)

The monkey-selfie story is a red flag for me because it's a honeypot for zero-effort journalists. The headlines come already half-written. It does have to get solved, but there are loads of other issues that are at least as important but are getting no attention from journalists because they'd take more work.

The proposed (and rejected) use of patented video formats is a much bigger story but it has no buzzwords and what picture are they going to show under the headline? Or, I'd be delighted to see an article ridiculing the quality of the articles about football/soccer players, which are written event-by-event by fans of that player and rarely given a top-down coherency review or any critical review at all. But that would also take time to research.

The blog entry's coverage of transparency/anonymity is also poor. Only one side is presented, and it's presented like it were an issue that WF has not yet tried to address. The truth is that it's been discussed to death and the blog entry's suggestions are mostly impossible. Some people need to be anonymous, and WF couldn't check everyone's identity even if there was consensus for it.

It's clear the author of that blog entry knows Wikipedia, so it's hard to imagine that he's unaware of the state of he anonymity debate, or that there are strong arguments for anonymity. So that's another red flag for disingenuous writing.

The suggestions regarding biographies of living persons too. The debate is much more advanced than what is presented in the blog entry, and it seems strange that the blog author doesn't know this.

(I haven't read reviews of Wikimania2014. I didn't even know it took place. The Wikimania conferences are a non-event for 99% of Wikipedia editors. That might explain lack of coverage in non-UK press.)

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47658435)

> "I have spoken publicly about my children having been born as a result of fertility treatment. And my Wikipedia page, which I didn't even know existed, contained a phrase along the lines of 'he wasn't man enough to impregnate his own wife'," a statement that went unchallenged on Wikipedia for nearly a month. The author (and the reporter complaining here) is right -- there's simply no excuse for that sort of nonsense

There's a great excuse for that... almost no one read it in a month. I imagine very few people even went to the article's page, even fewer people read the relevant section, and fewer still read that particular sentence.

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47656199)

Andreas Kolbe is as legit as that bastard son you fathered with that Jamaican whore back in 1983.

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (1)

Mr. Somey (1200447) | about 3 months ago | (#47659283)

But I married the Jamaican whore and recognized our love-child as my sole legitimate heir! What's more, he's now head of a major media conglomerate.

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47655895)

I don't know what the metasonix guy's specific beef is, but he's right about Wikipedia's behind-the-scenes editing process being a "freakshow". It's simply not worth engaging with those rejects.

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (2)

Trepidity (597) | about 3 months ago | (#47656007)

I keep hearing that editing Wikipedia is terrible, but I edit now and then, and somehow I haven't run into it. Maybe I should edit Israel-Palestine articles or something to see a more heated area. In archaeology (which is what I mostly write about) people seem nice.

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (1)

dsparil (844576) | about 3 months ago | (#47656775)

In my experience most of the terribleness comes from users deeming themselves the keeper of the article and revert every change that isn't made by them even simple typo fixes, mistyped links or formatting errors. It's even possible to automate this using functionality built in to Wikipedia. Higher level users gain access to a feature called Rollback that undos all the changes made by the last editor. I've read that some people set up scripts that automatically rollback every change except those made by them.

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 3 months ago | (#47657627)

Weird, I've never run into that.

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (1)

Mr. Somey (1200447) | about 3 months ago | (#47659299)

Admittedly, archaeology doesn't seem to inspire a great deal of petty, needless bickering, even on Wikipedia. I blame DNA testing and carbon-dating, personally.

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47660645)

I've come across people that revert edits without discussion, but they will after a couple edits get banned for not discussing it on a talk page first. I've come across some name calling on talk pages when editing stuff in physical sciences, that usually comes from pseudoscientists. Or in a couple of unfortunate cases it was someone mistaken for restarting some previously settled mess, and was quickly sorted out through talking. About the only switch actions were against those that wouldn't discuss their actions.

Higher level users gain access to a feature called Rollback that undos all the changes made by the last editor.

This is pretty easy to do even without special abilities, scripts, etc., even as an anonymous editor. I've removed blocks of edits from obvious vandalism, and it takes literally ten seconds.

Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (1)

metasonix (650947) | about 3 months ago | (#47657227)

(Hello, David! You've failed again with the anonymous backstabbing, we got what we wanted--on the front page. Give it up.)

Copyright dispute with Wikipedia (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 3 months ago | (#47655699)

A series of self-portraits taken by Indonesian monkeys has sparked a copyright dispute between Wikipedia and a British wildlife photographer, says Wikipedia is using his copyrighted images without permission. Photographer David Slater complained that Wikipedia rejected his requests for the images to be removed from the website. Although the monkeys pressed the button, Slater set up the self-portraits by framing them and setting the camera on a tripod. The Wikimedia Foundation claims that no one owns the copyright to the images, because under U.S. law, 'copyright cannot vest in non-human authors', the monkeys in this case.

http://www.sfgate.com/news/wor... [sfgate.com]

Re:Copyright dispute with Wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47655893)

Although the monkeys pressed the button, Slater set up the self-portraits by framing them and setting the camera ..

Slater admits that he was not the monkey that hit the button.

Re:Copyright dispute with Wikipedia (4, Informative)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 3 months ago | (#47656547)

A series of self-portraits taken by Indonesian monkeys has sparked a copyright dispute between Wikipedia and a British wildlife photographer, says Wikipedia is using his copyrighted images without permission. Photographer David Slater complained that Wikipedia rejected his requests for the images to be removed from the website. Although the monkeys pressed the button, Slater set up the self-portraits by framing them and setting the camera on a tripod. The Wikimedia Foundation claims that no one owns the copyright to the images, because under U.S. law, 'copyright cannot vest in non-human authors', the monkeys in this case.

http://www.sfgate.com/news/wor... [sfgate.com]

Let's see here:
1) "A series of self-portraits" -- I seem to recall a set of pictures initially, some of which could be considered self-portraits, many of which were of the general area the camera was pointed at with some monkey bits partially in the picture. This was not a selfie-shoot; some of the pictures just happened to be a) of the monkey and b) in focus.
2) Slater set up the self-portraits. False. Slater set up the camera, and was completely surprised by the monkey who came in while he wasn't paying attention and started taking random pictures. I read his original article before this whole thing blew up. Back then he was just excited to share this with the rest of the world. It's true that he curated the photos (got rid of the ones that weren't worth publishing), but there was no artistic intent in his leaving his camera unattended.
3) Non-human authors. This same public domain situation exists if you set up your camera with a motion sensor and capture your cat doing funny things. Unless you had intent (difficult to prove, and you have to PROVE it under copyright law), such images are in the public domain.

So yeah; the thing about a site like Wikipedia, is that everyone who wants free publicity but doesn't get the concept of making information FREELY available will try to coopt it for their own use -- and someone has to be the gatekeeper.

Personally, I think for 90% of the articles, Wales does a decent job as the final gatekeeper, and Wikipedia ends up as a more useful resource than Encyclopedia Brittanica. For that other 10%... 8% of it is stuff that should indicate almost immediately that you should go somewhere else for the real story. The final 2% is an issue, but is still a better hit/miss ratio than you'd get from pretty much any other third-party source.

Re:Copyright dispute with Wikipedia (1)

metasonix (650947) | about 3 months ago | (#47657291)

>Personally, I think for 90% of the articles, Wales does a decent job as the final gatekeeper,

Which only indicates that you haven't looked at the actual content of Wikipedia very closely. I have. Yes, there are many good, usable articles on it. There are also millions of "junk" articles, thousands of hoaxes, tens of thousands of people being defamed in their biographies, hundreds of thousands of people glorifying themselves by writing their own bios (against Jimbo's own rule), and various other abuses. Some are repaired quickly, some sit there for years. And there's no way to tell if an article is valid or not, except by checking the references very carefully (which few people do anyway--Wikipedia is a lazy man's reference). Wales does no "gatekeeping" at all, he is purely a figurehead at this point.

What I really don't get: why do people worship him? He's one of the most inadequate leaders of a major online movement I've ever seen.

Re:Copyright dispute with Wikipedia (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 3 months ago | (#47659101)

Odd; I usually go to Wikipedia for the citations. I guess this just shows that if you provide an infinite graffiti wall, you get all kinds.

As for Wales; he's definitely hands-off at this point, but his figurehead position set the ground rules that people are supposed to be using. I think some people admire him purely because of what he accomplished, against significant odds. Really -- with all the things wrong with Wikipedia, it's still one of the best things of its kind we've got. You can't fix humanity.

Re:Copyright dispute with Wikipedia (1)

Mr. Somey (1200447) | about 3 months ago | (#47659345)

Slater set up the self-portraits. False. Slater set up the camera...

Exactly. He set up the camera. Do you always contradict yourself like this? And as for there being "no artistic intent," I suppose he went out and followed those black macaque monkeys around for three days just so he could have them nearby while he took photos of fallen tree limbs and snails?

This same public domain situation exists if you set up your camera with a motion sensor and capture your cat doing funny things. Unless you had intent (difficult to prove, and you have to PROVE it under copyright law), such images are in the public domain.

It's not "difficult to prove" at all, particularly given that no sane person is going to sit in a courtroom and insist, under oath, that you didn't set up the motion-sensor for your camera, which you also set up, for some purpose other than to have it go off when something moved within the frame. Sheesh!

Robin Williams is missing from Slashdot! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47655305)

No FP story whatsoever but of course another Microsoft story?

Disgusting.

Re:Robin Williams is missing from Slashdot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47656353)

Reddit has that story covered very thoroughly. I suggest you go there.

Kill wiki editor anonymity (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47655341)

If you're writing about someone else, put your fscking name to it. Wikitards are cowards.

Re:Kill wiki editor anonymity (0)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 3 months ago | (#47655365)

Cowardice exists only in your mind, AC.

Re:Kill wiki editor anonymity (2)

AlecDalek (3781731) | about 3 months ago | (#47655455)

That's the joke.

Re:Kill wiki editor anonymity (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 3 months ago | (#47655575)

Jokes are funny, what he wrote isn't funny, and so what he wrote is not a joke.

Re:Kill wiki editor anonymity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47655639)

Well, i laughed :)

Meanwhile the general public in London... (4, Informative)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 3 months ago | (#47655349)

A yahoo news article claims the general public in England trusts Wikipedia [yahoo.com] more than traditional news outlets.

And "defamed" or called out on something questionable? Genuinely asking, I never heard of this British journalist until today...

Re:Meanwhile the general public in London... (1)

dugancent (2616577) | about 3 months ago | (#47655361)

That's nice.

Wikipedia is not news and news outlets are not an encyclopedia. They aren't related and can't be compared.

Re:Meanwhile the general public in London... (1, Flamebait)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 3 months ago | (#47655399)

You are correct. The retarded news organizations though are too stupid to realize this.

Re:Meanwhile the general public in London... (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 3 months ago | (#47655431)

WikiNews is news so maybe I should have mentioned it as well. I don't necessarily agree with the sentiment expressed in the article, just pointing out a related article.

My take on Wikipedia with regard to news is that it probably can't be trusted at face value as most "news" these days is so controversial and people on the fringes of opinion have a huge bias and interest in spinning this news.

Wikipedia works for me as a starting point for serious studying of a subject (e.g. the list of references in the better articles), a quick answer about pop culture and figuring out in what order I should watch some of the cartoons I've recorded on my DVR.

News? Not so much; but given the tabloids and crap journalism has gone through recently in Britain I can't say I'm surprised by the results of the poll in the article.

Re:Meanwhile the general public in London... (1)

gsslay (807818) | about 3 months ago | (#47655525)

That's the problem with a lot of the criticism of Wikipedia. Too many people think it's a place to publish news or original content. They don't understand what an encyclopaedia is.

Re:Meanwhile the general public in London... (1)

Mr. Somey (1200447) | about 3 months ago | (#47659351)

Too many people think it's a place to publish news or original content. They don't understand what an encyclopaedia is.

Unfortunately, neither do most Wikipedians.

Re:Meanwhile the general public in London... (1)

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) | about 3 months ago | (#47655549)

Wikipedia has, however, become an effective competitor to news outlets on breaking news. The day Michael Jackson died, for example, millions of people turned to Wikipedia rather than news outlets to get a digest of the latest coverage.

Re:Meanwhile the general public in London... (3, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47656229)

Wikipedia is not news and news outlets are not an encyclopedia.

Wikipedia has entries for most major breaking news stories. These entries tend to be more accurate and more up-to-date than most news websites. You cannot go to Wikipedia for a list of headlines, but if you want information about a specific news event, it is a good place to go.

Re:Meanwhile the general public in London... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47655503)

Shows how stupid they are.

Wikpedia is completely untrustworthy. Political agendas, petty personal vendettas, and outright ignorance are rife and there is no way to sort them out for the regular person.

Re:Meanwhile the general public in London... (1)

Lazere (2809091) | about 3 months ago | (#47655557)

Congratulations, you just describe the typical news organization.

Re: Meanwhile the general public in London... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47655583)

And yet it is still better than 99% of the newspapers out there. Try wading through all the advertorials, special information supplements, editorials, and sponsored articles in a typical newspaper. I trust the Wikis more than the local papers and TV news.

Re:Meanwhile the general public in London... (1)

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) | about 3 months ago | (#47655567)

The irony here of course is that Wikipedia's content (at least as long as it's not a hoax [wikipediocracy.com] ) is based on the selfsame news outlets that the public apparently trusts less than Wikipedia. It's a case where the copy is considered more reliable than the original!

Re:Meanwhile the general public in London... (2)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 3 months ago | (#47656549)

Or it's an amalgamation considered more reliable than any one news source.

Re:Meanwhile the general public in London... (1)

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) | about 3 months ago | (#47656719)

I don't think Wikipedia can really be more reliable than the news sources it cites. In general, it is somewhat less reliable than its sources, as there can be intentional or unintentional deviations from what the cited sources said. But yes, Wikipedia can be more complete, and more up to date, than individual news articles. That's the added value that people go to Wikipedia for.

Re:Meanwhile the general public in London... (2)

stephanruby (542433) | about 3 months ago | (#47656369)

And "defamed" or called out on something questionable? Genuinely asking, I never heard of this British journalist until today...

There is nothing really wrong with him. He's mostly known for his talk radio show, not his articles.

On his radio show, he has people calling in, but he frequently cuts people off (as most good radio show hosts do).

Here is what I found through the wikipedia revision history:

James is in very vocal support of continued mass immigration into the UK, sees no negatives to it, and labels anybody who questions the desirability of this as 'racist' or 'bigoted'.

If any white Anglo Saxon caller to his show should dare to say that they feel even slightly threatened by the influence of new 'cultures' forced on the neighbourhood that they, and generations of their family, were born and brought up in, James will bully them before cutting them off, normally using an ad break or the travel news as an excuse. Women often get this treatment too. He is clearly more comfortable bullying them.

However, James also regularly offends many new immigrants to the UK by mocking religion in a very offensive manner, and it could therefore be argued that he causes far greater offence to these new immigrants, on an almost daily basis, than any BNP supporter ever has. His frequent mockery of religion has also demonstrated his hypocrisy as James has admitted that he had his daughter baptised.This will probably be a 'Get the kid into the successful local Catholic School' ploy. Luckily the priests involved at his local Catholic school, St Mary's in Chiswick are aware of James, his views on religion and his lack of practice. He may be shocked when he finds that having attended Ampleforth will not be enough.

To be fair, I haven't looked at everything, but if this is the only kind of content he's complaining about, then he had it easy. Anyone with half a brain would see the bias in these unsourced comments.

Re:Meanwhile the general public in London... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47657199)

This could very easily be why the insult was on his page for 3 weeks. It is very possible that no one but him, the repeated troll(s) and the reverters were the ones who ever saw it. I'm too lazy to walk down the article history to see though.

Re:Meanwhile the general public in London... (1)

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) | about 3 months ago | (#47659151)

The history tab of any Wikipedia article includes a link to page view statistics.

EU right to alter history (2)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 3 months ago | (#47655385)

Isn't this in the EU, where the right to alter history [wikipedia.org] is already the law of he land?

So what is this reporter complaining about? If he doesn't like what someone is saying about him, all he had to do is erase the article from the internet and change history into whatever he likes. It's not like he's in the U.S.

Re:EU right to alter history (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47655443)

Yeah. Right to be forgotten is horrible fascism. Oh btw install Adblock and noscript Google is going to track everything you do!

It's almost like you guys oppose government regulation more than the actual tracking.

Re:EU right to alter history (2, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 3 months ago | (#47655477)

sn't this in the EU, where the right to alter history is already the law of he land?

So what is this reporter complaining about? If he doesn't like what someone is saying about him, all he had to do is erase the article from the internet and change history into whatever he likes. It's not like he's in the U.S.

it's not a right to alter history. It's a right to disassociate yourself from your actions of the past in a search engine.

I mean, if you stole a candy bar 10 years ago and then got caught and charged, and that's the only bad thing you did, then it would pop up in a Google search unfairly because that's all Google has on you. Despite it being a minor offense.

So you ask for it to be forgotten and disassociated from your name, so you Google yourself and it doesn't show up. If you Google people who got charged for stealing candy bars, well, your name SHOULD show up. As well as if there's a Wikipedia page on lists of people charged with stealing candy bars.

Heck, legally there are two related concepts - how at age 18 your slate is wiped clean of any poor teenage decisions you may have made, as well as having "served your time".

Otherwise what you did at age 14 when you were too young to know better can come back to haunt you when you're 22 and looking for your first job and background research pulls up the indiscretion.

In fact, brand management companies do this by taking advantage of the fact that new items generally outweigh old ones - so if you did something back, they generate a bunch of positive PR news and articles to bury the bad stuff on page 4 of the search results.

But that assumes you can afford brand management. If you're just a regular old person, well, just because you were drunk years ago and got shoved in a drunk tank overnight shouldn't impact your life a decade later (assuming it was a one-time thing).

And it applies only to search engines. The news article on the BBC that said you were tossed in a drunk tank can stay (it's fact).

Then again, you're probably one of those goody two-shoes who keeps their nose sparkling clean and does absolutely nothing wrong or makes a bad decision so has absolutely nothing to hide from anyone.

Re:EU right to alter history (5, Insightful)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 3 months ago | (#47655517)

Or, we could solve the problem at the root instead of using soft censorship and claiming it's not censorship because the information is still there, just really hard to see. We have better documentation of our lives than previous generations. That means that we have more dirty laundry that can be found. How about we just become more tolerant people and call out people who are not being tolerant people instead of trying to fight the realities of the spread of information . If someone doesn't get a job because they stole a candy bar 10 years ago, organize a boycott of that company for being such petty dicks.

Also, the practice of brand management is exactly the kind of thing we should scared of. Blackwater does awful shit, and changes their name every couple of years so we don't point to the same evil bastards again and again.

Re:EU right to alter history (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47656123)

Or, we could solve the problem at the root instead of using soft censorship and claiming it's not censorship because the information is still there, just really hard to see. We have better documentation of our lives than previous generations. That means that we have more dirty laundry that can be found. How about we just become more tolerant people and call out people who are not being tolerant people instead of trying to fight the realities of the spread of information . If someone doesn't get a job because they stole a candy bar 10 years ago, organize a boycott of that company for being such petty dicks.

It might be nice to hypothesize a world in which everyone behaves rationally and justice prevails in society, but is that the one we live in? After all, there would no real need for the secret ballot in elections if we could rely on everyone to be honest enough not to take bribes and rational enough not to take revenge on employees / tenants etc who vote in ways we disapprove of. There would be no need for privacy - why should you be worried if people know about your cancer diagnosis, it's not like it's a crime to be sick? And so on... effective social structures have to work in a world in which people are flawed and yet still need respect.

Wrongfully accused (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47656153)

Every one is missing the fact that people do get wrongfully accused. And the trouble is that the accusation comes up and people never bother to give the benefit of the doubt.

And when you have idiotic laws like our sex offender laws where you pee in public you are on the list and everyone who sees your name there thinks you had sex with some little kid.

People are cruel and very judgmental.

Re:Wrongfully accused (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 3 months ago | (#47656313)

If someone is wrongfully accused, then the most appropriate solution would be to publish an update stating such to the original article. If you want to require THAT, I have far less qualms with it than hiding the results.

And when you have idiotic laws like our sex offender laws where you pee in public you are on the list and everyone who sees your name there thinks you had sex with some little kid.

Then perhaps we should fix the idiotic laws instead of creating more idiotic laws.

Re:Wrongfully accused (1)

Mr. Somey (1200447) | about 3 months ago | (#47658675)

What are you going to do then, require Google to give this "update" a higher PageRank than the original false accusation? Congratulations, now you've just made the problem worse for everybody, and for what? So that people doing research on false accusations can have an easier time of it?

Also, you don't seem to understand that to fix a law, you must pass a new law that replaces, augments, or amends it, or else repeals it altogether. If you're living in the USA, this isn't really a good time to be asking for that to happen.

Re:Wrongfully accused (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 3 months ago | (#47660459)

No, the update would be at the top, altered to have the later knowledge with a note at the bottom, or printed in the next update. You know, the kind of thing respectable newspapers already have as standard practice for a century or two.

Re:EU right to alter history (1)

Jiro (131519) | about 3 months ago | (#47656177)

The company that refuses to hire you because you stole a candy bar 10 years ago isn't going to give you a rejection letter saying so. They'll make up some BS excuse. There's no way to prove that the company did this short of doing a statistical analysis on hundreds of companyes and determining that people who stole a candy bar 10 years ago have some reduced chance of getting jobs, and even then you're not going to be able to prove any single company did it when that company has too few applicants who stole candy bars to calculate meaningful statistics. So no, you can't just boycott the company.

Besides, it may not be possible to boycott a company for something like this since it would get lost in the noise--which is worse, a company rejecting one job applicant unfairly, or a company overcharging millions of people some small amount? The first is worse if you're the one individual, the second is worse if you average out the one person affected really bad and the many other unaffected people. Boycotts would be based on the average badness of the company, so the first category is not subject to useful boycotts.

Re:EU right to alter history (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 3 months ago | (#47656445)

It's either going to be a rare or common occurrence. If it's rare, then it's not really any worse than not hiring you because you prefer a different sports team or whatever stupid reason they have. If it's common, then it would be something happening enough to get some decent data.

Better idea (1)

penguinoid (724646) | about 3 months ago | (#47658805)

How about we just become more tolerant people and call out people who are not being tolerant people instead of trying to fight the realities of the spread of information . If someone doesn't get a job because they stole a candy bar 10 years ago, organize a boycott of that company for being such petty dicks.

Organizing boycotts like that seems like it would be capricious and unreliable. My idea is we could develop a system where companies that are overly picky about their employees' records in a way not related to their job, have more trouble finding employees and have to pay more for the same level of quality in an employee. Then, the company would have to lower the quality of its products, or raise their prices, and customers will note this and realize that the company is flawed, and decide to buy less of their products. Thus, the company would be directly punished for their arrogant hiring practices in proportion to their unfairness.

Altering History has precedent (1)

Etherwalk (681268) | about 3 months ago | (#47655617)

History has always been altered. Napoleon was the greatest general in the world not because of his generalling, but because he *bought the newspapers*.

People who had a bad reputation used to be able to move to another town. Now we have tracking.

That's good because it warns us when someone actually has molested children, but bad because it makes people unemployable even a thousand miles from their home because of stupid mistakes they made when they were 18 or 19, for example.

It's not black and white that all history should be preserved. Some history hurts the future more than it helps it. If tomorrow the whole world forgot the Israel-Palestine conflict, would it make the future better?

Re:EU right to alter history (2)

Rakarra (112805) | about 3 months ago | (#47656277)

Isn't this in the EU, where the right to alter history is already the law of he land?

So what is this reporter complaining about?

Yes it is, and the reporter is complaining about: "Wales insisted, apparently without irony, that requests for Google to remove links – not actual web pages, not actual source material, just links – to pages covered by the ruling (which includes libellous attack pages, revenge porn, and old police blotters) should, at minimum, be adjudicated by a court of law. In other words, European taxpayers should pay, without limitation, for their already-overburdened court systems to deal with every single revenge-porn complaint Google receives under the ruling, at a time when the economies of half the EU’s member-states are already close to the brink, and with energy prices set to rise precipitously during the coming winter."

In other words, the EU passes provisions sharply curtailing free speech, and they expect the companies to pay out of their own pocket for such ridiculous provisions. The idea that the EU member states should actually have to pay for their nonsense is reprehensible to this reporter.

Re:EU right to alter history (1)

Mr. Somey (1200447) | about 3 months ago | (#47658747)

Not if the provisions don't "sharply curtail free speech," which they don't, and not if they aren't "ridiculous," which in fact they are not. If European society is making a conscious decision here to value privacy over easy access to content, it means they're trying to take back something they've lost - indeed, the whole world has lost - and the people who took it away from them are the ones who should pay, not them. Google created this problem, not the EU taxpayers. Just because Google is good in some other ways doesn't mean people should just accept the ways in which they're bad.

quibble on usernames (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 3 months ago | (#47655397)

Recall here that in the English Wikipedia, a company employee who registers a User:AcmeLtd. account and then proceeds to edit the Acme Ltd. article is instantaneously blocked for violating the user name policy, and politely asked to come back with another account carrying some innocuous name like RedRider12.

Although I think this policy doesn't make a lot of sense even as it is, it's not quite that strict. The English Wikipedia doesn't have a policy against company names in usernames, but against shared "corporate" usernames not run by an individual. So you can't have an official "corporate account". You can however you use corporate names in your individual username, if you want to identify both yourself and your affiliation. In that case the suggestion is to pick a username that has both the organization name and some individual identifier, like User:AcmeLtdJohn or User:John@AcmeLtd. See here [wikipedia.org] . The goal seems to be to ensure that accounts are operated by individuals rather than by press offices. Although I'm not sure policing the actual name is a particularly effective a way of enforcing that.

Re:quibble on usernames (1)

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) | about 3 months ago | (#47655475)

You're technically correct, though what the paragraph describers is exactly what happens. If you register an account that is simply a company name, the account is blocked immediately, and people are asked to register a "non-promotional" [wikipedia.org] name. Such blocking is routine, and hundreds of thousands of such accounts have been banned, obliterating what could have been useful transparency. The German Wikipedia in contrast does allow company accounts, verified by e-mail from the company domain to Wikipedia's OTRS volunteer service to prevent impersonation, and it is permissible for more than one person to operate the company account.

Re:quibble on usernames (1)

gsslay (807818) | about 3 months ago | (#47655635)

The idea is to stop users who may claim special authority over the content of some articles, on the basis that they represent an organisation mentioned within them. Naturally, it's the internet, so it's difficult to verify this, and those doing it would have a clear conflict of interest when editing an article related to them. So a good way of nipping this behavior in the bud this is to disallow "corporate" names.

Of course this doesn't stop organisations editing their articles under another name. But at least that's done on the same level as any other editor and the same rules apply.

Re:quibble on usernames (1)

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) | about 3 months ago | (#47655719)

Well, yes, but it's no longer transparent. You know, if Coca Cola edits the Coca Cola article, isn't it better if people can see in the edit history which edits were made by Coca Cola, what they took out, added, reworded and so on? In practice, you can look at almost any Wikipedia article on a small or midsized company, and with a bit of detective work you can identify one or several accounts that have contributed prominently to that article and are quite clearly operated by principals or employees of that business. There are dozens of examples of that in this thread [wikipediocracy.com] .

Take it Private (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47655451)

Wiki needs to be purchased.

Allow submissions, but have paid staff review them before they are made public. Contracting staff would work great. Accredited subject experts...no mouth breathing, mother's basement dwelling losers allowed.

You could also setup "franchises" to create and/or vet submissions.

Prohibit circular cites to other Wiki articles.

Create a rotating ownership of articles, not allowing anyone person to be able to control anything for more than some designated period of time.

These "owners" would only be known to the Wiki organization, not the public or each other. This would be to prevent collusion on articles and pushing of political agendas.

  Clearly, the free for all it is now with all these cliques and fiefdoms isn't working out and damages the credibility of Wikipedia tremendously.

Re:Take it Private (1)

Tiger4 (840741) | about 3 months ago | (#47655543)

Wiki needs to be purchased.

And the idiot knee-jerk reaction strikes again. *GONG*

Wikipedia, and the Mediawiki Foundation, ARE private. Private, not-for-profit corporations that are not state or public agencies of any kind. They have paid staff that do actual work to make the wiki better too. The "magic of contracts" has nothing to do with any of this.

If you're going to spout some half-baked ideology, at least try to understand it.

Re:Take it Private (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47656993)

Fuck you asshole.

Did you bother reading past the first sentence or are you just into Knee Jerk reactions to challenges towards your own political agenda.

It is evident that the changes the above AC cited should be made because their existing paid staff aren't doing shit to prevent it from become a hell hole of ignorance and private agendas.

I'm sorry but you aren't going to get qualified people to edit things for free. Whet you will get are as described above.

Re:Take it Private (1)

metasonix (650947) | about 3 months ago | (#47657381)

I'm not feeling the "Wiki-Love" here......:)

Re:Take it Private (1)

gsslay (807818) | about 3 months ago | (#47655559)

Wiki needs to be purchased.

By who? Who is going to pay for it that can be trusted to not push their own agenda?

Where is the money going to come from? Adverts? Do you think advertisers won't have an agenda, and interest in what appears on Wikipedia?

Why would unpaid volunteers submit articles to a commercial organisation that profits off their work?

Re:Take it Private (1)

sublayer (2465650) | about 3 months ago | (#47659165)

Prohibit circular cites to other Wiki articles.

That's already a well-established policy: WP:CIRCULAR [wikipedia.org]

oh, OMG, BBC... (1)

Fotis Georgatos (3006465) | about 3 months ago | (#47655495)

... the eternal source of truth!

Ah yes, the old media's rage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47655593)

The BBC especially has a role in communicating the ruling classes' idea of what the people should view as reality to the masses. Wikipedia disrupts this with rudimentary peer review. In my opinion this means that Wikipedia wins and BBC is quite bitter about it.

Read the article, it's nonsense (4, Informative)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | about 3 months ago | (#47655803)

The linked article is just tabloid journalism.

I wrote a comment about how the media experts were focussing on the wrong problems and how they clearly -surprisingly- knew very little about Wikipedia and its problems - BUT then I read the source article and found it's just an attack piece, cherry picking the least interesting parts of the conference and painting every controversy as being the fault of an iron-fist dictat from the Wikimedia Foundation.

What I learned: wikipediocracy is a nonsense website.

Re:Read the article, it's nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47656109)

"What I learned: wikipediocracy is a nonsense website."

Oh, you mean like slashdot?

Re:Read the article, it's nonsense (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47656221)

The linked article is just tabloid journalism.

I wrote a comment about how the media experts were focussing on the wrong problems and how they clearly -surprisingly- knew very little about Wikipedia and its problems - BUT then I read the source article and found it's just an attack piece, cherry picking the least interesting parts of the conference and painting every controversy as being the fault of an iron-fist dictat from the Wikimedia Foundation.

What I learned: wikipediocracy is a nonsense website.

I agree, it seems to me these news organizations are just trying to discredit a competitor. You can't trust the news at all anymore. It's always been questionable but it's gotten worse over the past 10yrs... and incredibly bad over the past 2yrs or so.

Last night I was listing to police scanners from Ferguson, MO. People looted the Walmart, stole assault rifles, then road around shooting up the neighborhood. I saw images from people with cellphones of groups of police 50+ all in riot gear firing teargas and rubber bullets into crowds. People getting loaded into ambulances. 2 major interstates were shut down as the crowds threw bricks onto the freeway.

All this, yet the only media outlets that are following it seem to be local outlets, PBS and Yahoo news. I'm flabbergasted by the lack of coverage. These are some of the most violent race riots in American history and it's all getting swept under the rug so they can focus on Robin Williams?!?!

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/ru... [pbs.org]
http://www.ksdk.com/story/news... [ksdk.com]

Why isn't this the headline on every site in the country right now?

Re:Read the article, it's nonsense (1)

Mr. Somey (1200447) | about 3 months ago | (#47658857)

The Ferguson story is just starting to take off, but since it's a race-riot over what looks like a racially-motivated shooting, that story would tend to contradict the right wing's recently-held position that racism is no longer an issue in America, hence the SCotUS decision to strike down portions of the Voting Rights Act, etc. The right wing owns most of the US media, so they're going to downplay this as much as they can. Still, stories about it are starting to show up, despite the Robin Williams story still dominating coverage pretty much everywhere.

More to the point, Wikipediocracy is not a "news organization trying to discredit a competitor." It's a criticism site that exists to expose the arrogance, hypocrisy and lies coming from Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation. It isn't asking you to trust it so much as simply consider the ways in which Wikipedia has become a negative aspect of internet culture and society in general.

Criminal Jimmy (0)

Cammi (1956130) | about 3 months ago | (#47656075)

Well duh? Wiki is a has-been that has no basis on fact, and as criminal Jimmy says, " we refuse to allow facts on wikipedia".

Re:Criminal Jimmy (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 3 months ago | (#47656243)

as criminal Jimmy says, " we refuse to allow facts on wikipedia".

* citation needed

Re:Criminal Jimmy (2)

Cammi (1956130) | about 3 months ago | (#47656275)

Re:Criminal Jimmy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47656799)

So what? You can't have people adding original research into an encyclopedia.

Re:Criminal Jimmy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47656843)

I do not think that means what you think it means.

It's fine (1)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | about 3 months ago | (#47656667)

After Jimmy gets to edit, he'll be welcomed as a hero, with roses tossed at his feet [Citation Needed]

Wikipedia employs too many abusive admins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47657031)

Admins like DoRD, Bsadowski1, Smalljim and DeltaQuad who checkuser block innocent users. They blocked my account so many times that I have become a vandal in order to get revenge.

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