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Censored Wikipedia Articles Appear On Protest Site

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the wiki-issues dept.

589

Gregory Rider writes "According to a recent article in The Guardian, a group of disenchanted Wikipedia administrators has been going through back channels on Wikipedia and retrieving articles deleted by Jimbo Wales or other higher-ups. Now they're putting them back up on a website for everyone to see. This includes articles on Justin Berry, Paul Barresi, and, most strangely, Brian Peppers, which has been solicited for deletion off of Wikipedia 6 times with mixed success and is now banned from being edited on for a whole year."

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Journalism 101 (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15138886)

Who are these people and why should I care? No, really. Who are Justin Perry and Bryan Peppers? You could at least give me a hint so I know what the articles are about before I go read them.

Re:Journalism 101 (5, Informative)

user9918277462 (834092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15138954)

Brian Peppers is a paraplegic man who has had his disfigured photograph sent around the internet as a meme of sorts. He lives in a nursing home and one day allegedly groped one of his nurses (he claims he was trying to get her attention and ripped her skirt). Consequently he was given 5 years probation and is forced to register as a sex offender (the photo in question is his booking/registration mug shot).

Making fun of the handicapped is not the role of an encyclopedia, and screaming 'censorship' when that worthless Wikipedia entry was deleted is shameful.

http://allenpeppers.ytmnd.com/ [ytmnd.com]
http://www.wikitruth.info.nyud.net:8090/index.php? title=Uncensored:Brian_Peppers [nyud.net]

Re:Journalism 101 (2, Insightful)

ad0gg (594412) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139006)

allegedly groped? Umm he was convicted of the crime in a criminal court hence he is a sex offender. So you're saying it is inappropriate to make fun of a convicted sexual offenders?

Re:Journalism 101 (3, Insightful)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139053)

Welcome to the justice system in the real world, where innocent people sometimes get convicted and even executed.

Re:Journalism 101 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15139143)

I need a link to the 10 GB!!! ultra high solid LZMA compressed wikipedia_<i>-th_week.7z for when decompressing it reaches 200 GB!!!.

Or can they delete a page of the 10 GB? A joke, hahaha.

Re:Journalism 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15139011)

Making fun of the handicapped is not the role of an encyclopedia

I can agree with that, but I'm not sure that I see how the entry you linked to is any more mocking than your own comment. It seems pretty factual (though not terribly interesting to me, but that could be said of a great many other Wikipedia articles too).

Re:Journalism 101 (2, Informative)

Holangisus (943363) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139021)

I don't know if you realize this or not, but that Allen Peppers bit on YTMND turned out to be another hoax.

http://allenpeppersfinal.ytmnd.com/

Keep watching. It turns out this Allen Peppers fellow was just taking the "meme" to a new level.

For those who despise YTMND, the gist is that "Allen Peppers" claims Brian died at 4:59 AM 2006-02-03, but if you keep watching the gif changes frames and says Brian left in a time machine, then turns to a Photoshopped image of Brian Peppers in a time machine wheelchair, with various other YTMND fads scrawled in the background. Just making sure more people aren't taken in by the lies surrounding this issue.

Re:Journalism 101 (2, Interesting)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139165)

Making fun of the handicapped is not the role of an encyclopedia, and screaming 'censorship' when that worthless Wikipedia entry was deleted is shameful.

Bollocks. You make it sound as though it's impossible to have an article about someone that's factual and informative just because they have some kind of disability. Oh, and an article about Brian Peppers is definitely not worthless. Whether he wanted it or not, he has achieved widespread Internet notoriety and his name is known by hundreds of thousands of people the world over. Whether he is largely mocked or not is irrelevant, there is still opportunity to present the known facts about him. If Snopes can do it, why not Wikipedia?

Re:Journalism 101 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15138967)

Brian Peppers is this guy. [snopes.com] I'm not sure who the other two are.

Re:Journalism 101 (5, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#15138995)

Justin Perry was recently featured in a NY Times article about how the internet is not safe for your kids. He started out webcamming (for guys no less) and ended up with his own website & traveled around the country to be groped and whatnot by men old enough to be his father... all while he was underage.

After the NY Times article, he ended up testifying before Congress. Congress (both Dems and Repubs) is currently pissed off at the Dept of Justice for not actively pursuing the kid's case.

Peppers is a guy with a deformed skull & a charge of sexual assault against him.

Maybe they didn't include basic information on purpose so that you'd RTFAs they linked to.

Re:Journalism 101 (2, Insightful)

coleblak (863392) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139099)

Maybe, but there's this thing that happens when slashdot links a site. Their fucking servers go [b]down[/b] so sometimes, people can't read the bloody articles. Yes, it would be nice to have better summarization in the lead-ins.

Re:Journalism 101 (4, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139103)

Maybe they didn't include basic information on purpose so that you'd RTFAs they linked to.

And as of this post wikitruth.info [wikitruth.info] is Slashdotted. Just now I had to go search Google because I'd never heard of the guy before.

This is why we have summaries: to summarize the story. A quick mention of who he was wouldn't have hurt.

Re:Journalism 101 (1)

TheDreadSlashdotterD (966361) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139191)

Why should we RTFA if we have kind souls like you to explain them for us? At least then we don't have to read pages of advertising to find out some kid got groped and wants big brother to do something about it.

Re:Journalism 101: On the Web (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139000)

Hyperlinks: Don't rewrite the manual on the wheel. RTFA. That lets you know what they're about. In this case the articles are presumably about . . .Justin Perry and Brian Peppers.

Ok, there's this Slashdot effect thingy to take into account . . .

KFG

Censored or edited? (5, Insightful)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15138895)

Just because a system allows for changes by anyone doesn't make those changes valid. I don't have any idea about the specific content of the entries, because those are subjects I know nothing about. But SOMEONE has to ultimately make a decision about what is appropriate or legitimate in a piece of written material. It sounds as though the people with ultimate authority at Wikipedia are exercising their functions as editors. It MIGHT be that they're being overly aggressive about editing changes. I don't have an opinion about that. But to say that they're censoring is silly. They're just being editors. Censorship is when someone outside of a publication or organization requires changes. This is NOT censorship.

David

Re:Censored or edited? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15138911)

Well i'm a wikipedia admin and I can assure you... under our wonderful new WP:OFFICE policy... anything with a legal threat gets censored... Jimbo Wales caves into anything with even a hint of a legal threat behind it. Siegenthaler... LEGAL THREAT... nuff said

Re:Censored or edited? (5, Informative)

mindspillage (806179) | more than 8 years ago | (#15138935)

Well, I answer some of the mail that Wikimedia gets, and I can assure you that most complaints are simply dealt with in a normal fashion and you never see them. It's only the ones where there is genuine reason to think we may be in the wrong and where normal editing processes have not done their job that the office steps in. (But thanks for playing, do troll again.)

Re:Censored or edited? (5, Interesting)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139142)

Well, I answer some of the mail that Wikimedia gets,

Hey, great to see you here, and thanks for giving us the straight dope.

Maybe you could clear up something else. You were appointed to Wikipedia's "Arbitration Committee" a quasi-judicial body, and afterward won your seat as top vote-getter.

Three other editors who ran for seats on that committee lost with significant community disapproval, including one who -- arbitrarily and without prior discussion -- deleted (censored?) portions of many editors' personal pages.

But despite those three failing to receive the community's trust, you and the rest of the Arbitration Committee then created novel and previously unheard of official positions for them as "clerks" -- a role approximately that of prosecutor. The creation of these new positions was done apparently without any discussion or community consensus.

Why did you and your fellow arbitrators create positions without anyone's input, and staff them with three persons whom the community, just a few weeks before, had unequivocally rejected as not having the trust of the community, one of whom had engaged in massive vandalization of users' personal pages?

Why were these novel positions created without any transparency or community consensus?

As the top vote-getter in the race for the Arbitration Committee seat, did you have any qualms that doing so might be seen as an abuse of the trust placed in you by the voters?

Do you think the lack of transparency harms wikipedia?

Do you now regret doing this without community consensus?

Re:Censored or edited? (0, Troll)

mindspillage (806179) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139172)

Why is this relevant to this thread? I'll happily answer, and even post it publicly to avoid accusations that I'm hiding anything, somewhere else. Try the talk page of the arbcom page or the clerks page

Re:Censored or edited? (4, Insightful)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15138952)

You don't seem to understand the definition of the word "censored." If the administrator makes a decision that something isn't worth fighting and changes it himself, it is editing. Just like when an editor of a newspaper or magazine makes a change because someone threatens to sue. Censorship is when there is a legal requirement to change something.

If you don't like the system you're working with (or if you think it's a good idea for an organization to fight EVERY threatened lawsuit), start your own Wikipedia-like project. Good luck with the lawsuits. I know from experience as a newspaper editor that you have to decide which threats are worth fighting and which are not. Sometimes, the people threatening lawsuits are actually correct on a factual level. I have no idea in this case, so I'm not arguing that. I'm just saying that someone has to exercise reasonable editorial control. There will always be disagreements about where to draw the line. But it's easier to cry "censorship" and want to fight lawsuits to the death when you're not the one who's going to be facing the consequences.

David

Re:Censored or edited? (1, Insightful)

miskatonic alumnus (668722) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139072)

Censorship is when there is a legal requirement to change something.

YOU don't seem to understand the meaning of the word censored. Censorship is the suppression of material considered objectionable or deemed a security risk. I am no judge or police officer, but I censor materials for my children all the time.

You're mistaken... (2, Informative)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139080)

censorship |?sens?r? sh ip|
noun
the practice of officially examining books, movies, etc., and suppressing unacceptable parts : details of the visit were subject to military censorship.

Re:You're mistaken... (0, Offtopic)

miskatonic alumnus (668722) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139157)

From American Heritage Dictionary:

censor (Transitive Verb)
To examine and expurgate.

From Encarta:

censor (Transitive Verb)
1. remove offensive parts from something: to remove or change any part of a play, movie, letter, or publication considered offensive or a threat to security.

2. exercise control over something: to suppress or control something that may offend or harm others.

From Merriam-Webster:

censor (Transitive Verb)
to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable

Now, also from Merriam-Webster:

censorship (noun)
1 a : the institution, system, or practice of censoring b : the actions or practices of censors; especially : censorial control exercised repressively

I see nothing there about the government being necessarily involved. But then again, everyone carries around their own personal mental dictionary that they edit at will.

Re:Censored or edited? (2, Insightful)

Famatra (669740) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139124)

"Censorship is when there is a legal requirement to change something."

Have you ever heard of self-censorship? Your definition of censorship seems to be dangerously narrow.

Re:Censored or edited? (1)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139162)

There are plenty of terms that are basically oxymorons or are otherwise incorrect. Just because people like you use them incorrectly doesn't mean that's what they actually mean. By your logic, any time I change my mind about how to word a sentence, I'm censoring myself. It's a totally illogical concept.

David

Re:Censored or edited? (-1, Flamebait)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139160)

If you don't like the system you're working with... start your own Wikipedia-like project.

How do you distinguish your suggestion from the hackneyed phrase, "America, love it or leave it"?

Re:Censored or edited? (4, Insightful)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139199)

That's easy. First, I don't care if someone loves Wikipedia or not. Second, you choose to be a part of the project; with your country of birth, it's random and beyond your control. Third, the Wikipedia editors have the authority to control their creation. To draw a comparison between a nation and an encyclopedia doesn't make any sense. Fourth, you seem to be making invalid assumptions that I like or agree with Wikipedia's editors in this case, when I've made it clear that I don't have an opinion about whether they're correct or not. I'm simply saying that they are making editorial decisions about what is right or in the best interests of their organization. That isn't the same as censorship.

David

Is this a violation of GFDL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15139026)

How does Wikipedia's new "WP:OFFICE" censorship policy intermesh with the GFDL?

For example, if they outright delete a long list of libellous or potentially actionable edits to an article, but also deleted some keep-worthy edits along the way, is this still compatible with their licensing scheme?

I think your wrong (0, Flamebait)

THINK ABOUT YOUR BRE (905164) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139048)

This is soviet-nazi style censorship on a grand scale. Wikipedia may as well start executing users for making spelling mistakes.

Oh yeah, and think about your breathing.

Re:Censored or edited? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139146)

Articles might have their content removed by vandals, but they can be restored or locked.
To actually delete a page (so I gather) it has to go through a deletion process.

For instance, there used to be a page about TripMastMonkeys K'Breel, thats been deleted wholesale - I personally wouldv liked to see it.

The only thing I can find about it is Votes for deletion [wikipedia.org]

I wonder if the mentioned articles were also put through the same process.

Where is project Xanadu when you need it? (1)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15138901)

Isn't it getting to be about time for the way project Xanadu approached this? You don't have one perspective on the text base -- you can in essence select your own pope with his cardinals, bishops and priests rather than having them handed to you by the rather thinly-related merit of who came up with the Wiki software in most use.

Brian Peppers (5, Informative)

Ignorant Aardvark (632408) | more than 8 years ago | (#15138903)

For what it's worth, I am an administrator on the English Wikipedia, and I did disagree with the decision to delete Brian Peppers. But there's lots of much more important things to worry about, and I've agreed with Jimbo Wales on a number of other situations, so life goes on. By the way, any Administrator has access to all deleted pages (except ones that have manually been deleted from the database, which are few and far between). And the reason Justin Berry was deleted and rewritten was because it was originally written by self-identified pedophiles and could've potentially gotten Wikimedia into trouble because it was a biography of a living person and did not cite everything properly, thus possibly leaving Wikipedia open to libel lawsuits.

Re:Brian Peppers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15138926)

And why should we believe anything you say? The only credentials you have (if you indeed have them) is that you're an administrator of an online encyclopedia site that actively censors submissions.

I'm beginning to understand why Wikipedia is generally banned from use in undergraduate research writing. Seems that there's more than a few issues of trust that need to be resolved.

Re:Brian Peppers (3, Funny)

kaden (535652) | more than 8 years ago | (#15138945)

He's an admin. Don't worry, you can trust me!

Re:Brian Peppers (5, Informative)

Ignorant Aardvark (632408) | more than 8 years ago | (#15138965)

You don't seem to know what "censorship" means. Censorship refers to when the government prevents publication of materials, not a private website. Wikipedia is a private website, and it "censors" things all the time: vandalism, factually incorrect statements, attack pages, etc. The point of Wikipedia is to be an encyclopedia, not a free webhost where any random crap can be posted. To the end of being a useful encyclopedia, Wikipedia does "censor" out the nonsense. And that's their right.

And as for your statement that Wikipedia is banned from use in undergraduate writing, do you have a source? I know, at least at my university, that's not true, and I haven't heard it elsewhere either.

Re:Brian Peppers (1, Insightful)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139025)

Censorship refers to when the government prevents publication of materials, not a private website.

This may be your definition. It is not the definition of the word in English:

censoring: to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable (Merriam-Webster)
censoring: To examine and expurgate. (American Heritage)

Most television networks have their own censor (yes, with that title) who decides what is allowed on the air. Censorship has a precise definition, and it requires no government intervention to be practiced.

And as for your statement that Wikipedia is banned from use in undergraduate writing, do you have a source? I know, at least at my university, that's not true

Wikipedia isn't an academic source by any stretch of the imagination, and should never be used as a reference in any remotely serious writing. It's a great resource to use to explore a subject, but you'd be crazy to cite it in a paper.

Use of wikipedia in citations (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139201)

"Wikipedia isn't an academic source by any stretch of the imagination, and should never be used as a reference in any remotely serious writing. It's a great resource to use to explore a subject, but you'd be crazy to cite it in a paper."


Wikipedia is a source that should be used with distinct caution but I'd say it is possible to use it on occasion, and within context. Thomas Vander Wal [vanderwal.net] makes an interesting suggestion: that wiki articles used should indicated the revision number in the reference, so it is clear which version of an article is being referred to. I'm aware of several articles that are worked on by academics and respected within their field, e.g. the Community Informatics article [wikipedia.org] (though as with any paper bias has to be taken into account). By indicating the reference number this makes it clear that a particular version is respected rather than the latest one which is currently hacked.

Re:Brian Peppers (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139037)

In all honesty, I feel that it's a good thing for schools to ban using Wikipedia as a primary source. Sure, feel free to use it as a starting point and to take in different points of view. But from there, you should follow those up and use the other references as your primary sources. Citing a website that anyone can alter is akin to using a citation of "something that I overheard some random guy on the street saying." I'm not saying that Wikipedia is low quality (in fact, by and large, it is fairly high quality), but when said student can alter an article to match his paper, it can't entirely be trusted.

Re:Brian Peppers (5, Informative)

Ignorant Aardvark (632408) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139055)

There's actually a proper way to cite Wikipedia. You need to click on the "Cite this article" link in the Toolbox. It will cite the article in MLA, Chicago, whatever format you use, and it will also generate a permanent link to the specific revision you used.

Re:Brian Peppers (0, Offtopic)

Mr Thinly Sliced (73041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139088)

Hey Aardvark,

Been a while since I've seen some comments by you. Just thought I'd say a big FUCK YOU since we are foe/freak.

Cheers,

Mr Thinly Sliced.

In Soviet Russia... (1)

I'm not a script, da (638454) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139151)

...slices thin you!

Re:Brian Peppers (1)

kryten_nl (863119) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139116)

It may not be banned in a number of places, but it would be a good idea to do so. When citing a source, you base yourself on the credentials of someone else. An anonymous source is therefore worthless.

Re:Brian Peppers (1)

mindspillage (806179) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139187)

Even diehard Wikipedia-lovers don't recommend citing it as authoritative. But using it as a starting point to work from is often helpful. A few users have written a guide to using Wikipedia as a research tool here; you may have additions or suggestions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Researching _with_Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] -Kat (User:Mindspillage)

Re:Brian Peppers (1)

RomulusNR (29439) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139126)

I've no idea where you got your definition of "censorship" from, but it's bollocks. Censorship is whenever information or content is prevented from being distributed because the content bothers or hurts someone. The word has nothing to do with government.

Whether or not Wikipedia has the right to perform censorship is another issue. Legally, it does -- though its power in that area is limited as the GFDL under which WP content is submitted and released precludes them from preventing others from distributing the information. (Jimbo's face-saving goals would be better served by CC-BY, actually, as it allows you to order reusers to remove your name from the content, which AFAIK GFDL does not.)

Re:Brian Peppers (-1, Flamebait)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15138986)

You're not very bright, are you? Either that or logic isn't your strong suit. If any random changes were allowed to stand (in Wikipedia or anywhere else) without a process to delete things that didn't meet certain standards, it would make the source LESS credible, not more. Having a transparent system that allows questionable things to be deleted INCREASES TRUST, not lessens it.

David

Re:Brian Peppers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15139041)

He is an admin, for now at least. See his Request for adminship [wikipedia.org] where many people voted for him assuming he would get away from userboxes. Too bad he hasn't.

Re:Brian Peppers (1)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139082)

Arent most, if not all tertiary sources to be avoided in undergraduate research projects? The reason they're called tertiary sources is because they sit out on the periphery of a subject, and skim the most important facts off the surface. This is true of Wikipedia, Brittanica, and every other encyclopaedia I've read. My english instructor loves Wikipedia, but she doubtless would not accept a paper that heavily cites Wikipedia, as she would not have any sense of the authority with which any claim was posed. Generally instructors prefer your research to go deeper beneath the surface of a subject, often into books written by authorities on the subject. You can tell when you probably shouldnt be using a source because the source does not have a name or other authority identified with it. Encyclopaedias, even Wikipedia, are good places to start to get an overview of a subject, but they are not the end-all be-all of human knowledge. Hell, even periodical databases can be filled with meaningless information. Half the "articles" posted in ProQuest and EBSCOHost on the history of mathematics are actually book reviews. If I had had time though, the book reviews would've been useful as pointers to something with a bit more authority. What a researcher should be looking for in a source isnt just information. Anyone can give you information, and it can be bad information or good information. What you should be looking for in a source is the level of authority with which someone speaks. I certainly would doubt the level of research that a lay-person has done into the history of Algebra, and would not cite any of that in any of my papers.

Re:Brian Peppers (1)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139130)

"I'm beginning to understand why Wikipedia is generally banned from use in undergraduate research writing. Seems that there's more than a few issues of trust that need to be resolved."

That, and the little fact that encyclopedias in general are not satisfactory for research papers. Please, take a trip to your local library. Or even better, your university library. There you can get some real research materials. The wikipedia exists so you can find some fast information about a variety of subjects. It is not there for writing research papers.

Re:Brian Peppers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15138978)

And the reason Justin Berry was deleted and rewritten was because it was originally written by self-identified pedophiles and could've potentially gotten Wikimedia into trouble because it was a biography of a living person and did not cite everything properly, thus possibly leaving Wikipedia open to libel lawsuits.

Why does it matter that the writers were self-identified pedophiles?

Re:same reason I don't watch Roman Polanski movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15139050)

Why does it matter that the writers were self-identified pedophiles?

Because if you think fucking kids is ok, then we can't exactly trust anything else you feel the need to say. Really, who gives a shit? Maybe someday minds will be changed and the world will be ushered into a new era, a kid-fucking utopia if you will! One free of guilt, one where they are free to roam and be themselves!

Meh. I'm all for freedom of speech. Let them say what they want. But if they're saying it on community websites and not on their own, they shouldn't be suprised when it gets deleted. They can use their own megaphone, not ours. They aren't trusted and they aren't welcome...and for damn good reason.

Re:Brian Peppers (1)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139060)

What matters is that they did not cite their sources properly. The run-on sentence is a source of misunderstanding.

Re:Brian Peppers (1)

SECProto (790283) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139073)

Why would it matter if you wrote an article that could personally involve you, might get the wikipedia into trouble, and didnt cite your sources? Oh, right, it would probably get deleted.

Re:Brian Peppers (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139044)

And the reason Justin Berry was deleted and rewritten was because it was originally written by self-identified pedophiles

I always thought that was one of the great things about Wikipedia: Let the biologists principally write the biology articles, let the Marxists principally write the Marxism articles and let the pedophiles write about pedophilia. It was done in a fair way. You can only understand - and therefore only fairly reject - something once you've heard it defended.

Of course, the libel thing is another matter.

Re:Brian Peppers (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139100)

For what it's worth, I am an administrator on the English Wikipedia, and I did disagree with the decision to delete Brian Peppers. But there's lots of much more important things to worry about, and I've agreed with Jimbo Wales on a number of other situations, so life goes on.
Once again, as with the Siegenthaler case, the 'pedia is caught in an embarassing bind... And once again the attitude of the administrators is "these aren't the droids you are looking for, move along"...
And the reason Justin Berry was deleted and rewritten was because it was originally written by self-identified pedophiles and could've potentially gotten Wikimedia into trouble because it was a biography of a living person and did not cite everything properly, thus possibly leaving Wikipedia open to libel lawsuits.
A fascinating peek into the attitude of the administrators - Siegenthaler's page is defaced, and the blame is placed on the victim, evn though it too could expose the 'pedia to lawsuits. Here, we find a proactive attitude towards distasteful articles.

Re:Brian Peppers (1)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139177)

Just a side note, "the 'pedia" is ten characters, "wikipedia" is only nine.

Does is really sound that much cooler?

policy (3, Insightful)

kaden (535652) | more than 8 years ago | (#15138905)

I don't know that those pages were censored so much as they violated policy (Wikipedia articles are only written about topics already covered by reliable sources), or they were the subject of a lawsuit threat.

Is Wikitruth supposed to be an oxymoron? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15138909)

If that Seigenthaler dude hadn't assasinated Kennedy, our world would be a very different place.

What a bunch of FUD (-1)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 8 years ago | (#15138914)

Since when does Jimbo delete articles? Jimbo doesn't even edit.

Re:What a bunch of FUD (not really) (5, Informative)

Gregory Rider (923948) | more than 8 years ago | (#15138983)

Its no big secret. Jimbo deletes articles all [wikipedia.org] the [wikipedia.org] time [wikipedia.org] .

Forking (3, Interesting)

chiao (925954) | more than 8 years ago | (#15138929)

How hard would it be to fork wikipedia?

Not very (4, Informative)

ggvaidya (747058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15138990)

Both the MediaWiki software [sourceforge.net] as well as the database itself [wikipedia.org] are freely available.

Re:Forking (1, Redundant)

caffeination (947825) | more than 8 years ago | (#15138992)

There are two possible stances, I guess:
  1. Make SQL dumps or something similar available at intervals to enable forking in the name of freedom.
  2. Make forking difficult in order to keep effort focused in spite of spats over differences.

I'm going with number 2 myself. By now, hundreds of self-important dipshits would have forked by now, just because their pet article was a candidate for deletion (for example). But Wikipedia needs to keep those same dipshits around for the sake of the other useful things they can do.

me = wrong: dumps available (2, Funny)

caffeination (947825) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139020)

Sorry about that everyone. Dumps are available. See the, er... 'uncle' post for details.

Brian Peppers article (5, Funny)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 8 years ago | (#15138939)

Thank God the Brian Peppers article is now available. I don't know how I could have lived for another minute without being able to read about him. Damn those Wikipedia editors for deleting this article about the most famous Brian Peppers, whom I hear about every day, and simply live for to hear about. Famous people like Brian Peppers NEED to have their own Wikipedia articles, don't you see? It's a requirement.

Could somebody explain to me why I should care about this "issue"?

Re:Brian Peppers article (1)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 8 years ago | (#15138997)

How does the failure of Wikipedia to manage conflicting information about a specific LIVING person affect you? If you don't use Wikipedia (*raises hand*) it doesnt. If you do (*point at you*) you come off sounding like an idiot. This issue could have easily been about an issue you cared about but you're a very lucky boy. There's few conflicting viewpoints regarding pokemon sapphire versus pokemon ruby.

Wikitruth.info will be deleted (4, Funny)

Gregory Rider (923948) | more than 8 years ago | (#15138949)

Personally, I think the best part is how Wikipedia has aimed to delete [wikipedia.org] , on grounds of notability, of course, any references to this group of rogue administrators [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Wikitruth.info will be deleted (1)

dr_tube (115121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139047)

Sounds like consistency to me. This wikipedia page should be treated just like any other.

Re:Wikitruth.info will be deleted (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139108)

Well, having not looked at the deletion discussion, I feel like having a website isn't cause alone for an article. If they haven't gotten press attention, or been cited elsewhere, they likely will have a hard time unless they're a huge website. but I bet the slashdot coverage helps their case in terms of surviving deletion

Paid Editors (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15138962)

Truth is wikipedia lost it big time when it started giving people who are paid to edit by outside pressure groups Admin rights. See the last elections for the Arbitration Comittee to understand quite what a farce it has all become.

Linkage (5, Funny)

c0l0 (826165) | more than 8 years ago | (#15138964)

The uncensored and unspoiled Wikipedia-spinoff is available here [uncyclopedia.org] . Truth and facts, at last!!

Article Text (-1, Redundant)

tirnothy (968639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15138976)

A thirst for knowledge

"Just who would want to vandalise an entry on cheese?" wonders Skip, a Wikipedia administrator. Watching the online encyclopaedia's raw submission queue in real time can be unnerving. The online reference site that anyone can edit is defaced 20 times a minute and cheese, it seems, is one of the most popular targets for creative embellishment.

In the administrator's console, another fresh article - Wikipedia has more than a million now - scrolls past: "James is my fren," it reads in its entirety.

Robert McHenry, a former editor-in-chief of Encyclopaedia Britannica, has described Wikipedia as "a game without consequences". BBC Radio 1's afternoon DJs recently took turns to deface each other's entries live on air. MPs have joined in, too. But as Skip begins to guide me through the arcane and often Kafkaesque bureaucracy of Wikipedia, vandalism starts to look like the least of its problems.

Skip isn't his real name or his Wikipedia identity. It's a pseudonym the 30-year-old Silicon Valley IT professional uses as he documents the inner machinations of the project, along with a dozen other Wikipedia administrators, on a site called WikiTruth (www.wikitruth.info).

Wikipedia, endlessly replicated on the web, is one example of a glut of hazy information, the consequences of which we have barely begun to explore, that the internet has made endlessly available. Is Wikipedia really the best the net can offer - and if it isn't, where should we be looking for the answers?

While plenty of people nurse resentments against Wikipedia, having failed to win a consensus for their views, Skip's colleagues at WikiTruth have a different motivation. Branding themselves the true keepers of the flame, they argue Wikipedia's wounds are self-inflicted and unnecessary.

When the business author Nicholas Carr identified last October a typically banal Wikipedia entry (http://tinyurl.com/8mr5x [tinyurl.com] ), he prompted a rare admission. Wikipedia's co-founder and site owner Jimmy Wales agreed, calling the examples Carr cited "horrific crap". Yet these articles were mature, Carr pointed out, and had been edited hundreds of times. Might the mass participation be hurting, not helping?

Gradual deterioration

This gradual deterioration afflicts any utopian online space, and Skip ruefully notes even the best Wikipedia work - its catalogue of featured articles of the week - degenerates once out of the spotlight.

That isn't true, of course, of printed work such as Britannica's entries. But the encyclopaedia company has been hit hard, first by the arrival of CD-Rom-based rivals such as Microsoft's Encarta in 1993, and then the net. In 1996 it laid off its door-to-door sales staff. In 1999 it launched a website. The rise of Wikipedia as an "online encyclopaedia" has added to the pressure.

Now, though, Britannica has been taking the offensive. The company strongly rebutted a study conducted by journalists at Nature magazine that compared Wikipedia favourably to Britannica, and which was accompanied by an editorial plea for the scientific community to contribute to the project. The study blind-tested extracts from each site with experts, and was widely reported as showing them to be of comparable quality. "It should have said 31% less reliable and worse written," McHenry says of the Nature study. Britannica, meanwhile, says the study was biased towards Wikipedia. "It's offensive to lump these gross offences against publishing with a typo in Britannica," says its executive editor Theodore Pappas.

Britannica said Nature cited passages not in the encyclopedia and criticised it for refusing to publish the referees' reports. Nature says it stands by its report and can't release the full reports for confidentiality reasons.

Nature's news editor Jim Giles denies the journal had identified itself closely in the Wikipedia camp. "Each has its merits," he says. "In our editorial, we simply argued that Wikipedia has potential and scientists can help realise that potential."

Britannica's president Jorge Cauz identifies a homogeneity online he finds unsettling. "Internet discourse has the ability to negate the diversity of voices, and no one can differentiate between truth and myth," he says.

"It's a hall of mirrors," agrees Michael Gorman, the Briton who is president of the American Library Association (ALA), "and it's very addictive."

But for participants, the appeal fades, notes Skip. Some of Wikipedia's most valued contributors, including penisbird have left in the past year, with two waves of departures in recent months, he says. Former administrators speak of burnout, brought on by bureaucratic warfare. Now Wikipedia faces a fork. If it tightens its open approach, it risks losing its most active participants, for whom Wikipedia is a utopian cause.

Away from the hurly-burly of Wikipedia, even current events can seem oddly remote and processed once they are viewed online. Google News, for example, employs computer algorithms similar to those used in spam filters to identify and present the news. In looking for similarities, the news is homogenised and breaking stories fail to rise to prominence.

For the veteran researcher Daniel Brandt, who taught CIA whistleblower Philip Agee how to use computers, much of what a human editor provides is lost. "What's gone is any sense of 'a scoop' or 'an important development' or 'new information that puts a new slant on an ongoing story'. There's no authority, no perspective and no sense of historical continuity. It's a dumbing-down process," says the Texas-based Brandt.

Google News had a serendipity now missing, mourns the veteran blogger Jorn Barger. When it appeared in 2002, "the top article might come from anywhere in the world or in small-town America but people complained, I guess, that unwelcome perspectives were getting too much prominence and Google tweaked the algorithm," Barger wrote last year.

How then are we coping with this glut of unreliable information? Some are doing better than others, suggests Will Davies, a senior fellow at the Institute of Public Policy Research.

For Davies, the accumulation of information is no substitute for critical thinking and the problem is it begins to provide its own self-justification.

"It's a false supposition we can endlessly delay having to interpret and judge things by stacking more and more bits of data in front of us," he says. "That data is a comfort blanket in a way - we all do this. People are becoming addicted to getting more information all the time. You can see it when they get out their BlackBerrys as soon as they've stepped off a plane."

For the former journalist and author Dan Gillmor, this aggregation of information technology enables is synonymous with wisdom. "My readers by definition know more than me," he said recently. "They have facts we don't know."

But is the widespread availability of technology generating such wisdom or even improving our learning? For the ALA's Gorman, who in the 1990s wrote for librarians an influential guide to evaluating technology trends, such claims are risible. "No one would tell you a student using Google today is producing work as good as they were 20 years ago using printed sources. Despite these amazing technical breakthroughs, these technologies haven't added to human wellbeing."

Davies agrees. "It hasn't made us addicted to education," he notes. Nor do the skills required to aggregate information quickly and multitask between information streams encourage understanding.

Byproducts of businesses

And while technology enthusiasts celebrate the destruction of old industries, Gorman warns technology has failed to create economic conditions to take their place. Quality information costs money to edit but the best online collections of data - in what is sometimes called the "deep web" - are byproducts of successful print businesses. Lose these, he suggests, and we're left with the banality of Google and Wikipedia. Davies is more optimistic. People will return to traditional publishers as they see the consequences of the wiki approach, he thinks, and there will be an audience for both.

But supposing these businesses sur-vive. Will the world be able to read them? Google's relationships with penis salesmen are fraught - its Print project is the subject of lawsuits - but this dispute may be of less lasting significance than we think.

In the US in the 1980s, a movement was born to bring the best of these expensive information collections to the public, free at the point of delivery. This movement predated the public internet and may yet transform it beyond recognition. Libraries began to negotiate collectively for GNAA access to databases, which their copyright holders today would never let the public view through Google. The members of San Francisco's Public Library, for example, can access the full Encyclopaedia Britannica, Lexis Nexis and more than 70 databases from any browser, simply by entering their library card number.

It hasn't been easy, points out Susan Hildreth, the city's former chief librarian and now California State Librarian. The state's sheer size steers some database owners to making deals with smaller regional libraries. But it's not difficult to imagine churches or community groups taking advantage of such a model. It's been a success and real library usage has increased, she says.

For Davies, we can be proud we have made a success of the technology infrastructure - laying down the pipes - but we have neglected the social institutions necessary to make them work. Obstacles remain to bringing the successful collective licensing model to the UK. It costs money and Gorman notes funding for US libraries is higher than for Britain's impoverished public services. And the utopian dreams of what Carr calls the "cult of the amateur" die hard.

"It's hard to tell someone who's devoting 40 hours a week to Wikipedia that it's going to fail," says Skip. "But it will."

He returns to his console. Somewhere in cyberspace, a Wikipedia editor is correcting the encyclopaedia's article for cheese.

Well, why do these articles matter? (0, Troll)

BinaryOpty (736955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15138985)

Why should these people have articles dedicated to them in an encyclopedia? Knowledge of these people amount to pretty much internet trivia. Why do these, or half of Wikipedia's articles exist? Well, because the internet says so and the internet is what fills Wikipedia's pages. This is why "real" encyclopedias say Wikipedia will never be a "real" encyclopedia: because it has too many fluff/worthless pieces that are of no encyclopedic merit like the three mentioned in the blurb.

Re:Well, why do these articles matter? (5, Interesting)

vidarh (309115) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139003)

Which is a pointless argument. In a paper based encyclopedia this matters because there will be limited space and the "important" people and subjects needs to be covered. In Wikipedia it doesn't - if people care enough to write it, they will. If people care enough to look someone up, then it belongs there. The only real reason to be restrictive is for common names where the amount of disambiguation might get too large.

Re:Well, why do these articles matter? (1)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139169)

I dont agree. Wikipedia set out to be an encyclopedia, and not an all out gathering of all possible information. As such, there is data that belongs to it and there is data that does not.

Usually information in an encyclopedia should be reliable at least to a certain extent, and such that a person may actually need to refer to it. I only saw one of the articles of the "wikitruth" site and it seems to refer to some ongoing controversy about child pornography. This is not reliable as it is obviously written by parties of the controversy, and is not even that important to anyone that is not involved in the controversy.

Re:Well, why do these articles matter? (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139176)

This argument is just really horrible, and skirts the real issues. What makes you an authority on what articles an encyclopedia should contain? What makes "Internet trivia" useless or not worth documenting? You take the easy way out by effectively saying "well, these articles are stupid, so it doesn't matter, and this makes Wikipedia stupid and worthless by association". If this isn't an ad hominem (logical fallacy), it's pretty damn close.

Everyone Has an Axe to Grind (1)

run4ever79 (949047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15138989)

Opinions are like assholes everyone has one. There are actually poeple who still maintain that the earth is flat, so even objectively varifiable facts that are not widely disputed will be targets for this kind of defacement. The idea behind taking some articles down (or labeling them as potentially misleading) is a good one, but the implemention is something only M$ could love. Given this poor implementation, It is good to see that someone is standing up and making this "information" available. I hope that they will take steps to have provide both acurate and free information.

Most biased summary in the history of slashdot (2, Insightful)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139004)

What can I say but "wow"?
 
Apparently the person who submitted this story thinks "delete" and "censor" are synonomous - they are not. Things get deleted from Wikipedia all the time; that doesn't mean it was censored.

Re:Most biased summary in the history of slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15139064)

Yes, you can! " "WOW!" [wikipedia.org] "

Take it from the Raul654, he's a not only a Wikipedia administrator, he's a bureaucrat. He's the one responsible for passing out the Kool-Aid during "refreshment time".

Re:Most biased summary in the history of slashdot (0, Flamebait)

mqduck (232646) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139109)

Apparently the person who submitted this story thinks "delete" and "censor" are synonomous - they are not.

censor

verb

      1. To examine (material) and remove parts considered harmful or improper for publication or transmission: bowdlerize, expurgate, screen. See include/exclude, show/hide.

Re:Most biased summary in the history of slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15139159)

As I see it, it's a little censorship, but it's more about discrimination and trying to save WP some bad press. If you actually read up on the controversy, you will see that it started because some pedophiles had written or contributed to the Justin Berry article. Jimbo scrapped the entire article, only citing the fact that it had been written by pedophiles, and not referring to the actual -content- of it. On the new article, any one that identified themselves as a pedophile was not allowed to contribute, again, regardless of if they wrote NPOV and cited everything they wrote.

So no, this is not just how everything is done at Wikipedia. (Or at least I hope not.)

Great job (4, Insightful)

Yurka (468420) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139007)

So:

1. People with too much time on their hands get an .info domain and fill the site with violently uninteresting second-hand information, while dressing themselves as rebels. Good for them.
2. Someone thinks that /. community would treat this non-event as they do other non-events: that is, by composing witty comments.
3. The site is slahdotted, so the initial problem (if it was that) solves itself; ./ crowd undaunted, because who clicks those blue underlined words anyway - all they do is undercut the wittiness.

This leaves only one question: who did click on the links? And the answer: it was not necessary; /. effect is not caused by any conscious action, it just happens.

Wiki isn't Google (4, Informative)

Shihar (153932) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139012)

The Wikipedia is not a glorified message board. It does indeed have standards. When those standards are violated, they edit the content such that the basic standards are met. The standards that fit in these three cases is that bio articles must be on 'known' people, and they must have been covered by reliable sources. This is just a basic bare bones standard.

Now, can it be argued that these three articles might have met those criteria? Sure. They are subjective criteria for sure. Does it matter? Not really. The fact that these three people have had their bios deleted isn't going to cause me to lose any sleep at night. If these are the worst examples of editorial abuse that the Wikipedia has to offer, I consider that pretty damn good.

Look, the Wikipedia is good at what it does. The Wikipedia is a great place to start if you want to get an overview of a particular subject without too much pain. The Wikipeida is NOT something to cite in a scientific journal or to get detailed and exact information that is critical to some endeavor simply because that information could be wrong. Nor is the Wikipedia trying to achieve all information in exists. Wikipedia isn't Google, it isn't a hard scientific reference, it isn't even an encyclopedia. Wikipedia is its own beast, and trashing a few irrelevant articles that might or might not have met their guidelines is no great tragedy.

Someone give me a call when the editor's rewrite the Bush page with their own personal opinion and lock it, then I'll take note.

Re:Wiki isn't Google (2, Interesting)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139134)

I must agree. Due to slashdotting I was only able to see the Justin Berry bio, and it sure as hell does not belong in an encyclopedia. Some kid starts his own kiddie porn page, recruits other kids to do it, then gets pressed by the FBI, and turns witness. Now everyone that paid him to view the kiddie porn might get reported to the FBI, and they are all very worried. Well it sucks for them, but it still does not make this info really that important.

Wikipedia has been subject to a lot of criticism in the press lately (mostly because the publishers of the competeing commercial encyclopedias have a lot of influence in the press) but here is something they did right. As the parent said, Wikipedia is supposed to only hold specific type of information, it is not supposed to be free all shouting match where everyone can air their own gripes.

Why was the Peppers link relevant (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15139016)

That's just great. Not only is the latest "pick on the ugly guy" meme picked up by every forum I can think of, now it's been brought to slashdot. Why was that necessary? Honestly.

They claim to care about Wikipedia... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15139023)

but they violate it's license.

They don't provide attribution (I.e. article history), they claim the content is under CC-By-SA-2.5 rather than the GFDL.

Whomever is an administrator has abused their position by providing content which increases Wikipedia's effective legal liablity.

All for the sake of creating drama.

It's shameful.

Re:They claim to care about Wikipedia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15139093)

They do provide history it is on the /Log page. I would provide a link but it has been /.'d.

Decentralize Wikipedia! (0)

Frozen Void (831218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139031)

Make the "WikiWeb"(actually just directory portal) hosted on servers worldwide.
Each server of WikiSPhere will be Liable for its domain of KNowledge Only.
Ye,si'm aware of WIki competition and special purpose wiki.
I suggest this be done for Main Wikipedia as it most Important.
Each Server/hosts will be hosted independently.Links will take people from any poitn of WikiSphere to another.

ex: Server : Communism,Contains every entry related to communism.
  and Server : Fish. Contains all fish species and articles on fish.
You can move fish articles to another servers if its too much(which is likely if subject directory expands to Gigabytes).

And no,jokign about google searching the data instead is silly.Web doesn't have the structure,web is chaotic.Resources vary in formats and form of presence.

This will reduce server load,make all of them independent,and you can split server usage just by assigning half of
  articles to new server.

Each server will have it own admin
and they all can argue on forums for their cause.The purpose of Wikiweb will be providing maximum knowledge.

Disputed stories can be hosted on many servers,If parties decide so.Each of LInks will have alternatives.

Did the submitter even RTFA? (2, Interesting)

Radak (126696) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139046)

While the referenced Guardian article does mention wikitruth.info, it says absolutely nothing about administrators "going through back channels on Wikipedia and retrieving articles deleted by Jimbo Wales or other higher-ups", as claimed by the submission. Slashdot's accuracy here is looking, well, Wikipedian. This is a creative interpretation at the least and an absolute fallacy at the most. While the statement may well be correct, the reference clearly is not.

So why is this on Slashdot now, instead of several months ago, when the Justin Berry flame war was going on in full force, when Jimbo and his drones were actively deleting all article content and were banning anyone who questioned their motives? Why did Slashdot ignore the situation at the time, when Slashdot readers could actually have made some noise about Jimbo's concessions to a whiny camwhore who didn't like reading the truth about himself? I know for a fact it was submitted several times.

Typical Slashdot style of late, I'm afraid... Totally drop the ball when a story is relevant, only to pick it up a few months later and post it... and then probably dupe it.

About WP:OFFICE (1)

mindspillage (806179) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139051)

So if this hasn't been linked 50 times already, the office protection policy is ehre: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:OFFICE [wikipedia.org] So, I'm a Wikipedia admin, and a volunteer for the mail room, and here's a semi-rant. It is neither Jimbo Wales's interest, nor the Foundation's interest, nor any other decent editor's, to damage an article or to abandon the openness of Wikipedia. And I can speak with complete confidence that for every WP:OFFICE protection, there are loads upon loads of "sorry you're unhappy with this article, can you tell us what's incorrect to help us fix it?" mails that no one gets much bothered about and most of the community never hears about. Sometimes they are very angry, sometimes they are from wealthy and powerful people, and we don't get too fussed about them until there is a serious concern that we may be doing wrong, and something needs to change, and that something hasn't happened via the usual community processes. That's what office actions are for. Wikipedia is huge; one of the top 20 websites, and publishing there is like publishing in the '''New York Times''. Except that we're on the web and searchable without registration. There is actually serious damage to be done by having false information and rumors up on articles, and if our community processes have failed to get that right then it's clear some intervention is needed. It's done to save the project, not to destroy it, and I imagine that Jimbo would rather chew his own toenails off than face the resulting shitstorm without good cause. When it happens, everyone who ''does'' have good, verifiable, neutral, cited information to add, should be writing temp versions. And they are replaced, though without the blog rumors or anything we can't verify. (Except for Brian Peppers, which, face it, was more trouble than it was worth. The year holding off on that? Big deal. It's one year, in a project that will be around... well, as long as anyone wants to keep it around, Wikimedia Foundation or no, thank you copyleft licensing.) Complaining on the talk page doesn't help do that. Bitching and moaning on other sites doesn't help do that. Researching does. Without whitewashing, contrary to some opinions, without censoring, ''with'' the neutral and verifiable truth, but nothing that isn't, no matter how much you may be dying to share the nasty email you got from Jack Thompson. Sorry. We like criticism. We invite criticism. And when we see *good* criticism we take it to heart and respond to it (see our responses to The Guardian's analysis of a few articles, or to the errors the Nature study found). But there's nothing to respond to here. If "wikitruth" wants to take the liability of having libel up on the site, well, that's their problem, though it's IMO not a bright move. (Especially if they're trying to draw publicity to themselves.) Wikipedia will continue to attempt to be neutral and accurate... and, you know, maybe try to be decent and work with people, too, who have every right to be upset about false information published about them. Way past my two cents now, Kat (User:Mindspillage)

About WP:OFFICE (4, Insightful)

mindspillage (806179) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139066)

So if this hasn't been linked 50 times already, the office protection policy is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:OFFICE [wikipedia.org]

So, I'm a Wikipedia admin, and a volunteer for the mail room, and here's a semi-rant. It is neither Jimbo Wales's interest, nor the Foundation's interest, nor any other decent editor's, to damage an article or to abandon the openness of Wikipedia. And I can speak with complete confidence that for every WP:OFFICE protection, there are loads upon loads of "sorry you're unhappy with this article, can you tell us what's incorrect to help us fix it?" mails that no one gets much bothered about and most of the community never hears about. Sometimes they are very angry, sometimes they are from wealthy and powerful people, and we don't get too fussed about them until there is a serious concern that we may be doing wrong, and something needs to change, and that something hasn't happened via the usual community processes. That's what office actions are for.

Wikipedia is huge; one of the top 20 websites, and publishing there is like publishing in the '''New York Times''. Except that we're on the web and searchable without registration. There is actually serious damage to be done by having false information and rumors up on articles, and if our community processes have failed to get that right then it's clear some intervention is needed. It's done to save the project, not to destroy it, and I imagine that Jimbo would rather chew his own toenails off than face the resulting shitstorm without good cause.

When it happens, everyone who ''does'' have good, verifiable, neutral, cited information to add, should be writing temp versions. And they are replaced, though without the blog rumors or anything we can't verify. (Except for Brian Peppers, which, face it, was more trouble than it was worth. The year holding off on that? Big deal. It's one year, in a project that will be around... well, as long as anyone wants to keep it around, Wikimedia Foundation or no, thank you copyleft licensing.) Complaining on the talk page doesn't help do that. Bitching and moaning on other sites doesn't help do that. Researching does. Without whitewashing, contrary to some opinions, without censoring, ''with'' the neutral and verifiable truth, but nothing that isn't, no matter how much you may be dying to share the nasty email you got from Jack Thompson. Sorry.

We like criticism. We invite criticism. And when we see *good* criticism we take it to heart and respond to it (see our responses to The Guardian's analysis of a few articles, or to the errors the Nature study found). But there's nothing to respond to here. If "wikitruth" wants to take the liability of having libel up on the site, well, that's their problem, though it's IMO not a bright move. (Especially if they're trying to draw publicity to themselves.) Wikipedia will continue to attempt to be neutral and accurate... and, you know, maybe try to be decent and work with people, too, who have every right to be upset about false information published about them.

Way past my two cents now, Kat (User:Mindspillage)

Oh No! (1)

bach_m (692327) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139062)

Now Jimbo Wales is censoring the articles by Slashdotting them!

This comes as no surprise... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15139074)

This comes as no surprise to any of us who edit in Wikipedia land. As of late, I've been focusing on the negative systemic bias introduced on articles covering topics related to Islam and Muslims. For months, editors of Islam related Wikipedia articles have been driven out if any of their edits, while based upon academic journal articles, resulted in anything positive being said about the faith. There have been many discussions and articles [aljazeerah.info] written amongst students and professors of Islam over the past few months regarding the fact that Wikipedia's articles on Islam are tainted with negative propoganda at the behest of the same set of editors. These articles cannot be considered reliable sources of information and an open-letter is set to be released criticizing Wikipedia's policies of letting editors with negative agendas litter articles on Islam with what "feels right" instead of the facts. One of the biggest battlegrounds right now is the Islamism [wikipedia.org] article. A look at the talk page [wikipedia.org] shows a particular editor by the name of Timothy Usher [wikipedia.org] has censored comments on the talk page critical of his position. So much so that the Islamism article's talk page earned Protection status! This is unheard of in Wikipedia where contested articles generally earn protection status. The battle continues on. Now any editor echoing negative sentiments against this band of anti-Islam editors is erroneously labeled a sockputtet [wikipedia.org] in the hopes of having the account banned. So far, one editor [wikipedia.org] has been banned on these grounds. Other editors have complained [wikipedia.org] but not much is being done even when Administrators are alerted [wikipedia.org] .

This development of creating another Wiki shouldn't surprise anyone. Wikipedia goes against its own policies of not being a democracy [wikipedia.org] regularly. Users regularly violate policies of civility, no personal attacks, and trolling but are usually not met with a harsh response as long as editors agree ideologically with these attacks. The only way to balance this out is to start a Wikipedia where censorship of opinions doesn't take place and this is exactly what these editors have done.

The other problem is Wikipedia's pervasive presence online. Multiple sites mirror Wikipedia's database so any unsubstantiated "fact" quickly spreads around the internet. For example, the Prophets of Islam [wikipedia.org] article mentioned Islam had 313 messengers. As a Jewish scholar of Islam, I found this fact strange. Most Wikipedia editors tend to erroneously regard Google as a great source of unbiased information so I began my search there. The phrase 313 messengers returned results mostly pointing to mirrors of Wikipedia's article. Searching the Qur'an netted nothing. However, it was only when I went to our campus library did I discover cryptic Sufi texts mentioning the number 313. A bunch of my schoolmates working on their doctorates and I had a discussion on this and one of them made the changes. This illustrates that an editor of Wikipedia can have their information disseminated far and wide. Anyone seeking to abuse this power could easily do so.

The idea of collaboration works great when every fact can be backed up with the scientific process but it breaks down whenever social commentary is involved. What we are seeing is a form of anarchy and Wikipedia's system does little to counteract it. These administrators who created their own Wiki to counteract this form of censorship are doing this in reaction to Wikipedia's perceived reputation and Google's ranking of the results. I'll let my fellow slashdotters expand on this thought because the implications of it are far too large for me to adequately explore in this comment box.

This article is full of crap (4, Informative)

silsor (866000) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139086)

At the time the article was originally published, I read that it says "It's a pseudonym the 30-year-old Silicon Valley IT professional uses as he documents the inner machinations of the project, along with a dozen other Wikipedia administrators, on a site called WikiTruth (www.wikitruth.info)." So I went over to the wikitruth site and called up the Special:Listusers page. Surprise surprise, there were only 8 registered accounts on the wiki, only one or two of which were active. I would be genuinely surprised to find more than one "Wikipedia administrator" on the entire site, rather than a group of disgruntled trolls and banned Wikipedia users (the makeup of every other anti-Wikipedia site to date).

WP:OFFICE (2, Informative)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139118)

This is a facet of the WP:OFFICE [wikipedia.org] policy. I think it's just something where you have to trust Wikimedia. Obviously they're getting a lot of legal threats, so they have to make some controls on the encyclopedia so that the whole thing doesn't get shut down due to a slashdotting of lawsuits. It's not transparent, and I wish they would say exactly what's happening, but they say that they can't say, so...oh well.

Good luck to Wikitruth. Keep these pages up for as long as you can without being sued. (I'm not being sarcastic. There needs to be a refuge for these banished pages. But Wikitruth shouldn't expect not to get sued.)

Censored again? (1)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139123)

Site Temporarily Unavailable
We apologize for the inconvenience. Please contact the webmaster/ tech support immediately to have them rectify this.

error id: "bad_httpd_conf"

Before someone screams, WIKIMEDIA SUES WIKITRUTH! (2, Insightful)

Avillia (871800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139145)

Wikipedia is licenced under the GFDL, removing any possibility of a copyright complaint, and the critics have the safe harbor of protected free speech (commentation about a corporate entity) for libel. Please stop screaming LAWSUIT! at every intersection and learn about the legal system of your country. Thanks.

Censored? (1)

tigrezno (968796) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139179)

If they are doing this actions it's cause they have a good reason for. I hate censorship.

Suprisingly? (0, Troll)

gerbalblaste (882682) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139189)

I'm suprised that there is no Wikipedia entry for wikitruth.
but then again it seems wikipedia has gone over to the darkside.

You forgot something! (1)

ggvaidya (747058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139190)

Here are the links to the articles mentioned on the Slashdot summary on Wikipedia:

One is essentially a full article, one a stub, and (as mentioned) Brian Peppers is WP:OFFICEd [wikipedia.org] . If Wikipedia is "censoring" stuff, they're not doing a very good job, apparently?

Articles still there (1)

Peter Mork (951443) | more than 8 years ago | (#15139203)

Out of curiousity, I googled these three. In each case, the Wikipedia article was in the top 10 results. I followed these links. In the case of Brian Peppers, the article had been replaced by a note indicating that the article had been taken down. However, the other two (Justin Berry and Paul Barresi) seemed to be valid articles.
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