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Wal-mart's Wikipedia War

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the wewwy-inwestingw dept.

778

An anonymous reader writes "Whitedust is running an article which claims that lobbyists for Wal-mart have successfully waged a war against a fair viewpoint on Wikipedia's Wal-mart page. From the article: "Although Wikipedia maintains a 'Neutral Point of View' (NPOV) policy, the Wal-mart page is highly biased. Additionally, all criticism has, contrary to policy, practice, and the general opinion of those concerned, been moved to a Debates Over Wal-mart section. Even that page has noticeable resistance to negative points of view about Wal-mart."

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778 comments

This was bound to happen. (5, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220663)

As someone who runs a City Wiki [bloomingpedia.org] , I always felt that what makes a reference wikis work is that there are more people interested in having a NPOV article than people who have a financial interest at stake. However as companies and politicians become more familiar with the wiki movement and the whole anonyminity of it, they are more likely to see how easily you can edit articles as another PR platform and seek to control it. With the resources and ability to dedicate even a full time team to making sure the Wikipedia article keeps them in a good light, I fear we're entering the age where people who are interested in a NPOV are outmanned by those with a profit interest. After all, for years spammers have nearly outmanned those whole try to filter it.

The problem with information sources for a localized wiki like Bloomingpedia [bloomingpedia.org] though is that since it is on a much smaller scale, its easier to obscure facts because there are not as many industry watchdogs paying attention to companies and organizations. You have to get the information by working for the company or accept the information that a company provides on its website or product brouchures.

Re:This was bound to happen. (-1, Flamebait)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220715)

What was the name of your localized wiki again? I must have missed it. Maybe you could link to it or something.

Re:This was bound to happen. (2, Insightful)

Mayhem178 (920970) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220788)

Greetings from Indy, fellow Hoosier.

I have a true issue with the concept of a "neutral" point of view. No POV is neutral. The belief that such a POV exists is born of the idea that all issues have 2 sides to them, black and white, right and wrong, and that a neutral POV can exist somewhere in the middle. This simply isn't the case.

By definition, in order to have a POV, you have to have observed and formulated an opinion of that which is in question; and any opinion is bound to be offensive to someone.

In my eyes, the only way to remain neutral in any situation is to actively avoid having a POV. "I don't know, I don't wanna know, and I don't care." Anyone that takes the time to write something on Wikipedia doesn't fall under this heading.

Re:This was bound to happen. (1, Insightful)

Radres (776901) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220834)

Or, you can just admit when your POV may be wrong, and attempt to explain the other side.

Re:This was bound to happen. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220826)

I fear we're entering the age where people who are interested in a NPOV are outmanned by those with a profit interest.

I generally agree with your overall comments, but I do have issue with the statement above. Really, you should say that those "who are interested in a NPOV are outmanned by those with an agenda". Profit is only one aspect and generally implies that it's people like Walmart (and other companies) who are really the "bad guys". In the referenced article, the author even mentions that at one point the Walmart page was highly critical of the company. Fact is, many people (who are not Walmart corp competitors) have various personal interests that are negative towards the company (justified or not). The key is to make sure that the pendulum doesn't swing too far in EITHER direction. If most of the news posted about Walmart is negative (and after all, isn't that the nature of news, if Walmart was humming along not doing anything too bad, then you'd hardly hear anything about them), then does a wiki page that simply accumilates these news articles then also biased towards the negative? Does the NPOV imply that any negative comments should be "evened out" by positive? Sticky issue this, but plese retain a NPOV when it comes to those who would attempt to subvert the wiki concept, it's people/orgs with alterior motives, profit or not.

Wiki lobbyists? (3, Funny)

Demon-Xanth (100910) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220847)

And here I thought that we kept all our lobbyists tied up with DC and off the internet.

Re:This TOO was bound to happen. (-1, Offtopic)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221056)

We are gathered here on the discussion page for WALMART. Hello, I'm Troy McClure! You might remember me from such wikipedia edits as "3 out of 4 Denmark Cartoonists say Muhammad uses Tide on mustard stains" to "Quantum neutrino, rhymes with Phillipino".

Nothing to see here (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220664)

An interesting article perhaps, but his conclusions need some work. Here's what I found in a quick investigation:

  • The Unionization issue can be found on the Wal-Mart Employee and Labor Relations [wikipedia.org] page, which is linked to from the Debates over Wal-Mart [wikipedia.org] page.
  • The Walmart [wikipedia.org] article is definitely NPOV. It presents the cold facts with practically no commentary or spin. If I had any complaint about it, it would be that it's poorly written. The topics jump around, the facts are presented suddenly and without order, and the grammar is atrocious. What it needs is a good rewrite.
  • His point concerning the number of edits fails to prove anything. If you look at the History for the Rain Forest [wikipedia.org] article, you'll find a similar number of edits. 99% of them are vandalism.


All in all, I can't find any hard evidence to support his claims, and the remaining evidence he presents seems to be nothing more than, "I think this page should be more critical of Wal-Mart, therefore there must be lobbists at work!" While that's a nice sentiment, it doesn't make for a smoking gun.

Re:Nothing to see here (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220817)

From the Discussion page:

Adolf Hitler was the fuehrer of Germany, who reformed the German economy in the 1930s. He enjoyed painting and playing with his dog. He married his lifelong sweetheart, Eva Braun, two days prior to his death.
        See also: Criticism of Adolf Hitler

Seems fair to me.

I know, I know ... Goodwin's law.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220917)

Oddly enough, the Hitler article seems to be more NPOV to me than what the person mentioning Hitler seems to want the Walmart article to be.

If someone rewrote the Hitler article to include a 50 page essay on why Hitler was the most horrible person of all time and removed most of the actual historical details of his life, that'd be a problem. Same deal if every single account of something oppressive he did was followed by an exposition of the views of people who'd criticized him for it at the time or since.

Re:Nothing to see here (5, Insightful)

phlegmofdiscontent (459470) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220824)

I think this shows the differences in how people perceive "neutral". After all, some people think Fox News is fair and balanced while others say NPR is fair and balanced. Likewise, maybe some PR hacks for Wal-Mart really do believe they're being neutral and the author of TFA thinks the Wikipedia article isn't neutral enough. I'm not taking any sides on the issue. Probably the only way to be really neutral is to read as much as you can on the issue from both sides and try to cut through the bullshit, and really, most people don't have that time.

Re:Nothing to see here (5, Interesting)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220930)

After all, some people think Fox News is fair and balanced while others say NPR is fair and balanced.

It depends upon what you call, "fair and balanced".

A news organization's purpose is to inform, not to proffer an opinion. In the area of informing, NPR does better than Fox. For example, more than 60% of Fox News listeners thought the US found WMD's in Iraq, less than 20% of NPR's listeners thought the same. Since Washington has admitted that no WMDs were found, which news organization did a better job of informing its listeners?

Re:Nothing to see here (1, Insightful)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221072)

A news organization's purpose is to inform, not to proffer an opinion.

Wrong. In your opinion, a news organization's purpose should be to inform. In fact, any organization's purpose is whatever the leaders of that organization decide it is. The purpose of Fox News (along with the other, so-called "liberal" members of the corporate media) is to make a profit for their parent corporation. They do this by getting high ratings to drive up their advertising rates, and they've found that more people want to watch if you state opinions that match the viewers' own than if you just try to inform them.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220862)

Agreed. The page is poorly written, boring, and very smoothed over, but there are links and references to many of the objections. The article author appears to be mad that his anti-WM statements were removed from the Wiki page.

Not that I am pro-WM, I think they have a couple of ethical problems with their employment practices. But I think the wiki article is a proper wiki article.

-Rick

NPOV (2)

nuggz (69912) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220869)

I agree, seemed pretty neutral overall.

I think the correct place for notes on specific historical items that are generally not relevant is at the bottom.
Many people think neutral point of view should be THEIR "correct" point of view.
Even facts can be presented in such a way to influence ones point of view. One harsh example is refering to a fetus as either a parasite or baby. While both may be considered technically correct, they have drastically different perspectives.

I think the charitable donations don't deserve their own section in the main article. This is IMO one positive bias.

Actions of the Walton family are distinct from those of the Walmart corporation. This is a positive bias/error IMO.

Re:Nothing to see here (4, Informative)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221025)

Nonsense. Presentation of only factual information is not at all an indication of lack of bias. Anybody who has taken basic courses in behavioral psychology can tell you this. The selection of facts from a nearly limitless pool of factual information can highly bias the perception of a reader of a set of facts. It is nearly trivial to choose a set of facts that lead a reader to radically different conclusions, if one chooses to do so.

The Walmart page falls victim to this, as well as presenting a set of very positive facts at the top of the "Debates" page to create an anchor point for perceptions skewed toward the positive. Setting such an anchor point goes a huge way to diminish the perceptual impact of any following negative information.

Clearly the people on Walmart's side have a solid understanding of these psychological principles, which doesn't surprise me from a company that employs "greeters" to make themselves feel more friendly. The people at Wikipedia obviously are missing the point if they think NPOV means "just presenting facts".

Avoiding bias entirely is impossible, but the best way to minimize it would be eliminate excessively positive framing on a page intended to highlight debate over negative aspects of the company, and enforcing that a roughly comparable amount of information gets to be presented by both sides.

If the sides can't get along or agree, the arguments can always be broken out into two separate pages, each of which gets to be edited by a contingent of people who clearly fall on one side or the other of the argument, and each gets to select their own set of facts that support their argument (but still attempt to maintain at least a neutral use of language). NPOV or not, I've seen this approach used on other pages, such as some Israeli-Palestinian related pages, where the participants otherwise would just get into non-productive edit-wars.

Seems Fair to Me (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220679)

Wal-Mart has a lot of haters and bashers out there. It seems only logical that they should fight back and try to balance out the haterade on wikipedia.

I personally think Wal-Mart is one of the best corporations out there. A company that provides value and offers cheap products to everybody? The horror!

Re:Seems Fair to Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220697)

A company that provides value and offers cheap products to everybody? The horror!

Are you a Wal-Mart Lobbyist?

Re:Seems Fair to Me (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220709)

Wal-Mart has a lot of haters and bashers out there. It seems only logical that they should fight back and try to balance out the haterade on wikipedia.

I personally think Wal-Mart is one of the best corporations out there. A company that provides value and offers cheap products to everybody? The horror!
HAAAHAAHAAHAAHAA!!!!

HAAAHAAHAAAAHAAA!!!

<breathes>

HAAAAAHAAAAAHAAAAHAAAA!!!!

Seriously, I hope that you're simply being really, really sarcastic, but it's hard to tell...

Re:Seems Fair to Me (1)

DaHat (247651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220731)

I'm forced to agree with the grandparent... care to name specific gripes about Wal-Mart?

Re:Seems Fair to Me (3, Informative)

Theatetus (521747) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220838)

care to name specific gripes about Wal-Mart?

You're joking, right?

  • They keep wages way too low [alternet.org] , straining state welfare systems who have to pick up the slack so that Wal Mart employees can, oh, eat and pay rent, and not die from preventable diseases.
  • They force their development plans [sierraclub.org] on unwilling towns and counties, increasing sprawl and erosion.
  • The illegally disrupt [post-gazette.com] organization attempts by their employees.
  • They lobbied relentlessly [ilcaonline.org] to weaken the definition of "organic" food, and then started selling food that can now be called "organic" but isn't by any sane definition of the word.

You've really never heard any of these, or other, complaints about Wal-Mart?

Re:Seems Fair to Me (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220840)

Lack of insurance coverage for full-time employees.
Low wages for employees.
Products that are cheap in quality as well as construction.
Artificially low "Invade and take over" pricing with smaller communities, destroying local livelyhoods, then raising prices.
Attraction of the lowest common denominator to stores, bringing problems to the neighborhood.
Lack of benefits from the company forces the community to pick up the costs, which aren't trivial.

Re:Seems Fair to Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220844)

There's a nice little story about a woman who sews pockets on jeans in some foreign facotry controlled by Wal-Mart. Long story short, if she didn't make her impossible quota she was beaten with the jeans she was sewing. Wal-Mart has never contradicted this story, and I don't believe that they had seperate jeans to beat people with so one can infer that if you buy jeans at Wal-Mart, you are potentially buying jeans used to beat people.

So there's one thing.

You're loopy (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15221063)

Wal-Mart has never contradicted this story

What's your point; Walmart should defend itself against every loony charge or it is automatically guilty? Hey, can I do that too?

Walmart control the Illuminati.
Dan Brown wrote The DaVinci Code under orders from Walmart.
Walmart faked the moon landings.
The head of Walmart is one of the elder gods, and all employees sacrifice their soul to Him upon employment.
Walmart is responsible for Global Warming and Global Cooling, the bastards!
Area51 is really an Intergalatic Walmart.

Walmart didn't deny them! They must be true!

Re:Seems Fair to Me (2, Informative)

XorNand (517466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220905)

PBS's Frontline did a very good piece called "Is WalMart Good for America?" If you're being earnest, then I highly recommend that you that the time to watch it online [pbs.org] .

Re:Seems Fair to Me (2, Insightful)

Theatetus (521747) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220724)

I personally think Wal-Mart is one of the best corporations out there. A company that provides value and offers cheap products to everybody? The horror!

A corporation that underpays its workers, illegally locks its cleaning crews in the store at night, illegally prevents unionization attempts by workers.... yeah... great company.

Re:Seems Fair to Me (2, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220772)

> A corporation that underpays its workers,

If those workers believe that they are not being paid enough they are free to leave and get a job elsewhere, possibly for what they think they are worth. Don't gripe because they pay what they have found the market will bare.

> illegally locks its cleaning crews in the store at night,

Some stores did that yes... but was it a corporate policy or corporate wide occurrence? So a couple of poorly run stores means that the entire corporation is evil?

> illegally prevents unionization attempts by workers

Preventing the formation of control of a union is not always illegal. Let's not forget that Wal-Mart owns the jobs and gets to set the terms by which the employees get them... if the owner decides that they are being taken advantage of or abused it is their right to take action to prevent it... like preventing unionization... just as it is the right of the employees to leave if they don't like the way the company does business.

Re:Seems Fair to Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220897)

> If those workers believe that they are not being paid enough they are free to leave and get a job elsewhere, possibly for what they think they are worth. Don't gripe because they pay what they have found the market will bare.

The same argument could be made for child labor. Are you against child labor laws too?

> Some stores did that yes... but was it a corporate policy or corporate wide occurrence? So a couple of poorly run stores means that the entire corporation is evil?

If company policies encourage this sort of behavior (And yes, they do as far as jobs go higher up) then I'd would indeed consider it the fault of the corporation.

> Preventing the formation of control of a union is not always illegal. Let's not forget that Wal-Mart owns the jobs and gets to set the terms by which the employees get them... if the owner decides that they are being taken advantage of or abused it is their right to take action to prevent it... like preventing unionization... just as it is the right of the employees to leave if they don't like the way the company does business.

So... leave Wal-Mart and move back to working at all the other local stores that were just driven out of business? Sounds like a good plan.

Re:Seems Fair to Me (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220775)

illegally prevents unionization attempts by workers...
How are they doing that?

Union busting tactics (1)

WoodstockJeff (568111) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220991)

They're doing it by bringing jobs to areas where the idea of having a job is more important to people than being a union member. I mean, how can it not be more important to support your union than to work and get paid? It's un-American!

Re:Seems Fair to Me (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15221006)

No matter whether you agree with the parent, or the parent of the parent, they're both off-topic. Please vote them as such.

Re:Seems Fair to Me (2, Insightful)

pieinthesky (310645) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220770)

Your post is a little naive. "Look I can buy my toothbrush for $.10 cheaper over here - must be good!"



Aside from the fact that Walmart is known to enforce it's white-trash traditionalist christian views on it's employees, customers and suppliers, Walmart isn't about fair competition. It is about monopolistic bullying. They can and do anything they want.

Re:Seems Fair to Me (4, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220898)

You accuse a poster of nativity and yet you make a statement like:

> Walmart isn't about fair competition. It is about monopolistic bullying. They can and do anything they want.

We've all heard the phrase "Jack of all trades, master of none"... Did you know that it pretty well describes Wal-Mart?

Sure they've often got many lower prices than competing stores and because of their bulk buying power can command even lower prices from manufacturers... that doesn't mean that they can do it all though.

I cannot speak for you... but when I end up going into Wal-Mart looking for something I usually end up being quite disappointed because I am looking for something very specific and they do not have it. Where do I find it? A specialty store.

Believe it or not that isn't very uncommon. While a grocery store stocks plenty of general food if you are looking for a specific cut of steak for instance, likely you'll have to go to a specialty butcher to get it instead.

Why is such a thing so surprising or so bad? Wal-Mart's inability to compete fully across the board leave huge opportunities for skilled people and companies to fill in those niches.

BTW... care to define 'fair competition' for the class?

Not quite... (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220790)

Wal-Mart is the means by which the United States is able to screw over the rest of the world. Despite our relatively high average income, we are still unwilling to pay more than much poorer countries do for the same products. Rather than do our part to give back to those who provide to us, we want to reap all the benefits at little expense. The answer to our woes: Wal-Mart.

Re:Seems Fair to Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220845)

A company that provides value and offers cheap products to everybody? The horror!

You make it sound innocuous enough, and anyone who was to take a quick glance would probably make the same conclusion. However, if you're able to see further than their storefront and your own living room you might realize that there is a dramatic cost to doing business with Wal-Mart.

I don't expect you to, I'm just saying if you did.

Fair my ass. (1)

scenestar (828656) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220857)

Imagine walmart being this big giant that crushes all opposition.

Not very fair at all.

The company can only offer such cheap deals through sleezy practices.

Re:Seems Fair to Me (4, Informative)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220924)

"It seems only logical that they should fight back and try to balance out the haterade on wikipedia."

Except one of the Big Rules at Wikipedia is "Thou shalt not edit thy own article."

Re:Seems Fair to Me (2, Insightful)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220949)

My favorite aspect of Wal-mart is how all my friends complain about their evil work practices, but when I mention that nobody is forcing you to work at Wal-mart and you do have a choice to leave, I'm cut off and hit with some example of their evil. It's annoying when people argue emotion instead of facts. If you don't like Wal-mart don't shop or work there. But I know it's cool and hip, especially on Slashdot, to hate popular things like Wal-mart. I guess it makes you enlightened or something.

Re:Seems Fair to Me (4, Insightful)

smchris (464899) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220980)

I personally think Wal-Mart is one of the best corporations out there. A company that provides value and offers cheap products to everybody? The horror!

Troll? Dunno. Don't ever underestimate a person's ability to be uninformed. My stepfather is a lifetime Democrat and retired union blue collar worker. He'll drive 70 miles one-way in a rural area to a WalMart for the selection and prices. As far as I can tell, he doesn't spend a lot of time connecting the stuff on the shelves with teenage Asians working in factory conditions he wouldn't have tolerated.

 

Wow! (4, Funny)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220691)

So who are the lobbyists, and what do they look like? Unfortunately it is very difficult to prove that any one user is corrupted, let alone paid for this by a particular company, especially with only a few days of research. Sorting through thousands of edits and user contribution pages is not an easy task. A lot of these edits are done by anonymous users, just IPs to me.

Wow, that's quite a security expert there! I wonder how much it would cost to hire Whitedust Security to hang out on IRC and make up conspiracy theories about people attacking my network?

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220721)

This looks like a contributed article to me... not all Whitedust's articles are written by staff - perhaps you should do some research before shooting your mouth off about people not doing research? :)

Re:Wow! (1)

chill (34294) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220732)

Wow, that's quite a security expert there! I wonder how much it would cost to hire Whitedust Security to hang out on IRC and make up conspiracy theories about people attacking my network?

I'm sure if you sent them an e-mail the could provide you with a quote. If not, send me one and I'd be happy to make up conspiracy theories for a small stipend. :-)

B&M Perl (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220695)

Larry Wall has a store now?

...a metaphor for Wikipedia... (1)

Browzer (17971) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220698)

"When I was a child, my mother lectured me on the evils of 'gossip,' " Seigenthaler wrote in the column. "She held a feather pillow and said, 'If I tear this open, the feathers will fly to the four winds, and I could never get them back in the pillow. That's how it is when you spread mean things about people.' For me, that pillow is a metaphor for Wikipedia."

http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/04/26/cox.wikiped ia/index.html [cnn.com]

Re:...a metaphor for Wikipedia... (4, Informative)

TWX (665546) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220766)

It depends on what you use Wikipedia for though.

Their Doctor Who [wikipedia.org] section is absolutely awesome, with details back to the early sixties. Similarly, their music and dance genre sections are also good.

If you are looking at hot-button issues you can expect bias. The only difference here is that the corporate bias shows through compared to personal bias from external sources. If you accept that anything that you read has bias and account for that then you won't have nearly as many problems.

How about having an open mind? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220713)

Isn't it just possible that, on the whole, Walmart's contribution to society has been good?

I'm not saying Walmart are saints or anything, but it seems like many people are starting with the assumption that Walmart is bad and then trying to find evidence that supports their prejudice. C'mon. Have an open mind. Maybe Walmart isn't the great satan afterall.

Re:How about having an open mind? (3, Funny)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220760)

Maybe Walmart isn't the great satan afterall

Wait a minute? Some people consider Wal-Mart to be a "great satan"? I thought SCO was the "great satan". Or was it the Oil Companies?

Now I'm really confused....Maybe I should look up Great Satan [wikipedia.org] on Wikipedia. Oh, damn! I LIVE in the Great Satan! Is there some pill or something I can take for that?

Re:How about having an open mind? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220797)

Maybe they are the great satan afterall. Union busting, low pay, almost non-existent healthcare, etc. Whay would this gigantic company need tax breaks in order to open new stores? SATAN

Re:How about having an open mind? (2, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221035)

But why is it that the unions are the ones complaining about the lack of unionism, low pay, healthcare issues and not the employees themselves?

Why do professional sports leagues need tax breaks to build stadiums?

answer: they don't. communities are stupid enough to offer them for the prestige, or because the leaders want to appear to be pro-active at generating jobs, and bringing in a big anything brings in a measureable feather for their caps. Companies however are not so foolish as to ignore this trend, and are certainly willing to play communities against each other for the greatest benefit.

You can hardly blame the companies for the sins of the city planners. If you let the fox into the chicken coop, do you blame the fox for what happens next?

Re:How about having an open mind? (5, Insightful)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220935)

No, an open mind in the face of overwhelming fact is willful refusal to pass judgement, not a lack of bias.

It is NOT BIAS to conclude that a thing is true. In this case, Wal-Mart has indeed made a policy of annihilating unions, shutting down entire stores to do so. It has crushed suppliers into a no-win situations. It has dropped wages overall. It has pumped manufacturing overseas. It has passed health care costs onto the taxpayers. These are things that are real. They are not opinions. That the earth orbits the sun, that hemoglobin carries oxygen, that heat in ocean water powers hurricanes, these are not opinions.

"Bias" is not refusing to provide both "points of view" if there is only one justifiable point of view. The "bias" meme has destroyed the news coverage in the U.S., rendering it worthless for sane evaluation of reality. There will always be a well-funded tiny group of businessmen who are willing to provide an instant astroturf group that will provide the "other side" of any economic or political issue, even if they have to invent a set of pseudofacts to spout. As long as the "bias" meme runs its course in the new media, the talking heads will provide both "sides" in a sprightly debate. Since the pro-business side is well funded and quite well manned, they not only create a debate where none is justified, they wear down and exhaust the quite unfunded and unmanned "other side" representing reality.

I heard a little story about Al Gore the other week. After the 2000 election, you may recall that he took a teaching position at Harvard (I think) at the school of journalism. You may also recall he left after a short time. Turns out he was lecturing the students about this very "bias" meme. He told them that it was their journalistic duty to not only to provide different points of view, but to *provide context* about those points of view -- taking a stand about the falsity of an argument. That their job was not to provide a forum for two "sides" to talk, but to question and point out that one side's arguments were actually not true if that was the case -- and this is important, not to provide a forum for false information if the information was indeed false. Apparently the students, all of which have signed on the Goldbergian "Bias" meme, revolted and wouldn't listen, and Gore eventually surrendered and left, defeated by the bias meme.

The thing to take away from that is that even Harvard's school of journalism is graduating a class of fake journalists who won't call a lie a lie, and will go on providing forums for liars to lie, and call themselves non-biased thereby. That's the best of the breed. And they will suck as journalists, and the liars will hold dominion for decades.

Re:How about having an open mind? (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220983)

Boy you are such the troll.

Please list the things that Walmart has done that benefits society.

I can line up a whole list oF American business owners who are out of business thanks to Walmart.
Walmart supports dumping of goods on US markets from China. Hardly patriotic don't you think? In fact, Walmart was on the side of China when an American electronics firm (Thompsons I believe) raised the issue with the FTC.

Then there's Walmart stance that workers should borrow from their 401K plans to pay for health insurance.

Yeah Walmart really benefits society.

Moron.

Re:How about having an open mind? (1)

pebs (654334) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220995)

Isn't it just possible that, on the whole, Walmart's contribution to society has been good?

I'm not saying Walmart are saints or anything, but it seems like many people are starting with the assumption that Walmart is bad and then trying to find evidence that supports their prejudice. C'mon. Have an open mind. Maybe Walmart isn't the great satan afterall.


Only people who have their head in the sand would even consider whether Walmart's contribution is good for society. Ever been to a town meeting where Walmart's lawyers come in and basically say "we are going to sue the city if you don't let us setup a Walmart here" and the city basically has to let them because they don't have the resources to fight Walmart's army of lawyers? They use brutal tactics in everything they do. It's an ugly corporation. Even though most corporations are ugly, Walmart is orders of magnitude more ugly than most.

Wail-Mart Propoganda (3, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220718)

Wikipedia is a free, online encyclopaedia. It uses a model of information where anybody can contribute. Although this leads to some vandalism and some disinformation, almost always an accurate and knowledgeable viewpoint prevails. The project has brought thousands of intelligent people devoted to its cause.

Why should Wikipedia be penalized or criticized for telling the truth about a bad company that exploits its workers and the taxpayer at the same time?

We need more truthfulness and facts in this world, not BS spin and PR from company spokesmen.

I Don't See It... (4, Insightful)

EXTomar (78739) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220730)

Wikipedia isn't supposed to be biased for (and here is the part many miss) or against. Hence the "NPOV stance" they try to enforce. If citing buisness stats and other corporate information is "bias" then they have a skewed definition of bias. After reading the article, it seems that any information about Wal-Mart that isn't a critism as automatically biased and suspect. That is just as bad a POV as being a "sunshine and rainbow fanboy".

In short, Wikipedia is not the place to have a diatribe on the goods or evils of any topic, even the much vaunted Wal-Mart. I simply don't see what the complaint is here. Are they disappointed they can't argue about Wal-Mart on Wikipedia? Well Wikipedia isn't the place to do that. That has nothing to do with bowing to presure from Wal-Mart. Chaning a link from "Wal-Mart Corporate Communication Page" to "Wal-Mart Propaganda Site" is not a legitamite edit nor is it NPOV.

Theory and practice (4, Interesting)

sphealey (2855) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220733)

In theory the wikipedia idea (many minds, many eyes, perhaps a voting mechanism) should work and result in articles which are fairly close to the state of human (knowledge * belief). And it did seem to be working for a while.

But in reality, people who are paid money to do something can spend far more time and effort than those who cotribute out of ego or community spirit. So it is not surprising to me that big entities are throwing a few bucks to their marketing firms to influence the web information flow. And marketing interns don't cost all that much, either: they are typically paid $15/hour and billed at $75. Peanuts compared to real marketing and advertising expenses.

I strongly suspect we are seeing the same thing on the political blogs. Except for those few that have a very large readership that takes self-policing seriouisly (e.g. DailyKos), I suspect that 20-30% of the comments on the key political blogs are being posted by paid agents. And of those comments, many flame-starters and most thread-redirectors are coming from those agents.

I think the "mass mind of humanity" idea ain't gonna work.

sPh

Re:Theory and practice (2, Funny)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220798)

I think the "mass mind of humanity" idea ain't gonna work.

At least not until we get that whole telepathy thing down.

Wikipedia lobbies all too common. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220734)

The PRT (Personal Rapid Transit) page is similar. Any critical view is
beaten on, then removed and a separate page for critics was set up. The
Wikipedia is basically a failure and an untrusted source of information.

No contrary opinions, guaranteed (3, Interesting)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220736)

My own short experience with this article makes a fair example. After bringing up discussion on the topic in Wikipedia's generally IRC channel, a fellow user, Bogdangiusca, who had fought for a NPOV on the article as far back as May 1, 2005, added a totally disputed tag. This tag would mean that anyone visiting the page would see a red block at the top indicating that 'The neutrality and factual accuracy of this article are disputed'. This tag was removed the next day. The person who did so then defaced Bogdangiusca's user page with a long paragraph demanding that Bogdangiusca stop any contribution to the Wal-mart page. The user claimed to be an employee of Wal-mart and lamented, 'So why don't you just keep to what you know and allow those that do have facts about walmart to create an accurate picture of walmart for the world.' This pattern has been repeated over and over again about the Wal-mart page. Many users struggling for a NPOV have had their pages defaced, and defacers have in the past been banned.

Since Wal-Mart is so heavily in bed with China, is it any wonder? They're learning from the pros. Of course they are successful and their business model is indeed efficient. They put a lot of people to work and they offer the average consumer decent prices on all the things they want, from groceries to TVs. Unfortunately, they've taken this beyond the limit of decency.

They would point out the prosperity they bring to areas where they build stores, but they fail to mention the manufacturing jobs they eliminate in this country when they import cheap Chinese merchandise, thereby converting a lot of good-paying jobs into low-paying jobs and sucking money out of the tax base and Social Security.

Their commercials would have you believe that their staff is always friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable, when this is the furthest thing from the truth. I have been to a Wal-Mart in 10 different states and I've yet to find a store that wasn't chaotic, unkempt, and whose staff wasn't lacking decent social skills. I've become so fed up with them that I do not shop there, prefering Target, even when I could save money.

They don't want the truth to come out, to tarnish Sam Walton's reputation with reality. The fact is, these people who fanatically support Wal-Mart are to retail what Scientology is to religon (go ahead Cruise, sue me!). Wal-Mart is best described as the Microsoft of retail outlets, and it shows in the way they handle employee compensation and benefits, not to mention unionization. They are so profit-centric now that they don't care who they crush along the way.

Re:No contrary opinions, guaranteed (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220890)

I can't speak for Walmart in the US, but in Canada, it's doesn't seem all that bad. Most of the products I see in the store are the same products that I see in any other store. Lots of these products are made in Canada, or the US. Many are made overseas. But these are the same products that other stores sell, and have sold for years. Many of the walmart brand products are also made overseas. However, I find that most other stores also have their stuff made overseas. The only difference between Walmart jeans made overseas and GAP jeans made overseas is that Walmart isn't charging you as much for them.

Re:No contrary opinions, guaranteed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15221062)

Havent had much dealings with Walmart myself, but seeing how China, Scientology and Microsoft are mentioned here I'm sensing somehow that they must be BAD...

criticizepedia (1)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220743)

I should start a wiki dedicated to criticizing every topic. I'll just state at the beginning that none of it's true so i wont' get sued, but everyone will disregard it to get the goods on things. That way wikipedia can say 'look here for another point of view which we certainly don't approve of' (wink wink nudge nudge)

Lost my respect with 9/11 article (2, Interesting)

DrDitto (962751) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220746)

Wikipedia lost my respect when I read the 9/11 article [wikipedia.org] several months back. To give them credit, upon checking this article just now, there is now a red flag saying that the "factual accuracy of this article is disputed".

Several months ago this article did *not* present the cold hard facts. Links to conspiracy articles, including some that claim the U.S. government was directly responsible, were contained within the core of the article. My attempts to at least move these links to a bottom section were immediately rolled back.

Re:Lost my respect with 9/11 article (1)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220803)

Wikipedia lost my respect when I read the 9/11 article several months back.

My question is why did it take you so long? While Wikipedia is a useful quick reference tool, and contains thousands of more articles that any other similar reference, the fact is that the very system that allows Wikipedia to creat thousands of articles leaves it open to abuse.

In the whole range of accepted sources of fact, Wikipedia is somewhere below politically-oriented Blogs, the New York Post and CBS news. And that is pretty low.

Re:Lost my respect with 9/11 article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220850)

Seems fine to me .. perhaps if you weren't ignorant to the facts you'd figure it out that the government was complicit. You seem like the guy who believes anything the government press says is 100% truth and fact.

Re:Lost my respect with 9/11 article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15221007)

I suppose you don't believe in the Moon Landings either, and that it is a conspiracy.

I've lost count of the number of European and Indian students I've met who think we faked the Moon Landings.

Re:Lost my respect with 9/11 article (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220874)

You speak of 'conspiracy theories'. Yet the very story given by the American government and media is just that: a conspiracy theory. It surmises that 20 or so Arab men conspired to hijack a number of planes, crashing them into various locations.

Please recall that the US government provided very little, if any, evidence regarding the events. Passports that supposedly survive a plane crash, including the fire during and afterwards? Uh huh. A few grainy, obstructed, and misdated stills from a Pentagon security video? Uh huh, again. And this goes on and on.

You talk about "cold, hard facts." Like it or not, the US government hasn't supplied anything remotely like that. According to your stance, their theory should be bumped down into that separate section you attempted to create.

It's the duty of Wikipedia to present articles that are factual and diverse. Part of that includes looking into the events of 9/11, especially where the official story is either unclear, questionable, or just plain bullshit. Wikipedia would be useless if it didn't cover the alternative theories regarding the events of that day, regardless of what you may think of them. Just because such ideas don't particularly arouse your sense of nationalism doesn't mean that they shouldn't be covered by an online encyclopedia that strives to be complete.

Re:Lost my respect with 9/11 article (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220911)

If you haven't read the 9/11 Commission's Report, then fuck off.

Re:Lost my respect with 9/11 article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220953)

911 Whitewash report? Parent is right here.. Guy above me is a moron.

Re:Lost my respect with 9/11 article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220895)

You should see the Lou Dobbs article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lou_Dobbs [wikipedia.org] . Wikipedia is indeed pretty worthless nowadays.

Re:Lost my respect with 9/11 article (4, Insightful)

Paladin144 (676391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220992)

Links to conspiracy articles, including some that claim the U.S. government was directly responsible, were contained within the core of the article.

So? A lot of the available evidence points to a possible conspiracy within the government. Wikipedia is supposed to have a Neutral Point of View (NPOV). That includes highlighting theories and evidence that you don't agree with. Since when did you have a right to scrub the entry "clean" for the rest of us. Where do you get off deleting opposing points of view?

9/11 is messy business. Give us the facts, give us the evidence, give us theories (both mainstream and alternative) and let us -- the reader -- decide. That fact that your deletions/modifications were overturned indicates to me that the system was working.

Re:Lost my respect with the meth article (1)

budcub (92165) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221029)

I haven't checked it recently, but reading the entry on Methamphetamine (Crystal Meth) where more than once the author stated it was not physically addictive, only psychologically addictive amazed me.

Wikipedia is "interesting" but I take it with a huge grain of salt, like most things I hear on the internet.

Re:Lost my respect with 9/11 article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15221047)

Sure, if the US government says it's the terrorists, it must be true. Because.. Well just because.

I am still waiting for some shred of proof to convince me of any official version. Not saying the conspiracy theroy is right, just wondering why there are no proofs at all other than low res crappy videos.

Why did everybody talk of explosive when it happened but there is no mention of it anywhere? Why did WTC 7 fall in the exact manner of a controlled demolition if nothing hit it? The official report says it's unknown. UNKNOWN!!! nice reason there.

There are so many contradictions and unanswered questions left, how could anyone blindly accept the official theory?

Simply put, wear your critical hat and dont accept anything unless it seems logical. PLEASE challenge the official version, it simply does not make logical sense.

OPEN YOUR EYES

Negative is not necessarily bias (4, Insightful)

Epistax (544591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220752)

Unless I've been living under a rock, Wal-Mart is, without a shred of bias, bad by many objective definitions of the word. No positive argument can be made in its defense without resorting to logical fallacies. Are there people out there who think that the article on slavery is biased against it, and that it needs to take a neutral view highlighting the benefits? What is the difference I am missing?

Re:Negative is not necessarily bias (1)

DaHat (247651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220809)

> No positive argument can be made in its defense without resorting to logical fallacies.

So you are saying that it is a logical fallacy for me to state that: "Wal-Mart is good as it provides low prices to consumers and a wide selection of products in a single place" ? Explain.

Re:Negative is not necessarily bias (1)

Epistax (544591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220951)

Sure. I challenge three of your assumptions.
You assume "low-prices" are good. Care to explain why, logically? Maybe from more than one viewpoint? As a retailer or competitor, I may disagree with that, so you can't assume that to be true.
You are indirectly assuming that consumerism is a good thing. Prove it.
Finally "wide selection of products in a single place" while this mist look benign at first, looking more into it this, this fragment seems to suggest that only one place is required, as if there is a wide selection in a single place, what's the need of another? Granted you don't directly say that, but isn't that the ultimate outcome?

I admit, you have to actually break these assumptions down into logical arguments for a fallacy to surface. I can't begin to guess at the logic to back up the first two, but I'll try.

Re:Negative is not necessarily bias (2, Insightful)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221001)

Unless I've been living under a rock, Wal-Mart is, without a shred of bias, bad by many objective definitions of the word.

I hope the rock you're living under is comfortable.

"Bad" is not a judgement that can be applied to anything objectively "without a shred of bias". "Bad" is an inherently subjective judgement.

By the way, bringing up slavery is a nice demonstration of a logical fallacy. Now stop literally committing murder and genocide by continuing to post on Slashdot.

Re:Negative is not necessarily bias (1)

daranz (914716) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221014)

Actually, slavery was accepted by some, while others found it "bad." Both of these are opinions, and a neutral article ideally would show both...

Also, there really no way to objectivelly declare what's morally wrong, as it varies over people and cultures, and depends on opinions, and non-fact based convictions.

Re:Negative is not necessarily bias (0, Troll)

dheltzel (558802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221015)

without a shred of bias

I also, am without a "shred of bias", but my opinion about Walmart is the exact opposite of yours. Since "Negative is not necessarily bias", is it not also reasonable that "Positive is not necessarily bias" ?

I think it would be pretty hard in this case for either of us to make the proclamation that we are the keepers of the absolute truth, without it becoming apparent that we are in fact biased. I doubt that you will agree with me on point, but I feel compelled to try to explain it anyway.

I do fully support your right to complain, whine, boycott, whatever - against Walmart. I will continue to shop there, and judging from the crowds, an awfully lot of people see things my way.

Re:Negative is not necessarily bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15221065)

While I agree with your points, I find it funny that there are like a dozen logical fallacies in your post.

...its walmart... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220755)

what do you expect? *Attention all wal-mart shoppers... Now on Aisle four, canned preservatives only 99cents, ...and your soul... That is all* ...I perfer the whole bomberman perspective..."Ok, you can go outside and play now" ... But with walmart... you are never allowed to leave... untill you buy...

The Opposite Effect (2, Interesting)

jpatters (883) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220763)

For the opposite effect, check out the page [wikipedia.org] on ECT. The Side effects and complications section strays very far from NPOV.

Try criticising Comcast on Wiki (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220768)

If you report anything Comcast is doing that they shouldn't be (and that covers a lot of ground!) I'll bet it will be deleted right quick. If you tell the truth and it's flattering or neutral, that's NPOV according to wiki, but if you tell the truth and it makes Comcast look bad, it will be redacted.

It used to be that you added something to Wikipedia, if somebody thought it was incorrect they corrected it. Now, the vigilantes just revert your edit, send you a fatuous message "Thank you for testing. Use the sandbox next time", then smugly and publically congratulate themselves for stopping vandalism.

The vigilantes are worse than the vandals, in some cases. Wiki is still searching for a way to deal with the human behaviour pattern that shows up as trolling on slashdot and vigilantism on wiki; I hope they succeed, but for now I have stopped contributing because it's no longer truly collaborative.

Walmart haters (-1, Flamebait)

Kohath (38547) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220782)

Hating Walmart is one of the core beliefs of the left. I can imagine if any other group became the target of a cynical hate campaign, they'd want to try to counter that too. I hope they succeed. Wikipedia's NPOV policy doesn't really seem compatible with hatemongering, so they probably should.

Walmart Lovers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220842)

Hating Walmart is one of the core beliefs of the left.

So what are the 'core beliefs' of the right? Exploiting cheap labour, polluting the environment and enriching themselves by avoiding taxes?

Re:Walmart Lovers (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220928)

So what are the 'core beliefs' of the right?

I think "opposition to hatemongering" is a good core belief to start with.

Core beliefs? (1)

Mr. Firewall (578517) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221075)

So what are the 'core beliefs' of the right? Exploiting cheap labour, polluting the environment and enriching themselves by avoiding taxes?

Straw man.

I could chime in with what the core beliefs of the right REALLY are, but it's irrelevant. Just because the Right has their own set of stupid and dangerous core beliefs doesn't make the Left's beliefs any less stupid and dangerous.

I love Wal-Mart (2, Funny)

GeorgeMonroy (784609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220827)

Before anybody says anything I am already married. :P

The Article (0, Redundant)

unheard02 (949368) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220848)

By Richard Demsyn (Fri, 28 Apr 2006 12:37:58 +0100) For up to two years Wal-mart lobbyists have successfully waged a war against a fair viewpoint on Wikipedia's Wal-mart page[1]. Although the Wal-mart page was originally highly critical of Wal-mart, it has slowly shifted to a very positive perspective. Although Wikipedia maintains a 'Neutral Point of View' (NPOV) policy[2], the Wal-mart page is highly biased. Additionally, all criticism has, contrary to policy, practice, and the general opinion of those concerned, been moved to a Debates Over Wal-mart section[3]. Even that page has noticeable resistance to negative points of view about Wal-mart. My query into Wal-mart and Wikipedia started on Friday, April 14. I went to the page to find information on Wal-mart's union issues in Quebec, which had been a large issue in the media here. I found just one small entry on a timeline, saying '2004: Wal-Mart employees in JonquiÃre, Quebec, Canada vote in favour of becoming the first unionized Wal-Mart in North America. Five months later, Wal-Mart announces that it would close the store, citing poor sales.' The corresponding page, Debates over Wal-mart, has no mention of the issue, or even Quebec at all. I found it very curios that such an important and popular issue was barely discussed. My first reaction was to think that Wal-mart, one of the largest and most powerful capitalist enterprises in the world, has lobbyists progressing the Wikipedia page into propaganda. Trying to be wary, I took some time to gather information and discuss the theory with others, and found nothing contrary to my original impression, and only evidence supporting it. Wikipedia is a free, online encyclopaedia. It uses a model of information where anybody can contribute. Although this leads to some vandalism and some disinformation, almost always an accurate and knowledgeable viewpoint prevails. The project has brought thousands of intelligent people devoted to its cause. The model is effective enough that my own user page was once vandalized, and then fixed by another user a single minute later, without me knowing for another three months. Rarely has there been enough interest in spreading disinformation to cause a lengthy disruption to an article. We usually see that contained to very controversial political issues, such as the page for President George W. Bush, particularly around the 2004 election. We've also seen numerous edits by US congressional staff[4]. However, nothing I've seen before has been has been this bad: on an article so large, often visited, and been so successful so long after being discovered by the NPOV folk at Wikipedia. The Wikipedia page Wal-mart was originally small and haphazard. Starting in February 2004, there was a sharp increase in edits to the page. In September, 2004, the edit number ballooned, and since then has continued to grow. There has been a lot of work by Wikipedia regulars to bring fairness and quality to the article, but an equal disruptive force has been caused by lobbyists. Now, the page will have over a dozen edits on any average day. My own short experience with this article makes a fair example. After bringing up discussion on the topic in Wikipedia's generally IRC channel, a fellow user, Bogdangiusca, who had fought for a NPOV on the article as far back as May 1, 2005, added a totally disputed tag[5]. This tag would mean that anyone visiting the page would see a red block at the top indicating that 'The neutrality and factual accuracy of this article are disputed'. This tag was removed the next day. The person who did so then defaced Bogdangiusca's user page with a long paragraph demanding that Bogdangiusca stop any contribution to the Wal-mart page[6]. The user claimed to be an employee of Wal-mart and lamented, 'So why don't you just keep to what you know and allow those that do have facts about walmart to create an accurate picture of walmart for the world.' This pattern has been repeated over and over again about the Wal-mart page. Many users struggling for a NPOV have had their pages defaced, and defacers have in the past been banned. So who are the lobbyists, and what do they look like? Unfortunately it is very difficult to prove that any one user is corrupted, let alone paid for this by a particular company, especially with only a few days of research. Sorting through thousands of edits and user contribution pages is not an easy task[7]. A lot of these edits are done by anonymous users, just IPs to me. Some others actually have logins. Usually these accounts have very few edits other than on the Wal-mart page, and they have either blank user pages or simple statements. Sometimes they just edit out sentences that aren't favourable to Wal-mart. Sometimes they add more propaganda to the page. Sometimes they will follow an unfavourable mention with a revert, possibly back through several edits to a pro-Wal-mart addition. The simple fact that there is a separate Debates over Wal-mart page is incriminating. This isn't an accepted Wikipedia policy. In other articles contrary opinions are still embedded, even if at times the page will link to secondary articles on smaller topics if they cannot be explained in full on the current page. Any reference articles will be read less than the main article, so despite a link on Wal-mart to Debates over Wal-mart, the debates page will be read less. Even then, it is currently introduced with the following view: 'From a financial standpoint, Wal-Mart is one of the most successful corporations ever; the company has generated a total return to shareholders greater than 180,000% since its initial public offering. Academic research, business leaders and trade publications praise Wal-Mart for benefiting consumers by lowering prices and increasing Overall productivity.' Like many successful businesses, however, Wal-Mart is a target of much criticism. Critics, such as trade unions and environmental groups, state that the company's success derives from business practices harmful to employees, local communities, the economy and the environment.' After all analysis, Wal-mart is clearly 'point of view'. The page is highly supportive of Wal-mart, and lobbyists will not allow anything contrary to last. It reads like a propaganda piece. It is unprecedented that such support would come from random, untainted users. The support is aggressive, unfair, distributed, and over an extended period of time. The only conclusion I can make is that Wal-mart has used its economic power to hire lobbyists who as part of their job use Wikipedia to spread disinformation for the benefit of Wal-mart. This stands as a powerful strike against the very integrity of Wikipedia. * [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walmart [wikipedia.org] * [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NPOV [wikipedia.org] * [3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debates_over_Wal-Mar [wikipedia.org] * [4] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4695376.stm [bbc.co.uk] * [5] http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wal-Mart =48427864 [wikipedia.org] * [6] http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Bog dangiusca=48551041 [wikipedia.org] * [7] http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wal-Mart =history [wikipedia.org]

What - Wikipedia slanted?? (1)

romrunning (963198) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220856)

A project maintained by "thousands of intelligent people devoted to its cause" (TFA) should not be intentionally skewed. I propose, therefore, that any people desiring to make edits should first be evaluated as to their "intelligence" - that should stop the lobbyists! Of course, it won't stop the mad scientists, but they'll be too bent on world domination to care about a little 'pedia.

Thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220868)

Thanks for the link [wikipedia.org] to the page that is the entire basis for your story. I really enjoyed navigating there myself.

Open encyclopedias are prone to bias (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220887)

On topics that are simply "black and white", true and false, matter of fact, it's easy. Water is made up of 2 atoms of Hydrogene, one atom of Oxygene, and you'll hardly find anyone to challenge that. The Great War was 1914 to 18. Again, no dispute (except maybe with Russia that decided to end it in 1917 'cause they had a revolution to take care of, ages before Nintendo had the idea).

But as soon as you touch religion, politics, business or other areas where your opinion starts to play a role, you'll have people tugging at both sides of the page, trying to pull it towards their point of view. Wikipedia IS a big platform, after all. People turn to it for information! Imagine: A page, where you can write "what you want" (to some degree, you have to keep it within certain borders), and people will read whatever you write as facts.

Now, don't tell me it ain't tempting.

Maybe the insight we get out of this is not only that companies use pages like wikipedia as a place for their marketing department to develop on. Maybe the insight should also be that we should NEVER EVER rely on only one source for information. No matter how "unbiased" or how "neutral" this source claims to be. Even if the source is indeed genuinely neutral (unlike, say, a certain TV network in the US that claims to be broadcasting news while actually spewing propaganda), their information, or their editors, could be biased.

To be able to really create your own opinion, you need more than one source. Actually, often it's quite informative to listen to propaganda instead of a "neutral" source. As long as you listen to BOTH sides of the propaganda machine.

Offtopic, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220914)

...still obligatory Wal-Mart link: http://www.zug.com/pranks/walmart/ [zug.com]

What I noticed... (2, Insightful)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220925)

There is no mention of Wal-Mart being accused of sexual discrimination by primarily promoting men. That is the controversy about Wal-mart that I have heard most about. If even the 'debates' article is missing that then I think there must be something wrong...

Typical Left-wing blather (-1, Flamebait)

Mr. Firewall (578517) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220926)

The idea that an article about Wal*Mart must contain the frothy-mouthed babblings of the Far Left to be "neutral" shows a real bias on the part of the author.

This isn't journalism, it's propaganda. I, for one, support Wal*Mart's right to defend itself against these senseless attacks.

This kind of stuff is the reason why I seldom bother to read /. any more. Another good example is /.'s absolute refusal to deal with any science news about the global warming issue that doesn't agree with its editors' preconceived views on the subject.

See my blog, WWJD (What Would John [Galt] Do?) [blogspot.com] for a discussion on what is REALLY behind the criticism of Wal*Mart.

opinion vs fact (1)

wardude (724694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220970)

perhaps wikipedia should try and distinguish between fact and opinion.

Defense (2, Interesting)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220989)

Wikipedia needs to add a teensy little notice:

"By editing pages in Wikipedia, you agree to the following fee structure:

$0 for independent editors working in good faith
$1000 for individuals, associates, competiton, or representation for the article being edited
$1000 for inserting known false information"

Or something like this. At $1000 a pop, it becomes a profit generator!

One true Wal-Mart story (2, Interesting)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220997)

I know of one instance where an author who had self-published a book containing a story, appropriately called 'The Wal-Mart Story', described how he rigged their tv section to broadcast the porn channel, and only the porn channel, and locked out anyone who tried to change the channel as well as inserting some similarly-themed vcr tapes and dvds. The story may be found here [mentallyincontinent.com] or, if not working, a copy may be found here. [b0g.org]

So why bring this up? If you go to his site, Mentally Incontinent [mentallyincontinent.com] , you will see this story [mentallyincontinent.com] in which he says Wal-Mart offered him $500,000 for the site and all the books yet distributed because of this story. However, as you will note, the site is still up and he has since admitted it was all an April Fools joke.

Enjoy the story despite the fact that we can't blame the evil Wal-Mart for trying to squelch dissenting voices.

Oh yeah, to get back on topic, I have to agree with what others have already said: the Wiki entry doesn't seem biased. Boring like a financial report, yes, but not biased. Especially since it contains links to sites critical of how Wal-Mart operates.

Wikitruth.info for all Wikipedia censorship news (1)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221045)

From Jack Thompsons legal bullying to censorship of Wikitruth.info related content...it's all there.

Looks like this thing is a good candidate for an addition to the site.

NPOV? yeah, right. (1)

mikeee (137160) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221057)

The trouble here is that the whole idea of a NPOV is fundamentally flawed. Even a wikipedia article makes decisions about what facts are important and connected, and which aren't, and such decisions are inherently political - indeed, a political viewpoint is nothing but a collection of such decisions.

'Objective media' is one of the great bad ideas of the 20th century; I think we're heading back to an age of multiple, overtly biased new sources, and that that's probably a good thing.

Walmart aren't the first... (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221067)

...and smart money says they won't be the last either. However, before them, such cults as Amway, Scientology, and the FSF adopted the tactic of using their Wikipedia article as free PR.

The Amway and Scientology articles are now more or less genuinely neutral; presumably the group representatives there got sick of having to constantly babysit the page. RMS on the other hand has a much easier time of it...he's got a dedicated team of zealots who are willing to wage an endless revert war on his page; nothing even remotely critical of him is allowed.

As I've said, this is one of the main areas in which Wikipedia has problems...and said problems aren't going to go away any time soon.
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