Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

Andreas Kolbe Re:Media Viewer (239 comments)

What happened, was instead of the general use of talks to resolve the issue, wikipedia germany said "screw this, lets create a new page lock that only we can edit, not just admins".

Not quite. It was the Wikimedia Foundation that created and implemented Superprotect, to prevent changes from volunteers admins of the German-language Wikipedia.

4 days ago
top

Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

Andreas Kolbe Re:Too much good content is deleted at Wikipedia. (239 comments)

It's partly the fault of people who shout from the rooftops that Wikipedia is as reliable as Britannica. Some even crow it's more accurate than Britannica. It simply isn't. Certainly the English Wikipedia isn't.

There is no way Britannica would have had the name of some Californian student as the founder of the Independent, or told a million readers for a year that the average winter temperature in Greenland and Antarctica is between –2 and +4 C ... or had a racist slur ("sand monkeys") as the purported name of an Arab football team.

Yes, errors have always existed. Britannica has errors. But Wikipedia has errors (and probably rather more of those than Britannica, given contributors' qualifications) AND hoaxes AND propaganda from fringe groups on top of that. Yet there are millions of people who buy the hype that it's as good as Britannica, a hype that is aided even by journalists of supposedly responsible newspapers.

4 days ago
top

Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

Andreas Kolbe Re:Media Viewer (239 comments)

It is a tempest in a teapot in one way: but if you have about 90% of volunteer Wikipedia admins on a collision course with the Wikimedia Foundation, it's more than that, given how many people rely on Wikipedia to some extent. Wikipedia is a top-ten website. If administrators leave or go on strike, content curation will degrade even further.

4 days ago
top

Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

Andreas Kolbe Re:say it again (239 comments)

Indeed. The one thing that Wikimedia needs is a competitor. The present de-facto monopoly is a very unhealthy situation, especially given that Google aims to rely more and more on Wikipedia and Wikidata, pulling some of that information onto their own pages (to populate the Knowledge Graph, the information panel in the top right of search results pages). Of course, by doing so, Google is also cannibalising Wikipedia to some extent, as anyone who just wants to check a birth year e.g. now doesn't have to go to Wikipedia at all. Google will already display that information, pulled out of Wikipedia, on the search results page. And of course, Google has ads ... much is always made of the fact that Wikipedia doesn't have ads, but in practice, you will see more and more re-users of Wikipedia making money from it. The Wikipedia licence has always allowed commercial re-use. The losers in this really are the volunteers: their work is used to line other people's pockets.

Perhaps there will be a move at some point towards crowdsourcing sites like http://newslines.org/ which pay their contributors. Newslines is still in its infancy, and it's hard to tell to what extent it might take off, but interestingly, the site has no gender gap, and is not dominated by young white males: their two most prolific contributors to date are two black women. There is a large overlap between what they want to do, and what Wikipedia is doing, given that a lot of Wikipedia content these days is news-based.

4 days ago
top

Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

Andreas Kolbe Re:Too much good content is deleted at Wikipedia. (239 comments)

For some real-world examples of made-up Wikipedia information entering other sources, sometimes to the major embarrassment of the people who reused it without checking, see two recent articles: How pranks, hoaxes and manipulation undermine the reliability of Wikipedia and I accidentally started a Wikipedia hoax. It happens quite a lot, at least in the English Wikipedia, that hoaxes stay around for years before they are discovered, by which time they have entered all sorts of other sources (remember the Bicholim conflict?). Even people who work for Wikipedia tell you not to trust it, but to check the underlying citations.

It would help if the English Wikipedia had edits by new and unregistered users looked at and approved by more experienced Wikipedians before showing them to the public (that's how it's done in the German and Polish Wikipedias for example), but the English Wikipedia community has steadfastly refused to introduce that system ("Pending Changes", also known as "Flagged Revisions") in all of its articles, saying it would be too much work and be a downer for new contributors who might have to wait a while before they see their changes go live.

For examples of Wikipedia being abused for personal vendettas against people, see Revenge, ego and the corruption of Wikipedia and The tale of Mr Hari and Dr Rose: A false and malicious identity is admitted. Anonymity encourages this sort of thing, of course. Again, Pending Changes would have helped a little ...

The Wikimedia Foundation has so far not really cared very much about content quality. They do not measure it, and don't know how to, by their own admission. Their metrics of success are the number of articles, the number of editors, the number of edits (more is better!), the number of page views (Alexa!), and how many millions in donations they take. Little if any of this money goes towards measuring and improving quality. Most of it is spent on their software engineering and product development department, which represents two-thirds of the 200 or so Wikimedia staff. They are approaching Wikipedia more like Facebook than an educational project. Quality assessment and real-time quality control, the job of sifting through all the millions of contributions, is left to all the volunteers, who are stretched ... and unlike the Wikimedia Foundation staff (many of whom are not really skilled professionals, but simply Wikipedians who have managed to join the gravy train), they are not getting paid. Short version: The Wikimedia Foundation now takes $50 million a year in donations (compared to just $2.5 million six or seven years ago), and they don't really know what to do with it. It's not making Wikipedia a more reliable reference source.

4 days ago
top

Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

Andreas Kolbe Re:bureaucracy in action (239 comments)

The title of the petition is: Petitioning Lila Tretikov. Remove new "superprotect" status; and permit Wikipedia communities to enact (current) software decisions uninhibited.

Alternatively, people who have a Wikipedia or Wikimedia account can sign here on Meta. (Only sign in one of these places.)

5 days ago
top

Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

Andreas Kolbe WikiWand (239 comments)

What's become clear here (see also following section) is that the Wikimedia Foundation is afraid it will lose readers to sites like WikiWand that offer Wikipedia content as a pure consumable with a much more aesthetically pleasing interface. The moment Wikipedia page views go down, the Alexa rank will go down and donations will go down, as fewer people will see the fundraising banners. The problem is that the Foundation's own efforts to create a more pleasing interface have been unsuccessful; they have the money, but simply seem to lack the talent and experience. Partly they are also hampered by the underlying coding chaos of Wikipedia – underneath the Wikipedia text, there are thousands of ad-hoc templates created in a very inconsistent manner by volunteers over the years. This is the main reason the VisualEditor failed.

This story was also covered by The Register.

5 days ago
top

The latest Wikipedia code-word for "dysfunction" is "Superprotection"

Andreas Kolbe Re:Fort Sumter.org (3 comments)

See also discussion on Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Lila Tretikov's talk page here (and preceding section). Wikipedia is in crisis.

about a week ago
top

Wikipedia Gets Critical Reception from UK Press at Wikimania 2014

Andreas Kolbe Re:Meanwhile the general public in London... (113 comments)

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

about two weeks ago
top

Wikipedia Gets Critical Reception from UK Press at Wikimania 2014

Andreas Kolbe Re:quibble on usernames (113 comments)

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

about two weeks ago
top

Wikipedia Gets Critical Reception from UK Press at Wikimania 2014

Andreas Kolbe Re:Meanwhile the general public in London... (113 comments)

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

about two weeks ago
top

Wikipedia Gets Critical Reception from UK Press at Wikimania 2014

Andreas Kolbe Re:Meanwhile the general public in London... (113 comments)

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

about two weeks ago
top

Wikipedia Gets Critical Reception from UK Press at Wikimania 2014

Andreas Kolbe Re:quibble on usernames (113 comments)

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

about two weeks ago
top

Bot Tweets Anonymous Wikipedia Edits From Capitol Hill

Andreas Kolbe Re:Actually, the edits look good! (95 comments)

Sounds a bit like Pending Changes (installed on the German, Polish and some other Wikipedias, but not on the English one). This requires all IP edits to be approved by a "trusted" editor. Not a perfect system, but better than what is in place now.

about a month and a half ago
top

Bot Tweets Anonymous Wikipedia Edits From Capitol Hill

Andreas Kolbe Re:"Anonymous" is not anonymous at all (95 comments)

Correct, though note that checkusers are not staff members but unpaid volunteers. The Wikimedia Foundation doesn't even necessarily know who they are.

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

top

"I accidentally started a Wikipedia hoax"

Andreas Kolbe Andreas Kolbe writes  |  about a month ago

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) writes "The Daily Dot's EJ Dickson reports how she accidentally discovered that a hoax factoid she added over five years ago as a stoned sophomore to the Wikipedia article on “Amelia Bedelia, the protagonist of the eponymous children’s book series about a ‘literal-minded housekeeper’ who misunderstands her employer’s orders”, had not just remained on Wikipedia all this time, but come to be cited by a Taiwanese English professor, in “innumerable blog posts and book reports”, as well as a book on Jews and Jesus. It's a cautionary tale about the fundamental unreliability of Wikipedia. And as Wikipedia ages, more and more such stories are coming to light."
top

Pranks, hoaxes, manipulation: Virtual Unreality on Wikipedia

Andreas Kolbe Andreas Kolbe writes  |  about a month ago

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) writes "Kids confess on Reddit that in order to wind up a classmate named Azid, they added his name to the Wikipedia article on Chicken Korma. Two years on, and Azid is established online as an alternative name of the dish. A prankster twice changes the name of the inventor of the hair straightener, and both names are now widely credited with the invention online. Another kid writes in Wikipedia that coatis are also called Brazilian aardvarks, and incredibly, the name catches on in newspapers, even a university press book. Governments around the world seek to control Wikipedia content through anonymous contributions. Misinformation and propaganda on Wikipedia spread like a virus into other publications: how pranks, hoaxes and manipulation undermine the reliability of Wikipedia, and indeed the fabric of consensual reality."
Link to Original Source
top

Wikipedia editors hit with $10 million defamation suit

Andreas Kolbe Andreas Kolbe writes  |  about 2 months ago

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) writes "Businessman, philanthropist and musician Yank Barry and the Global Village Champions Foundation are suing four Wikipedia editors for defamation, claiming they have maliciously conspired to keep Barry's Wikipedia biography unduly negative. The Daily Dot article includes a copy of the legal brief and quotes Barry as saying, “My page was so ridiculously false and made me sound like a terrible person and people believed it causing deals to fall through. I finally had enough.”"
Link to Original Source
top

Larry Sanger blasts Wikipedia for hosting bestiality porn without search filter

Andreas Kolbe Andreas Kolbe writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) writes "Larry Sanger has blasted the Wikimedia Foundation for failing to fulfil its promise to introduce a porn filter on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites. Plans announced by the Wikimedia Foundation last year to install a weak opt-in filter for controversial content have apparently come unstuck. It has long been known that users searching Wikipedia's media archive for terms as innocuous as "toothbrush" may find explicit adult images at the top of their search results. As Fox News reported recently: "Search for the word 'underwater' and you'll see a woman tied up, naked, and submerged face down in a bathtub." In French Wikipedia, the top result of a search for "homework" is presently a black-and-white porn film showing a man and woman having oral sex with a dog ..."
Link to Original Source

Journals

Andreas Kolbe has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>