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The Magical Sock Farms of Walt Disney

by E. A. Barbour

As any regular watcher of Wikipedia can attest, the coverage of corporations on Wikipedia is spotty, and is often blatantly hostile–or blatantly positive. One of my favorites is still the Kirby Company. When I first looked at it in 2010, it was the ugliest hit-piece I’d ever seen on en-wiki, almost nothing about the company but a long list of legal problems and rape-prone salesmen. Then, in late 2011, some mysterious person tripled the article’s length, with material that looked like a company press packet. Things like this happen on a near-continuous basis; a company rep or other paid editor writes a glowing company biography and posts it on en-WP, a left-wing agitator erases it and posts a long rant about the firm’s legal problems, then another company rep shows up and changes it all again. Back and forth, they quietly pass the salami. If the WMF weren’t so profoundly pathetic,

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