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  • We exist to shine the light of scrutiny into the dark crevices of Wikipedia and its related projects; to examine the corruption there, along with its structural flaws; and to inoculate the unsuspecting public against the torrent of misinformation, defamation, and general nonsense that issues forth from one of the world’s most frequently visited websites, the “encyclopedia that anyone can edit.”
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Press Releases

  • Please click here for recent Wikipediocracy press releases.

‘Tis the Season to be Banning at Wikipedia

By Mason

We’re at the end of October, and banning season is in full swing on Wikipedia. Two of Wikipedia’s most colorful characters, Jack Merridew and Malleus Fatuorum, have been put on trial this month, with Jack getting the axe and Malleus squeaking through with only a “topic” ban.

The Queen turned angrily away from him and said to the Knave: "Turn them over."

Bans are a tricky thing for a site that bills itself as “the encyclopedia anyone can edit.” If literally anyone can edit, how is it possible to prohibit specific unwelcome individuals from wandering over to a library or Internet café and editing anonymously to their heart’s content?

Well, it isn’t possible, of course, and many so-called “banned editors” are merrily editing away as you read this. Nonetheless, much of the culture of the site is pervaded by a “sock-hunting” mentality, where eagle-eyed sock-hunters keep close watch for any edits that look like they might be coming from a banned editor.[1] If they find such an edit, they’ll quickly undo it (without regard to whether the edit itself was helpful or accurate) and get the account blocked as a “sockpuppet” of the banned editor. There are a variety of helpful templates one can slap on such an editor’s user page, scarlet-letter-style, that announce to the world that this editor is Banned and/or a Sockpuppet. The templates typically come complete with a helpful red stop sign icon to signal to readers that this is Serious Business.

Part of the ritual when an editor is banned is to wipe whatever awards, photos and other trinkets they’ve decorated their user pages with, and replace them with one of these “banned” banners. However, as always, there are exceptions: some editors who are both popular

…continue reading ‘Tis the Season to be Banning at Wikipedia

Flagged Revisions: how Wikipedia could have prevented anonymous defamation. And didn’t.

By Andreas Kolbe

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One of the worst things about Wikipedia is how it provides a platform for malicious, anonymous slander. It did not have to be this way.

Israeli journalist Gideon Levy’s dad was recently defamed as a Nazi collaborator in Wikipedia, and the hoax spread instantly to other websites, including one news website which reported that the spurious information had been removed, and now claimed the article was “censored”. Levy had to employ Haaretz’s lawyer to have the article withdrawn, an option not open to everyone, as he rightly observes:

Wikipedia had published, for one day apparently, information planted there, that my father, Dr. Heinz Levy, had collaborated with the Nazis and therefore was awarded the position of district legal adviser under that horrific regime. When he came to Israel, he changed his name from Heinz to Zvi in order to blur his past, it added. All of this was reported by Rotter and a picture was added of the page in Wikipedia before it was “censored.”

I was in shock. I have been the subject of quite a few aspersions before but never anything like that. What can be done about slander of this type? How does one start to refute a revolting lie which in another second will spread like wildfire among the virtual thorn fields of the Internet? […]

Wikipedia published the information, even if only for a very short time. Only the decisive intervention of Haaretz’s lawyer, attorney Tali Lieblich, who sent a sharply worded letter to the management of Rotter, led to the (immediate) removal of the slanderous item. Not everyone has a lawyer, or a friend who brings to his attention the fact that he has been slandered on the Web. From my point of

…continue reading Flagged Revisions: how Wikipedia could have prevented anonymous defamation. And didn’t.

Why there is no end to the Gibraltarpedia scandal – or Jimmy Wales’ silence.

By Andreas Kolbe

See also Cover-up begins in Wikipedia’s Gibraltar scandal

The English Wikipedia and Wikimedia UK came in for criticism in the media last month over the Gibraltarpedia PR scandal. Roger Bamkin, a Wikimedia UK trustee and former chairman of the British charity supporting the Wikipedia website, had taken up a paid consultancy position for the government of Gibraltar, in a project designed “to market Gibraltar as a tourist product through Wikipedia”.

As an article in Wikipedia’s internal newsletter, The Signpost, reported, controversy focused specifically on the number of Gibraltar-related articles appearing in the “Did You Know …” (“DYK”) section of Wikipedia’s main page. This section of the Wikipedia main page features new work added to Wikipedia. Roger Bamkin had taken an active role in ensuring that articles related to his project appeared there, on Wikipedia’s most visible page, in a way that “seemed to some observers to blur his roles as a Wikimedia UK trustee, a paid consultant for the projects’ government partners, and an editor of the English Wikipedia”.

As reported in The Telegraph, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales expressed the view that having 17 Gibraltar DYKs in August, more than any other topic bar the Olympics, was “absurd”, and that it would be “wildly inappropriate for a board member of a chapter, or anyone else in an official role of any kind in a charity associated with Wikipedia, to take payment from customers in exchange for securing favorable placement on the front page of Wikipedia or anywhere else.”

The reach of Wikipedia’s front page should not be underestimated: it receives around 10 million views a day. A 2010 article noted that

Over the weekend, prominent placement on Wikipedia’s main page launched a nearly twenty-year-old Time magazine article about Scientology onto the Time site’s “most-read” list. The jump

…continue reading Why there is no end to the Gibraltarpedia scandal – or Jimmy Wales’ silence.