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
…continue reading ‘Tis the Season to be Banning at Wikipedia
By Andreas Kolbe
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 Levy had to employ Haaretz’s lawyer to have the article withdrawn, an option not open to everyone, as he rightly observes: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
…continue reading Flagged Revisions: how Wikipedia could have prevented anonymous defamation. And didn’t.
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
…continue reading Why there is no end to the Gibraltarpedia scandal – or Jimmy Wales’ silence.