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Press Releases

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Qworty: The Fallout

by Dan Murphy

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Who is Qworty? Qworty is Robert Clark Young. And who is Robert Clark Young? Another bitter never-was jawing about how it’s not fair, how others got better than they deserved, and how he’ll show them some day. You’ve probably sat next to a gin-soaked Young at an airport bar as his self-loathing and anger rolled off him – before politely disengaging by claiming your plane was leaving a half-hour earlier than it actually was. And then you didn’t give him much more thought. Sad, really, and while the jealousy and bitterness are unattractive, they do no harm. Maybe they even help carry him through his difficult life. And then you put him out of your mind. But Qworty became a far more powerful figure than you would have ever guessed, as Andrew Leonard at Salon writes in an exploration of Qworty’s career as a Wikipedia editor. This website conducted its own extensive investigation and review of his activities on the popular crowd-sourced encyclopedia after Young, as Qworty, engaged in a bout of revenge editing against author Amanda Filipacchi. Her crime? She’d dared to complain about sexism in the popular and powerful website’s approach to female authors.

In turn, Qworty targeted Wikipedia’s article about Filipacchi, her mother, and her father, Daniel Filipacchi, the retired chairman of Hachette Filipacchi Medias, one of the two or three largest magazine publishers in the world. For good measure, Qworty went after the tiny Wikipedia article on that company as well. The attacks on the text of all these articles (which are the first hit on Google for all three individuals and for the company) created enough controversy both inside and outside Wikipedia that folks began digging into Qworty’s identity, and led to his “outing”

…continue reading Qworty: The Fallout

Anonymous revenge editing on Wikipedia – the case of Robert Clark Young aka Qworty

The case of Robert Clark Young aka Qworty demonstrates the cost of allowing anybody to edit Wikipedia biographies anonymously. How many Robert Clark Youngs are there on Wikipedia, chipping away at the biographies of those who have offended them, or merely been more successful?

…continue reading Anonymous revenge editing on Wikipedia – the case of Robert Clark Young aka Qworty

Child Pornography on Wikimedia Commons

by Delicious carbuncle

 

Let’s be very clear about this – in my experience, the Wikimedia Foundation (who own Wikipedia and the site’s image repository, Wikimedia Commons) takes the issue of child pornography very seriously. The WMF has no tolerance for explicit images of people who are underage. This may be simply because hosting child pornography is illegal in the jurisdictions where the Wikimedia servers are, but whatever the reason, my reporting of child pornography to WMF employees has always resulted in swift and decisive action. The trouble is that Wikimedia projects are not administrated by WMF employees, they are administrated by volunteers. And some of those volunteers do not share the WMF’s concerns about hosting child pornography.

Meet Matt Buck

Matt Buck is an admin on Wikimedia Commons, where he goes by the clever pseudonym Mattbuck. He’s not the Matt Buck who is a talented illustrator, or the Matt Buck who is a bodybuilder and fitness model. He’s this Matt Buck, who is a maths PhD student at the University of Nottingham.Mattbuck is very active on Commons and one of the more prominent admins there. When someone believes an image on Commons should be deleted for some reason, they start a deletion discussion. Commons editors will discuss the rationale for deleting or keeping the image and an admin will close the discussion (and delete the image if that is the decision reached). Mattbuck is one of a group of editors who tend to appear at deletion discussions about images relating to nudity or sexuality to offer reasons why the image should be kept. Since he is an admin, Mattbuck also closes a lot of these types of discussions. Mattbuck also keeps galleries of “sexuality” and “nudity” images in his userspace, presumably so that he can spot problem images. These

…continue reading Child Pornography on Wikimedia Commons