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  • Our Mission:
  • 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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Unpaid Advocacy on Wikipedia

by The Unpaid Critic

Neelix’ namesake, a character from the “Star Trek” TV series

One of Wikipedia’s most active editors left abruptly last week, with little notice or comment. Why would Neelix, a Wikipedia admin and campus ambassador who had been editing since 2006, suddenly quit the project which had occupied so much of his free time for so many years? At first glance it looked like he was the target of a bullying campaign from an internet forum, but a closer look reveals a much more interesting story.

Hipinion Tara Teng was Miss World Canada 2012. In late March 2013, Neelix created an article about her on Wikipedia. About a year later, a discussion titled “this is the story of an abolitionist as told by her stalker” was started on a web forum called Hipinion. Based on the length of the article and amount of detail included, the participants of that forum suspected that Neelix was obsessed with Teng and was using Wikipedia as a vehicle to further this obsession.

It isn’t hard to understand why Hipinion members might come to the conclusion that Neelix was obsessed with Tara Teng. Neelix made literally hundreds of edits to the article over many months. At its largest, the biography was over 100,000 bytes of wikitext. To put this in context, the biography of former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell is only 40,337 bytes. It is difficult to imagine that a 20-something beauty pageant winner merits a biography that is more than twice as long as that of Canada’s first female head of government, a woman who has also had careers as a lawyer, university professor, and diplomat.

The Hipinion thread is no longer publicly viewable, although some of the postings can be seen

…continue reading Unpaid Advocacy on Wikipedia

Wikipedia and pop culture ~ a special symbiosis

by Hersch

There may be a few of you out there who, like myself a few short hours ago, did not know that Lily Cole is the successful supermodel who put the “LOL” in “Lolita.” And then, just a few years ago, she adopted the business model that was first perfected by Bono, and augmented her career by becoming a social activist. All this inevitably attracted the attention of Wikipedia’s own Jimmy Wales, who gave his support to Cole’s project called “Impossible.com,” described as an “altruistic social network.” Those of you who have followed Jimmy’s career may now be asking, “Altruistic? But Jimmy is a devotee of Ayn Rand, who rejects altruism.” But as it turns out, Ms. Cole has made her own unique contribution to this debate:

When you give, you release chemicals – oxytosin [sic] – that make you happy. The act of giving is self-involved, it has enriched my life.




…thus cutting the ethical Gordian Knot. This reasoning evidently impressed Jimmy, who told the Telegraph that:

She had a deep understanding of what in fact makes up a huge part of human life: doing nice things for each other with no expectation of any particular return.

Of course, not everyone was feeling the oxytosin. There was a snarky write-up in the Register. There is also a long-running discussion thread here at Wikipediocracy. But Cole’s project did attract the interest of the British government, which kicked in £200,000 to support the project.

Now, it goes without saying that Wikipedia has a biographical article on Ms. Cole. And although Pop Culture topics are the one area where Wikipedia generally excels

…continue reading Wikipedia and pop culture ~ a special symbiosis

Happy New Year 2015



by the Masked Maggot

I saw something today that reminded me that we Wikipedia critics should remember something: the vast majority of the volunteers who write the encyclopedia-article-like pages are in general just good people interested in learning and sharing knowledge. Here’s what I saw (an excerpt from this):

When asked by people why I contribute to Wikipedia my response is not based on altruism (a useful side product), but on pragmatic utility. Wikipedia functions as a “magic notebook”: when I come across an interesting fact which I would like to remember, Wikipedia offers an extension to my natural faculties. I can record the fact, along with any appropriate reference, on the relevant Wikipedia page. I can even start a page where no page existed before. And I don’t even have to remember where I made the note. If I have put in suitable links from broader topic pages, I can use the links to find my way back to the information I recorded. But that’s not all. I often find that others have contributed more information. The seed I planted has grown, has been watered by many hands. My knowledge expands. And in time I have become part of a global community that shares my interest in learning. That is a public good which is very far from being “nothing”. Thanks Fabian aka Leutha



That’s pretty much what Wikipedia is at its best, both for the contributor and for the reader. Geeks like me geeking out and writing Wikipedia articles about the things we geek on. That’s why there are thousands of articles about comic book characters, Pokemon, Dr. Who, Star Trek, minor celebrities, and yes, porn stars

…continue reading Happy New Year 2015