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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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Press Releases

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Single white males: Systemic bias in Wikipedia’s obsessions

Wikipedia competes with Google for the title of most popular reference website on the Internet. However, despite striving for a “neutral point of view”, its coverage of topics is subject to systemic bias.

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Why women have no time for Wikipedia

Thoughts on the online encyclopedia’s gender imbalance

By Andreas Kolbe, with contributions from Nathalie Collida

Wikipedia is notorious for having a sizeable gender imbalance. As Guardian feature writer Anne Perkins put it – somewhat cattily – in a recent article, the site is dominated by “young white western males with a slight personality defect”. Most of them are single and childless. Indeed, as we shall shortly see, many are still children themselves.

Wikipedia demographics

The 2010 United Nations University survey was the largest survey examining Wikipedia demographics to date. It had a total of 176,192 respondents, of which almost 60,000 identified as current (or former) Wikipedia contributors; the remaining respondents were Wikipedia readers. The survey reported that –

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Overall, the average age of the Wikipedians that participated in the survey is 25.22 years. Half of the respondents are younger than 22 years. The most frequent age that can be observed within the respondents is 18 years. Splitting the respondents in four equally large age groups shows that 25% are younger than 18 years old, 25% are between 18 and 22, a further 25% are between 22 and 30 (e.g. half of the respondents are between 18 and 30 years) and the remaining 25% are between 30 and 85 years old. There is a slight age difference between readers and contributors – readers are, on average, 24.79 years old while contributors show an average age of 26.14 years. Finally, female respondents are younger (23.79 years) than male ones (25.69 years). […]

Contributors show a substantially larger share of males than readers. Among respondents only 12.64% of contributors are female.

This gender imbalance has long vexed the Wikimedia Foundation. In January 2011, in response to a New York Times article by Noam Cohen,

…continue reading Why women have no time for Wikipedia

How pranks, hoaxes and manipulation undermine the reliability of Wikipedia

By Andreas Kolbe

On Reddit last week, an anonymous user said, It’s time for the truth to come out. The post, made in the AdviceAnimals subreddit and garnering over 2,700 upvotes, linked to the following memegenerator image:

Me and my friend used to make fun of an Arabic classmate called Azid. We edited the Wikipedia page for Chicken Korma so that his name would appear as an alternate name for the dish or an optional ingredient. Four years on, it has been cited by many cooking sites and publications.

It turned out that it wasn’t quite four years ago that the edit was made, but otherwise, the poster’s claims were found to be correct. A Wikipedian checking the history of the Korma article in the world’s foremost reference source traced the first insertion of the term Azid to this edit made on May 8, 2012. The change attracted no attention from other volunteer editors whatsoever, and there was no further activity in the article until over a month later.

The rise of Azid

Over time, editors apparently innocent of any involvement in the joke ensured that the spurious term Azid made it into the lead sentence of the article where it was listed as a synonym for Korma. The edit that moved the term into the lead section was made in August 2013 by a ten-year veteran of Wikipedia, an editor who has made close to 20,000 contributions to the site; in this edit, the Wikipedian added etymological detail about the word “Korma” to the article, citing no lesser authority than the Oxford English Dictionary, as well as a reference for the term Azid: a post on an amateur cookery blog named namitaskitchen.com which had copied the vandalised paragraph from Wikipedia.

This is

…continue reading How pranks, hoaxes and manipulation undermine the reliability of Wikipedia