Why this Site?

  • 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.”
  • How you can participate:
  •  Visit the Wikipediocracy Forum, a candid exchange of views between Wikipedia editors, administrators, critics, proponents, and the general public.
  • 'Like' our Wikipediocracy page on Facebook.
  •  Follow Wikipediocracy on Twitter!

Press Releases

  • Please click here for recent Wikipediocracy press releases.

Wikipedia: a Bot’s-Eye View

By Hersch

As the Twenty-First Century drags on, more and more aspects of our daily lives are dominated by digital gizmos, and more and more common tasks are automated. So, then, why not Wikipedia? In recent years, automated programs, also known as robots or “bots,” have demonstrated that they can sign comments left on talk pages, revert vandalism, check for copyright violations on new pages, add or remove protection templates, and archive talk pages more expeditiously, with fewer errors, and with more civility and less drama than the human editors. Should we be looking forward to the day when Wikipedia will be fully automated, where bots will trawl the net for news sources and automatically include every last tidbit of gossipy trivia about celebrities or fictional television characters, rendering Wikipedia’s human editors entirely unnecessary?

Ah, but I can hear the objections already. Can bots be programmed to be snarky and disingenuous? Will they be able to upload sexually explicit photos of themselves? I know that some of you are prepared to argue that there are some aspects of human behavior which can never be successfully duplicated by what some like to call “artificial intelligence.” And most importantly, from the standpoint of a crowd-sourced online neo-encyclopedia, can a bot push POV?* Does a bot even have a POV?

These are questions which demand answers. In order explore the topic further, we present these YouTube videos where the bots themselves grapple with the most fundamental questions about what it means to be a Wikipedian.

 

 

 

* [for the novice reader, to “push POV” is WikiSpeak for the practice of slanting Wikipedia articles so that they conform to one’s own set of biases, or “point of view.”]

(This blog post was originally published September 2, 2012)

Video

…continue reading Wikipedia: a Bot’s-Eye View

Arbs gone wild

by Yerucham Turing & Eric Barbour

There are two elements which form the structural bedrock of Wikipedia, and which combine to cause an insoluble problem:

1. Wikipedia insists upon the principle of anonymous editing. This is considered sacrosanct, and it means that ultimately, no real-life person is responsible for the accuracy or veracity of article content.

2. On any controversial topic, a Wikipedia article is a battleground in which the contestants vie for control of content. The stakes are high; the winner may use that Wikipedia article as a soapbox for propaganda, which will shoot right to the top of a typical Google search. Officially, Wikipedia wishes that this were not the case, but wishes are not yet horses. The battle for control is settled by two criteria: “consensus” (which in practice means majority rule), and debates over policy (which in practice means gaming the system). Disputes are resolved, on a temporary basis, by bullying and sophistry, but the only lasting resolution is via the banning by Wikipedia administrators of one faction of the contestants, generally through the connivance of the other faction. The banned editors are generally not prepared to simply give up and find another hobby; many are psychologically addicted to Wikipedia as a MMORPG. There is an appeals process for banned editors, which has roughly the same success rate as attempts to build a perpetual-motion machine.

.

These two elements combine to ensure that Wikipedia is dominated by what it calls “sockpuppetry“. Because of the “majority rule” feature, and because Wikipedia editors are not real-life individuals, but rather, “accounts,” the temptation to create more than one account in order to sway the “consensus” is a powerful one. Consequently, many Wikipedians become sockpuppeteers. And as well, many Wikipedians who

…continue reading Arbs gone wild

Twitterbots and the Iron Law

By Hersch

Tbot

Lately, in press coverage of Wikipedia, the talk has been about “Twitterbots”, Twitter robots that track edits made to Wikipedia from IP addresses that correspond to government offices. The first version was @ParliamentEdits, which tracks edits made from parliament offices in the U.K. After the source code was released to the public, other Twitterbots quickly emerged. There are at least a dozen that we know of, including @CongressEdits for the U.S., @Gov. of Canada edits, @AussieParlEdits for Australia, @Riksdagen redigerar for Sweden, and @Госправки (RuGovEdits) for Russia. This is causing people who don’t normally write about Wikipedia to write about Wikipedia. For example, Global Voices reports that there has been an edit war at the German Wikipedia over whether to call the insurgent forces in eastern Ukraine Aufständischen (“rebels”), or Separatisten (“separatists”). What’s the difference, you may ask? Well, these are the sort of nuances that propagandists thrive on, because they can subliminally affect the way the viewer conceives of political developments. “Separatists” has become the preferred term by Western diplomats, because it carries the implication that the insurgents are acting as running dog lackeys of the Russians, whereas “rebels” is taken to mean that these fighters are simply Ukrainians who don’t like the new regime. Edits were made from an IP address that traces back to the Russian Secret Service (FSO), changing “separatists” to “rebels” (these attempted changes were swiftly beaten back by the opposing camp).

What advice can we at Wikipediocracy offer the government official who aspires to exploit Wikipedia as a propaganda megaphone? Well, first of all, only rank amateurs edit without first establishing a Wikipedia account (this illustrates the limitations of the Twitterbots, which only detect

…continue reading Twitterbots and the Iron Law