When asking for donations, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales likes to refer to the site as “a temple for the mind” and “a place we can all go to think, to learn, to share our knowledge with others.” And when reflecting on what makes Wikipedia contributors want to share their knowledge with the world, current Executive Director Sue Gardner claims that “Wikipedians do it for love. Really.” That may well be so for some of Wikipedia’s more casual and idealistic writers, but many of the regular editors of the encyclopedia flock to it not so much for love but out of a desire to promote their political views, advertise their websites and novels, plump up their Wikipedia biographies and damage the reputations of people they don’t get along with in life.
Wikipedia is the sixth most-read site on the Internet, yet anyone with a computer and an internet connection can change its entries at any time while hiding
…continue reading Anonymous revenge editing on Wikipedia – the case of Robert Clark Young aka Qworty
by Nathalie Collida and Andreas Kolbe With research contributions from Delicious carbuncle and Eric Barbour
Amanda Filipacchi’s New York Times article about Wikipedia’s ghettoization of female novelists finally shone the spotlight on some of the rampant sexism that pervades almost every corner of the online “encyclopaedia”. Filipacchi said she had “noticed something strange on Wikipedia”:
It appears that gradually, over time, editors have begun the process of moving women, one by one, alphabetically, from the “American Novelists” category to the “American Women Novelists” subcategory. So far, female authors whose last names begin with A or B have been most affected, although many others have, too. The intention appears to be to create a list of “American Novelists” on Wikipedia that is made up almost entirely of men.
So in Wikipedia, US-born female writers were no longer listed in the “American novelists” category, but instead confined to a pigeonhole labelled “American women novelists”. Until Filipacchi’s article appeared, there
…continue reading Wikipedia’s culture of sexism – it’s not just for novelists.
by Roger Hogsky
UPDATE: There has been a response to this story from the Wikimedia Foundation, which is reproduced at the bottom of this piece.
Many businesses and organizations operate their offices from a central Internet connection that establishes just one IP address for all of its employees (and visitors) to use. However, by doing so, it can lead to situations where one employee or one visitor is up to no good on the Internet, leaving behind the IP address breadcrumbs that incriminate the whole organization.
You would think that an advanced technology juggernaut like the Wikimedia Foundation would be very careful and secure about how it allocates its publicly-viewable IP addresses to employees and visitors to their headquarters, but perhaps this is not the case. Let’s juxtapose some activities taking place within or regarding the Wikimedia Foundation, on some particular days in recent history, shall we
…continue reading Busy day at the Wikimedia Foundation office?
By Edward Buckner
Despite the acknowledged shortcomings of Wikipedia’s governance, the strongest argument against reforming it is its apparent extraordinary success. Editing Wikipedia is like making sausages, they say: it’s a nasty process that you really don’t want to see . As long as the end product is nice tasty sausages, does it really matter how it ended up on our plate?
Even when you do find mistakes, Wikipedia tells us that it doesn’t matter in the long run. Anyone can edit Wikipedia, and so there is a quasi-Darwinian process which ensures that only the fittest edits – i.e. the good ones – will survive, and the final result will be perfect. Wikipedia doesn’t need experts, or an editorial board, any more than natural selection needs a design committee. As Kevin Kelly of Wired once said, the crowdsourced wiki is like an invisible hand which emerges from its ‘very dumb members’. Why then would it
…continue reading Duns Scotus and Jennifer Lopez: Why can’t Wikipedia make better sausages?
The new Wikimedia project Wikidata is set to become the latest battleground over who controls what is and is not considered part of the “sum of human knowledge” that the Wikimedia Foundation is keen to collect and present.
The idea behind Wikidata is a simple one: to classify and categorize essentially everything in the universe. Well, not everything: with a few exceptions, it must be “notable” according to one or more of the Wikipedias (English Wikipedia, of course, being its biggest – but not exclusive – source.) Don’t expect your plumber or mechanic to become a data point on Wikidata… at least not in Phase 1. The front page of the site describes Wikidata as “a free knowledge base that can be read and edited by humans and machines alike.”
Unlike Wikipedia, where prose rules and nuances can be explored if the writers choose to explore them, Wikidata is structured in a colder, more robotic
…continue reading Wikidata: Is Jimbo More Popular Than Jesus?