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
…continue reading Wikipedia: a Bot’s-Eye View
By Sam Lee
Wikipedia organizes its article topics into categories, which assists the reader in locating articles related to a general field of interest… or, it helps propagandists to consolidate their preferred bias over a broad topic area, depending on your point of view. If you look at Category:Murdered Israeli children (T–H–L) you will note that all the listed 32 articles in this category have one thing in common: they were killed by Arabs, or, in a case where the killer has not been apprehended; were suspected of being killed by an Arab.
Now this is strange, as it is a sad fact that in the industrialised world, the majority of murdered children are killed by a parent, or other next of kin. Take the US, for example, where more than half of all infanticides (killing of children less than the age of 5) are committed by
…continue reading Wikipedia: All murdered Israeli children are murdered by… Arabs
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
…continue reading Twitterbots and the Iron Law