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.
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Press Releases

  • Please click here for recent Wikipediocracy press releases.

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

Is the Social Network Mightier than the Sword?

By Hersch

With the advent of the internet, the social response time to mass communication has been radically reduced. This has made possible new social phenomena, as large numbers of people can quickly coordinate their activity in response to a particular set of circumstances. An early example of such phenomena was the “flash mob.” Because of the speed at which these sorts of events transpire, there is not much time for calm reflection, and so a sort of herd (or stampede) impulse comes into play. The political utility of social media was recognized early on, and it was discovered that for a relatively modest investment in infrastructure, one could achieve major political effects. For example, it has been suggested that a few organizations with deep pockets exploited social media to produce the Color Revolutions in former Soviet bloc nations.

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As Wikipedia emerged as the social networking site with the most Google juice, it became a magnet for propagandists of all varieties. This is despite the fact that Wikipedia has a policy called WP:NOTSOAPBOX, which states that “Wikipedia is not a soapbox, a battleground, or a vehicle for propaganda,” making this one of Wikipedia’s most widely ignored policies. Teams of contestants at Wikipedia use other social media to coordinate their activities and win content disputes, so as to skew Wikipedia article content toward their preferred ideological biases (see “How to control a topic”.) Of course, the way the Wikipedia game is played, all content is supposed to be cited to Reliable Sources. For rapidly-developing current events, there are no scholarly, peer-reviewed sources available. These things take time. Therefore, the only option which remains is to use the news media.

There were two noteworthy articles that recently appeared: “Media bias a problem in

…continue reading Is the Social Network Mightier than the Sword?

Wikipedia – the new ministry of truth

By Andreas Kolbe

Wikipedia, the crowdsourced online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, has often been credited with “democratising knowledge”. But it’s a strange sort of democracy. Wikipedia has a near-monopoly online: almost any search engine query will return a Wikipedia article as a top result. Most internet users only read the first search result. And in fact, users often do not even have to click through to Wikipedia. More and more material from Wikipedia is displayed on Google’s own search results pages, thanks to the Google Knowledge Graph panel and Google’s new snippet overlay. No wonder that there is such great interest from the most diverse parties to influence Wikipedia’s content.

News from Azerbaijan

A case in point is the government of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is an oil- and gas-rich former Soviet republic that has for more than two decades been ruled by the Aliyev dynasty. Likened in leaked US diplomatic cables to a mafia don, its current president Ilham Aliyev is seen as “increasingly authoritarian and hostile to diversity of political views.”

The 2014 Human Rights Watch report on Azerbaijan reads as follows:

The Azerbaijani government’s poor record on freedom of expression, assembly, and association dramatically deteriorated during the year. The authorities arrested dozens of political activists on bogus charges, imprisoned critical journalists, broke up several peaceful public demonstrations, and adopted legislation that further restricted fundamental freedoms. This crackdown was the backdrop for the October 2013 presidential election, in which incumbent President Ilham Aliyev was re-elected for a third term with 84.5 percent of the vote.

So when in September of last year an obscure news item about the Azerbaijani Wikipedia was raised for discussion in our forum, it seemed worthy of a second look. Published by Azeri business news portal abc.az, it told the world, in somewhat broken English:

…continue reading Wikipedia – the new ministry of truth