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Press Releases

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Wikipedia’s struggles with harassment and criticism: past and present

by Kingsindian

Introduction Early in October, Buzzfeed published a expose, titled “Here’s How Breitbart And Milo Smuggled Nazi and White Nationalist Ideas Into The Mainstream”, based on leaked emails of Milo Yiannapoulos, a former writer for Breitbart News.

Milo Yiannopoulos

Milo YiannopoulosImage Credit: KmeronLicense: CC BY 2.0

The story is long and complicated and covers lots of areas. Among the revelations in the story were some email exchanges between Yiannopoulos and journalists in the “liberal media” which Breitbart News frequently rails against. Some of the emails exchanged between Yiannopoulos and David Auerbach, then a journalist at Slate, were about governance issues at Wikipedia. Auerbach has broadly denied Buzzfeed’s claims, saying: “Inasmuch as the story concerns me, it is utter bullshit”.

The story which follows spans several areas including harassment, politics, anonymity, and the nature of online discourse. Like in the Buzzfeed story, one theme connecting many of these areas is a long-running and ever-evolving saga called Gamergate, which started in mid-2014. The issues discussed here go beyond Wikipedia and affect the lives, politics, and culture in the “real world” as well. While we will touch on the real-world issues as appropriate, our focus will be on how these issues affect and are affected by, the mechanisms and personalities on Wikipedia.

…continue reading Wikipedia’s struggles with harassment and criticism: past and present

I Got Fired For Editing Wikipedia

Mike Wood, paid editor, is fired from his day job for editing Wikipedia. This is his story.

…continue reading I Got Fired For Editing Wikipedia

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