Tag Archives | Wikipedia

Create your own book of Wikipedia articles

Photos of books made by PediaPress with Wikipedia content. By Jann Glasmacher for PediaPress via Wikimedia Commons.

Photos of books made by PediaPress with Wikipedia content. By Jann Glasmacher for PediaPress via Wikimedia Commons.

I can’t believe that I just found out about this service: you can create your own book of Wikipedia articles. After gathering the articles you want to include, you can compile them into a book, and then download it as a PDF, ODF, or even get it printed. I think I just checked a few people off of my  “What the Hell Do I Get Them?” Christmas list.

via the Wikipedia Help:Books page:

Tips for creating great books

Topic and title

There are almost no limits when creating books from Wikipedia content. A good book focuses on a certain topic and covers it as well as possible. A meaningful title helps other users to have the correct expectation regarding the content of a book.

Length

Books should have a reasonable number of articles. One article is not enough, but books that result in PDFs with more than 500 pages are probably too big, and may even cause problems on older computers.

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Wikipedia’s ‘Brazilian Aardvark’ Problem: When Lies Turn Into Feedback Loops

PIC: Pearson Scott Foresman (CC)

PIC: Brazilian Aardvark. [Pearson Scott Foresman (CC)]

Don’t worry Dylan. We’ve got you covered. Send the Lollypop Guild – I mean, the Wikipedians – our way for the following citation:

“It is a well-known fact that the coati is known informally as the Brazilian aardvark.”

In July of 2008, Dylan Breves, then a seventeen-year-old student from New York City, made a mundane edit to a Wikipedia entry on the coati. The coati, a member of the raccoon family, is “also known as … a Brazilian aardvark,” Breves wrote. He did not cite a source for this nickname, and with good reason: he had invented it. He and his brother had spotted several coatis while on a trip to the Iguaçu Falls, in Brazil, where they had mistaken them for actual aardvarks.

“I don’t necessarily like being wrong about things,” Breves told me. “So, sort of as a joke, I slipped in the ‘also known as the Brazilian aardvark’ and then forgot about it for awhile.”

Adding a private gag to a public Wikipedia page is the kind of minor vandalism that regularly takes place on the crowdsourced Web site.

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Portrait of a Wiki War: Rupert Sheldrake Versus Wiki Skepticism

RupertSheldrake

Pic: Rupert Sheldrake (c)

Writer and media strategist Rome Viharo offers a a case study of Wikipedia editorial bias in the back and forth war over an entry on Rupert Sheldrake:

Via WikipediaWeHaveAproblem:

Rupert Sheldrake has a career of 30 years being the official ‘critic’ of scientific materialism and reductionism – what many would simply refer to as the ‘mainstream scientific point of view’. It began in 1982 with the editor of Nature magazine referring to him as a ‘heretic’ and suggesting that his book on his ‘Hypothesis of Formative Causation’ might be a candidate for burning if society chooses to use book burning as a way to control knowledge. He has been wearing the banner of the ‘heretic of science’ ever since. For this reason, I find Rupert Sheldrake not only interesting but a hoot.

In these past 30 years, BBC documentaries, television programs, and even academic thesis papers and peer review journals have been covering the manner in which Rupert Sheldrake has been treated by the scientific community as often as his ideas.

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The Battle to Destroy Wikipedia’s Biggest Sockpuppet Army

Here is one more reason to double check your sources. Simon Owen informs us on the largest sockpuppet network in Wikipedia’s history.

via The Daily Dot

Wikipedia editor and self-professed “bird geek” DocTree spends most of his time on the world’s largest encyclopedia editing the pages for long-dead ornithologists. So it was somewhat unusual when, in August 2012, he found himself working on the page for “CyberSafe,” a high-tech digital encryption company based out of Middlesex, England, with a pronounced dearth of ornithological relevance.

Someone on Wikipedia had nominated the page for deletion, and DocTree, who sometimes participates in deletion discussions on topics that fall outside his interests, decided to pitch in.

There are a number of possible reasons for a Wikipedia page to be deleted, but the most common justification is that it lacks “notability.” This is a loose standard that essentially asks the question: Is this subject important enough for a Wikipedia article?

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How Scientology Changed The Internet

Entrance of the Church of Scientology Madid, SpainThe Scientology cult is at war with the Internet reports Dave Lee at BBC News:

What do Wikipedia, Wikileaks, Anonymous and copyright law have in common? The answer is they have all been influenced by the Church of Scientology International (CSI), as it took on ex-members and critics who took their protests on to the internet. As the Church successfully removes another website, just how big an influence has Scientology had on the internet we all use?

Last month digital rights activists at the influential Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF) placed the Church of Scientology into their hall of shame over what it says were repeated acts against internet freedoms.

It was just the latest twist in the Church’s long-running feud with “negative” Scientology content online, one that has lasted almost two decades.

Back in May 1994, at a time when most major organisations were yet to figure out how exactly to deal with the relatively unknown power of the internet, the Church’s Elaine Siegel had a few ideas, outlined in a leaked email to “all Scientologists on the internet”.

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How to Become Internet Famous for $68

via Quartz plastic_face

Santiago Swallow may be one of the most famous people no one has heard of.

His eyes fume from his Twitter profile: he is Hollywood-handsome with high cheekbones and dirty blond, collar-length hair. Next to his name is one of social media’s most prized possessions, Twitter’s blue “verified account” checkmark. Beneath it are numbers to make many in the online world jealous: Santiago Swallow has tens of thousands of followers. The tweets Swallow sends them are cryptic nuggets of wisdom that unroll like scrolls from digital fortune cookies: “Before you lose weight, find hope,” says one. Another: “To write is to live endlessly.”

Swallow is a pure product of the Internet: a “speaker and thinker,” who specializes in “re-imagining self in the online age,” an apparent star of the prestigious TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference, and a hit at Austin’s annual art, technology and music event, South By South West (SXSW).

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Wikipedia’s First Wikipedian of the Year is Propagandist for Kazakh Dictatorship

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales has some explaining to do.

Via Daily Dot:

Some of Wikipedia’s harshest critics have dug up an embarrassing bit of Wikipedia history in recent days. Most notable: The site’s first-ever Wikipedian of the Year is a former paid propaganda flack for the authoritarian Kazakh government, known for its iron control over free media and awful human-rights record.

Rauan Kenzhekhanuly is a Kazakh government man through and through. The former first secretary at the country’s Russian embassy also served as Moscow Bureau chief for the National TV Agency, a government propaganda arm launched by the daughter of Kazakh’s all-powerful president-cum-dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Now Kenzhekhanuly runs WikiBilim, an organization devoted to ballooning the size of the Kazakh language Wikipedia. But while WikiBlim may be a non-profit, it’s also backed financially by the state’s sovereign oil wealth fund, which is run by none other than the President Nazarbayev’s son-in-law.

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The Climate Change Denier Who Became The Voice Of Hurricane Sandy On Wikipedia

We all rely far too much on Wikipedia without questioning the veracity of the source. As a reminder of the fallibility of the user-generated entries, Dan Nosowitz exposes the climate change denier Ken Mampel at PopSci:

“All I am is a contributor. I have no title, I’m just a Joe Blow,” says Ken Mampel, a currently unemployed 56-year-old living in Ormond Beach, Florida. He’s also largely responsible for the Wikipedia article about Hurricane Sandy. If it isn’t already, that article will eventually become the single most-viewed document about the hurricane. On the entire internet.

In an unpaid but frenzied fit of news consumption, editing, correction, aggregation, and citation, Mampel has established himself as by far the most active contributor to the Wikipedia page on Hurricane Sandy, with more than twice the number of edits as the next-most-active contributor at the time this article was written.

And Mampel made sure that the Hurricane Sandy article, for four days after the hurricane made landfall in New Jersey, had no mention of “global warming” or “climate change” whatsoever.

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Embarrassing Congressional Edits To Members’ Wikipedia Pages

Here’s what politicians wished you didn’t know. Via Buzzfeed, a choice rundown of Congress members’ attempts to alter their own Wikipedia biographies (including Harry Reid, whose underlings scrubbed out the section “Relationship to Jack Abramoff and his firm”):

A search through the House of Representatives IP address on Wikipedia shows which pages have been edited by Congressional staff. The IP address, shared by all Congressional offices offers a glimpse at who decided to do a bit of historical airbrushing.

1. Rep. Mike Coffman: Removed edits to an incident saying President Obama was “in his heart, just not an American.”

2. Rep. Allen West: Removed an incident in which he called members of the Progressive Caucus “Communists.”

3. Rep. Bennie Thompson: Removed Thompson’s entire “Controversies” section.

4. Rep. Grace Napolitano: Added information noting that a controversial loan she made to her campaign, which was being repaid with interest, had been completely repaid.

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