Tag Archives | Wikipedia

Portrait of a Wiki War: Rupert Sheldrake Versus Wiki Skepticism


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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Missing Wikipedia? Here’s How You Can Access It

As most Internet users already know, leading Internet companies like Google, Wikipedia, and Craigslist are protesting the SOPA legislation very publicly today, with Wikipedia totally blacked out. But, if you really, really need to access Wikipedia today, they have kindly explained how to come in through the back door:

Is it still possible to access Wikipedia in any way?

Yes. During the blackout, Wikipedia is accessible on mobile devices and smart phones. You can also view Wikipedia normally by disabling JavaScript in your browser, as explained on this Technical FAQ page. Our purpose here isn’t to make it completely impossible for people to read Wikipedia, and it’s okay for you to circumvent the blackout. We just want to make sure you see our message.

Wikipedia blackout

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