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Yet Another Wikipedia Scandal

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Posts

  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Tails is totally a homo.

    So what is this discussion about, anyway? Was someone's Wikipedestal knocked down a peg by OHMSS? I don't get it.

    Yar on
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    "Ultimately useless"?

    Yeah, no. Wikipedia is freaking amazing on a large number of levels. So you don't cite it in a research paper. You don't cite encyclopedias in research papers, but they're still incredibly useful.

    Loren Michael on
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  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Okay, I'm wrong about one thing. The Entebbe Operation page has one edit by SlimVirgin, which was a reversal of what was clearly an unsupported conspiracy theory.

    So she slapped Entropykid down once... maybe she really is The Cat of Wikipedia.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Feral wrote: »
    Okay, I'm wrong about one thing. The Entebbe Operation page has one edit by SlimVirgin, which was a reversal of what was clearly an unsupported conspiracy theory.

    So she slapped Entropykid down once... maybe she really is The Cat of Wikipedia.

    The key term is "recorded edit", Feral. There's an admin tier called Oversight, which allows an admin with it to make deletions that are transparent - basically, if something's deleted with oversight, it never existed according to the records. And while Slim doesn't have oversight, she's friends with admins that do.

    And somehow, I can't imagine Cat acting like she does.

    AngelHedgie on
    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum / Steam: noxaeternum
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Feral wrote: »
    Okay, I'm wrong about one thing. The Entebbe Operation page has one edit by SlimVirgin, which was a reversal of what was clearly an unsupported conspiracy theory.

    So she slapped Entropykid down once... maybe she really is The Cat of Wikipedia.

    The key term is "recorded edit", Feral. There's an admin tier called Oversight, which allows an admin with it to make deletions that are transparent - basically, if something's deleted with oversight, it never existed according to the records. And while Slim doesn't have oversight, she's friends with admins that do.

    And somehow, I can't imagine Cat acting like she does.

    Okay, according to Wikipedia's own page on Oversight, Oversight is supposed to only be used in cases of personal information, libel, and copyright infringement. Admins with Oversight privileges can see other Oversight edits; according to that page there are 28 admins with Oversight.

    So if an admin is abusing Oversight, then Jimmy Wales and the other admins have to be in on it. This hypothetical conspiracy goes light years beyond the typical criticisms leveed at Wikipedia. The problem in this case is not that anybody can edit it, or that pages may change on a daily basis, or that it's "Schrodinger's Encyclopedia." The accusation here is basically that the core editorial team is knowingly colluding to abuse editorial powers and let known biased pages slip into the live service.

    Is that basically what you're saying?

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Feral wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    Okay, I'm wrong about one thing. The Entebbe Operation page has one edit by SlimVirgin, which was a reversal of what was clearly an unsupported conspiracy theory.

    So she slapped Entropykid down once... maybe she really is The Cat of Wikipedia.

    The key term is "recorded edit", Feral. There's an admin tier called Oversight, which allows an admin with it to make deletions that are transparent - basically, if something's deleted with oversight, it never existed according to the records. And while Slim doesn't have oversight, she's friends with admins that do.

    And somehow, I can't imagine Cat acting like she does.

    Okay, according to Wikipedia's own page on Oversight, Oversight is supposed to only be used in cases of personal information, libel, and copyright infringement. Admins with Oversight privileges can see other Oversight edits; according to that page there are 28 admins with Oversight.

    So if an admin is abusing Oversight, then Jimmy Wales and the other admins have to be in on it. This hypothetical conspiracy goes light years beyond the typical criticisms leveed at Wikipedia. The problem in this case is not that anybody can edit it, or that pages may change on a daily basis, or that it's "Schrodinger's Encyclopedia." The accusation here is basically that the core editorial team is knowingly colluding to abuse editorial powers and let known biased pages slip into the live service.

    Is that basically what you're saying?

    Pretty much, though it's more of that the admins are willing to turn a blind eye to bad conduct. And before you start laughing, let me remind you that Jimbo defended Essjay after he had knowingly lied about his credentials to a major news publication, stating that he saw Essjay's conduct as being much the same as using a pseudonym. After that, it's hard to believe that there's anything an admin can't do.

    Edit: Let me explain this a bit better - it's basically like there's an Old Admins Club, where the admins cover for each other. This isn't surprising, since the only ways to become one are to be elected, to be hired on by Wikia, or be appointed by Jimbo. And since as an admin, there's a tendancy to not rock the boat, it's easy to overlook abuses, especially if you're talking one of the older, more established admins that has connections with the higherups.

    AngelHedgie on
    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum / Steam: noxaeternum
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Interesting.

    As I mentioned before, this is different from the typical criticism that the notion of a publically-editable encyclopedia is fundamentally flawed. It's conceivable that a publically-editable encyclopedia could flourish with scrupulous leadership; it's also equally conceivable that a closed, print encyclopedia like Britannica could end up with corrupt leadership.

    I'm not saying this as a counterargument. On the contrary, this is a new wrinkle (at least, it's new to me) and it's worth some deeper investigation.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Feral wrote: »
    Interesting.

    As I mentioned before, this is different from the typical criticism that the notion of a publically-editable encyclopedia is fundamentally flawed. It's conceivable that a publically-editable encyclopedia could flourish with scrupulous leadership; it's also equally conceivable that a closed, print encyclopedia like Britannica could end up with corrupt leadership.

    I'm not saying this as a counterargument. On the contrary, this is a new wrinkle (at least, it's new to me) and it's worth some deeper investigation.

    The thing, Feral, is that to call Wikipedia politics Byzantine is like calling water a little wet. It's really ugly, and a lot of people would like to sweep it under the rug. The main problem with the Essjay scandal wasn't the lying, but how the Wikipedia power structure supported him after doing something that would have gotten him launched out of the front doors of EB at high velocity. And after that fiasco, people are a lot less willing to give Wikipedia the benefit of the doubt.

    AngelHedgie on
    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum / Steam: noxaeternum
  • sanstodosanstodo Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Also, is Cat unpopular? I always thought that most people liked her (well, those of us who aren't global warming deniers :lol:)

    Anyway, it's been pretty obvious for a long time that Wikipedia is only really trustworthy on non-hot button issues or simple issues. If you want to know where FDR grew up and when he died, it's a great resource. If you want to learn more about, say, the legal arguments for and against Roe v. Wade (or something similar), it's not really where you want to go.

    Anyone who is going to wikipedia for authoritative writing on anything other than something on the scale of Akita habits is pretty misguided. Like any information source, it will have biases stemming from the necessity of having an admin structure. However, those biases are coming from people who are not experts in the fields in which they have oversight; unlike a textbook on, say, food sharing rituals in sub-Saharan Africa that is authored and edited by experts on the subject, Wikipedia has authors and editors with varying levels of expertise. They might not even be CAPABLE of figuring out what is biased/incorrect and what is not.

    sanstodo on
  • agoajagoaj Now is the time of my revengeRegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    sanstodo wrote: »
    Also, is Cat unpopular? I always thought that most people liked her (well, those of us who aren't global warming deniers :lol:)

    Anyway, it's been pretty obvious for a long time that Wikipedia is only really trustworthy on non-hot button issues or simple issues. If you want to know where FDR grew up and when he died, it's a great resource. If you want to learn more about, say, the legal arguments for and against Roe v. Wade (or something similar), it's not really where you want to go.

    Anyone who is going to wikipedia for authoritative writing on anything other than something on the scale of Akita habits is pretty misguided. Like any information source, it will have biases stemming from the necessity of having an admin structure. However, those biases are coming from people who are not experts in the fields in which they have oversight; unlike a textbook on, say, food sharing rituals in sub-Saharan Africa that is authored and edited by experts on the subject, Wikipedia has authors and editors with varying levels of expertise. They might not even be CAPABLE of figuring out what is biased/incorrect and what is not.

    Yet the hot button pages tend to be the most accurate.

    agoaj on
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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    agoaj wrote: »
    sanstodo wrote: »
    Also, is Cat unpopular? I always thought that most people liked her (well, those of us who aren't global warming deniers :lol:)

    Anyway, it's been pretty obvious for a long time that Wikipedia is only really trustworthy on non-hot button issues or simple issues. If you want to know where FDR grew up and when he died, it's a great resource. If you want to learn more about, say, the legal arguments for and against Roe v. Wade (or something similar), it's not really where you want to go.

    Anyone who is going to wikipedia for authoritative writing on anything other than something on the scale of Akita habits is pretty misguided. Like any information source, it will have biases stemming from the necessity of having an admin structure. However, those biases are coming from people who are not experts in the fields in which they have oversight; unlike a textbook on, say, food sharing rituals in sub-Saharan Africa that is authored and edited by experts on the subject, Wikipedia has authors and editors with varying levels of expertise. They might not even be CAPABLE of figuring out what is biased/incorrect and what is not.

    Yet the hot button pages tend to be the most accurate.

    Depends on the hot button. And again, accuracy and bias aren't mutually exclusive.

    AngelHedgie on
    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum / Steam: noxaeternum
  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    [Tycho?] wrote: »
    [Tycho?] wrote: »
    I'm sure there are all kinds of questionable people who are in some positions of power with Wikipedia, of course it is advantageous to have an insider for your article, be it for government, military, a corporation or just some random group of people. Just look at the citations though, any kind of long term poisoning of an article is difficult verging on impossible.

    Nope. You just need the proper authority and the right tools (mainly high level admins with access to oversight). This is why this scandal is so dangerous - it focuses on exactly that issue.

    How so. Even if you have a corrupt admin in play, if people continue to change an article while citing reputable sources, it becomes difficult for any single admin to prevent the changes, especially since other admins will be brought in if there are continuing flame wars. I dont know a huge amount about the admin structure and their authority though, is there something that I am not considering here that makes it easier for a single admin to corrupt an article in the long term?

    There's a good essay on this in The Wikipedia Review - I'll have to find it. (Edit: Found it.)

    That said, you're basically thinking of an idealized Wikipedia, not Wikipedia as is. The reality is that if you're up against an admin, always bet on the admin. Other admins will not support you, they have tools beyond what you can use (like oversight, which they WILL use to cut you off at the knees), they'll institute policy to kneecap you (yes, I'm looking at you, WP:BADSITES), they'll provoke you into doing something that allows them to drop the banhammer on you, etc.

    In other words, admins can and WILL abuse their power. And when that happens, you are FUCKED, as it is unlikely they will ever be held accountable (again, look at when and why Essjay was fired to see why you have no chance to survive.)

    I still dont think I agree. I have seen admins wade into an admin-user argument, I've seen arbitration and all that business. Even if they do ban you you can easily make a new account, using a proxy and a dummy email adderess if they do an IP ban. In a single argument I would bet on an admin, but if an admin is consistantly keeping an article innaccurate when others are posting verifiable reasons as to why it is inaccurate, I simply dont see how a single admin could maintain that indefinately. For a while, sure, but eventually other admins are going to notice the problem, even if it takes months or perhaps years.

    [Tycho?] on
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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    [Tycho?] wrote: »
    I simply dont see how a single admin could maintain that indefinately. For a while, sure, but eventually other admins are going to notice the problem, even if it takes months or perhaps years.

    Again, you're focusing on a single admin. The most powerful of the admins don't work alone - they work in groups, which makes enforcing their biases easy.

    Now, Feral, I think part of the problem for you is that you see the critics of Wikipedia as criticizing the entire concept. That's not the case. If you actually read sites like WikiTruth, you'll see that a lot of the critics really like the idea of Wikipedia.

    It's the power structure and the politics that we really can't stand. No other organization that you or I would trust has so much of its leadership shrouded in secrecy. Other than the Wikimedia board, Jimbo, Danny, and perhaps a handful of others, can you actually name the high ranking admins beyond their usernames? Or how aobut how Jimbo basically runs Wikipedia as his own personal fiefdom? (If positions of importance are elected, then why is it that Jimbo can appoint people?)

    As you've probably guessed, the Essjay scandal was a watershed moment for me. I had been skeptical of the Wikipedia management for some time, but even so, Essjay was shocking. But what made it even worse was how Jimbo acted. Can you think of any other academic organization that would do anything other than fire and utterly ruin the reputation of someone caught lying about their credentials? I can't. Yet Jimbo actually defended Essjay's conduct, saying that he regarded it as a "pseudonym". Even to this day, you'll find admins who still support Essjay.

    So, no, I don't think Wikipedia is a bad thing. I just think it really needs new management.

    AngelHedgie on
    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum / Steam: noxaeternum
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