Wikipedia fails again

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mrandrewv
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Wikipedia fails again

Postby mrandrewv » Thu May 07, 2009 10:39 am UTC

I have pointed out before that Wikipedia's Richard Dawkins page is nothing short of a poorly disguised fan site, where criticism is not allowed (no, I don't believe in god, yes I think Dawkins is generally right about a lot of things).
But lately I've been finding more and more pages that really lower my level of respect for Wikipedia in general.

This is my latest bug bear:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Dutch_Shell

This page is full of the same kind of factual information you find on the company's own website. The criticisms section is minuscule, and nerfed.
This is despite the fact that Shell is about to face serious charges of human rights abuses, including multiple murder in Nigeria:

http://royaldutchshellplc.com/2009/04/0 ... y-26-2009/

http://www.socialfunds.com/news/article.cgi/795.html

Like it or not Wikipedia is the single most relied upon source of information in the world. What can we do to improve it? I don't mean individual editing, cause clearly that isn't working. I mean in terms of lasting, systemic change.

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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Naurgul » Thu May 07, 2009 11:29 am UTC

One effort to make a more reliable online encyclopaedia is Citizendium. It is the same as Wikipedia, only you have to register with your real name to edit. Also, there are experts who review articles. I think it's a good model, probably better than Wikipedia given the restrictions of the modern day human psyche, but it doesn't seem to me that it would be possible to achieve your ideal no matter the system.

See, your ideal is an unbiased encyclopaedia. You want everything in there to be as objective as possible. Therefore, you demand that the information wherein should be completely trustworthy. However, the question of having justified trust is a very very complex one. However, it seems to me that you can never have complete justified trust to any single human, therefore you can never have trust to a knowledge base whose knowledge is contributed by humans. Whatever you do, you'll need humans to contribute knowledge, but humans are selfish no matter what. You need mechanisms to check the validity of the contributed information, but these mechanisms are also based on humans too.

All this is because you'd need a way to judge truth: How will you do it? Experts? They have their ideologies too. Popularity? That's just dumb. Structured debates? How would you be certain who won?

So, humans are inclined to think more for their own benefit than objective truth. So they will either knowingly contribute information that furthers their goals or rationalise and believe that the information that furthers their own goals happens to be truth. What possible web system could there ever be to handle this thing? I don't think there is one. I'd say that if you wanted to have such a system, you'd need a vast majority of the human population to try to be honest. That's an education problem.
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Gelsamel » Thu May 07, 2009 12:29 pm UTC

Uh... if you make an individual and well sourced edit then it -will- stay. Additions to articles don't get deleted for no reason. That IS part of the system. So my advice is... edit it when you see something wrong, that is what it relies on people doing.
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Indon » Thu May 07, 2009 3:37 pm UTC

mrandrewv wrote:This page is full of the same kind of factual information you find on the company's own website. The criticisms section is minuscule, and nerfed.
This is despite the fact that Shell is about to face serious charges of human rights abuses, including multiple murder in Nigeria:


Why not try to expand the criticisms section of that article, using the news articles there as citations?

If someone swings in and tries to meddle, you can take action in the related discussion thread.

You could even look up the IP of anyone who makes an edit and see if perhaps they work for the company in question - then you can get the community on guard for bias in that article.
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Enuja » Thu May 07, 2009 7:18 pm UTC

I really love Wikipedia, and I don't think that it has any serious, systemic problems that need to be fixed. Yes, it's got a lot of articles that are really bad from a large number of perspectives, but I don't think that this is a fatal flaw. Wikipedia is a tertiary source of highly variable quality: anyone and everyone reading it needs to keep that in mind every time they read it. So, whenever you read a Wikipedia article, you need to read it critically, to see what sources are cited, and, if knowing the correct information is important to you, you need to actually find and read the sources. Wikipedia, like the encyclopedia's that graced family bookshelves for the past 100 years, is a great first stop for information. Like the encyclopedias before it, it's not a good last stop for information if you want to be deeply informed about the issue. Unlike encyclopedias before it, good Wikipedia articles give you leads about what sources to look for to check the information and to get more information.

I think that Wikipedia has the opportunity to make all members of society more critical consumers of information. I actually think that bad Wikipedia articles do a great service to the information culture as a whole by reminding all consumers of information that they must always be critical consumers of information.

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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby janusx » Thu May 07, 2009 7:59 pm UTC

I really don't know that much about shell and its controvercies however: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controvers ... utch_Shell

was linked to on the shell page and seems fairly in depth to me.

My personal gripes with Wikipedia are when pages are arbitrarly shortened or simplified to meet some sort of standards. I see wikipedia as a database of all information, unfortunately it's founders see it as a database of condensed information.

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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Diadem » Thu May 07, 2009 11:16 pm UTC

The situation of shell in Nigeria is a horribly complex situation, with many different sides. I would love to see a nuanced approach in wikipedia, but I doubt it's ever going to happen. Nor in any other single media, most likely.

As it is, wikipedia has a huge list of controversies surrounding shell. So I really don't see the problem. If anything, it is biased against Shell, because for most of those controversies it does not give the Shell point of view.


Back to Nigeria. Shell is, of course, working with a corrupt government there. And the government benefits from its joint venture with shell. But one has to ask, what are the alternatives? Shell can't just pack its bags and leave. That won't improve the situation for anybody. And the situation is much more complex than it is usually made out to be. For example Shell is often accused of polluting the area. But most of the pollution comes from oil leaks created by locals when they tap the pipelines to steal oil. It is hardly fair to blame Shell for that. Can hardly blame the locals either, they are just trying to survive in a hard situation.

I'm not taking sides here. I'm just pointing out that the situation is much more complex than it's generally made out to be. Shell is a huge company, that has a lot of bad sides and a lot of good sides. It's hard to judge the overall picture.
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Token » Sun May 10, 2009 7:32 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:The situation of shell in Nigeria is a horribly complex situation, with many different sides. I would love to see a nuanced approach in wikipedia, but I doubt it's ever going to happen. Nor in any other single media, most likely.

I haven't actually read it, and it isn't just about Shell, but this is certainly lengthy, though I don't know about nuanced.
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Game_boy » Sun May 10, 2009 9:31 pm UTC

Wikipedia is the best thing on the internet. It doesn't need sweeping change from the top; I do think individual edits will work. If you have a problem with it, edit it yourself (and the RDS controversy page seems to fulfil your objection).

No, it's not perfect nor reliable, but if you want information for personal use only, rapidly, with sources, it's ideal.

The biggest threat to Wikipedia is exactly the kind of top-down change you're suggesting; Flagged Revisions.
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Sarstan » Mon May 11, 2009 7:58 am UTC

As I recall from a link off of Reddit months ago (sorry, I don't recall the actual site it directed to), wikipedia is known to allow companies and private organizations to change their own information. Bending the truth and adding bias from the own horse's mouth is very much present on wiki. At least there's a recorded list of who edits what on Wiki.

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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Naurgul » Mon May 11, 2009 11:14 am UTC

Yes. Wasn't the site that listed all those edits sued or something though? Or maybe just banned in certain countries? What was its name again? Wiki-something...? :|

PS: Memory fail, sorry.
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Marquee Moon » Mon May 11, 2009 11:50 am UTC

Sarstan wrote:As I recall from a link off of Reddit months ago (sorry, I don't recall the actual site it directed to), wikipedia is known to allow companies and private organizations to change their own information. Bending the truth and adding bias from the own horse's mouth is very much present on wiki. At least there's a recorded list of who edits what on Wiki.


Meh, the only difference between that and me editing the company's wikipedia page is my bias is unconscious. The company's submission still has to go through the "wikipedia machine", with citations being checked and what not. Eventually someone will find out the company's submission is wrong and it'll be removed. Let's say wikipedia did ban companies from editing their own pages. Couldn't they just hire me to edit them instead? From the perspective of the person undoing my edit, how is that any different from me just spontaneously deciding to edit the company's page?

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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Vaniver » Mon May 11, 2009 7:25 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:Uh... if you make an individual and well sourced edit then it -will- stay. Additions to articles don't get deleted for no reason. That IS part of the system. So my advice is... edit it when you see something wrong, that is what it relies on people doing.
That's the hope of wikipedia. The reality is often rather different. Remember that time when the CEO of overstock.com got overridden on his edits to naked short selling, and his public talks about how the article was being whitewashed? And, by the way, the SEC outlawed naked short selling afterwards.
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Enuja » Mon May 11, 2009 8:06 pm UTC

Vanvier, a fair number of experts try to add their own expertise to Wikipedia without citing sources. Wikipedia is a tertiary source: even if you know something for certain, you have to publish it elsewhere before you can mention it in Wikipedia. I think that it is useful to have collaboratively edited collections of individual knowledge, but that can on websites that are not Wikipedia. It makes sense to have a popular, self-consciously third-party knowledge warehouse, and Wikipedia fulfills that role. It doesn't make sense to criticize Wikipedia for adhering to perspectives published in the media and ignoring activists on the sidelines (which, as far as I could tell, you were doing: if you were criticizing Wikipedia for something else, feel free to clarify); that's the point of a reliable tertiary reference work.

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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Vaniver » Mon May 11, 2009 10:29 pm UTC

I'm criticizing Wikipedia because of its management, both at the Foundation level and at the editorial level. Their policies are often ill-thought-through (no autobiographical information?) and poorly understood by the upper levels (Wikipedia's lawyer, at one point, claimed that libel on wikipedia was ok because "you can edit your own article," despite the rule that clearly prevents that).
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Minerva » Tue May 12, 2009 10:02 am UTC

That site someone mentioned above is called WikiScanner.

http://katrina.cs.caltech.edu/erenrich_ ... /index.php

Anyway, I think the trouble with Wikipedia, personally, is that there are such a large number of people who will put their politics and their ideologies ahead of making honest, impartial contributions, and if you try and make good, honest factual contributions which are credible, people will attack them if they don't agree with their particular hippy pseudoscience views.
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby VannA » Wed May 13, 2009 3:24 am UTC

Minerva wrote:good, honest factual contributions which are credible, people will attack them if they don't agree with their particular hippy pseudoscience views.


*cough* Or valid dissenting scientific opinions.
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Gelsamel » Wed May 13, 2009 3:29 am UTC

A great point brought up by that articles posted in N&A about the Jarre Wikipedia Page; Don't use information on wikipedia that is unsourced... even better, check out the sources themselves and then use those.
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby DreadArchon » Thu May 14, 2009 5:41 pm UTC

I pretty much stopped trusting Wikipedia after I tried to look up some physical constants once (I didn't have immediate access to my CRC Handbook). If a value is accepted to eight decimal places, it shouldn't be too much to ask to get it right to two.

I'm not worried about bias on WIkipedia so much as I am worried about data that's somewhat accurate. (Something can be biased and still based on truth, after all.)

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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Jourdy289 » Thu May 14, 2009 6:45 pm UTC

mrandrewv wrote:
Like it or not Wikipedia is the single most relied upon source of information in the world. What can we do to improve it? I don't mean individual editing, cause clearly that isn't working. I mean in terms of lasting, systemic change.

ciao.

Sorry to bust your bubble, but that's exactly the way to fix it. Just keep at it, is the key (I'm a Wikipedian!)
The thing is to only trust it as much as you trust any other resource, and besides, lot's of companies get their testimonials put into more "reliable" source, i.e. paying to have nice things said about them.
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby achan1058 » Tue May 26, 2009 4:47 pm UTC

DreadArchon wrote:I pretty much stopped trusting Wikipedia after I tried to look up some physical constants once (I didn't have immediate access to my CRC Handbook). If a value is accepted to eight decimal places, it shouldn't be too much to ask to get it right to two.
The same can be said for all textbooks or encyclopedia, though. I have textbooks which have made even more horrendous mathematical errors, enough that I can spot it at first glance, without actually really knowing the subject.

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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Babam » Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:05 pm UTC

The only issue I have with wikipedia are the hundreds of people who are constantly trying to gain modship or even Adminship. They go about this by revert every recent change they can find for the most obscene reasons. Wikipedia is fine, it's community and the way they obsess over becoming a mod is what is wrong.
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Ran4 » Thu Jul 02, 2009 1:55 am UTC

I'd say that nothing should be changed. Wikipedia has amazed me over and over again: their style simply WORKS.
As an avid wikipedia reader (and to some extent editor), I really have no clue on how to make wikipedia better.
Yes, there are mistakes on wikipedia, but they are most often corrected. Even though people in general are complete retards, wikipedia is simply amazingly reliable, especially considering the size.

The community is eccentric, that's true, but it does mainly consists of geniuses in a way. I mean, we are talking about hundreds/thousands of people who spend hours a day editing a textbook. What did you expect? I don't want the average Joe being the largest editor, because the average Joe is simply not capable. But I want the average Joe to be able to contribute, since that lets the good guys spend less time on "simple" things.

A thousand people creating two million 5000 word article with two hundred people correcting errors will give you something that is simply better than ten people (there's really few who would be able to work as much and as hard as needed to create good articles when they don't get paid) creating a hundred thousand 1000-word articles with no correction.

...What I'm trying to say, is: op, you don't understand wikipedia, so you can't have an opinion. :P

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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Von Haus » Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:25 am UTC

Ran4 wrote: you don't understand wikipedia, so you can't have an opinion.


Aww, well that's ruined it, and I was agreeing with everything you said up to then. :(

Wikipedia's main merit is that anyone can change what is on it, and so you will sometimes get people who are imature/biased changing it irresponsibly but on average the contributors want to improve it and so over time, it will slowly get better regardless of individual errors and bad changes. Stopping someone's right to an opinion kind of goes against what wikipedia does.

however I have been suprised how much articles can change. A year or so ago I read the Che Guevara wikipedia entry and went away thinking, "hmm, why did this murdering evil ******* become such a symbol to people." I read it again while looking into rum. (Good old wikipedia tangents.) It was amazing how much more balanced the article was (and longer) and actually made me change my opinions of him. I still disagree with some of his actions, but can see why people idolized him.
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Vaniver » Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:04 pm UTC

Von Haus wrote:Wikipedia's main merit is that anyone can change what is on it
But, this is demonstrably untrue. A lot of pages are unofficially and partially locked, where if you add things the editor whose pet it is likes, they stay, and if you add things the editor doesn't like, it disappears. As well, you can't edit a page about you- even if it's full of libelious errors.
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Internetmeme » Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:07 pm UTC

I would like to cite this article as my case in point:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedgie

This article was in shambles when I found it. There were about 20 bogus variants (The Yeastie is a wedgie that gives a girl a yeast infection. Oh Wikipedia, where would I be without you?).
Also, the Popular Culture was about 10 times as long as the article; we are talking about 70 different references with no contribution to the article. They were mainly X gives Y a wedgie in Z show.
I even recommended it for deletion since without all the fluff it was little more than a dictionary entry. Guess what? They kept the article on the grounds that it is notable. Also, the entire article is already in another article (List of School Pranks).

Also, some of the administrators there don't know how to do their job. I asked to semi-protect the wedgie page because of all the vandalism from anon. "There is not enough recent vandalism to justify semi-protecting." There had just been vandalism to the article, along with anon trying to renew the variants section.

That article, in my opinion, is the problem with wikipedia; some people should not be able to edit.

Also, there was pretty much a riot when Michael Jackson died. There were admins that locked the article because "he might not be dead" because at that point, TMZ was the only one reporting that. That's fine, tabloids aren't reputable. However, once all of the major news organizations (Fox, BBC, CNN, etc...) were reporting it, they still had it locked. Finally they semi-protected the article.

That is the other problem with wikipedia; some editors and admins deny reputable sources becuase it doesn't fit in with their own beliefs. Until the truth is glaring them in the face, some people just refuse to face the facts.
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby sje46 » Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:27 pm UTC

mrandrewv wrote:I have pointed out before that Wikipedia's Richard Dawkins page is nothing short of a poorly disguised fan site, where criticism is not allowed (no, I don't believe in god, yes I think Dawkins is generally right about a lot of things).

Link please? Of that particular page at that particular time? I'm just interested is all.

I don't know what I can say except that Wikipedia is very impressive. I almost never see any really bad information (or at least nothing too obvious) and I go on all the time.
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Random832 » Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:01 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:Uh... if you make an individual and well sourced edit then it -will- stay. Additions to articles don't get deleted for no reason. That IS part of the system.

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

But seriously - the ideal of wikipedia can sometimes be very different from the reality.

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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby zug » Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:50 pm UTC

I can't understand why wikipedia needs a wedgie entry in the first place, much less why anyone would be concerned about its scholarly accuracy. Wedgies are a topic that belongs on urbandictionary or encyclopediadramatica.
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby TaintedDeity » Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:59 pm UTC

That's completely contrary to the idea of wikipedia.
If it is noteworthy, there should be an article about it on wikipedia.
Silly ideas of 'quality' or 'class' need to bugger off and are the reason a lot of interesting subjects are ignored or thought of as taboo.
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby FoolishOwl » Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:21 pm UTC

I read some essays by the founders of Citizendium, and I have to say I don't think very well of it. Its founding principle is that Wikipedia can't work because it's too open and too egalitarian, and therefore cannot be truly authoritative. That misses the point, made above, that an encyclopedia is supposed to be the first word, not the last word, on a subject, and that for any subject worthy of interest, experts disagree on important details -- i.e., expert opinion != Absolute Truth.

And, Citizendium has only a small fraction of the number of articles that Wikipedia has. Wikipedia's open, egalitarian model *works*, and it works incredibly well, despite its difficulties. Wikipedia, and the Wikimedia project in general, is one of the most impressively democratic institutions in play, and it, and the FLOSS movement in software, give me a lot of hope.

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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby PieceofPi » Thu Jul 09, 2009 7:10 pm UTC

I have realized a while back that Wikipedia is very good for most things. However, anyone can edit it. (Blocking IP addresses doesn't work, as, for example, I get a different one every time I go online. [sarcasm] I love dial-up! [/sarcasm]) This means anything that has any controversy to it whatsoever almost always ends up showing the views of the majority (of IP addresses controlled, that is). As long as you remember that, you will be fine.

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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Yourself » Fri Jul 10, 2009 8:21 am UTC

{{sofixit}}

The coolest thing about wikipedia is that anyone can edit it and there is no centralized power structure, one of the big debates that's been going on in the community is over flagged revisions, which is an extension to mediawiki that, depending on the configuration, would require edits to be reviewed before going live. Flagged Revisions is currently impleneted on the German wikipedia, as well as the english wikibooks and wikisource but not on the english wikipedia. The debate for flagged revisions can be found here. As far as the concepts of wikipedia, I thought the TED talk by Jimbo a few years back was pretty good. Another key thing to remember about wikipedia is its not done yet, so many people come to it an expect it to be a finished source, which its not. There are usually between 130 and 250 edits per minute, a large number of which are bot edits or edits to talk pages, but it is still very much dynamic. There are just over 1,100 Featured articles out of the 2.8 million that exist. The reality of Wikipedia is the average article is a stub that doesn't meet standards, but its still impressive considering the project has only existed for about 8 years and it has been built entirely by people doing it in their spare time, if that isn't the essence of open source I don't know what is.

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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Diadem » Sun Jul 12, 2009 5:19 pm UTC

Internetmeme wrote:Also, there was pretty much a riot when Michael Jackson died. There were admins that locked the article because "he might not be dead" because at that point, TMZ was the only one reporting that. That's fine, tabloids aren't reputable. However, once all of the major news organizations (Fox, BBC, CNN, etc...) were reporting it, they still had it locked. Finally they semi-protected the article.

That is the other problem with wikipedia; some editors and admins deny reputable sources becuase it doesn't fit in with their own beliefs. Until the truth is glaring them in the face, some people just refuse to face the facts.

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a news source. It's goal is not to be the first to report on the death of notable celebrities. Do you really think there's anyone in the world who, upon hearing the rumor of Jackson's death, went to wikipedia to check if it was true?

Considering the considerable amount of media attention Jackson's death received, and the invariable influx of idiots on his wikipedia page, locking and later semi-protecting his page is a very logical step. If that means wikipedia is a few hours slower on reporting his death... Who the fuck cares. It's not a news source. It's an encyclopedia.
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Angel on the Steps
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Angel on the Steps » Sun Jul 12, 2009 6:52 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:Do you really think there's anyone in the world who, upon hearing the rumor of Jackson's death, went to wikipedia to check if it was true?


Haha... am I the only addict who would use Wikipedia out of sheer habit, even when it's not exactly the most appropriate information source?

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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby sje46 » Sun Jul 12, 2009 8:03 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
Internetmeme wrote:Also, there was pretty much a riot when Michael Jackson died. There were admins that locked the article because "he might not be dead" because at that point, TMZ was the only one reporting that. That's fine, tabloids aren't reputable. However, once all of the major news organizations (Fox, BBC, CNN, etc...) were reporting it, they still had it locked. Finally they semi-protected the article.

That is the other problem with wikipedia; some editors and admins deny reputable sources becuase it doesn't fit in with their own beliefs. Until the truth is glaring them in the face, some people just refuse to face the facts.

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a news source. It's goal is not to be the first to report on the death of notable celebrities. Do you really think there's anyone in the world who, upon hearing the rumor of Jackson's death, went to wikipedia to check if it was true?

Considering the considerable amount of media attention Jackson's death received, and the invariable influx of idiots on his wikipedia page, locking and later semi-protecting his page is a very logical step. If that means wikipedia is a few hours slower on reporting his death... Who the fuck cares. It's not a news source. It's an encyclopedia.

Wait, what? Am I misuderstanding your tone? The first place I went to see if Michael Jackson was dead was, in fact Wikipedia, and I'm sure that many millions of people checked there:
The news of Jackson's death spread quickly online, causing websites to crash and slow down from user overload. Both TMZ and the Los Angeles Times suffered outages.[52] Google believed the millions of people searching "Michael Jackson" meant it was under attack. Twitter reported a crash, as did Wikipedia at 3:15 PDT.[54] The Wikimedia Foundation reported nearly one million visitors to the Michael Jackson biography within one hour, probably the most visitors in a one-hour period to any article in Wikipedia's history.[55] AOL Instant Messenger collapsed for 40 minutes. AOL called it a "seminal moment in Internet history", adding, "We've never seen anything like it in terms of scope or depth."[56] Around 15 percent of Twitter posts (or 5,000 tweets per minute) mentioned Jackson when the news broke, compared to topics such as the Iranian elections or swine flu, which never rose above 5 percent.[57][58] Overall, web traffic was 11 percent higher than normal.[59]
.
Wikipedia should always be up to date. It is a place to gather accurate, sourced information, and the admins ought to be up that. The second a reliable new source had cconfirmed his death, it should have been added to Wikipedia.
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Vaniver
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby Vaniver » Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:43 am UTC

Diadem wrote:Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a news source. It's goal is not to be the first to report on the death of notable celebrities. Do you really think there's anyone in the world who, upon hearing the rumor of Jackson's death, went to wikipedia to check if it was true?
A lot of the people I know operate that way. I'll sometimes do it because I care very little whether I get accurate information, and it's more convenient than a google search which may not find recent events.
I mostly post over at LessWrong now.

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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby FoolishOwl » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:08 pm UTC

A somewhat more appropriate source for news would be Wikinews.

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zug
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby zug » Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:56 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:
Diadem wrote:
Internetmeme wrote:Also, there was pretty much a riot when Michael Jackson died. There were admins that locked the article because "he might not be dead" because at that point, TMZ was the only one reporting that. That's fine, tabloids aren't reputable. However, once all of the major news organizations (Fox, BBC, CNN, etc...) were reporting it, they still had it locked. Finally they semi-protected the article.

That is the other problem with wikipedia; some editors and admins deny reputable sources becuase it doesn't fit in with their own beliefs. Until the truth is glaring them in the face, some people just refuse to face the facts.

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a news source. It's goal is not to be the first to report on the death of notable celebrities. Do you really think there's anyone in the world who, upon hearing the rumor of Jackson's death, went to wikipedia to check if it was true?

Considering the considerable amount of media attention Jackson's death received, and the invariable influx of idiots on his wikipedia page, locking and later semi-protecting his page is a very logical step. If that means wikipedia is a few hours slower on reporting his death... Who the fuck cares. It's not a news source. It's an encyclopedia.

Wait, what? Am I misuderstanding your tone? The first place I went to see if Michael Jackson was dead was, in fact Wikipedia, and I'm sure that many millions of people checked there:
The news of Jackson's death spread quickly online, causing websites to crash and slow down from user overload. Both TMZ and the Los Angeles Times suffered outages.[52] Google believed the millions of people searching "Michael Jackson" meant it was under attack. Twitter reported a crash, as did Wikipedia at 3:15 PDT.[54] The Wikimedia Foundation reported nearly one million visitors to the Michael Jackson biography within one hour, probably the most visitors in a one-hour period to any article in Wikipedia's history.[55] AOL Instant Messenger collapsed for 40 minutes. AOL called it a "seminal moment in Internet history", adding, "We've never seen anything like it in terms of scope or depth."[56] Around 15 percent of Twitter posts (or 5,000 tweets per minute) mentioned Jackson when the news broke, compared to topics such as the Iranian elections or swine flu, which never rose above 5 percent.[57][58] Overall, web traffic was 11 percent higher than normal.[59]
.
Wikipedia should always be up to date. It is a place to gather accurate, sourced information, and the admins ought to be up that. The second a reliable new source had cconfirmed his death, it should have been added to Wikipedia.

This is not an appropriate use for wikipedia, though. As stated above, there are many other sources for news. Since wiki is editable by anyone, prevention of vandalism (which is inevitable with the death of a controversial public figure) is much more important than getting news onto the damn page.
Velifer wrote:Go to the top of a tower, drop a heavy weight and a photon, observe when they hit the ground.

sje46
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Re: Wikipedia fails again

Postby sje46 » Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:04 am UTC

Oh, I'm not saying they shouldn't lock it. It would be idiotic to not lock an article like that. I'm just saying that if they do lock a current event article, then the moderators (or whatever they're called) need to keep it up to date themselves.
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