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BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!

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katlaughing 16 Aug 07 - 10:14 PM
Bee 16 Aug 07 - 10:44 PM
Rapparee 16 Aug 07 - 11:03 PM
katlaughing 16 Aug 07 - 11:12 PM
wysiwyg 16 Aug 07 - 11:24 PM
Stilly River Sage 16 Aug 07 - 11:58 PM
Liz the Squeak 17 Aug 07 - 01:30 AM
Richard Bridge 17 Aug 07 - 02:46 AM
Bee 17 Aug 07 - 08:09 AM
GUEST,Lighter 17 Aug 07 - 08:14 AM
Liz the Squeak 17 Aug 07 - 08:32 AM
Rapparee 17 Aug 07 - 09:42 AM
KB in Iowa 17 Aug 07 - 10:14 AM
katlaughing 17 Aug 07 - 11:05 AM
Bill D 17 Aug 07 - 11:27 AM
Ron Davies 17 Aug 07 - 11:34 AM
wysiwyg 17 Aug 07 - 11:48 AM
wysiwyg 17 Aug 07 - 11:50 AM
Riginslinger 17 Aug 07 - 11:52 AM
redsnapper 17 Aug 07 - 12:34 PM
Rapparee 17 Aug 07 - 01:28 PM
Stilly River Sage 17 Aug 07 - 02:28 PM
JohnInKansas 17 Aug 07 - 06:24 PM
katlaughing 17 Aug 07 - 07:18 PM
JohnInKansas 17 Aug 07 - 08:48 PM
Donuel 17 Aug 07 - 09:42 PM
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autolycus 18 Aug 07 - 06:54 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 18 Aug 07 - 10:28 AM
Bill D 18 Aug 07 - 11:19 AM
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Subject: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: katlaughing
Date: 16 Aug 07 - 10:14 PM

More reasons not to use Wiki as an "authority" AND to not trust big government!! Read on, from Wired.com:

Politics : Online Rights
See Who's Editing Wikipedia - Diebold, the CIA, a Campaign
By John Borland
Email 08.14.07 | 2:00 AM

CalTech graduate student Virgil Griffith built a search tool that traces IP addresses of those who make Wikipedia changes.


On November 17th, 2005, an anonymous Wikipedia user deleted 15 paragraphs from an article on e-voting machine-vendor Diebold, excising an entire section critical of the company's machines. While anonymous, such changes typically leave behind digital fingerprints offering hints about the contributor, such as the location of the computer used to make the edits.

In this case, the changes came from an IP address reserved for the corporate offices of Diebold itself. And it is far from an isolated case. A new data-mining service launched Monday traces millions of Wikipedia entries to their corporate sources, and for the first time puts comprehensive data behind longstanding suspicions of manipulation, which until now have surfaced only piecemeal in investigations of specific allegations.

Wikipedia Scanner -- the brainchild of Cal Tech computation and neural-systems graduate student Virgil Griffith -- offers users a searchable database that ties millions of anonymous Wikipedia edits to organizations where those edits apparently originated, by cross-referencing the edits with data on who owns the associated block of internet IP addresses.

Inspired by news last year that Congress members' offices had been editing their own entries, Griffith says he got curious, and wanted to know whether big companies and other organizations were doing things in a similarly self-interested vein.

"Everything's better if you do it on a huge scale, and automate it," he says with a grin.

This database is possible thanks to a combination of Wikipedia policies and (mostly) publicly available information.

The online encyclopedia allows anyone to make edits, but keeps detailed logs of all these changes. Users who are logged in are tracked only by their user name, but anonymous changes leave a public record of their IP address.

Share Your Sleuthing!

Cornered any companies polishing up their Wikipedia entries? Spotted any government spooks rewriting history? Try Virgil Griffith's Wikipedia Scanner yourself, then submit your finds and vote on other readers' discoveries here.

The organization also allows downloads of the complete Wikipedia, including records of all these changes.

Griffith thus downloaded the entire encyclopedia, isolating the XML-based records of anonymous changes and IP addresses. He then correlated those IP addresses with public net-address lookup services such as ARIN, as well as private domain-name data provided by IP2Location.com.

The result: A database of 34.4 million edits, performed by 2.6 million organizations or individuals ranging from the CIA to Microsoft to Congressional offices, now linked to the edits they or someone at their organization's net address has made.

Some of this appears to be transparently self-interested, either adding positive, press release-like material to entries, or deleting whole swaths of critical material.

Voting-machine company Diebold provides a good example of the latter, with someone at the company's IP address apparently deleting long paragraphs detailing the security industry's concerns over the integrity of their voting machines, and information about the company's CEO's fund-raising for President Bush.

The text, deleted in November 2005, was quickly restored by another Wikipedia contributor, who advised the anonymous editor, "Please stop removing content from Wikipedia. It is considered vandalism."

A Diebold Election Systems spokesman said he'd look into the matter but could not comment by press time.

Wal-Mart has a series of relatively small changes in 2005 that that burnish the company's image on its own entry while often leaving criticism in, changing a line that its wages are less than other retail stores to a note that it pays nearly double the minimum wage, for example. Another leaves activist criticism on community impact intact, while citing a "definitive" study showing Wal-Mart raised the total number of jobs in a community.

As has been previously reported, politician's offices are heavy users of the system. Former Montana Sen. Conrad Burns' office, for example, apparently changed one critical paragraph headed "A controversial voice" to "A voice for farmers," with predictably image-friendly content following it.

Perhaps interestingly, many of the most apparently self-interested changes come from before 2006, when news of the Congressional offices' edits reached the headlines. This may indicate a growing sophistication with the workings of Wikipedia over time, or even the rise of corporate Wikipedia policies.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales told Wired News he was aware of the new service, but needed time to experiment with it before commenting.

The vast majority of changes are fairly innocuous, however. Employees at the CIA's net address, for example, have been busy -- but with little that would indicate their place of apparent employment, or a particular bias.

One entry on "Black September in Jordan" contains wholesale additions, with specific details that read like a popular history book or an eyewitness' memoir.

Many more are simple copy edits, or additions to local town entries or school histories. One CIA entry deals with the details of lyrics sung in a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode.

Griffith says he launched the project hoping to find scandals, particularly at obvious targets such as companies like Halliburton. But there's a more practical goal, too: By exposing the anonymous edits that companies such as drugs and big pharmaceutical companies make in entries that affect their businesses, it could help experts check up on the changes and make sure they're accurate, he says.

For now, he has just scratched the surface of the database of millions of entries. But he's putting it online so others can look too.

The nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, did not respond to e-mail and telephone inquiries Monday.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Bee
Date: 16 Aug 07 - 10:44 PM

<Calls up old Laugh-In character to respond to katlaughing...>
Vaaarry Interesting!

Neat find, kat... but it seems some CIA employees are very bored: BTVS songs?!


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Rapparee
Date: 16 Aug 07 - 11:03 PM

Big deal. If it's online, don't believe it without verifying it off-line, preferably more than once.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: katlaughing
Date: 16 Aug 07 - 11:12 PM

Bee...I can just hear that voice in my head!

It is a big deal, Rapaire, as far as I am concerned, esp. in such cases as Diebold and what they removed. Want to hand them another election?:-)

I don't give much of Wiki any credence, of course, without verification, and off-line is better, I agree. I, for one, am glad this young man was able to expose it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: wysiwyg
Date: 16 Aug 07 - 11:24 PM

Wikid!

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 16 Aug 07 - 11:58 PM

You're never going to convince (what I would guess is) a fairly substantial number of casual Wikipedia users to check the sources and double-check the material, but if the Wiki site is more transparent perhaps a few more of them will get the idea.

Good article, Kat!

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 01:30 AM

Where are they going to double check their material? On the Internet of course! People are rapidly losing the habit of cross checking and confirming their sources, ergo, more and more incorrect information is being presented as truth.

It's nothing new. History has been edited for centuries. You look in a history book today and I bet it will tell you that Richard III was a child-killing philanderer who wanted to marry his niece.

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 02:46 AM

You mean he wasn't?


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Bee
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 08:09 AM

LtS read Josephine Tey's Daughter of Time I betcha. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 08:14 AM

Not according to Wikipedia.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 08:32 AM

There was a documentary a few years back on BBC TV about the legitimacy of Richard's sucession. Contemporary accounts from France proved that Edward was indeed, illegitimate. With Clarence's attainment, Richard was the legitimate heir.

I did read 'The Daughter of Time' but I also read other books as well.

I'm disappointed by people such as Simon Scharma, Christopher Lee (not the actor, the historian and author of 'This Sceptered Isle') and others who persist in refusing to look further than their own noses or observe with the detatchment of a referee.

And that's not the only example in history. History is (or was) recorded by the winner. All down the ages, the winning side has written and rewritten its own version. Take the actions of certain ethnic/religious groups in the last World War. There are still people who believe certain attrocities did not happen because that's what they were taught, despite masses of evidence to the contrary. These days, with internet access being what it is, it is so much easier to corrupt or tweak or bend the truth that one should never trust anything that doesn't come from at least 3 independent and material (rather than virtual) sources.

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Rapparee
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 09:42 AM

No, it's not that Diebold edited the Wikipedia ad. THAT is unconscionable, but such things are done all the time. What I find distressing is the reliance people put on such things as Wikipedia.

Convenient, yes -- I use it myself, with caution. Accurate...well....


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: KB in Iowa
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 10:14 AM

My wife is a middle school librarian. She wages a constant battle to get students to not take Wikipedia at face value and to check another source (or three). She reports that it is an uphill fight to even get them to check another internet source.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 11:05 AM

What I find distressing is the reliance people put on such things as Wikipedia.

Me, too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 11:27 AM

The important point is that if Wikipedia can be maliciously edited, it can also be restored quickly...as was done in these stories.

Keith Olbermann did a long bit on this last night, as HIS biography was one that had been altered....by someone at Fox News! The important point was that the 'alteration' only lasted about 1½ hours!

Of course a Wiki needs to be double-checked, especially about controversial material, but there are far more folks out there doing sane & accurate editing & correcting than there are doing sneaky & malicious editing. I really don't see why folks think they can get away with this.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Ron Davies
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 11:34 AM

Fascinating. Especially the "adjustments" made to the Walmart entry. It really is too bad so many people seem to uncritically accept Wikipedia as an unbiased source.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: wysiwyg
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 11:48 AM

NO source is unbaised, as far as that goes. The trick of careful research is to weigh primary and secondary sources in light of their biases, incomplete information, etc. The same thing has been going on in science in recent years-- any latest theory is annoounced and usually swallowed as "... scientists now know that blah blah blah..." when the reality is that science is all about hypothesizing and integrating what is discovered and what is suspected.

The spin can be deliberate or just a result of sloppiness.

So I agree that Wiki-type source reliance is silly, but so is a lot of other popular "knowledge." And we (I hope inadvertently) perpetuate a fair amount of it right here at Mudcat, in BS and in music threads.

[shrug] I think it's human to want to feel that we KNOW a thing-- that a thing CAN be fully known. Sometimes we [we human beans] are just in a hurry to get to that feeling?

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: wysiwyg
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 11:50 AM

corrected post

NO source is unbaised, as far as that goes. The trick of careful research is to weigh primary and secondary sources in light of their biases, incomplete information, etc. The same thing has been going on in science in recent years-- any latest theory is annoounced and usually swallowed as "... scientists now know that blah blah blah..." when the reality is that science is all about hypothesizing and integrating what is discovered and what is suspected. It's actually more correct to say, "Here's what we think today based on what we know so far."

The spin can be deliberate or just a result of sloppiness.

So I agree that Wiki-type source reliance is silly, but so is a lot of other popular "knowledge." And we (I hope inadvertently) perpetuate a fair amount of it right here at Mudcat, in BS and in music threads.

[shrug] I think it's human to want to feel that we KNOW a thing-- that a thing CAN be fully known. Sometimes we [we human beans] are just in a hurry to get to that feeling?

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Riginslinger
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 11:52 AM

"My wife is a middle school librarian. She wages a constant battle to get students to not take Wikipedia at face value and to check another source..."

             This is probably the biggest problem of all. Kids have a tendancy to take anything they see in print as truth.

               I have used it for research, and printed things out, and then have gone back to the same entry and found the things I'd printed earlier to be missing.

               Most of the stuff I was looking into shouldn't have been contraversial at all. I couldn't think of who might have been motivated to change the entries.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: redsnapper
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 12:34 PM

One advantage of Wikipedia is exactly that it is open access allowing a wide range of users to read, edit and track entries providing a kind of informal peer review. That could sometimes have some advantages over resources compiled and edited by a restricted group. Mr Griffith's automated tool could be an important contribution to that process. I agree though that nothing should be taken at face value and that Wiki entries should always be cross-checked against other references. I have found in my area of work that Wikipedia entries can sometimes be better than other sources.

RS


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Rapparee
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 01:28 PM

There are six (6) basic problems with using the Internet, uncritically, as the source for data:

1. Typos. They can change meanings or render meanings meaningless.
2. Accidental or deliberate errors of fact.
3. Opinion expressed as fact.
4. Out of date information.
5. Bias.
6. Deliberate fraud.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 02:28 PM

Wikipedia is a one-stop place for some folks, but as databases and full-text materials grow in number, for those who want to do all of their research online they MAY, and they can get reliable sources along the way. The university library where I work has thousands upon thousands of journals, full books, abstracts, theses and dissertation databases, you name it, available online. The trick is to identify what you need and to retrieve it. We have a sophisticated network so people who are part of the university community are the only ones with access (licensing is the real bugger here) but you'll find that many public libraries, and states with good public library systems, have a lot of these resources available, or at least the abstracts and catalogs. You can get it online or you can get it ILL, but you can get it. A lot of the time.

Wikipedia may be a starting place. It hopefully has the names and keywords, and they're spelled correctly, and you can move out from there. Another place I find interesting to start a simple project is Google Scholar (though it is very spotty and incomplete) and Google Sets (http://labs.google.com/sets). It predicts other names based upon the ones you give it. I just opened it and entered "N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, Louise Erdrich, Alison Coke Hedge" and it came up with several other writers and some of the works they have written. When you're fleshing out a subject and trying to list everything you think you need to include, this is an interesting exercise to see what else is out there that may be related that you might not have considered.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 06:24 PM

The article states that the database has been made "publicly available," but gives no web addy where you can look at it? A private(?) email is cited, but that's not helpful to anyone who'd like to check it out.

(Note that I haven't tried searching wired.com - yet.)

I'm not really inclined to disbelieve claims about any amount of "editing" that goes on; but if it's public info, where is it publicly accessible? Has anyone searched?

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 07:18 PM

Looks as though you might find something of interest at WikiScanner, John.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 08:48 PM

Good link, kat. It looks like he's leaving lots of work for the curious. "Audience participation data mongering" - could make a decent enough song(?).

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Donuel
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 09:42 PM

"They" delete more than Wikipedia contributions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 09:55 PM

Check out the link that says "[ media ppl are required read this before asking questions ]" at the WikiScanner site. Down toward the bottom he suggests - by saying so - that he has some "other projects" in the works.

He might be working on finding out what "They" are doing, and if he comes up with something we might find that guy that "They" disappeared a while back.

What the #@$! was his name --- started with a "D" or something, didn't it?

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Rapparee
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 10:42 PM

How easily one can become an unperson....


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: autolycus
Date: 18 Aug 07 - 06:54 AM

All this shows why education must be about far more than reading, wrighting (or wroughting), arithmetic, and subject subjects (geog, bio and the rest0

    It must include critical thinking, evaluation, even philosophy and sociology and media studies, so that students begin to know how to approach and get to grips with their world, to see how it works, and what 'knowing' means.


    There's a whole essay/tome in all this. (As usual).





       Ivor


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 18 Aug 07 - 10:28 AM

Spot on, Bill D.

Most recent studies have shown Wikipedia to be at least as reliable as Britannica, and obviously it's vastly bigger. Use it sensibly and it is a fantastic resource.

That article quoted by Kat is certainly interesting but it's not exactly strong on concrete evidence of sytematic abuse by the self-interested. The examples quoted (some of them dating back a while) are the kind of stuff that might be expected or predicted. As such it is soon noticed and - as Bill said - is quickly sorted.

By the way, LtS, it's This SCEPTRED Isle, being the story of Britain, not the US. That was indeed a quirky slightly one-dimensional race through a lot of history. But you could say the same about books by Corelli Barnett, AJP Taylor etc. They're all useful but it's better not to rely on any one of them to the exclusion of all else.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Aug 07 - 11:19 AM

and when you think about it, Mudcat itself is a 'form' of an editable database. Though not as direct as a Wiki, we are constantly getting new information, both about music as well as diverse other things. The big difference is that all the changes 'usually' remain, so one can follow the process and debate....but in the end, it is usually possible to sort out authorship of songs, most common lyrics, meanings of phrases...etc.
   Obviously, some topics have no one 'right' answer, but it is possible to read some strong defenses by committed exponents of viewpoints.
   I don't mean to belabor the comparison, but only to suggest that, with a little effort, it IS possible to sort out better data from dubious data because knowledgeable people are always chiming in with updates and clarifications.

Neither Wikipedia nor Mudcat & its song database should be taken as 'revealed truth', but over time, both tend towards accuracy, simply because of the Delphic principle of better answers arising from many inputs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: autolycus
Date: 18 Aug 07 - 02:17 PM

I'm constantly finding errors in printed reference books.

Harvey Einbinder sharpened up Britannica when he discovered how many errors that had. So he published The Myth of the Britannica, showing they'd gone to sleep on the job, having not revised many articles in yonks.

And unfortunately, even if a fact is in half-a-dozen encyclopedias, that still doesn't rove it's necessarily correct.

Do young students know how wiki is assembled?






       Ivor


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Riginslinger
Date: 18 Aug 07 - 02:19 PM

"but over time, both tend towards accuracy, simply because of the Delphic principle of better answers arising from many inputs."


            But the Religious Right is always moving to cut off debate.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: autolycus
Date: 18 Aug 07 - 07:36 PM

As do those in power.





       Ivor


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Aug 07 - 08:20 PM

There has to some mechanism worked out to let the "religious right" go on in their misguided way, but without effect on the rest of us.

I can't control how fools think, but I will not let them tell ME how to think or behave....and this principle needs to be deeply embedded in the laws & culture....not just obliquely referred to, then ignored.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Riginslinger
Date: 18 Aug 07 - 09:19 PM

Bill D - Yes, I agree with you completely. I guess the problem is, they don't want to share the stage, they think they can convert everybody else to their perverted way of thinking, and they think it's the right thing to do.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: autolycus
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 03:35 AM

How do we know when we're being ill-informed?





          Ivor


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Riginslinger
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 09:45 AM

When somebody tells you the planet earth is only six thousand years old and that dinosaur bones were placed here by the devil to lead you astray, that's a pretty good indication you're being ill-informed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: pattyClink
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 09:54 AM

A Youtube favorite

Lewis Black: Fossils, the Devil's Handiwork


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Jeri
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 10:17 AM

Here's another article, Wikipedia and the art of censorship, from The Independent, 18 Aug 07.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Greg F.
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 10:56 AM

Wikipedia is a BLOG, folks, B-L-O-G, not an encyclopedia or a reliable source for anything..

This is probably the biggest problem of all. Kids have a tendancy to take anything they see in print as truth.

Kids do? And where do they get this behavior from? Adults, who are just as gullible, but should know better.

Actually, its much worse: these days the Boobocracy tends to question things in print, but believe anything posted on the internet.

Oh, ye generation of morons.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Bill D
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 11:08 AM

no, Greg F, Wikipedia is NOT a 'blog'. A blog is one persons opinion, kep & edited by that person only. Wikipedia is a collaboration of many people who can correct each other.
As I and others say above, you should still take care in using it, but it tends to have accurate information much more often than not, and unlike a printed encyclopedia, it can BE corrected instantly if better data is found.

The "Boobocracy" will be there forever, but maybe we can gradually lead them toward the BETTER internet sources.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 11:24 AM

I looked at Jeri's link, and found the following, and I have added my comments in bold:

The Republican Party and Iraq

The Republican Party edited Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party entry so it made it clear that the US-led invasion was not a "US-led occupation" but a "US-led liberation."


I'd say that's within the spirit of Wikipedia. The two expressions are equally subjective statements of opinion. I happen to agree with the "occupation" more so than "liberation", but neither is a matter of objective fact.

The CIA and casualties of war

A computer with a CIA IP address was used to change a graphic on casualties of the Iraq war by adding the warning that many of the figures were estimated and not broken down by class. Another entry on former CIA chief William Colby was edited to expand his cv.


Seems to me that both of these changes are entirely appropriate, assuming the figures were in fact estimated and not broken down, and that the facts in the expanded cv are correct. This use of Wikipedia is exactly what Wikipedia should be about.

I am sure I could go further (and I'm going to) through the article, and I'd find other changes which, at least by implication, are claimed to be illegitimate. I'm sure I would find plenty that are flat-out wrong, too. But not every change made by a party with a special interest is an intellectual crime against Wikipedia and the general public.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 01:56 PM

Do young students know how wiki is assembled?

Well, Autolycus, if by wiki you mean Wikipedia (there are lots of wikis, as many young students could tell you), it could hardly make itself more transparent. As an admittedly sweeping generalisation, I'd say old students are more likely than young to find the newer online technologies somewhat baffling.

Uncle DaveO is on to a good point. Some of the cited "abuses" may in fact be perfectly legitimate. Any Amnesty employee prowlihg around Wikipedia at the workplace might reasonably disagree that Amnesty is anti-American, as I do myself. OK maybe that person should have used the monicker "Amnesty employee" but in the end it's no big deal. Wikipedia's strength is the size of the consensus it can usually bring to bear.

Doubters might find it interesting to look up an obviously controversial subject and then click the discussion tab to find out how the article got to be the way it is. More often than not, even quite vitriolic debates end in agreement to work towards wording that can be accepted by all factions as "neutral point of view." Some of the entries concerned with the former Yugoslavia, where some of the contributors were recently and literally at war with each other, are good examples.

There is however one aspect of Wikipedia that makes some people instantly suspicious: no-one seems to be making any money out of it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: autolycus
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 04:08 PM

giginslinger, that's true, and an isolated example. my question was general.

Fionn, i also think the methos is transparent. That, tho' doesn't make it transparent to everyone, like naive youngsters who may not know how to "read" things like wikiped. in its background and intellectual assumptions.






      Ivor


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Subject: BS: Wikipedia - how reliable?
From: Nickhere
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 04:44 PM

Computer program  reveals FBI, CIA edited Wikipedia entries
17/08/2007 10:07 WASHINGTON,  August 17 (RIA Novosti) - A new scanning
program has revealed that the FBI and  CIA have been editing Wikipedia
entries on
topics ranging from the Iraq war to  Guantanamo. 
WikiScanner, developed by CalTech  graduate student Virgil Griffith, has
traced editorial changes made to the  online encyclopedia to FBI and CIA
computers, including the removal of satellite  imagery of the Guantanamo
prison camp on
the island of Cuba, where the United  States has detained suspected
terrorists since 2002, and redactions of articles  on the invasion of
Iraq in 2003. 
The program revealed that the CIA  edited entries about its former
director,
William Colby, altering details of his  career, and that a graphic on
casualties in Iraq was manipulated to downplay the  figures. 
A number of commercial companies  were also found to have edited entries
related to them, in clear violation of  Wikipedia's editorial guidelines
that
disqualify people or organizations from  editing articles that concern
them
directly. 
However, a spokeswoman for  Wikipedia's parent company, Wikimedia, said
the
online encyclopedia was in any  event self-correcting, and that any
misleading
entries are usually quickly  rectified. 
The FBI did not have any comment,  and the CIA insisted that all of its
computers are used responsibly. 
© 2005 RIA Novosti 

The link to the story is here -

CIA & FBI editing Wikipedia


I suppose the CIA and FBI might cite those all-embracing 'security concerns' in their editorial process, and it seems a bit unfair that people cannot directly edit information given on themselves, though I understand Wikipedia has strict libel policies. And of course the Doubting Thomases will point to the fact the story comes from a Russian news agency.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipedia - how reliable?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 04:59 PM

If Wikipedia wishes to be authoritative, it must appoint reviewers who have credibility through academic standing or proven subject knowledge.

I have not seen discussion of the 'editing' story in the Washington Post or the New York Times or other responsible publication yet; whether there is any truth to the story is hard to judge.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipedia - how reliable?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 05:05 PM

WWikipedia reflects Wickiality


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipedia - how reliable?
From: Nickhere
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 05:15 PM

I've just seen that Katlaughing has already introduced this topic on another thread, so I'll defer to that thread.
    Threads combined.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Wicked Impediment on WikiPedia?!
From: Riginslinger
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 09:28 PM

I think most people would agree that the people behind Wikipedia meant it as a means to bring factual information to researchers. What's to be done about things like the Republican party perverting entries to give the data the political spin they want it to convey?


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