Monday, September 24, 2018

Guest Post: CrowsNest on how Robin Leach was Declared a Suicide by Wikipedia

This was originally a comment on the Wikipedia Sucks! messageboard.

The Two-Minute Suicide of Robin Leach

by CrowsNest

Attack them where most expect it!

On 24 August, there were 104,706 page views of the Wikipedia article for Robin Leach. Why? He died, of course.

On that day, for two minutes, instead of the reliably sourced cause of death, a stroke, the article apparently said he shot himself.

War, what war?

Now, if you can believe it, the good people of Wikipediocracy have spent today claiming it is not a big deal. Beeblebrox, Poetlister, AndyTheGimp, all take the view this is somehow not an issue. Certainly not one worth reporting in the media.

From tiny acorns

Their lazy assumption seems to be that being up for two minutes means it was never seen. Well, on that day, it seems reasonable to assume it could have been seen by around 70 people. And that's on the pretty shaky assumption that those 100,000+ views were spread out evenly right across the day and night. Here it is relevant to note the death was announced on Twitter at 14.41 UTC, the vandalism occurred at 16.07 UTC. So 416 people seems like a more accurate guesstimate, if assuming 50,000 views in the first two hours. Not bad for 120 seconds of vandalism.....

Wikipedia, you know.....the encyclopedia!

They also lazily assume that everyone in the world understands Wikipedia can be vandalised, and indeed that it is officially not to be assumed to be accurate at all, ever, so you should not repeat what you find there on Twitter or Facebook without first checking the source. The fact that one of the three sources included in the article for the cause of death, a Forbes article, has been viewed just 622 times, puts that assumption into perspective.

Sick, sick, sick

And so we arrive at a familiar conclusion. Rather than sympathizing with the potential victims of Wikipedia, and it really isn't a stretch to see how those sort of numbers as a first seed quantity, could start a rumour that spreads far enough to affect friends and family in their time of grief, these pathetic fanboys who so laughingly like to think of themselves as critics, seek to excuse Wikipedia, absolve it of all blame. As if nobody within the cult has ever even uttered the words Do No Harm.


Not satisfied with that, these sick bastards have all but convinced themselves that the only feasible explanation for a reporter picking up on this story, is that they were the source of the vandalism. Their story was dropped at 16.39 UTC, and as they bizarrely condemn her for, it only included two lines and a screencap about the vandalism, the rest being standard obituary type stuff.

Anyone for cake?

As usual, they want to have it all ways. They condemn her for not writing enough about the vandalism, while arguing she should have written nothing at all. They argue she is a lazy hack who doesn't know one end of Wikipedia from the other, while also alleging she knows enough to knock up hoax pages using untraceable IPs, screen cap them, add them to her piece, all in under an hour, and be confident she would not be found out, her career ruined.

If she knows her way around Wikipedia and is generally good at her job, the timeline and story content is feasible. It would mean they have believe she is knowledgeable and good at her job.....

Fumbling in the dark

Worst of all, they want people to think they are Wikipedia experts, when they couldn't even find the vandalised version in the article history. WTF? Never heard of WikiBlame? Even if not, the vandalism was only the 23rd edit made to the article that day. You can't do twenty three mouse clicks before you publicly accuse journalists of making shit up? And then when someone shows you the publicly visible page anyone in the world can see, you accuse them of creating it themselves?

A love that dare not speak its name

And so yet again, we are at a familiar place. Anonymous cowards like this, making public accusations like that about people whose real names are easily found, with sexist overtones all round. All because they can't stand the thought of Wikipedia being criticised, because they love it so much.

To the shitmobile!

Beeblebrox loves it so much, he even emailed the reporter to question her. I'm guessing he didn't address her as "that hack", as he already had on Wikipediocracy. Rather than be grateful she bothered to reply, he used the content of that mail to launch further attacks on her professional standards. He of course did not reveal the full contents of the email, so we are apparently meant to trust this nerk that he is accurately summarising her message.

The full story?

We can assume Beeblebrox didn't furnish her with the details that might have allowed her to update her story. Namely that it seems it was only due to her story that anyone in Wikipedia thought to even delete that piece of vandalism in such a way that it could not be seen even in an old version, i.e. it couldn't be screencapped and/or passed off as legitimate information from Wikipedia.

Sack the janitors

By the time Beeblebrox got around to that, said old revisions had been publicly accessible for just over two days. Keen observers will note this was not his first thought on hearing about this vandalism today, he first had the idea to publicly trash the journalist and send her an email, and only then, clean up Wikipedia's mess.

1 comment:

  1. I have to say that between quick vandalism and seven years (& counting) of English Wikipedia (in the person of a trustee no less) suggesting that outrage over the Tuskegee Study of Syphilis was overblown, I -- personally -- find the latter more scandalous. I should write it up. Who knows, maybe The Wiki Cabal would be interested in such a story. ^^ You'll notice Beeblebrox doesn't seem too interested in the misleading syphilis entry.