Wednesday, November 12, 2014

"Operation Swill" and TGI Friday's - or: Don't Go To New Jersey, And Don't Look It Up On Wikipedia

 Another guest post from the Man in the TARDIS, Doctor Why.

Ever heard of "Operation Swill"? Happened in May 2013, and was widely reported, yet today it's barely remembered. One would swear there was no such bust.

Note this part: "Twenty-nine bars and restaurants, nearly half of them TGI Fridays", okay? Ya got that? One of America's biggest restaurant chains was involved, at multiple franchise locations in New Jersey. Something about putting rubbing alcohol in liquor bottles and serving it to patrons, disgustingly enough.

Now, go to the TGI Friday's article on Wikipedia. Nothing. Not even a "Controversies" or an "Issues" section. Nothing bad ever, ever happens at or around TGI Friday's, according to Wikipedia.

Look at the history of the article, it shows the common signs of carefully concealed paid editing. Numerous small changes by a mess of IPs and minor accounts that do an assortment of things. More obvious is the presence of that notorious Burger King employee, Jerem43. He's been "watching" this article quite a bit, until recently.

Here's the thing: last May, someone tried to insert a paragraph about "Operation Swill", a fact which would embarrass any restaurant chain mightly. Other editors expanded it. But it only lasted a month, because Jerem43 smugly removed it, snarling "Remove section that concerns TGI Friday's franchisees, it is not about the corporate entity known as Fridays."

Jerem43 also removed a section about a number of Friday's locations being closed due to the 2008 recession. "Remove section relating to defunct franchise in one city - unrealted to the company as a whole." (sic)

So, this is one of the "clever" things about business franchising. If a franchisee feeds his customers rubbing alcohol and "dirty water" and calls it "top-shelf liquor brands", well, hell, that's not the fault of the brandname owner. Not only that, they'll get their paid editor to remove any such scurrilous information from Wikipedia.

Which, to this day, does not mention "Operation Swill" anywhere. The head of the New Jersey Alcohol Board of Control, Mike Halfacre, had a Wikipedia biography. Which was put up for deletion  two months after Operation Swill, by "I am One of Many", a "spamfighter" who likes to report usernames as "spamusernames". Media coverage of Operation Swill was mentioned as one reason to keep it, and it was kept. Yet even Halfacre's biography today doesn't mention Operation Swill, one of his biggest career successes. Why?

And as of November 2014, Jerem43 is still carefully manicuring "History of Burger King", in spite of his user page being prominently tagged "I am going back to school after 25 years. I will be editing Wikipedia a bit less. I am checking up daily, but cannot devote a lot of time to it." Guess the money's worth neglecting schoolwork. What other restaurant chains is he "serving"? His edit summary mentions hundreds of edits to "List of McDonald's products", "KFC", and "Wendy's", in addition to his thousands of edits to Burger King articles, so he must be a full-service editor for the fast food industry.

As if anyone cares, mind you. And so far as we can see, no one does. Enjoy your whiskey sour.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Guest Post on Jimmy Wales

 Below is a work of raging genius from a man who may (or may not) have his own TARDIS.

Wales Speaks, And We Laugh (but not because he's a great comedian)
by Doctor Why

As long as we're discussing the degeneration of Wikipedia and its Holy Man, we might as well parse the closing speech he gave at the 2014 Wikimania. Because it's classic Jimmy. He's a shitty speech-giver, which only makes his desirability as a public speaker all the more baffling.

1: "This is my annual traditional talk and one of the things I traditionally do in my annual traditional talk is get everyone to stand up and say how many Wikimanias you've been to, but we did that in the opening ceremony, so I'm just going to get right down to talking about what I wanted to say this year."

That's how he started it. Amateurish, stupid, an attempt at humor that falls flat. (You may have noticed by now that Objectivists have no detectable sense of humor, and Jimmy fits the profile.)

2: "So, first of all, in a "State of the Wiki" address, one of the things I've done in the past is to talk about statistics -- statistics about how we're doing -- how many articles and how many languages and so forth like that.
But this year I just didn't want to to do that. You all know those numbers as well as I do or even better."

No, they don't. The few statistics the WMF publishes are either trivial things like page views, or declining things like active editors and active administrators. If a corporation turned in performance figures like those seen in the WMF's 2014 report, the CEO (presumably Jimmy) would be tossed unceremoniously out the door.

3: "Now, the UK is home to a very diverse newspaper community, a vibrant newspaper culture. We've got papers like The Sun, The Mirror, The Mail.
I was really heartened to see -- I was actually happy to see -- how little the public trusts them as the rest.
But I mean the thing that's really impressive here is the BBC has an excellent reputation as an excellent news source, and we're trusted slightly more than the BBC. Now, that's a little scary --

There's some more of what Wales passes off as "humor". It's not funny when you realize that millions of Britons take the crap published in the Sun and the Daily Mail with deadly seriousness. The UK grows increasingly racist, isolationist, paranoid, and inequitable, and the UK media has a major role. But Wales The Golden Boy makes jokes about it. And his shithead followers laugh on cue. Might as well be a speech by Stalin, with cued applause.

4: "-- and probably inappropriate, but it is something that we have accomplished and I think that it's really important, and I think that all of the things that we think about, everything that we do at Wikimania, all over when we're talking about the software, we're talking about the community, we're thinking about all of the nitty-gritty of our work, the one thing that we should always remember is that we are here for these people (not just the British ones) but for the readers, for the general public."

Aw shucks, he's just like us, ain't he Martha? Just reg'lar folk! Cain't talk for shit or nothin'! Ain't nothin' fancy about his plain speakin'! Don't make no sense neither!

5: "When you scrolled further down in this news story, they also inquired about another source which was left off, which was Encyclopedia Britannica. And people trusted Encyclopedia Britannica -- I forget the exact number, but it was like 20 points ahead of us -- it might have been 89 percent or 84 percent -- well you can look it up. So, that's fine, Encyclopedia Britannica is quite good, but it does tell that we still have -- that we're not finished. I'm not going to rest until people tell us that they trust us more than they ever trusted Encyclopedia Britannica in the past. And for that to happen we really need to do everything right, we've got a lot of things we have to get right in order to achieve that goal."

Pointless to even bring up, asshole. You've won the war and killed Britannica, by delivering what idiot high-school students want: general reference information, available online at all times, of questionable value, at an impossibly low price. You are the Wal-Mart of information, Jimmy. You suck, you know you suck, and yet you keep lying about your suckage, in public. And people still give you money.

6: "And one of the things we always talk about is civility. But this has long been a contentious issue in the community and I have, I hope, a new approach to thinking about this that I'm hoping to popularize today, because I think that in many ways our conversations about civility in the community have gone down a bad path that is causing us to miss an enormous opportunity."

BULL FUCKING SHIT. You, sir, installed complete assholes like Erik Moeller and "The Cunctator" in charge of your project, long ago. And they installed even worse people, like Angela Beesley, Phil Sandifer, Mark "Monsterass" Pellegrini, and that horrifying amphetamine-gobbling cunt "Slim Virgin". These freaks were some of the most incivil, hateful, abusive "leaders" you could possibly find, and THEY made your "incivility problem" into an established subculture. You can blame no one but yourself for the "bad path", Mr. Wales. So shoot yourself.

7: "One of the classic problems we have is -- and we have this a lot in English Wikipedia -- is the annoying user, who at least allegedly produces good content. There are users in the community who have a reputation for creating good content, and for being incredibly toxic personalities. This is a tough issue because [fixes slide problem] but my idea is very simple. Actually, on this issue, I have a very simple view is that most of these editors actually cost us more than they're actually worth, and we're making a big mistake by tolerating people who are causing us enormous --
[prolonged applause]"

Just say it, fucknuts. You want to get rid of people who write your content, like Giano and Eric "Malleus" Corbett. Because they won't kiss your arrogant fucking asses. Right? Admit it. You'd rather kill the encyclopedia off than give an inch to the people who wrote it.

8: "Apparently I'm fulfilling my role as the symbolic monarch of just speaking the thoughts that have bubbled up through the community."

You are NOT a "monarch", Mr. Wales. You are a little shit with a battered copy of ATLAS SHRUGGED who stumbled into creating a major website. That's all you are. You haven't saved a million lives, you haven't even saved a few kittens at the local animal shelter. All you've really done is made it easier for lazy teenagers to plagiarize term papers. Oh, yeah, that makes you a regular Albert Schweitzer.

9: "The truth is, we're human beings, we're a human community, and there's always going to be some strife, there's always going to be some debates that get out of hand, and things like that.
But I think that we can capture a spirit, the spirit that you feel here at Wikimania, a really positive spirit."

Ask some of the people your "community" is defaming right now, Jimmy. Ask Rupert Sheldrake or Brian Josephson or John Lott. Or your "old friend" Rachel Marsden. If it's such a "positive spirit", where's the Damon Dash biography? And how's that Yank Barry business coming along? How many other Qwortys and Johann Haris are running around on your little project right now? You don't even know, do you?

Oh, of course you won't discuss any of that, Jimmy. Because you're a liar and a coward, running herd on a website full of lying cowardly bullies.

Ah hell, that's enough. He just goes on and on, spewing the Crap They Want To Hear. Criticizing Mr. Wales for his folksy banter and moronic jokes does not change the opinion his idiot fan following has of him; or of Wikipedia. He could shit on the podium and wiggle his little penis at the crowd, and they'd still love him. He's like the creator of "My Little Pony" at one of those horrible "Brony" conventions. His fans are so insane and so blinded, what he says or does is not even meaningful anymore.

                                  Would you buy a used online "encyclopedia" from this man?