Monday, September 18, 2023

Things to Find on the "Wikpedia Sucks!" Messageboard

Because we don't talk about the messageboard enough, here is a post on it.

"Why We Hate Wikipedia/Ten things you probably don't know about Wikipedia."

CrowsNest came up with this list, here is half of Point 2:

2. The disclaimer(s)
Normally an inconsequential piece of cover your back legalese on most sites, the disclaimers on Wikipedia are essentially the only truthful user manual they have. They're the only documents that explicitly state that you cannot trust a single word written on Wikipedia, not even if it has a source provided (you gotta read the source). And they make it clear, this is by design. These warnings are intentional, like any grave warning of serious risk should be. But they are also, by contrast, not very prominent. You get more warning about the mere possibility your lunch may have occupied the same spacetime continuum as a nut. Despite admittedly being linked from every page, it's scary how many Wikipedia editors aren't even aware they exist. Noticing you haven't noticed the link tends to be a "holy shit" moment for anyone.

"Wikipediocracy's one-sided treatment of Wikipedia's one-sided treatment of a creepy YouTube star."

A thread (started by Boink Boink) on Colleen Ballinger, or more exactly, how Wikipediocracy's messageboard treated the entire issue this summer, i.e. badly, which is mirrored in how en.Wikipedia handled it. Definitely not safe for work even though there are no images.

Back in 2007 P.D. Magnus did a simple vandalism study, going to a number of Wikipedia bios of famous philosophers and inserting "fibs" to see how long it would take for those to be removed. He did it again last year; some of the fictions were removed faster than last time, but some vandalism in articles on both occasions were not being removed at all. Magnus got his paper published at First Monday, a "peer reviewed journal on the Internet", who had published the original 2008 paper. Hat tip to ericbarbour for finding this one. 

More Not Safe for Work fun, " 'Minor-attracted Person' Article for Deletion."

Yes, Wikipedia has had an article about "minor-attracted persons" more than once, and this is the Article for Deletion debate for the second attempt. A lot of this thread is a collection of links to all the articles and users doing the heavy lifting to make pedophila less radioactive somehow. A quote from ericbarbour:

Also: I predict that Arbcom will go to absurd lengths to stay out of this. Because it really is that repellent. I could list some of their past half-baked decisions in this's Arbcom, of course it will be half-baked. They seem to prefer to avoid addressing pedophilic editing in general. This mess is most notorious--it almost tore Wikipedia apart in 2006. Jimbo stuck his stupid nose in, thus making it worse. Many of those administrators later quit WP. Surprising they haven't "blanked it as a courtesy" or some shit.

That is "ancient history" now. Jimbo was still regarded as the Inerrant God of Wiki. Bastards. Not anymore.


Jimbo as the ultimate authority

12) Jimbo Wales has ultimate authority on Wikimedia projects; as a foundation issue that is beyond debate. Though he is in many contexts an ordinary user whose edits and administrative actions are subject to change or reversal per normal community processes, when Jimbo acts with ultimate authority as project leader, every community member is expected and obliged to comply with his decisions, though discussion, criticism and request for reversal is permitted.

The Board of Trustees is empowered to review such decisions by Jimbo. Users who act in deliberate defiance of an authoritative action by Jimbo are subject to sanctions, including banning and desysopping, particularly temporary ("emergency") desysopping.

Passed 8-0 with 2 abstentions

"PROOF that they are reading this forum

A short thread on how Wikipedia editors were sneaking looks to write new articles on missing topics and fixing long-running issues. Sometimes. This one was a Bbb23sucks-ericbarbour joint.


There is a LOT more than this on the board, and it needs to be looked at if you are interested in why Wikipedia is as patchy as it is. Also, if you can, read T.J. Coles' expose We'll Tell You How to Think (2021), for a broad view of Wikipedia's consent-manufacturing properties.

Above: When pre-PBS (National Educational Television) could bring Rod Serling, Bernie Harrison (television critic, Washington Star newspaper), and James Dickey (!) to a Library of Congress set (!!) for an interview/round-table discussion on why television drama stinks, in glorious analog monochrome. Recorded on 1-15-1968.

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