Friday, June 20, 2008

Let's Edit Wikipedia!

By Nicholas Stix

"The encyclopedia anyone can edit," can't be edited by just anyone.

If we are going to edit Wikipedia, aka The Pretend Encyclopedia (TPE), why not start with the entry for ... Wikipedia?

TPE's entry for Wikipedia contains passages like the following, in the section “Reliability and bias”:

Concerns have also been raised regarding the lack of accountability that results from users' anonymity,[68] and that it is vulnerable to vandalism, the insertion of spurious information and similar problems. In one particularly well-publicized incident, false information was introduced into the biography of John Seigenthaler, Sr. and remained undetected for four months.[67] Some critics claim that Wikipedia's open structure makes it an easy target for Internet trolls, advertisers, and those with an agenda to push.[69]

Seeing as the passage comes from a parallel, fictional universe, and Wikipedia/TPE advertises itself as “the free encyclopedia anyone can edit,” one might want to add a modest passage from the real universe we live in, say:

Others make the opposite argument: they say that Wikipedia only appears to have an open structure, but is in fact dominated by politically biased cliques of editors and administrators who push a leftwing agenda, at the expense of the truth, and who hound those contributors who fail to toe the line.

I’d write a much fuller passage, but I want it to blend in, stylistically, with the pretend paragraph, and what with the constant censorship, there’s no point putting a lot of time into a correction.

Alright, now hit the “edit this page” link at the top, and let’s go! Oops! I can’t find an “edit this page” link. I do, however, find a little lock symbol in the page’s upper right-hand corner. Passing my cursor over the lock flashes the legend, “Semi-protected.” It’s not “semi-protected,” it’s in lock-down.

In wikispeak, “semi-protected” means you can only edit a page if you are a “registered,” as opposed to an “anonymous” user. If you start editing at TPE without registering, you will receive a personal-sounding message (at your talk page, I guess; I can’t remember any more) from a (ro)“bot,” suggesting you register, and noting that there are advantages to registering. Wikipedians claim that registering affords an “editor” (at TPE, everyone’s an editor) “more privacy” than anonymous editing, whereby your computer’s Internet Protocol (IP) number will be recorded on the entry’s “revision history” page. If you are using a work computer, people may be able to track you down, but if you are using a personal computer that is not part of a business, whether your Internet service provider (ISP) has given you a stable IP number or you float within a range, your name will likely not be listed by any “whois” service.

A Wikipedian will respond, “When we say that registering confers benefits, we mean such as greater privacy and being able to edit more articles.”

But registering only gives you added privacy, if you are editing TPE from a work computer; otherwise, it offers no privacy at all. And if you register, the characters running Wikipedia, aka “The Cabal,” will know who you are. So much for privacy. “But we’re the good guys,” they will protest, adding “Nobody wanting to edit Wikipedia has any business hiding her or his or its identity from its administrators.” Oh, yes, she/he/it—s/h/it for short—does. The administrators running TPE are its biggest problem.

As for registering giving you access to edit more articles, that’s true, but only because of The Cabal’s lies and misconduct. Lie: That TPE’s vandalism problems are chiefly due to “anon users”; no, they’re chiefly, or at least equally due to registered users—wikithugs. The cabalists, who are wikithugs, and their helpers, the would-be cabalists among of wikithugdom, use this lie as cover for their abuse of non-registered users, routine “insertion of spurious information” into entries, and routine censoring of true information from them. Indeed, just about any rationale any cabalist or would-be cabalist gives for any action, is nothing but a cover story rationalizing abusive behavior. (Not all administrators are wikithugs or even cabalists, but they’re not the problem, and they are not going to stand up to the cabalists, because they would then lose their “adminships.”)

After months of observing and trying to counter such abuse, I found Web sites and blogs by Wikipedia critics, many of whom had had the exact same sort of experiences, and made the exact same observations, though typically in saltier language than I’m using.

And that’s when I decided to turn the tables on the wikithugs, and give them a taste of real encyclopedic research. I devoted close to two years to the research, including studying work by others, who had in turn devoted thousands of man hours to researching TPE. I even warned the wikithugs early on, that they were making fools of themselves for the whole world to see, but on their turf, with its zero tolerance policy towards criticism, they felt invulnerable. (When they libeled someone I know and respect, but whom they hate, and I told them what they were guilty of, informed them that such behavior was actionable, and that I hoped their victim would sue them, they banned me for an “infinite” duration. But they also finally removed the libels from the entry in question, something they otherwise would never have done.) That research culminated in my first Wikipedia expose, “Wikipedia on Race,” which just appeared in the July issue of American Renaissance.

After reading my introduction to TPE, the best places to learn more about it are, All’s Wool that Ends Wool, Conservapedia, the wikipedia review, Nonbovine Ruminations, Slashdot, Wikitruth, Wikipedia Watch and The Register.

The best way for dealing with the registered/non-registered user issue is to register, but give false information. The wikithugs do not (yet) require verification of one’s identity. But that still won’t protect you from being censored, blocked, and ultimately banned, if you get caught smuggling the truth into TPE. Of course, you could always re-register, under a new false identity, but why bother? The important thing is to study outlets that publish true information, and support said undertakings, whether through working for them, subsidizing their operations, or promoting them, or start your own, and let the world know about both the honest publishers and the frauds.

(Check out my exposé, “Wikipedia on Race,” in the July 2008 American Renaissance!)


Marty Nemko said...

I've blogged about Wikipedia and Google bias, citing you. Here's the link:

Perhaps you'd enjoy my blog, in general:

B.B. said...

Conservapedia is infinitely worse than Wikipedia. It is nothing more than a hang-out for scientifically illiterate neo-conservative creationists.