Wikipedia Weirdness: Censorship, Revenge Edits, Bribes, Etc.

Mythopoeika

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Example?
Sometimes, people with an agenda log in and edit all kinds of crap into the text. I've encountered one or two oddities like this.
 

dreeness .

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Example?
Sometimes, people with an agenda log in and edit all kinds of crap into the text. I've encountered one or two oddities like this.
Oops, sorry. It's hard to tell, but the first line in the first post is also a link to a news story.

This is a link:
Wikipedia's Dark Side: Censorship, Revenge Editing & Bribes

Excerpt:
…several years ago I started to notice some things I didn’t like in the Wikipedia entry about me, so I took them out. To do that, I created a user-name that wasn’t my own. Using that user-name, I continued to edit my own Wikipedia entry and some other people’s too. I took out nasty passages about people I admire – like Polly Toynbee, George Monbiot, Deborah Orr and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. I factually corrected some other entries about other people. But in a few instances, I edited the entries of people I had clashed with in ways that were juvenile or malicious: I called one of them anti-Semitic and homophobic, and the other a drunk. I am mortified to have done this, because it breaches the most basic ethical rule: don’t do to others what you don’t want them to do to you. I apologise to the latter group unreservedly and totally.
 
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kamalktk

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There is a twitter account that tracks and posts edits made from IP addresses corresponding to the US Congress.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CongressEdits

The BBC has covered edits originating from the US Congressional IP addresses.
http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-28481876

a notable quote from the BBC article: "The biography of former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld was revised, describing him as an "alien lizard who eats Mexican babies"." :eek:
 

Yithian

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Interesting, did they turn up anything controversial?
 

Cochise

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Wikipedia is a valuable resource, as a starting point. But it is really a form of media like a modern newspaper, and there is editorial slant to be allowed for in virtually every article.

A long time ago, media like the Times and the Encyclopaedia Britannica tried to keep factual pieces and editorial separate - they probably never fully achieved that, but these days no-one seriously makes the attempt.
 

Yithian

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I'm constantly checking biographical references for WW2 British military history and Wikipedia is, frankly, useless owing to omission, inaccuracy and screeds of opinionated bias for anything but the most obvious of subjects. The bibliographies and references - a sine qua non for research in the humanities - are laughably incomplete and don't reliably cite work clearly paraphrased in the text or major biographies of the subject. If I had no job and a secure income, I'd take a year or two revising the lot of them, but then some know-nothing would probably append a double-length article to each explaining why whoever is in discussion wasn't as bold as Patton, couldn't manoeuvre like Guderian or was clearly an anti-semite.
 
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Yithian

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How's this for a dreadful article?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syed_Shahid_Hamid

Hamid as scholar
For the last 20 years he spent his days writing and researching books. He wrote six books on the Northern Areas, the politics of independence and the Pakistan army, and an autobiography. His last book - the first volume of an intended three-volume work, Pakistan and its Early Years - was published only last week. Shahid Hamid had numerous friends in England, where he invariably spent the summer, while a visit to 'Shaigan', his home in Rawalpindi, became essential for any foreign diplomat, journalist, scholar or military man. British cabinet ministers, US secretaries of state and Russian scholars were frequent visitors. In recent months he had been thrilled by the opening up of central Asia to Pakistanis for the first time and he was planning a trip there to discover more about his forefathers.[2]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syed_Shahid_Hamid
'In recent months' - he died eleven years ago! More widely, the whole thing reads like a gossip column written by a drunk who keeps wandering off and losing his train of thought.

The chap founded the ISI in Pakistan and this is the dross we have to research him?

The reference doesn't even supply publication details for the books cited in the text.
 

dreeness .

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I'm constantly checking biographical references for WW2 British military history and Wikipedia is, frankly, useless owing to omission, inaccuracy and screeds of opinionated bias for anything but the most obvious of subjects. The bibliographies and references - a sine qua non for research in the humanities - are laughably incomplete and don't reliably cite work clearly paraphrased in the text or major biographies of the subject. If I had no job and a secure income, I'd take a year or two revising the lot of them, but then some know-nothing would probably append a double-length article to each explaining why whomever is in discussion wasn't as bold as Patton, couldn't manoeuvre like Guderian or was clearly an anti-semite.
I can remember when some well-meaning but hare-brained soul at Wikipedia "corrected" the definition of Balkenkreuz to "Balkan Cross".
 

Cochise

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I'm constantly checking biographical references for WW2 British military history and Wikipedia is, frankly, useless owing to omission, inaccuracy and screeds of opinionated bias for anything but the most obvious of subjects. The bibliographies and references - a sine qua non for research in the humanities - are laughably incomplete and don't reliably cite work clearly paraphrased in the text or major biographies of the subject. If I had no job and a secure income, I'd take a year or two revising the lot of them, but then some know-nothing would probably append a double-length article to each explaining why whomever is in discussion wasn't as bold as Patton, couldn't manoeuvre like Guderian or was clearly an anti-semite.
I tried editing some articles on an area I know a fair bit about, British railway accidents, even quoting the original accident reports (which are mostly available on the Web). But just as you found, they get edited or removed by people publishing unsupported opinions, or opinions supported only in books they've written themselves!

I don't have the time to keep going back and reinstating factual stuff , so I only use it as a quick reference or a starting point.
 

Frideswide

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The autism article won an award of some kind and was, afaik, generally well thought of even if you didn't agree with all of it. One person came along and edited to reflect his particular mind set. Now it's locked down, or was the last time I looked, and he's semi-stalking the people who removed his personal views, anecdotal evidence and screeds on how he has been made a victim all his life.

I know him IRL and all I can say is that having autism is no bar to being a complete idiot OR being a psychotic of some description.
 

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I've revised some articles, including one regarding a country artist which happened to cross over into other genres. The article was only about the country genre and I added info about her crossover music. Of course there was a very dedicated registered editor who just deleted the information instead of just editing it to fit better in the article. This kind of thing pisses me off.
 

EnolaGaia

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Here's the story of how a high-level Wikipedia administrator went off the deep end and generated thousands of internal links about 'titties', as well as the long-term effects resulting from this bizarre incident.
THE GREAT WIKIPEDIA TITTY SCANDAL

This is the story of a Wikipedia administrator gone mad with 80,000 boob pages — and an unhinged trial that would dictate the site’s NSFW future

As midnight neared on the night of November 5, 2015, an anonymous user on Wikipedia submitted a report that would rock the internet behemoth to its core. Apparently, one of its high-ranking administrators, Neelix, had gone rogue and was quietly amassing thousands upon thousands of entries dedicated to titties. ...

If approved, administrators are granted the ability to block disruptive editors as well as view, edit and restore pages that had been previously deleted and create, edit and publish pages without approval from a higher power. Though a large portion of administrators operate under pseudonyms, they’re a tight-knit, tireless group of volunteers who take their responsibility of maintaining Wikipedia as an accurate, neutral resource very seriously.

Chief among them was Neelix. “His user page has boxes that say that he’s ranked 10th on the list of Wikipedians by number of articles created, that he’d created over 5,000 articles,” Kohs observes. “It seemed that was definitely a source of pride for him.”

So when the anonymous user charged Neelix with “chronic, intractable behavioral problems,” the Wikipedia community found itself in shock. Was one of its greatest administrators a fraud? ...

In Neelix’s case, he was charged with creating unnecessary “redirects,” which automatically send visitors to the “main” article for that topic. These typically have to do with plural versions of a word or different permutations of a topic — searching “testes,” for example, automatically takes you to the Wikipedia article for “testicle.”

Digging into Neelix’s history, however, his fellow administrators couldn’t believe what they found. He hadn’t just created a handful of redirects, as the original report described; he’d quietly created thousands upon thousands of new redirects, each one a chaotic, if not offensive, permutation of the word “tits” and “boobs.” For example, he created redirects for “tittypumper,” “tittypumpers,” “tit pump,” “pump titties,” “pumping boobies” and hundreds more for “breast pump.” In fact, for seemingly every Wikipedia article related to breasts, he did something similar. ...
FULL STORY: https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/boobs-tits-wikipedia-titty-trial
 
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