It has been criticized for publishing incorrect/misleading information , and was banned as a source by Wikipedia.
> This is an organisation that — quite scandalously — polices itself, judges itself, and legitimises itself. It is always right because it decides what is right. You are always wrong because it decides what is wrong. You can choose to bow to its authority and become a loyal subject, or be condemned as an unbeliever.
You can s/Wikipedia/The Daily Mail/g quite easily here, with no loss of informational accuracy.
> [I] heard [Wikipedia] was full of errors and shot through with personal prejudices and score-settling.
Curious you should say that!!
Also, I would have liked to see the unedited IRC (I assume IRC) logs from the conversations that happened so I could draw my own conclusions from the events that took place.
It seems to me like the Mail sniffed around some contacts, somehow got in touch with this guy, and then "an editor worked with him" (note quotes) to produce this puff piece. (Literally, it looks like they're pouting and trying to puff their chests out.)
I've probably missed some.
...Wow, the conversations are almost as bad as the article itself...
The wikipedia cabal has been raised as an issue since at least 2003 when the current article on meta was created:
Actually Twitter can be a much better source than an accredited newspaper, because in this case it would be coming directly from you, and you wouldn't need to worry that perhaps the source was being paraphrased, or the context wasn't what they intended.
The general bias seems to be in favour of treating sources as acceptable, unless there are reasons not to; though that may be just a matter of enforcement.
I have to call bullshit on that. Wikipedia's notability criteria specifically excludes blogs and social media as acceptable sources, with the sole exception of being posts made by the source himself (i.e., Linus Thorvald's comments on Linux posted on the lkml)
Regardless of what the wikipedia guidelines might say, it happened.
It's the whole point of references in academic papers: "To know more, start here".
If a majority at Wikipedia decided that 2 + 2 = 5, then
that's what Wikipedia will publish. Similarly, if a
majority decides that "4" shall not be mentioned, then
it will not be mentioned. On Wikipedia, fact, and truth,
have no validity in themselves.
More like one individual started a RFC "Should we prohibit the use of The Daily Mail as a source?" where 78 expressed themselves at correct time and place and the result was 54 for the ban and 26 against the ban. So Ban it is. Had 55 people voted against the daily mail would still offer the same reliability but it wouldn't be banned.
Sort of a usual case of how wikipedia is run behind the scenes where a small minority of self-selected (white? male?) people with knowledge of the internal mechanisms of wikipedia decides in the name of all wikipedians to apply rules to the whole wikipedia and beyond (though those rules may not apply to themselves or their friends or people in the power structure). This case just got a little extra publicity because it concerned a known newspaper.
: If a majority at Wikipedia decided that 2 + 2 = 5, then that's what Wikipedia will publish. Similarly, if a majority decides that "4" shall not be mentioned, then it will not be mentioned. On Wikipedia, fact, and truth, have no validity in themselves. This means that they are subject to political determination, i.e., the process of obtaining agreement. Those who believe that 2 + 2 = 4 will need to lobby for 4. Wikipedia has an exhaustive set of rules that purport to guide such discussions, but those rules are routinely ignored.
interesting timeline here:
- 2014: daily mail banned all its journalists from using Wikipedia as a sole source because of its unreliability.
- 2015: wikipedia adds the daily mail to "should not be used when a more respected, mainstream source exists, or in place of such a source."
While on the topic of journalistic integrity have the Guardian retracted their piece on the "backdoor" in WhatsApp yet? No, and they're not going to. No matter how ideologically congenial any particular newspaper may be for any particular person journalists generally have minimal time for fact checking, will twist a story to make it more entertaining, and know very little about what they're writing about.
It's not a hole in the WhatsApp protocol - more a UI problem. That doesn't make it any less serious, and it is unclear to me what you think they need to withdraw. The third paragraph in the article itself makes it clear this is a trade-off:
Some security experts say that the vulnerability is a known and acceptable “trade-off” that makes sense for the majority of WhatsApp’s users, since it makes the app easier to use on a day to day basis. They describe the risk to most users as “remote” since the vulnerability only allows the targeting of individuals or groups of individuals at specific times, rather than widespread mass surveillance of WhatsApp users, and urge users not to switch to less secure platforms.
I think this is pretty good reporting of a complex issue in trading off ease-of-use vs security. I think it is worth noting that most think WhatsApp's mistake was to go too far to the "ease-of-use" side.
Where is the Persian state? There hasn't been a Persian state for almost 40 years.
> The Daily Mail
Seriously, why is it that every time someone criticises Wikipedia, it has to be in this sensationalist, tabloid-esque manner, and often for the stupidest reasons possible?
> ‘Who are you?’ he inquired testily. ‘Graham McCann,’ I replied. ‘I very much doubt you are who you say you are,’ he declared.
But of course they would doubt it. Anyone can go on the Internet and claim they are Graham McCann without providing any proof. They know just as much about his identity as he knows about theirs. This is a striking lack of self-awareness on his part. Or Internet literacy.
Not that I think this is much of an excuse for them; it's still wrong that Wikipedia doesn't provide any avenue for subject of articles to provide feedback/corrections in a more reliable manner. The only way to get them to correct anything is to go to a tabloid journalist and provide them fodder for a 'Wikipedia is stupid and mean!!!11' article.
I read through a lot of the conversation between Mr McCann and one of the Wiki editors. I have a lot of empathy for the former. It is the case that the editor doubted the identity of the man he was conversing with, but Wikipedia should have simple, clear protocols for people to prove their identity for such cases. It's not Mr McCann's fault that they don't. Instead the editor sneered, and was generally rude and unpleasant to him.
If I phoned up my bank to discuss my account and couldn't prove I was who I said I was, I would nevertheless expect courtesy, politeness, and professionalism. Wiki is a non profit, and the editors are not professionals, but it is one of the most visited websites on the internet.
I actually suspect that the basic premise of a universal encyclopaedia staffed by volunteers and run on a non profit basis may be fundamentally flawed.
> I actually suspect that the basic premise of a universal encyclopaedia staffed by volunteers and run on a non profit basis may be fundamentally flawed.
I agree, but I doubt a change is going to happen. It's just too convenient an arrangement for the WMF and Jimbo Wales: they sit on loads of money they get for basically little more than keeping the servers powered, and he can just present himself as a Philantropist™ by going to conferences and cashing speaking fees, without taking any actual responsibility for the project he ostensibly runs.
People have been bitching about Wikipedia for over a decade now. Always they keep predicting its doom.
And those complainers often have no appreciation for the circumstances which made it what it is. Many complaints are of the form 'there is an cabal of admins who engage in a conspiracy against me!', or 'how dare they want to delete MY article about my garage band that would otherwise gather dust for the next 20 years!'; and even more substantive criticisms are often coated in sensationalist language, which hurts their credibility, as in this article. No wonder they are not listened to. A dispassionate analysis of the flaws of Wikipedia would be helpful, but so far I haven't seen a single one.
Well, it turned out to be true that wikipedia admins had a place to discuss contributors and coordinate actions against them. It made quite a ruckus at the time.
A compendium of wikipedia criticism has been posted here:
From reading the first paragraph all I can think of is "am I going to learn anything from reading this article, because it looks like a basic retaliation tantrum."
Just by skimming:
>"Kafkaesque experiences," "tantamount to making a Faustian pact with Fame," " obscure ancillary page called ‘revision history statistics,'" "being plunged into a disturbing world similar to the one conjured up by Kafka in his novels about the oppression of the human spirit by sinister, powerful forces."
Emotional hyperbole, conceit, and superfluity. This reads like an opinion piece, and if it's any bit a representation of the larger DailyMail publication, I can understand why it was banned from being a source.
I had to go back and check again after my initial skim and yep, they seems to calling this "investigative journalism." British journalism is weird.
Number of editors:
The English Wikipedia currently has 30,486,002 users who have registered a username(...)
This is what they did: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedians
N.B "The English Wikipedia currently has 30,486,002 users who have registered a username. Only a minority of users contribute regularly (141,468 have edited in the last 30 days), and only a minority of those contributors participate in community discussions. An unknown but relatively large number of unregistered Wikipedians also contribute to the site."
It turns out that this is a relativaly common occurrence. People who take controversial positions are often the subject of this kind of harassment and adopt the same strategy I did -- example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliability_of_Wikipedia#False...
I'm American. What does k * * b refer to?
My proudest moment on HN
At the same time, there does need to be some degree of policing, or anyone could make any article say anything at all. Of course it's frustrating for a qualified author or academic to not immediately be recognized as such, but to Wikipedia, it's hard to tell the difference between a qualified author and a clever con man. All they can really check is the sources.
So it's a complex issue.
And considering their ban, it's not surprising that the Daily Mail likes to discredit Wikipedia as much as possible. In this case, they do kinda have a point (although from the discussion pages, it seems these people were far more arrogant than the Wikipedians they accuse), but the writing of the article takes it ridiculously over the top in a painfully transparent way.
For example: "‘Axl’ then informed me it was most unlikely that what he called ‘The Community’ of Wikipedia would permit my entry to be deleted. ‘The Community’ sounded like something from George Orwell’s 1984 novel and the faceless men in Big Brother’s Ministry of Truth."
Does the author really think his readers won't know what a community is in this context?
He thought he was well know and deserved a wikipedia page. So he created one by himself.
First it got deleted a few times, because of out famous german wikipedia "lösch Nazis" who dont consider anything relevant.
Then, after long discussion they said okay, seems like a few thousand people know this guy, let him have his page, but... We say what's the truth!!
In the end they wrote he mad trance music with hiphop lyrics. Which was technically correct, but he hated both music genres and considered himself more of a Gothic an Aggrotec DJ. Also he had no fans in the mentioned genres.
So he wanted that Article deleted, which took another few months. Don't know how he managed it.
Indeed, cooper12 below points out a ridiculously gross error in the first sentence of the article. Not to mention that even if it were the right number, the idea itself is false: that a quorum of all active editors is needed to mark a source as poor quality.
In general, any tabloid newspaper, such as The Sun, Daily
Mirror, Daily Mail, equivalent television show, or a site
like The Register, should not be used when a more
respected, mainstream source exists, or in place of such a
I have to disagree. Facts don't depend on popularity nor are they subjected to a democratic vote. Either something is true or it isn't. Once you subject the presentation of corroborated facts to votes, you are establishing a system to manipulate what facts are presented based on how many votes you can mobilise (or fabricate) then your only accomplishment is the establishment of a system to censor away inconvenient facts that is rigged in favour of those who are able to pay the right PR company to shut down inconvenient facts.
You appear to be unaware that Wikipedia's Articles For Deletion process is essentially based on a voting system. What you say about the nature of voting and censoring is basically at the heart of the criticisms of Wikipedia's editorial process.
Your comment is disingenuous at best. The voting process only applies to articles which were nominated for deletion and fail to meet Wikipedia's guidelines for notoriety. That means that you can only vote in favour of deleting any article if it already fails to meet the requirements for hosting the article to begin with.
In case you didn't understood the process, voting only applies either to false positives or false negatives. The process is set to make it possible to delete only articles which fail to be shown to be relevant.
For example, you can't even nominate well established articles such as the article on Jesus Christ by any means, including nominating it to the AfD
Do read up on the process instead of making up stuff about it.
Look, I'll ignore your remark about disingenuousness because you're clearly confused. As per https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Deletion_process
"Normally, a deletion discussion must be held to form a consensus to delete a page."
The convention in such discussions is essentially a vote. Yes, it's a discussion vote, but that's the process of Consensus: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Consensus
Is the new calendar reform idea wonderful or terrible?
Will the new oil pipe under a lake hurt the environment?
Is the universe expanding or are we misunderstand the data and invoking dark energy?
"Facts" you can't argue with are very very rare. They are typically observation without conclusion or understanding.
But because they lack those they are rarely very useful.
Wikipedia is not supposed to give you the true truth on everything a "fact" would be "oil pipes in the past had frequent leak that damaged the environment", "This oil pipe was described as vital by various industries^" or "scientific research raised many environmental concern over this oil pipe"
In a sourced encyclopedia "facts" means something you can refer to and (at your choice) distrust
(sorry if rude, not so well versed in english)
That doesn't work at Reddit, and it wouldn't work at Wikipedia for the same reason -- people who vote about the topic, not the quality of its presentation. This is probably why such a system hasn't been put in place.
This site contains inappropriate content and information.
Suspended by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society
Retaliation for wikipedia justifiably preventing the mail being used as a cite.