This, and many other political arguments I have seen on it before, really makes me think that Wikipedia would benefit from a policy where a sufficient number of individual complaints against a user who has passed some threshold of number of edits to a single article (say 100) would be automatic grounds to block the user from further edits to the article, regardless of fault. I understand that this sort of obsessiveness is also an important asset to Wikipedia (and so they are understandably reluctant to set up obstructions to what it considers its "10x editors"), but in my eyes this pattern of personal crusading and article ownership causes damage to its utility as a source on any contentious topic far in excess of the damage it would suffer even in the worst case of every single editor that has put more than 1000 edits into any single article quitting.
So, let's suppose that some particular expert who has a particular level of knowledge or expertise in a given field, and is an established member of the Wikipedia community, accumulates a few hundred edits to some particular page in his area of interest. But this area of interest is politically controversial, and there is a certain narrative about this area of interest that some group of people would like to push, but this expert is too diligent about keeping the relevant Wikipedia pages neutral, well-sourced, and factual. That policy would basically allow large groups of trolls to basically lock that guy, or any other editor who catches onto their monkeyshines, out of certain Wikipedia pages, so that they are free to inject their biases unchecked.
The problem is that not every bad actor is a single person standing behind a single username. Some of them are coordinated groups of anonymous trolls. Giving the trolls an advantage over single people standing behind a single username that they can be held accountable for is a bad, bad move.
If some editor makes 1000 edits to a single page, and they're doing so in bad faith, you have more than enough evidence to prove that. If 100 trolls each make 10 edits to a single page, in bad faith, you can't even prove that they're working together.
That. It's not theoretical, it's an existing usage pattern. See "brigading"
This kills the Wikipedia.
Unsurprisingly, there are orders of magnitude more people on the earth with some sort of agenda to push than there are people who actually care about having an unbiased and comprehensive Wikipedia, such that the good-faith Wikipedians are spread very, very thin. This is a shitty state of affairs, but it would be far, far more shitty for the Wikipedia community to just surrender to the post-truth dystopian future we find ourselves living in.
Which is the exact opposite of what would happen. It’s trivial to get an internet brigade of trolls to push one particular agenda. It’s easy to incite the Internet outrage machine into an angry mob. And the people who do this don’t play fair; they disappear and reappear under new pseudonyms and IPs, spurn accountability, and burn identities. Making it harder for someone to build a record they can stand behind is the wrong direction.
> we clearly see many more people dedicating an extreme amount of resources, up to and including their lives, to political causes than to abstract values such as objectivity and the accuracy of the historical record
Which is why allowing these mobs to brigade against the rare person who is committed to the unbiased truth is the wrong move.
> The example that spawned this discussion certainly seems to involve a highly active editor being driven by a political agenda (do you dispute this?), and this is the case for almost all other instances I am aware of (though of course there is a selection bias here). Do you actually contend that the subject of the opening post has no agenda to push, or do you count him as a force for an unbiased and comprehensive Wikipedia because you think that his agenda is correct?
I did some research on Phillip Cross above and beyond simply reading OP, because OP is an obvious hit piece and the group of fringe political figures who have seemingly declared war on this guy seem to be vaguely aligned with Russian propaganda operations, and this guy’s edit history, from what I’ve seen, seems to be largely in the direction of removing random vandalism and Russian propaganda from Wikipedia. The only seemingly factual criticism I’ve seen is that this guy seems a little obsessive, which is a fair point if you’re worried about this guy having a well-rounded and fulfilling life, but I trust you’ll understand if I don’t think these people who are butthurt about some obsessive Wikipedia editor deleting their propaganda from Wikipedia are genuinely concerned about his well-being.
i don't think that's been said.
"the right solution is to not have an article on the topic."
false. or i guess we'll exclude most of quantum mechanics and dozens of other things few people are knowledgeable about.
"for a topic area that someone out there cares enough to brigade in the fashion you describe, there surely must also exist a non-obsessive set of users capable of moderating the page without making hundreds of edits per person to it."
maybe, but it doesn't mean they're doing it. as you say, they're non-obsessive.
I think it's implied by the phrase "they are free to inject their biases unchecked."
> false. or i guess we'll exclude most of quantum mechanics and dozens of other things few people are knowledgeable about.
Note that I said "neutral article". For articles on esoteric QM topics, it's not like one would expect the existence of a well-organised brigade trying to push an alternative viewpoint at all costs, either.
This would not be without precedent. I was an active Wikipedia editor in 2004-2006, and I recall an editor (later admin), who was otherwise a great contributor and a positive force in the project, who had a seemingly unhealthy obsession with singer Ashlee Simpson. After multiple arbitration proceedings, he was restricted from editing her Wikipedia entry under threat of 24-hour bans for each edit.
Here is the notice of the final arbitration ruling , mentioning the prolonged history of the case.
To be fair, it was a different time back then. Not sure if a ruling like that could or would be done today.
Even if there is, you then have to ask yourself if it's something that people will just learn and work-around.
I'm not disagreeing Cross was likely a net negative for wikipedia, but gut reactions to a single bad actor don't justify large theoretical changes to a largely-successful system.
As an example, see the user WWGB - if you review their contribution history you will not see any work done other than “review” the work of others:
You'll never see the whole dataset, and understand exactly the motivation behind every edit. All you can go on is anectodes like this and adjust as you can. Its a social system, not an exact piece of engineering science.
Single bad actors can sometimes wreak utter havoc.
Rash and systemic overreactions to bad actors can be fatal.
The blanket rules should be made with care, for sure, but your premise is wrong.
The revision history is interesting to look through as well: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=George_Galloway&o...
Many of Cross's revisions seem to revolve around removing unreliable sources (such as RT and Sputnik), integrating edits such that the verbiage flows better, and so forth. I can't find any edits that he's performed that were out of line.
It's also not especially interesting to have a high number of edits. For example, of Cross's most recent 50 edits, the vast majority are to a single article (which is not the George Galloway biography): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/Philip_C...
The more I look into this, the more convinced I am that the bad actor isn't this guy, it's the Russian propaganda network who are mad that he's getting in the way of them using Wikipedia as an outlet.
Moreover, wikipedia doesn't ban RT as a source and correctly argues that biased sources can be legitimate if they are correct in context.
It seems these days that simply being an anti-establishment politician of any stripe instantly attracts accusations of Russian conspiracy theories. It's weird.
Maybe they're going for a "boy who cried wolf" dynamic.
A stipend for the editor is small change to some of the financial types.
I don't have a particularly conspiratorial mind and I prefer coincidence until conspiracy becomes the simpler explanation. Just so it's clear we're not entering the unfundable fantasy realm, PR firms can easily afford a competitive salary for a Wikipedia editor just from one or two clients. As can think-tanks.
I can see how I'd set up and scale up such an operation. I'd keep the one editor to one account for reasons above. I'd probably have them be more like a newspaper editor -- they keep a consistent style across the edits. I'd offload the real work to researchers who dig up sources and to write the bits they want inserted and removed.
Look at the first edits by this account: they're on Jazz musicians and politics, and the political stuff isn't too biased. Eventually the cover of Jazz edits decreases. Maybe he started out as a Wikipedia editor and enjoyed writing so got picked up by one of the many many think-tanks that pay journalism money for advancing what will make their sponsors money. Maybe he's an internet sock-puppet. Snowden revealed that the UK has a unit that engages in such activities. 
This very site has not been immune from individuals who work for a very-well-funded, highly-litigious, politically-motivated organization posting op-eds that masquerade as thought-provoking articles. Sometimes they make the front page.
It so happens that one of the few handles that only post articles from there are paid to do so and have re-used a handle that as far as I could tell was only used to ask questions about lipstick on Reddit. It was also her real name and she was confirmed as head of social media at the organisation. This was easy to catch, because the only stuff they posted was from one domain.
Perhaps this is an individual living off passive income with a lot of time on their hands and nothing more they want to do. But perhaps this is somebody being funded for doing what they do.
I am reminded of Poul-Henning Kamp's talk "Operation Orchestra" at Fosdem 2014, in which he humorously outlines how entrenched interests could invade or could have invaded open source 
(This is not something I lack knowledge of as a formerly prolific editor of UK politics articles. I reckon at least a quarter of MPs have had their articles edited by themselves or their campaign staff, usually in a very unsophisticated and obvious manner. One obscure elected Member of Parliament's biography appeared to have been mostly written, in good faith, by their partner, and that text was up there for a very long time...)
The irony is that some the figures complaining about User:PhilipCross openly take money for regularly appearing on Russian state media, and yet I still believe their politics isn't shaped by financial incentives.
Because they are openly taking money. If User:PhilipCross is then it is most certainly not transparent.
Almost everybody you see on TV is being paid by somebody. There is a particularly grating employee of the Institute for Economic Affairs regularly appearing on the UK state and corporate media to talk liberating the taxpayer of the NHS. She's presumably not being paid by the BBC or Sky News, but she is being paid for appearing there by interests that would benefit from what she is advocating.
In this way, we see that the majority people providing their time on TV have an agenda. We don't naturally expect the same of Wikipedia editors, but maybe we should.
There are several types of organizations with a big budget whose job it is to influence public discourse. It wouldn't surprise me if some of them were found to be in control of an editor's account in some way. The easiest way is probably to hire one, but seeing accounts are bought and sold on pretty much every other online service the possibility is there.
You just have to be very careful not to burn them. Sloppiness would probably look like editors working exactly the same hours every day for a decade without ever tiring, vacationing or being sick.
He is discrediting reliable anti-war (i.e. anti-government) news sources.
I still gonna make a small attempt:
- "has written for the Guardian" removed but "broadcasts regularly" kept. I google and: https://www.theguardian.com/profile/piers-robinson 2 articles? Are there more he wrote? Is this considered encyclopaedic knowledge that he wrote 2 articles in the Guardian?
- okay, next point: Eva Bartless. I google and one of the top 3 links goes to Quora: https://www.quora.com/Is-Eva-Bartlett-credible "Bartlett talks figures and proportions, and expands your desk research with facts that she documented as a witness on site. Her stark observations have upset an entire media industry." Answer number 2 is not so negative but at the same way basically stating that there are no super reliable sources for things happening in Syria. Also please check out her Twitter.
- added piece about Vanessa Beeley: please just google: Vanessa Beeley White helmets Twitter . I'm not gonna copy&paste all that stuff into here
I know it sucks to be in such kinds of discussions. But also don't forget what Wikipedia is and what it not is. It is an encyclopaedia, people visiting the website assume they are confronted with peer-reviewed and relevant facts. It's tough but if you can only find a single reliable source for some information, then IMHO it's better to remove that piece from the page.
If you want news, then go to Wiki News. If you want to read about research theories, then go to Wikiversity. Also don't forget that eventhough there are obviously controversial users on the platform, there are mechanisms to protect articles, review them etc.
If you haven't yet worked out how that would be abused, think a bit more.
I don't trust Wikipedia content and tend to examine the Talk pages (sometimes even the Talk page histories) on controversial articles.
Even this isn't true. As a former contributor to the Linux desktop community, false information about projects and codebases I had runs rampant on Wikipedia. One Wikipedia editor with more time on his hands than any of us  devotes his time to maintaining those articles, despite self-admittedly having little topical knowledge . Trying to correct these things quickly caused me to spiral down into edit wars I wasn't that interested in winning, and tomes of naming policy after policy.
To get something incorrect on Wikipedia, you just have to be persistent and cast your WP:NPOV, WP:NOR, WP:DEMOCRACY, etc. spells at the right time. Anybody interested in correcting the record will eventually tire out and have to go back to doing the work...
I had trouble editing technical topics I was familiar with, too, and found it incredibly aggravating. I'd write demonstrably true, helpful, factual content about something only to have it struck for lack of sourcing.
It took awhile to get through my head the model of the project, which included as a basic premise that I, as an editor, am not a valid source. I came to the project knowing that, of course, but didn't realize viscerally how much of the technical writing I do implicitly relied on my own experience and understanding as a sort of "source".
On articles that WP'ians pay attention to, you won't get away with doing that. You'll have to tie claims to a secondary source (you usually can't just point to source code, because then you're doing interpretation, which is a form of original research) both for the claim itself and, sometimes, for the noteworthiness of the claim.
The best way to metabolize this is to realize that Wikipedia isn't the Hitchhiker's Guide; it's an encyclopedia, which means the project has explicitly opted-in to some limitations as a tradeoff to accomplish other things.
(Some articles also just have possessive editors; there is dysfunction everywhere, and WP is no exception).
See if you can spot any inaccuracies. Here are a few:
1. SDL doesn't use libevdev. It uses the kernel ioctls directly: http://hg.libsdl.org/SDL/file/3a50eb90e4b2/src/core/linux/SD...
2. Sockets, netfilter, network protocols are all listed under "everything is a file", but notably, sockets are one of the few places of the UNIX API that isn't a file namespace! Sockets can be files in the case of UNIX domain sockets, but configuring Netfilter goes through NETLINK: http://man7.org/linux/man-pages/man7/netlink.7.html
3. Similarly, the I/O scheduler isn't a file. Admittedly, I don't have a source for this other than the kernel source code itself.
These are nitpicks, yes, but they add up, especially considering the near-100 diagrams this guy has made and cloned all over Wikipedia. When we saw people joining our community and asking questions, this information made them think things were different than they were, and that was frustrating. And yes, I used sources like these when trying to correct this misinformation.
2. Sockets are files. No, they don't have filenames usually, but they do have file descriptors and even inode numbers.
3. The diagram does not imply that the I/O scheduler is a file. The I/O scheduler is listed as a component underlying the listed filesystems.
There are no inaccuracies. That said, the diagram is awful. It is hard to follow (your misinterpretation being a great example) and seems to be a cluttered and incomplete collection of parts.
There's an arrow pointing to "SDL input". In theory, it makes sense that libevdev is like libDRM and libasound in being "the officially sanctioned userspace library", but that's not the case -- evdev is much, much older than libevdev and does a lot more than wrap the ioctls.
> 2. Sockets are files. No, they don't have filenames usually, but they do have file descriptors and even inode numbers.
Lots of things have file descriptors and are not files. For instance, eventfd(). Or timerfd(). File descriptors should probably be renamed "kernel object handles". As for inodes, abstract UNIX sockets do not have them. Seriously, have a program make abstract sockets (sun_path should start with '\x00'), then call lsof. The 'inode' field will be 00000000.
There is an arrow pointing to a large red box that happens to contain libevdev right below the arrow. To see the edge of the box, you may need to scroll right if your browser has a narrow window.
It is a terrible diagram, but it is correct.
In UNIX terminology, anything with a file descriptor is a file. Plan 9 would have a filename, but that is a different OS.
See the man page for stat(1) where you will find S_IFSOCK. The st_mode value is 0140000 for a socket, which is 0xc000 in hex.
I just hacked up the program shown by "man 3 getaddrinfo" to call fstat on the file descriptor and show the results. I get this:
fd 3 has inode 325043100, mode 140777 0xc1ff, dev 8 rdev 0
Clearly, it works. Sockets do have file descriptors and inode numbers. Inside the kernel, there is even a "struct inode" for each socket.
I challenge you to create a symbolic link to one. :)
Really though, it's the file descriptor that matters. This is the abstraction that lets you do things like pass a socket between different processes in the same way that you'd pass an opened directory between different processes.
The few places where this abstraction is missing are painful. A good example is ptrace. You can't pass a ptrace between processes. Handling it nicely in poll or select isn't easy.
The use of file descriptors might not seem so amazing today, now that Windows has the HANDLE and MacOS X has the Mach port, but it was revolutionary when it was introduced. For about 15 years, it was just a UNIX thing. MS-DOS had separate ways to deal with everything: files, directories, each different vendor's network stack, etc. Every other OS was like that, more or less.
But I suspect you're running into exactly what I ran into: you're trying to correct a page using yourself as a source. I'm sure you're right (although I think you're nitpicking about the sockets-are-files thing --- not that they are, but rather than I don't think the diagram is making that claim --- it is a _really_ bad diagram though).
It can be easier on WP to strike content from a page (because it is inaccurate) than it is to replace that content.
It's not a good diagram, and its author is clearly trying to attach it in as many prominent places as they can, which is not great. But I still don't know what the actual controversy is.
Probably a lot more, but can't really reverse image search SVGs.
> It took awhile to get through my head the model of the project, which included as a basic premise that I, as an editor, am not a valid source.
It seems to me that the correct response to this is to mark the content as needing citations (or to look up the citations oneself), not to knee-jerk delete it every time. Well-cited material is best, but at least for uncontroversial technical subjects, poorly-cited but nonetheless accurate material is a lot better than nothing.
There's another problem I've seen, particularly in non-technical subjects, with information that is so broadly accepted that nobody ever bothers to formally define it, so it's not allowed on Wikipedia. For example, in the fantasy genre, "high fantasy" broadly meant epic, heroic, good-vs-evil stuff (Lord of the Rings) and "low fantasy" broadly meant gritty shades-of-grey stuff (Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, Thieves' World, Song of Ice and Fire). The terms were used this way for decades throughout the genre, and were so intuitive that no one needed to explicitly define them.
In 1971, Lloyd Alexander wrote an essay that used "high fantasy" to, roughly, describe fantasy that takes place in an imaginary world, rather than in our own. This usage was never common or influential...until someone wrote a Wikipedia article about it, and used that one source to block any attempts to mention the original definition for many years. Now the "high fantasy" and "low fantasy" articles are conflicting muddles of the two different definitions, and the confusion has inevitably leaked into off-Wikipedia discussion.
For example, Bir Tawil is called "a Terra Nullius" on several Wikipedia pages although no scholarly sources support that claim. There are only a few scholarly sources and they come to the conclusion that Bir Tawil can't possibly be Terra Nullius. For example, it is inhabited by nomads while Wikipedia claims it is uninhabited.
However, several news paper sources erroneously claims that Bir Tawil is Terra Nullius, possibly because the journalists read it of Wikipedia. The large number of bad news paper sources trumps the few scholarly sources. Therefore Bir Tawil is, in the minds of most Wikipedians, Terra Nullius. They can't really comprehend that the opinion of one professor in international law completely outweighs the opinion of 100 uninformed journalists. :) Examples like these are everywhere on Wikipedia.
EDIT: the source used for that paragraph is actually not a newspaper article, it appears to be scientific. I don't know much about the topic (and don't have access to that book) but it's not just copied from some newspaper.
Scholars generally do not publish scientific articles just to refute misconceptions held by laymen. However, there is a blog post by a law professor correcting this particular misconception.
That's exactly what made me not waste a second thought on Wikipedia after my first attempt to contribute.
A small change, clearly correct, well-sourced with first-rate sources, but unfortunately the guy who made most of tzhe changes to the article over its history cannot stand if someone fixes something in "his" article.
Unless Wikipedia finds a way to "appeal" those decisions in a low-barrier way (maybe introduce "Wiki-lawyers" who know the gigabytes of procedures, rules and obscure Wiki pages where those procedures happen?), Wikipedia will lose both concrete work and also good-will.
I won't ever try again.
There are really entire broad topics that are bad. Lots of maths pages are horrible and un-encyclopedic.
WP's coverage of computer security topics is generally quite bad. Also: the WP process prevents them from getting better as fast as they could; that's the conclusion I came to after spending several months trying to work on them. I was unhappy about this at first, but I gradually came around to the conclusion that what was making topics hard to improve for me was also what was making the whole project work at all, and it's just fine if WP doesn't have great security coverage yet.
I'm interested if you think that's a crazy perspective.
So yes, I think your perspective is naive.
Maths, on the other hand, is the OG field of abstract human knowledge. The study of how to communicate it, its history, its philosophy, a number of its key applications are all serious fields in their own right. WP's terribleness at it makes no sense to me at all. It's totally not-fine that it's produced jiggabytes of material that's worse-than-useless to interested non-specialists and adult learners - the supposed primary audience of an encyclopedia. It feels like some sort of massive sytemic failure but I have no idea or hypothesis why it's turned out that way, maybe you do?
I find math on Wikipedia really hard to get right. If you want to express it completely accurate, many people with little knowledge of the domain won't understand it. If you want to make it accessible, you often need to make some compromise. For someone looking up a simple fact or theorem, having a simple description can be best, even if it's not strictly correct.
I don't think that's the case at all.
IF this person is busy taking the 'N' out of NPOV all over the place - as the article claims - that ought to be obvious to the WP 'court'. In which case, a 6 month suspension for abuse seems appropriate. Further abuse means s/he'll have to find a new IP to abuse from. Rinse and repeat.
It's not that valid and truthful information cannot be added, but it runs a fearsome gauntlet of protectors.
As examples I've encountered, virtually anything touching on Soros, Open Society Foundations, Clinton Foundation, The Climate Reality Project (and other "charitable" organisations), or their interests, particularly global warming topics, and most especiaally their stable of alarmists.
Imagine being in their shoes.
I observe that this was again that account that you mention, in 2013 taking someone else's work off another WWW site without attributing the creator (or indeed any indication on that other WWW site, that has no free copyright licence that I can find, that the original diagram was freely licensed by that creator and usable on Wikipedia in the first place), taking it out of its original context, and falsely marking as "own work".
That account maintains a personal version of the article still calling it "The entire systemd software bundle and its components".
Major non-partisan news organizations. Generally, their news is relatively unbiased; editorials are meant to be biased, of course. Search their news archives.
Major non-partisan think tanks can be fantastic sources, but be a bit careful about their funding.
Encyclopedia Britannica is excellent, with articles generally written by domain experts. Coverage isn't nearly as broad as Wikipedia, but otherwise it's a great first stop for most topics. They let you read a few free articles, but don't hesitate to pay for quality information.
Review articles in academic journals: An expert reviews the state of the literature. Search Google Scholar.
University libraries often have fantastic study guides online, written by experts in their fields.
Many academic fields have excellent online resources and aggregations. In philosophy (extending into the philosophical aspects of math, humanities, and more), the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. For the academic study of the Judeo-Christian Bible, there is Oxford Biblical Studies Online: for Islam, there is Oxford Islamic Studies Online. And professors often put together ad-hoc websites.
One has to be very careful about who their readership are and whom the journalist cater to in their writing. For example we had this study done for reporting on the 2016 election and its only a small selection in green that indicate nonpartisan target audience: http://wilkins.law.harvard.edu/projects/2017-08_mediacloud/G... It should be noted that the map do not show official endorsements which some of the green marked organization (or owners) made.
We also have the classic "Who reads the papers?" from Yes, Prime Minister. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGscoaUWW2M) Its a joke of course but one that rings quite true for a lot of people. The audience influence the paper which in turn incentives the writers to cater to the existing audience. Online advertisement is exceptional strong in this where the effect can be felt continuously with instant feedback.
Encyclopedias are fun. One on side of the family I have academic ancestors who had two really old sets from around world war 1 and before. Amazing read, especially if you look up political topics. Occasional I read it just for the culture difference. Domain experts can be rather "colored" by their time, and its difficult argument to make that today Encyclopedia Britannica is enlighten and correct but 100 years ago they paid biased and blind experts.
Which leaves doing the work oneself and make original meta research by seeking out studies, academic journals and papers. That is the proper way to do it if one has the time and energy.
> doing the work oneself and make original meta research
It's extremely inefficient, and often impossible to do without domain expertise. Also, there's no reason to think that you are less biased than others.
Studies has been done. Wikipedia has a page on it with a long list of cited studies (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliability_of_Wikipedia).
I would really enjoy seeing a study done on the 2016 election and see where wikipedia would land. My own view is that the order is something like social media < news < wikipedia < fact checking sites when ordering from least reliable to most reliable. Others might have a different personal view, but it is all good so long we all agree that A) critical thought is required for all reading in regard to controversial topics, and B) there are no perfect solutions.
I strongly disagree with the premise that every analysis - i.e., every personal view - is fundamentally equally accurate or worthy. That goes against critical thought and reason. A major point of the Enlightenment is that through reason, we can distinguish good from bad, accurate from false. You have a right to your own opinion, but that doesn't make it right. Also, you don't have a right to your own facts.
News sites has several reason for bias. The most obvious one is when the owner or company has a official political endorsement and that spend money as part of a commercial venture on a political candidate. I will propose that common sense says that this is a prime indicator of bias for a specific political outcome, and data research (I will not cite sources because that would make a already long comment significant longer to write) on articles published shows a clear statistical differences in the substance of those articles compared to news sites of opposing political stance. News site also has an incentive to cater to existing audience and market share. Competition in news is harsh and giving up one audience for an other is an economic risk. Advertisement is also targeted and is more economical if the intended audience is reached. There is usually also a correlation between views heuristics and hiring (contractor vs permanent staff), wage negotiations, and internal promotions which again incentivize journalists to strategies for maximized views, usually through existing audience since getting outside audience is seen as harder than an already captured one.
For Wikipedia the bias is different. There is malice out of fun and fame. There are crowds that can gang up on a issue. There is local politics inside the circle of long term editors.
Comparing the two is hard which is why the best bet is usually to look to third-party researchers who try to measure correctness and bias. We could try to reason between ourself to distinguish which should have a bigger impact, through this will be a very subjective approach and it depend on both participants to have good intentions and willingness to find common ground. Online forums have a bad reputation for such conversation, through occasionally it does work.
If it's a scholarly topic that lends itself to testable predictions, use Google Scholar to search for highly cited and/or recent review articles, and read on sci-hub if the article isn't already open access.
If it's highly controversial and not particularly testable, then I recommend A) prepare yourself to consume a lot of primary sources and make difficult judgments on your own and B) prepare yourself to live with the problem not feeling satisfactorily resolved even if you do A for a long time.
If you subscribe to criticisms of establishment ideology, and some of those have merit, there is a pervasive bias against numerous valid, credible, or meritorious viewpoints, contributions, contributors, and voices.
(There is also a great deal of quite valid rejection of flat-out bullshit.)
One can easily find numerous instances of this. An example from my present reading, H.A. Guerber's 1906 anthology The Myths of Ancient Greece and Rome, specifically notes in the preface, "great care being taken, however, to avoid the more repulsive features of heathen mythology".
Earlier enyclopedias either explicitly followed institutional gospel, or faced censure and criticism for failing to do so.
Another instance of which I'm aware, having run aacross it myself, comes from the 1874 Chamber's Encyclopedia, a British work with an authorised American edition ... to which some changes were made. The British publishers took umbrage:
In the interests of literature, and in defence of their rights as authors, Messrs Chambers have to make the following Satement regarding an American edition of their Encyclopaedia:
By an arrangement with Messrs Lippencott of Philadelphia, they were furnished with duplicate stereotype plates of the work, in order that it might be simultaneously printed and issued in the United States. After a time, the American publishers began to make extensive alterations to the articles, a thing which had not been contemplated in the agreement. Had the alterations been confined to bringing the information up to a more recent date, or correcting errors of fact, nothing need have been said about it. But it is a serious matter when, in a re-issue of a work, statements and opinions are introduced which are repudiated and hateful to the original proprietors, their name all the while appearing on the title-page. That Messrs Chambers have reason to complain of being placed in this unpleasant and false position by the American edition of their Encyclopaedia, will admittedly by any one who will look at the following alterations, selected from a number that could be noted....
Among the contested entries, free trade:
Free Trade (Original Edition). 'This term, when used so late as twenty years ago, expressed a diputed proposition, and was the badge of a political party; it now expresses the most important and fundamental truth in political economy. From its simplicity, it affords, to those who expect to make political economy an exact science, the hope that they have obtained an axiom. But it has in reality been established as the result of a double experience --- the one being the failure of all deviations from it, the other being the practical success of the principle during the short period in which it has been permitted to regulated the commerce of the country.'
And how might one possibly offend? Oh...
Free Trade (American Edition), 'a dogma of modern growth, industriously taught by British manufacturers and their commercial agents. For many years certain political economists have laboured to establish this theory upon a reliable basis, and have asserted that the doctrine represents an important truth; but no nation has attained substantial prosperity except by protection to native industry, whether avowed or disavowed. The doctrine had no foothold in the policy of any nation, and had no legislative birth until put forth by Sir R. Peel in 1846....
Also Protection, Slavery, and:
[A] slanderous imputation concerning His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, which we should be ashamed to copy.
It is broken, in my opinion, because people in charge insist that it is not (and should not be) a democracy.
So in the end, there is no clear understanding who is in charge, and you get people who invest lot of time and get implicit power.
Democracy is a principle which, for all its failings, is there to protect interests of people who can't or don't want to fight for power full-time. Because we say, here we are being treated as equal. By explicitly setting the power that people have, democracy makes attaining implicit power somewhat pointless.
Therefore, democracy is in the interest of people who want to get job done and not get so much involved in politics.
What was surprising was just how easy it was. We started with minor edits in small articles, just adding our own name to some list of notable achievers.
Then, due to competition, we would add an entire paragraph that fabricated an event. Like adding ourself as a conquistador of some made-up novohispano population in some made-up location.
Imagine how compromised wikipedia must be by people with agendas more lofty than uni students passing some time.
Hell, just the other day I removed "See Also: Donald Trump" from one of the major fallacy articles. The history showed that the scathing political commentary was up there for over 8 months and nobody cared.
I'm not saying you should feel bad about yourself, but it's good if people can recognize what WP is up against.
Deletionists tend to confuse their personal ignorance (often of a website called "Google" [yes I know how notability works, no that's not an argument against not bothering to even trivially check whether an article can be improved rather than deleted]) with a mandate to sabotage Wikipedia.
People who remove cruft from articles, rather than speedy deleting articles that aren't about Pokemon, are not deletionists and should not be invoked as human shields for deletionists.
Phrases like "you've misunderstood my words" can sound quite confrontational and, in my experience, tend to provoke defensive responses rather than Cooperative Idea Sharing TM.
I find ideas flow more freely and coopertively by taking the miscommunication blame on myself, "Oh, I must have been unclear. We're on the same page about X, but what I was really trying to say is..."
Anyway, that's just my feel on the meta-interaction above. Carry on.
It would only be natural for us to take this resource as not-so-reliable, for that it is as easy a man to spit on the floor to infiltrate Wikipedia with false information. Yet, we usually don't. We usually just go ahead and trust what we see on Wikipedia, and maybe that's because it looks so convincing and reliable.
If Wikipedia cannot handle vandalism, maybe it should then warn it's users to realize that there is some higher chance than they might expect that the article they are about to read might have been compromised in terms of correctness, or has never been correct to begin with. Instead of displaying full-page banners, perhaps they should spare a couple of lines to such disclaimer statistics.
I'd say Wikipedia is really to blame for creating this false sense of trust on their platform. Not that they are completely unreliable, but they are less so than they seem to an average user.
But that is not what the author of the comment did. They regularly messed it up, and then complained that other people didn't clean it up fast enough. It's like throwing out trash every day out of the window, and then feel offended that there's lots of trash on the street. Of course it is, you made it! Stop doing it, and there would be less trash out. Start cleaning up, and there would be even less.
I'm ok if the person just has complaints, but if he has complaints about the thing he himself actively tried to break - no, you should not feel entitled to complain about that.
It is fascinating that some people talk about global topics like climate, evnvironment, etc. and then can't even resist messing up things that is under their nose, given to them completely free and extremely easy no to mess up - just use it as a normal person and enjoy! But no, he needs to vandalize it and then complain it wasn't cleaned up quickly!
I can assure you that there are at least some who are unaware that even they can edit a Wikipedia article. My housemate (a computer engineering student) didn't. My girlfriend seeking her doctorate degree didn't. My 2 roommates who managed to get to the first 100 at our national examination, also didn't.
Printing something in a book doesn't make it true, and putting it on a website also doesn't make it true, no matter how professional and authoritative-looking the css is. You trust something because you trust the motivations and expertise of its sources.
It doesn't have to be a negative concept. It can be as simple as picking up a can as you walk by it on the street, and otherwise having a completely normal life. People with you can then see "huh, I can contribute just a little bit, feel good about it, without going full hippie high-viz jacket and tongs with a trash bag every weekend."
That sounds very noble but imagine every time you lifted a bit of litter you had to argue with someone about why it should be put in the bin. Sometimes even when you win the argument they take it out of the bin and throw it down again.
That's how many qualified-to-contribute people feel about Wikipedia now. I run all my web searches with '-wikipedia' as I lack any confidence in its pages. But that's only half the battle, it doesn't address people who arrive on topic-specific fora with statements like 'Wikipedia says that..'
Take the tor project. It is very easy for a exit node operator to be bad. If you wanted to you could go and compete on who make the most egregious changes to traffic before the tor project bans the node. If the wast majority of operates did this then the project would die. Similar, torrent sites and BitTorrent is easily poked at by bad actors that either insert malware or do other bad things to the network. It too only operates on the basis that the wast majority do not have the intention to bring it down.
Of course the same could be said by HN. If a wast majority of users ganged together to push a specific agenda then it would likely take a while before the moderators could intervene. The upvote/downvote and flag system operates on the concept that the majority of users operate as independent agents and do not intend to try bring HN down.
In the end however for all the weakness and dependency on the statistical good nature of people, sites like those tend to be resilient in the long run.
When the bot doesn't catch those, there's almost always a couple of people looking at every change as they stream by, but that's an uphill battle that mostly catches the obvious bad edits.
The rate of change to recent change reviewers is too high to catch the more sophisticated vandalism as it happens, that's when things start staying up for weeks or months until some random person browsing the page notices, and hopefully fixes it.
Needless to say, an anonymous critic launching a campaign complete with website and Twitter account against him for allegedly being unfair to conspiracy-mongering figures like Craig Murray and George Galloway and genocide denial specialist Neil Clark and too nice to two Jewish journalists (one considerably more outspokenly pro-Israel than the other) isn't about to change my mind...
Sure, he has political opinions and wears them on his sleeve, but that applies to pretty much everybody else involved in political Wikipedia.
Who said you have to admire them? He's openly hostile toward them and taunts them on Twitter. Then makes blatantly unfair edits as we've shown. Remember, we're not talking about posting your political views on your blog. This is supposed to be an encyclopedia.
Traditionally, Wikipedia's approach to "unfair edits" is to make a case for their reverting on the talk page, not to offer rewards for doxxing the responsible editors, launch campaign websites against them and blog about how it's likely he's part of '"cyber-war” ops aiming to defend the “official” narrative against alternative news media' and Jimmy Wales is implicated too...
(I'm not exaggerating: here's Craig Murray's take on the same thing. https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/05/the-philip-c...
I could insinuate that "fivefilters" must surely be part of some shadowy organization coordinating to release information hostile to Philip Cross, but I live in the real world where sometimes people have common political views and wish to share their take on things they read online...)
We haven't offered rewards for doxxing anyone. We've written an article highlighting a problem with a particular editor's behaviour on Wikipedia where he has a conflict of interest and Wikipedia is refusing to act. You seem to be talking about anything and everything except this.
And as I pointed out above, having a negative opinion of a subject is not a "conflict of interest", and several of the diffs, of literally thousands you could have chosen, are entirely unobjectionable. I even pointed out one above was actually removing something editors are required to remove according to Wikipedia policy. I'd expect the ratio to look rather different if he was a disruptive or agenda-driven editor, as opposed to one whose choice of commentary to include I don't always agree with. If the real interest was in the edits as opposed to promoting conspiracy theories about Wikipedia colluding with conflicted editors to damage the good name of Messrs Murray and Galloway, presumably people would be devoting their time to reasoned explanations of why X is important or Y is irrelevant in talk page discussions on article wording rather than inviting people to astroturf HN as part of their #ditchwikipedia campaign instead...
Well, we're not George Galloway.
If the real interest was in the edits as opposed to promoting conspiracy theories about Wikipedia colluding with conflicted editors to damage the good name of Messrs Murray and Galloway, presumably people would be devoting their time to reasoned explanations of why X is important or Y is irrelevant in talk page discussions on article wording
I'll just repeat what I said in another comment here:
What it seems you're suggesting is that those unfairly targeted on Wikipedia, as Cross is doing, should learn the labyrinthine processes Wikipedia expects to correct their entries. And then presumably to put in the same amount of time Cross is putting in (hours and hours on weekdays and weekends) to monitor their pages for more abuses from him.
Should we not be more concerned about blocking those who are clearly in the wrong here?
If there's a real editorial dispute - if anyone wanting to "correct" the bias on the articles is actively doing that, with reputable sources, and getting smacked down, then you can bring that to dispute resolution (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Dispute_resolution) and come to consensus. But yelling about Wikipedia being broken or unfairly targeting people is just bunk until you've worked through the process.
In case you think this is me telling you to submit to the bureaucracy - that's exactly what I'm suggesting. If you have a dispute in the real world, you would go to the courts and use the legal system, not just yell about it endlessly to passersby.
You have much more faith in the Wikipedia process than I do. Please read our update which highlights how a certain admin has tried to shut down debate around this from the beginning: http://wikipedia.fivefilters.org/agenda.html
It's only finally now being debated thanks to lots of people "yelling" about it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests...
"the Cross-Galloway fracas is spreading from Twitter, and threatens to damage the credibility of Wikipedia in the public eye." They are worried, but still. Nothing has been done:
"On May 14, 2018, Philip Cross acknowledged George Galloway as one of "the goons" with whom he is feuding, and 41 minutes later admitted, "Well I have a big COI now, so I probably won't edit their articles very much in future." Nevertheless, four days later, Cross has again edited this BLP."
I do not have to make any of this up.
Of course, there theoretically could be a team being paid by number of edits to films and jazz musicians to distract from their real agenda to discredit people already enjoying roughly the same reputation as Lyndon LaRouche within the British political sphere. Some people are paid to post to social media.
Equally, if anyone can be bothered looking at the diffs of the allegedly offensive edits it could be that he's a guy whose Wikipedia obsession goes further than most and has a watchlist set up on pages he's edited and a set of brand new accounts edit warring the same unsourced claim about a Guardian journalist's beef with a Russia Today journalist into an article are the organised, if not necessarily paid, group...
However there are also editors such as Volunteer_Marek that I see in almost every political or current event topic inducing a heavy left leaning bias. These bias in these edits are much more extreme and unrestrained.
What is IMHO more worrying is the apparent collusion of Wikipedia, as an organisation, with those people. M. Wales is entitled to his political opinions and water works for stuffing his wallet, but he is also walking a very very fine line...
That doesn't mean that a "one-man" effort to shepherd their Wikipedia entries isn't notable or concerning but let's not pretend these guys are pacifists.
You haven't supported your position that these guys are not pacifists.
I rather see them as pointing out hypocrisy, necessary to avoid the groupthink that forms around national interests - the set of positions that all sides of mainstream politics in a nation hold for reasons of self-interest, rather than truth or ethics.
Neil Clark is a genocide denier: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/feb/12/warcrimes.comm...
There's a real problem with people who (correctly) spot that Western governments are lying about certain things, and then infer that (a) they're lying about everthing else and (b) non-western governments aren't worse liars.
I find Galloway unbelievably annoying, but is this just (Tory/New Labour) for being anti-Iraq War? Because it certainly was in the US.
Their other Twitter activity is mostly from an anti-western perspective with a lot of pro-Assad, pro-Iran, pro-Wikileaks, pro-Corbyn, and a handful of straight pro-Putin messages. I'm not giving an opinion, just stating the objective truth (I can link exact Tweets if you'd like).
This article also mirrors pieces being shared predominately on pro-Putin outlets like Sputnik and RT.
So the fact that some of the targets in this seem to be pro-Russia isn't entirely a non-point when trying to evaluate the full picture of this situation and the motivation of the different parties involved.
If you think the piece is unfairly critical, then dispute the facts of the case (the merits of the edits he made) rather than the character of the speaker.
But instead of going through the proper channels and attempting to resolve this within the Wikipedia protocols these people seem to be launching a campaign against Wikipedia which, in my opinion, borders on propaganda.
Some of the debate here was also over a subjective accusation that the targets were "anti-war" when in reality the commonality seemed to have been pro-Putin. That distinction also stinks of propaganda. Again, just my opinion.
For strategic reasons at least -- Russia's foreign commercial news stations are also of late "sympathetic" to anti-war and progressive themes (such as arms reduction and peaceful conflict resolution). Opinions may differ here about the nature of Russia's support for those subjects, but that is a very orthogonal concern.
I don't know of any substantiated connections between the persons involved here and the Russian government or media. They certainly are "anti war" in the popular sense of the term.
This is what Galloway said to Saddam Hussain: "Sir, I salute your courage, your strength your indefatigability. And I want you to know that we are with you until victory, until victory, until Jerusalem."
Would that Russia critics could admit their involvement in Syria has been hugely stabilizing to a situation which almost fell into the hell which Libya was thrown into by air strikes...
We're talking about someone that agitates against any form of air strikes by the West for months, then when Russia announces plans to launch air strikes against exactly the same target, gushes that it's going to be a Stalingrad-like triumph over fascism all over again. We're talking about somebody who highlighted Saddam Hussein's human rights abuses right up to the point where the West decided he was actually more of a threat to regional stability than Iran and forcibly ejected him from the neighbouring country he invaded, at which point George started meeting people who were naming their sons Saddam and felt obliged to fly to Iraq after the war to salute Saddam's indefatigability and wish him future victories in person and deliver deputy the writings of Sun Tzu to advise them on "patriotic resistance" against any future threats. And we're talking about somebody who goes off the fairly coherent and very widely-supported anti-war campaign script in 2001 to call upon Arab armies to join the Iraqi "martyrs" in rising up against the West in Iraq. If all this is in the name of "long lasting international peace and security for everyone" as opposed to because he really, really wants to see non-Western forces prevail on the battlefield, it's difficult to see exactly how....
I believe Galloway and all the people concerned here do sue for peace given any fair prospect of it and recall Galloway was active against Apartheid in South Africa. Craig Murray was too even while he was a british civil servant under Thatchers government at the time (who considered the ANC simply a terrorist organisation).
Regardless of the summary of George Galloway, Craig Murray, Robert Fisk, John Pilger, David Edwards etc. that you would put up for debate, and of these suspicions of extra-national interest suggested here as "realpolitik" and "zone of sympathy" -- the persons own wikipedia bios should be technically even handed if not charitable, so that the Wikipedia reader (and supporter) doesn't have to fill in a case for the defence or the prosecution themselves to achieve balance.
The majority of pacifists either belong to obscure religious sects or are simply humanitarians who object to the taking of life and prefer not to follow their thoughts beyond that point. But there is a minority of intellectual pacifists whose real though unadmitted motive appears to be hatred of western democracy and admiration of totalitarianism. Pacifist propaganda usually boils down to saying that one side is as bad as the other, but if one looks closely at the writings of younger intellectual pacifists, one finds that they do not by any means express impartial disapproval but are directed almost entirely against Britain and the United States. Moreover they do not as a rule condemn violence as such, but only violence used in defence of the western countries. The Russians, unlike the British, are not blamed for defending themselves by warlike means, and indeed all pacifist propaganda of this type avoids mention of Russia or China. It is not claimed, again, that the Indians should abjure violence in their struggle against the British. Pacifist literature abounds with equivocal remarks which, if they mean anything, appear to mean that statesmen of the type of Hitler are preferable to those of the type of Churchill, and that violence is perhaps excusable if it is violent enough. After the fall of France, the French pacifists, faced by a real choice which their English colleagues have not had to make, mostly went over to the Nazis, and in England there appears to have been some small overlap of membership between the Peace Pledge Union and the Blackshirts. Pacifist writers have written in praise of Carlyle, one of the intellectual fathers of Fascism. All in all it is difficult not to feel that pacifism, as it appears among a section of the intelligentsia, is secretly inspired by an admiration for power and successful cruelty. The mistake was made of pinning this emotion to Hitler, but it could easily be retransferred.
60 years later, and "pacifists" like Galloway evidently have no problem pinning that emotion onto butchers like Stalin, Putin, and Assad.
I'm not British and I don't have a horse in this race; I don't really know who Galloway is and from what I've heard, I don't care to. But the evidence presented in this thread certainly presents as symptoms of Orwell's diagnosis.
Hitler for instance saw to animal welfare  while also perpetrating ethnic cleansing.
No. Please, everybody stop with this Russia nonsense. Russia has become the bogeyman to which every evil and its opposite can be attributed, included the election of a US president that the US citizens voted themselves, and of which on average are pretty satisfied, I'm afraid.
Some of the people mentioned in this story as targets of Philip Cross have been questioning the West's alliances and wars- and the narrative that enabled them- for decades. Since a couple of years, Russia seems to be openly, and somehow aggressively (from an information point of view) doing the same. So in case it's Russia that aligned with them.
Even in my country that was occupied by USSR at one time, there are now very vocal pro-russian agenda voices, especially on social media, news comment sections and or alt-news websites. It's ridiculous.
And what's this website anyway? Someone created an anonymous website to spread some onesided info about a feud with some wikipedia editor he doesn't like.
Out of curiosity, I looked up Galloway. He isn't really serious about what he writes about UK/US/Syria. Just filter his twitter for syria keyword. It's all just some one-sided polemic, often based on leading questions. It's not even reporting. He comes of as some kind of misinformed activist with non-obvious agenda.
Anti-war? That surely must be a joke. He has 151k tweets and barely mentions destruction of Raqqa by US air campaign that was going on for 5 months. He mentions Kobani, another city US bombed and shelled to the ground, precisely once - to send people to RT/Sputnik for info about that. All these things and others were significantly more influential actions by the US war machine in the region, and incomparably more deadly and injurious to innocents. He's not even anti-US/UK war machine, consistently.
Yet US does some token attack on Assad's infrastructure, and he spreads alarmist nonsense for days, even insinuating that he might be killed by UK government. I don't get him. Perhaps he's just trying to look certain way to UK citizens, and it's all just posturing/signalling.
He didn't even mention any of the Assads war crimes, or what he did to fuel instability and war in the region. No mention out of 151k tweets. That's anti war?
> He comes of as some kind of misinformed activist
Haha. Maybe you'd want to look up some of his activity and also get a grip on the history of the past, uhm, 30 years. It'll take you a bit longer than doing a filter search on twitter.
> Someone created an anonymous website to spread some onesided info about a feud with some wikipedia editor he doesn't like.
There's no question about the fact that Philip Cross has been suspiciously hyper-active for years and that he's concentrating on a cluster of political figures. I've checked a couple Wikipedia entries of people I know as critics of the US and western policies, and voila', hundreds of Philip Cross edits just in the last few days.
If someone has hunderds of thousands of tweets, I'd say such judgement would be pretty accurate, unless he segemnts his pronouncements based on media/audience in some very deliberate way, which I doubt, because he went to twitter to critcize US intervention.
And yes I wonder how he's anti-war in general or even anti-US imperialism in general based on some simple searches that reveal he's barely criticized US foreign meddling in the war against ISIS on twitter.
Cross may be suspicious, I aggree, but that doesn't make the web page magically non-anonymous and balanced.
Wikipedia is like any other encyclopedia, human endeavor with shortcomings, biases, and failings. It should be taken with a grain of salt where warranted, trusted as canonical elsewhere, and constitute one among many sources in other cases. For me, at least there is the relatively high degree of transparency that allows people to independently research the claims of this article theirself should they choose. That's not the case with Google's search results and those probably have more a role in my ordinary decisions than Wikipedia.
None of which is to say that this is good. Only that for me, it is a corner case...contemporary politics is an area of Wikipedia where I expect political gerrymandering and biased reporting simply due to the size of the attack surface, the nature of politics and the stakes at stake.
Not a wikipedian, but from my nerdish poking around and learning about how wikipedia works, it was my impression that these boards are supposed to be public forums to openly discuss issues, in line with its spirit of open collaboration. The fact that editors closed it immediately is evidence that, as KalHolmann says, there is circling of wagons going on.
I try to be aware of it but I see myself mindlessly agreeing with someone just because they took the superior tone for the given format.
In the end, good faithed users contribute in thier spare time. Once certain interests are involved, you are faced with bad faithed actors who make their livelihood sabotaging this.
Catch enough controversy and this will ruin almost any project where people cooperate in their spare time to inform about something.
(1) instructing KalHolmann not to canvass (this is one of WP's older rules and comes up all the time in AfD, where people will canvass WP and Twitter to get votes to keep marginal articles)
(2) backing out KalHolmann's canvassing comments
(3) responding to KalHolmann's question about where to direct his concern by telling him to take it to ANI
(4) advising against him taking it to the "COI Noticeboard" (I'm not sure I know what that even is but I guess I can guess and I'm not surprised it exists)
(5) after KalHolmann takes it there anyways and complains about the outcome, telling him again to take it to ANI.
None of this seems bad to me; it seems like a WP admin going out of their way to be helpful (in a WP'ian sort of way) and getting slagged for it on HN.
I should also add that the people targeted by Cross all have a fairly large audiences on Twitter, and have been vocal about this issue. Jimmy Wales is aware (he's tweeted to them, as I say in another comment, but to dismiss the matter). I, too, would conclude they were trying to protect him if I was met with that kind of response.
What seems more likely to me is that people have very legitimate concerns about Cross's POV, but aren't following WP norms in raising those concerns, and are getting shut down as a result. That's an expected outcome, not a sign of something nefarious happening.
If I can take a stab at guessing what is happening, the Wikipedia admins probably feel like a super-active member is one of their own, and he/she is being attacked by "outsiders", so what they're doing is defending him with made-up reasons to fool themselves that what they're doing is just. A bit like US police, they're meant to be a part of the community and serve them, but after demonstrations against them because a few members did terrible things, they think they're under attack and their response is to protect their own and treat the public as the aggressive enemy.
One of the reasons for those norms is that on controversial issues, everybody can marshal a plausible argument. WP's processes try to make sure that admins can make procedural rather than substantive decisions to resolve conflicts. It's reasonable to have a couple thousand people who understand a process. It's not reasonable to expect a couple thousand people to be authoritative for all the substantive controversies litigated on the encyclopedia.
Another reason is that the norms are interdependent. For instance: many of the rest of WP's processes don't work without the "no canvassing" rule. Admins and 'crats can't evaluate an argument if it's flooded with partisan complaints. Admin decisions aren't votes.
But I emphatically take issue with the idea that it's reasonable to shut down what sounds like, in your words, "very legitimate concerns" instead of guiding the concerned users through the proper process, fostering a healthy discussion.
If I'm being harsh, isn't that the role of an admin, someone who should know better?
It's important to follow rules, and I could ironically cite you a dozen Wikipedia guidelines that argue for or against the idea that not following proper process should get your concerns shut down.
But one of the founding and most important principles of Wikipedia is precisely that it has no firm rules.
What it has are guidelines that have been found to work well, and policy that one is expected to follow unless there is a reason not to.
The moment that heavily codified process is used by experienced editors against less experienced ones or against people who have a legitimate concern, that is not helpful process and not a fair or acceptable outcome.
- File this form in triplicate here sir!
- I did, but it was instantly rejected within 2 minutes. Where should I file my appeal?
- File your appeal with the same person.
- But it will get rejected again. Can't I appeal to someone else?
- You can only file your appeal somewhere else if you fill out this form.
- OK, I did that. It was rejected in 6 minutes by the same person.
- Sounds like you're out of appeals. Stop trying to play the system.
I'm thinking of the FORUMSHOP justification for closing the discussion on ANI in particular, and I'm more generally responding to your posts in this thread.
About this incident, I think it's fair to say that the administrator in question, with 13 years of experience and over 100k edits might be more experienced with the rules and policies than User:KalHolmann.
Now if the COI guidelines do no justify filing a report to the COI Noticeboard, that is one thing and closing that request is understandable, but ANI is a place for discussion, and since we're using it as an example the FORUMSHOP close reason comes across as exceptionally severe and opinionated to me.
I see a person being told to file grievances somewhere else, and an administrator who at the very least may have forgotten to Assume Good Faith in response.
If an organization is publishing some info about me, it sounds like a giant pain in the butt if I have to learn their bureaucracy to get e.g. false information changed. At least have an ombudsman who could represent my grievances, if you built such a site. But nooooo, it seems because anyone can join and be involved in the mud-wrestle, that's what they have to do to be heard!
I wonder if politicians/celebrity can GDPR (to use that term as a verb) Wikipedia to delete all info the site has about them. After learning about this 5 minutes ago, I'm outraged! (Do note, this sentence is tongue-in-cheek!)
Yes, anyone can send in a patch.
No, only a very small subset of the world population has the knowledge and experience to create a patch that gets accepted.
Yes, they do want more contributors and want to encourage all users to contribute.
No, they can not accept all patches.
Linux patches generally gets accepted based on technical merit, some politics aside;
But it seems like most Wikipedia contributions are subject to the inside political considerations and bureaucracy.
See this example that illustrates the policy using the flat earth theory:
> "Wikipedia is not worried per se about whether the theory that the Earth is flat is true. There must be current, reliable and independent sources substantiating claims that the Earth is flat. But there are no such sources that are current (almost no scientists have thought the Earth was flat since about the fourth century BC), that are reliable (reliable sources are reviewed for accuracy), or independent (a journal published by a Flat Earth Society would not be independent.)"
> "If Wikipedia had been available around the sixth century BC, it would have reported the view that the Earth is flat as a fact without qualification. It would have also reported the views of Eratosthenes (who correctly determined the Earth's circumference in 240 BC) either as controversial or a fringe view. Similarly if available in Galileo's time, it would have reported the view that the Sun goes round the Earth as a fact, and if Galileo had been a Vicipaedia editor, his view would have been rejected as "originale investigationis". Of course, if there is a popularly held or notable view that the Earth is flat, Wikipedia reports this view. But it does not report it as true. It reports only on what its adherents believe, the history of the view, and its notable or prominent adherents. Wikipedia is inherently a non-innovative reference work: it stifles creativity and free thought, which is a Good Thing."
And to add an anecdote to this, in multiple occasions, my contributions were reverted with some jargon that I suppose suggested that my sources (local journalist) were not credible, after adding more mainstream (CNN or Washpost, can't remember), the whole article was deleted yet with some other jargon that I couldn't bother figuring out.
So, from where I stand, the notion that Wikipedia contributions are not subject to political considerations is laughable.
What you're not promised is the ability to win any given debate between yourself and other editors. What would you expect? How could the project possibly work otherwise?
I don't know what "clearly in the wrong" means. Cross and I don't share a POV; from the little I know about him (exclusively: this article) I find his politics noxious. But I would be extremely disturbed if my opinion about his politics somehow controlled Wikipedia.
I'm not suggesting anyone base the block on their opinion of his politics, but of his behaviour on Wikipedia. There's clearly a conflict of interest when someone who is openly hostile toward someone else and taunts them on Twitter, then goes and makes the kind of edits he's making to their Wikipedia page.
There's of course a bigger issue of how Wikipedia deals with this problem more broadly. But the fact that they're unwilling to act on a single editor whose actions have been exposed doesn't inspire much confidence.
Arguably that works well, but it's almost meaningless to call it a wiki.
"if you make an edit which is good-faith reverted, do not simply reinstate your edit – leave the status quo up" ... "propose your reverted change on the article's talk page or pursue other dispute resolution alternatives." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Reverting
I am not saying the policy is unreasonable, but it combined with the interface does discourage people.
As to an improvement, if Wikipedia sees the same edit applied twice it could detect this and walk someone through the policy.
You're essentially refuting yourself by making the same claim again, and yet still without offering a single example of something you are claiming is rampant. If there are "plenty" of examples, it should be easy to link a few.
I'm skeptical, because I've made many small, always anonymous edits over the years, mostly correcting spelling mistakes and bad grammar. Most of these edits were even made from dynamic IPs - and yet none of them were reverted.
Why is is harder to get Twinkle and Rollback now than it used to be, and why is their usage more closely monitored?
It's because people were rapidly reverting a lot of edits, and many of those edits were correct and should not have been reverted.
There's a bunch of discussion on ANI and village pump about this.
But, feel free to dig through the reverts they are really common and not just for regional variations in spellings.
PS: I realize listing even 50 in all of Wikipedia is not nessisarily meaningful so no I am not going to waste my time tilting at windmills.
Note all the editors messing up the correct Pittsburg(h) with and without the h in various settings. Lot's of +/- 1 edit lengths.
Now, did some how instantly validate my point? No.
PS: But it does illustrate the situation something is popular enough that many people see it, complex enough that it takes a little thought for someone to notice an issue fix it in good faith and then get reverted.
(Unless "don't criticise a top-1000 user" counts as a Wikipedia norm, I suppose.)
I disbelieve that that the admin in question is both a neutral arbiter and capable of determining within two minutes that Cross is not an "avowed rival" of Galloway (see WP:BLPCOI), particularly given the "And being attacked by RT and George Galloway is a reasonably reliable indicator that you are doing something right" bit on his talk page.
[The relevant part of BLPCOI is:
« Therefore, an editor who is involved in a significant controversy or dispute with another individual—whether on- or off-wiki—or who is an avowed rival of that individual, should not edit that person's biography or other material about that person »
Under pressure from outside, the wikipedia admins decided to reopen this case. They fairly quickly came to consensus that Cross was violating the paragraph of the biography-of-living-persons-conflict-of-interest policy quoted above and banned him from editing Galloway's article.
There's continuing discussion of whether Cross is doing anything more seriously wrong.
We all have biases. But we have conflicts when we have direct relationships with topics.
Similarly: edits are supposed to have NPOV. But editors almost always have a POV.
It's very easy to see how someone might view this as being up against a "they".
Also no apparent connection to the topic.
There over a thousand admins on Wikipedia; most of them don't know or have any connection to each other.
Regarding JzG's reply, it sounds a little disingenuous when they claim Cross is "editing with an opinion" and those bringing COI up are "people with a vested interest." I probably believe those against him have a vested interest, but that Cross who openly admitted to having a feud with the pages of people he edits (TFA's point) is the one operating with acceptable behavior is okay is strange.
It seems like me the best way to address the warring is just to openly discuss it.
One Wikipedia editor is trying to highlight the problem of Cross' edits and have him marked as having a conflict of interest on certain articles. The Wikipedia admin (or superiour, I'm not familiar with the Wikipedia hierarchy) shuts him down very rudely and doesn't appear to want to address the issue at all. Leaving the editor to give up: "Forgive me for concluding that Wikipedia is circling its wagons around Philip Cross...I know when the deck is stacked against me."
That said, I went looking around, and there appear to be politicians and russian media involved here. This is not a "Evil admin stomps on poor innocent victim" story, for sure.
Seeing a link to Meatball is also a blast from the past - i just about remember the drama when it split off from Ward's Wiki.
Reminiscences aside, i suppose these are both reminders that Wikipedia is a living fossil; it was started in the early days of the web (not the early early days, but early enough), drew its participants and culture from other places which existed at the time, and has been evolving on its own terms ever since.
"I went looking around, and there appear to be politicians and russian media involved here." - Is that the level of evidence needed to do whatever you want on Wikipedia?
Obviously, things are not adding up. We can both agree on that much ;-)
What I don't quite get is why fivefilters.org is interested?
This article is citing references from RT and Sputnik to defend a guys who broadcast on RT and Sputnik.
It cites several fairly normal edits as outrageous. For example Snopes has it's founders names listed but the article implies listing Media Len's founders is an attack.
Likewise removing an un-cited assertions are called attacks.
And the article apparently believes offering a £1000 for doxing information is acceptable.
And remarkably expanding on all this to imply that all of wikipedia is suspect.
I would really take this article with a big grain of salt.
Wikipedia was a good idea but for political topics it doesn't work at all.
Fact checking sites are naturally better and usually go to great length to differentiate themselves from normal (political aligned) news sites and affirm that they are political unaffiliated. Sadly their time and scope is limited so Wikipedia work as a nice middle ground.
People need to be aware of how incredibly messy the Wikipedia editing game is, and that it is dominated by politically affiliated paid editors. Believing otherwise is incredibly naive.
Honestly, Israel, KSA etc. are as much, if not more likely to do this, as indeed shown by the Phillip Cross guy, who was making edits to benefit them. Of course it is far easier to constantly mention Russia, (and it should be mentioned), but I'd love if people were more willing to call out our 'partners' who engage in this behavior, as calling out Russia requires no amount of 'courage' at all.
I get that, my point was that if you're going to give examples, it may be worthy to not always point to Russia/China etc. as that is well known and understood, but to take the opportunity to highlight that it is done by countries that are supposed to be our friends to a much greater degree as that is not a point you'll hear on MSM, (Russia you'll hear so much about, it borders on Xenophobia).
Israel would indeed be a better example with their hasbara effort which is directed by the government.
The goal was to get a Wikipedia bio crediting him with inventing a particular variant of mullet in the 70s.
We were unsuccessful in getting him inventor status, but we did a bio page created, and prominently featured a picture of him with a mullet. You just need a few months and some savvy dealing with the bureaucrats on the site. Slowly make relevant edits to build facts on other articles and you are good to go.
When no one is above the rules, everyone is equal. But given strict adherence to the rules by everyone, enough time, and a collection of ignored misunderstandings that build on each other... change that is not actively opposed is guaranteed.
Infogalactic doesn't have this problem.
That's pretty much already happened. Remember that time Scientology tried to attack Wikipedia for telling the truth about Sea Org? They got close to getting away with it, and if a larger nation-state tried editing less-controversial articles, I'm sure they would get away with it. It wouldn't surprise me if Russia has already done things like that.
(Whether or not Vox is "legitimate" or not is beside the point here, the point is it's hypocritical of you to call someone's sources into question without providing any yourself.)
why do you feel this is the case? that would actually be very strange if true.
I know that many want to blame the other guy but sometimes that other guy is someone we know and their intentions are no better