Neutral system? A few?
Let's not kid ourselves here. Wikipedia is filled with bias. Yes, there are some informative articles and it's great that some people have spent a sizable chunk of time tending to the garden. But there's a lot of stuff missing, and the problems of new contributors being shut out or shut down is well-documented (https://www.technologyreview.com/s/520446/the-decline-of-wik...).
As for paid/planted content, it's easy to spot certain types (fawning celebrity or corporate profiles) but others are far more subtle. And sometimes when I'm reading an apparently well-researched article on a technical, historical, or scientific topic, I wonder if some contributor way down the line had an axe to grind or is outright messing with audiences by inserting bogus information.
(Related, wikipedia's policy of only accepting secondary sources is similarly problematic, because often the secondary sources say something completely different from the primary source. I understand the need for the policy -- it makes it more difficult someone from writing an article just to manipulate wikipedia -- but again, it underscores the need not just to check wikipedia's reference, but also to check the primary source).
This is why I stopped contributing.
Article about a radio station where I was in management and selected the call letters? I added the meaning of the call letters to a Wikipedia article. Rejected because I'm not a secondary source.
Added an article about a dial-up BBS network that did store-and-forward e-mail a decade before the internet went mainstream. I ran one of they key nodes. Rejected because I'm not a computer magazine available in archive.org.
Added an article about what was probably the world's first online cartoon series (helped with distribution, since this was pre-internet). Rejected. Same reason.
I as a journalist at the scene of an event when it happened and watched it unfold before my eyes. Added some information to that event's entry in Wikipedia. Rejected.
The irony is that if there was a copy of the broadcast I did on the event, that would be perfectly OK. But the people who patrol the sources on Wikipedia are under the impression that there was no recorded history before the internet.
If you think this won’t work: how do you think the Wikipedia articles for companies get updated to reflect news about them? Almost always, the company’s PR team writes an article, puts it on the PR news-wire, and then goes and edits the relevant Wiki article to reflect the new information, citing the PR news-wire article.
The key reason this is allowed is that anyone could have made those same edits (and probably would have—the PR team isn’t changing the outcome, just expediting it.) The edits aren’t accepted by an argument to authority of the editor, but by an argument to consensus-acceptance of the secondary source as reflective of reality.
By analogy: it’s untenable to put code (e.g. a usage example) in a Git commit message. The commit messages are on a layer above the code; they refer to the code, but they can’t refer to themselves. Nobody can edit the code in somebody else’s commit message to fix it if it’s wrong. It’s much better to have the code committed as code (or docs, tests, etc.) in the repo, because then you can fix it, change it, talk about it, whatever.
The code is the primary source; the commits are the secondary sources, citing the primary sources; and the commit messages are an editorial reflection of the secondary sources. (This is especially true in LKML-style commits where submitters squash their commits into patches, dropping their messages; and then maintainers—essentially editors—write the final commit message.)
If you want to make a new commit message in the commit log, it has to serve as a description of a new commit, which in turn has to package a change in the code. If you want to make a new paragraph in a Wikipedia post, it has to serve as a description of a citation, which has to package new primary-source information. But solving both problems is easy: your write the code/third-party article, and then commit/cite it.
If Wikipedia only wants content from published sources, then it's going to miss the 99% of history that's not reported on a newspaper web site.
Assertions about history before the Internet—before writing, even—can be cited just like anything else. The "99% of history" that we currently know about, we know about because some historian or paleontologist or anthropologist dredged up primary-source data, put it together, made sense of it, and wrote down their findings in a journal paper (i.e. a secondary source.) Wikipedia, like all encyclopedias, cites those secondary sources.
You have primary-source knowledge of your own? Write a blog post about it. Just like a historian writing a journal paper, that blog post is now a secondary source that quotes your primary-source knowledge (ETA: or maybe the blog post is even a primary source itself, depending on how fresh your knowledge was and how unbiased your reporting of it was.) Wikipedia can now cite your blog post. Wikipedia cites plenty of blog posts.
Alternatively, if you're doing journalism—going out and talking to primary sources—then the Wikimedia group of sites has a place that will host any secondary-source artifact you create from that: Wikinews. You can write a Wikinews article, and then cite it on Wikipedia. Wikipedia cites plenty of Wikinews articles.
Let me make another analogy: if you compare the Wikimedia foundation as a whole to, say, a newspaper publisher; then Wikipedia is specifically the editorials section of that newspaper. Journalism is most of a newspaper; but the one place it doesn't belong, is in the editorials section of the newspaper. Journalism belongs in the "news" part of the paper.
Wikipedia editors know that people can wear many hats, and there's nothing wrong with being both an editor and a journalist. The whole distinction they're making, is that Wikipedia doesn't want people editing articles with their primary-source hats on, or with their journalist hats on. Wikipedia wants people editing articles purely with their editor hats on. If you're a primary source, or a journalist, you do that stuff outside of Wikipedia proper. Then you turn around, take off those hats, put on your editor hat, and edit Wikipedia to refer to what primary-source-you or journalist-you just created. (Or, if you're not an editor by nature but just want your content cited, then you should just be a primary source and/or journalist—someone who writes stuff down somewhere it can be cited—and leave editing Wikipedia to people who like editing. Maybe make friends with some Wikipedia editors, and send them links to your new stuff when you produce it. If it's worth including, they'll cite it and write about it! This is literally exactly the same as having a relationship with the editors of a newspaper/magazine/regular encyclopedia. Just because you/anyone can be a Wikipedia editor, doesn't mean that you have to; and it doesn't mean that being a (Wikipedia) editor is not a specialized job that is some people's comparative advantage, while your comparative advantage might lie elsewhere—like in being a personal historian.)
I want to call out a specific example of blog posts being cited as secondary sources, to make this clear. Microsoft's Raymond Chen is a blogger (https://devblogs.microsoft.com/oldnewthing/). He writes a lot about the path-dependencies in Microsoft products that have led to them being the way they are today. Wikipedia cites these posts all the time. Even though he's writing about things he did himself. You are allowed to be a primary-source man-on-the-spot recollecting history; and the secondary-source historian "interviewing" the primary source; and even the tertiary-source editor citing the secondary-source blog-post "interview" artifact. (I don't think Chen bothers to edit Wikipedia to cite his posts, but there's no reason he couldn't.)
Per Wikipedia editorial guidelines, that is still a primary source:
An account of a traffic incident written by a witness is a primary source of information about the event; similarly, a scientific paper documenting a new experiment conducted by the author is a primary source on the outcome of that experiment. Historical documents such as diaries are primary sources.
Usage of the terms outside Wikipedia, in the greater scope of historiography, makes finer distinctions. One example definition (from https://www.lib.uci.edu/what-are-primary-sources):
> Primary sources are documents, images or artifacts that provide firsthand testimony or direct evidence concerning an historical topic under research investigation. Primary sources are original documents created or experienced contemporaneously with the event being researched. Primary sources enable researchers to get as close as possible to what actually happened during an historical event or time period. A secondary source is a work that interprets or analyzes an historical event or period after the event has occurred and, generally speaking, with the use of primary sources. The same document, or other piece of evidence, may be a primary source in one investigation and secondary in another. The search for primary sources does not, therefore, automatically include or exclude any format of research materials or type of records, documents, or publications.
Anthropology and paleontology have very clear "primary sources", because they deal in hard artifacts. Those artifacts are primary sources. The things you write down about those artifacts are secondary sources. This distinction is important because different researchers might interpret the same artifact in different ways. But, if you know that there's a primary-source artifact preserved somewhere, you can always go back to it and study it yourself, rather than taking any particular researcher's word for it on what it is, or what it means.
History, on the other hand, deals in documents, received oral traditions, etc. In these cases, the "primary sources" serving as inputs to a historian's work are often things that would have been considered "secondary sources" or even "tertiary sources" at their time of creation. For example, a centuries-old medicinal textbook. A historian can cite this document as a "primary source" for what kinds of medicine people at the time believed in. But, of course, despite being a "primary source" in the sense of being a real document from the period, it's not a "primary source" in the sense of reliably giving you hard data about what people at the time actually did. Every word written in the document was, at the time, an interpretation that went through an editor. They might have introduced all manner of bias.
Likewise, in modern writing, if you are a sane adult human being, you are usually considered to be creating "primary source" documents if you write down/are interviewed about your experiences of things as they happen to you. But—despite being the person that did these things!—if you are recounting your experiences long after the fact, your recollection would usually be considered a "secondary source." Per the definition above:
> Primary sources are original documents created or experienced contemporaneously with the event being researched.
> A secondary source is a work that interprets or analyzes an historical event or period after the event has occurred...
That second assertion still holds, even if the same person that is doing the "interpretation or analysis" took part in the event.
Wikipedia might consider e.g. someone's written reflection on what their childhood was like—or a veteran's recounting of a battle long after the war has ended—to be a "primary source", and it's Wikipedia's perogative to use the term however it best suits them. But most of academia would disagree with them.
And, practically, if you have your own primary-source hat or journalist hat on, you should use the greater academic definitions—because Wikipedia might not always draw these particular distinctions; because you might be submitting your work to more editorial teams than just Wikipedia's; and because it's best to be pessimistic in how authoritative a given editor will judge a particular work of yours to be. If you obey all the rules required to get your work cited as a secondary source, you won't need to worry about whether it qualifies as a primary source.
Though on rereading the post I wonder if the issue is more of original research than primary source. The line between them is a bit blurry.
I just dont understand why anyone would want to contribute to wikipedia given how much annoyance you have to deal with to help.
People who come to Wikipedia wanting to make some text be in the article are going to come away upset. People who come to Wikipedia wanting to make the article the best article it can be—and in the process, discover some citable sources and decide that the article would be improved by a new sentence containing a gloss of what one of those sources says—are going to enjoy their time. You don't edit Wikipedia to get new information into the encyclopedia. You edit Wikipedia to improve the quality of the encyclopedia-as-encyclopedia. (Maybe, sometimes, by improving articles into existence. Maybe, other times, by improving articles out of existence. Maybe by making the article longer; maybe by making it shorter. One of these states† is optimal for the people looking for an encyclopedia article on X. The editors want the article to be in that state.)
If you look at it as less like a content-aggregation activity (like submitting and titling Reddit posts)—and more like the activity of a group of cloistered monks excited to work together to make a the best darn illuminated manuscript they can make—I feel like the Wikipedia community and its foibles makes perfect sense.
† And yes, that means that sometimes readers will come away empty-handed for their query. Often that's for the best, especially if an existing Wikipedia article on X would just bump down a much better Google search-result for X (say, that of a niche-content encyclopedia) to #2, such that fewer people are using that excellent resource. There is a reason Wikipedia doesn't have articles for every existing Pokemon—and that reason is that Bulbapedia exists, and Wikipedia doesn't want to try to pretend it can beat Bulbapedia at being Bulbapedia. People compare (an offline copy of) Wikipedia to the emponymous Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but it's not; a true HHGTTG would look like a copy of Wikipedia stapled together with copies of all the niche encyclopedias it intentionally defers to.
Uh, how does new information get in the encyclopedia then?
By analogy: a small farming village has a commons. Someone who grazes their cows on the commons, then sells the milk and meat to the townsfolk, is just participating in the economy, and the townsfolk are fine with that. Someone who herds their cows in from the next town over, grazes the cows on the commons, and then herds the cows back home—and never otherwise interacts with the community? Not okay. That's sociopathic behavior. They're not a member of the community; they're just taking advantage of it for their personal benefit.
Wikipedia's editors are smart enough to recognize what someone looks like when they're just trying to take advantage of Wikipedia for their own (PR) benefit. The edits might be the same, either way (just as both farmers above graze their cows in the commons in the same way, either way); it's the context that determines whether the edits are acceptable.
There's the skeezy usage of them—citing the marketing claims as truth. (I totally forgot about the possibility of this usage, honestly.) Yes, nobody will let you get away with that.
But there's also the more literal way to cite a press release: as a primary-source claim by the company about what the company is doing or planning to do, like the group equivalent of a diary.
Obviously unacceptable: "Apple's new iPhone is the best ever!![citation to PR fluff-piece]"
Acceptable, I think: "Apple issued[https://www.apple.com/ca/newsroom/2017/06/imac-pro-most-powe...] an interrim press release on June 5th, 2017, claiming that they were working toward the release of a new "Pro" iMac model, as a supplement to professional users who are waiting for the next generation of the "Mac Pro" product line, which they mentioned as having been delayed."
It's a use/mention distinction thing. It's not okay to report the press release's claims at face-value, but it's okay to treat the press release as a primary source of information on the corporation's intentions, beliefs, claims, and assertions. It'd be similar to, say, citing the primary-source of a letter(s?) patent, as a source of information of a head-of-state's intentions, beliefs, claims, and assertions.
Or, to put that another way: any claims a PR piece might make are unverifiable, but the mention of the claim is itself verifiable—you can verify that the claim is right there in the PR piece, and you can verify that the PR department of the relevant company really did publish it, and thereby you can verify that the company is in fact making that claim... which can be an important thing to have in an article about them all on its own.
The irony here is so many of the citable articles aren't the result of some gumshoe reporter searching for "the truth" by sifting through facts and conducting independent research and interviews. They start with a press release or PR pitch. This is especially true of tech coverage.
There was a flurry of articles late last year about astronauts on the space station treating a robot poorly. Guess where that story came from? The IBM Watson communications team! Now that the story has been "reported" on CNET, The Verge, ABC News, etc., it can be now be cited in Wikipedia articles.
It's the same with arts coverage (the New York Times supplements on Sunday are particularly obvious), political interviews, business profiles, and reporting about science and medicine. Not all of this news is planted or shaped by PR teams ("you can have access to X as long as you mention Y") but a lot of it is.
I wonder if there's some sort of happy medium. Maybe a thing where legit experts can submit credentials to be cleared by the moderators, the way Reddit verifies identities for AMAs. You'd still be expected to source everything you can, but eyewitness details could be sourced to your verified credentials. (Which could then be re-reviewed en masse if you start posting bullshit later on.)
Case in point. A story cropped up on HN a month or two back about S Wolfram being obsessional about recording something. No surprises there, but I happened to wander to Wikipedia and there is not the briefest mention of his suing + screwing everyone who worked or collaborated with him making Mathematica. Apparently that didn't happen. At all.
Sure it wasn't quite SCO vs IBM, but it was well known enough in N England during the 90s that it will forever be my association if someone mentions him, and there was occasional office banter off the back of it. "Wolfram? Who's he suing now, the office cat?" That's because it was in Computer Weekly, PCW, or the hundreds of other paper sources every other issue. On Wikipedia it has been whitewashed from existence, or perhaps never made it in the first place.
That sounds like it might be an editor failure as much as a policy failure, perhaps? Valuable information that exists only in peoples' heads is a real failure point for Wikipedia, but well-documented info that no one has bothered digging up the sources for is not.
Or if you're saying that it was removed by some PR flack, that's also a real problem, but Wikipedia does have mechanisms to deal with it. If you watch an article and can demonstrate that true, relevant, well-sourced facts are being removed, you can get the article protected. It's extra work on your part, and that sucks, but I can't think of a better way to deal with disagreement in a crowdsourced encyclopedia.
But many reliable sources now are not like that. The internet has made it so people don't need to go through middlemen to publish any more, and in a lot of cases (especially more niche ones), credible sites can be solo affairs by enthusiasts and professors without much in the way of obvious visual design or 'professionalism'.
If Wikipedia was a bit more up to date, they'd recognise that, and base credibility more on the reputation of the source rather than whether their author was paid to create it or if it comes to from CNN or the New York Times.
They'd also look at whether other sources recognise it as a source. If half the gaming or film world consider Bob's blog an accurate source, that probably means more than whether Bob is paid $30,000 a year by Empire to write about films.
Wiki's model would have been fine in the world of gatekeepers and centralised media, but kinda falls apart in a world where credibility is earned rather than given by random branding prestige.
Could you elaborate?
He's apparently an editor who used to be anonymous, converted to judaism and is said to behave manipulatively. But as I said, can't really find reliable information.
edit: To give an example, he deleted any mention on human rights violations in Facility 1391 with the argument, that Israel investigated the reports and found no evidence of any wrongdoing. Thats still where the page is today, different to the english version. For other individuals, like Nirit Sommerfeld he altered their Wikipedia page to push them into antisemetic corners.
As such arguing about Wikipedia's biases is a waste of time. For instance I see people in this thread who seem to argue that qualifying GamerGate as a harassment campaign is biased, personally I think it's a fairly accurate description of the movement. Am I wrong? Maybe, but good luck settling that. Ditto with, say, anything regarding the Venezuelan situation, Donald Trump etc... Look at the discussion thread for Wikipedia articles about subjects like astrology, homeopathy, climate change or the holocaust and you'll find people with fringe opinions accusing Wikipedia of bias.
I think the most important factor is not this absurd concept of neutrality, what matters is honesty. Are the authors deliberately trying to hide or misrepresent some of the facts in order to push a narrative? Are they genuinely trying to inform or do they have ulterior motives?
Clearly paying an editor to whitewash an article is not honest so that's a big problem for me.
Just look at what happened when wikipedia updated Pi to be 3.14159265358. Within weeks it started appearing in scientific papers. I'd bet good money that spaceX is using that number to launch spacecraft. Whether that is the true value of Pi is irrelevant. The wikipedia collective has decreed that that number and so it is now our scientific truth.
One of the most frustrating things I see about "bias" is how often folks bring it up.... when they just want the voice's in their head to be the headline, body of an article, or whatever.
That's not really about bias... well it is, but maybe not the way they think.
But I use wikipedia for mathematics and then things like geography and history. For the former, it works very well. For the latter two it seems like it's not too bad.
The Wikipedia is no different. But it still allows the interested-amateur to do a breadth-first study of a topic without drilling down into a whole book. In both cases, the reader can't assume that she has seen an unbiased (whatever that means) story. But she can glean enough facts to be less ignorant about the topic than before.
Also, you would hardly ever see edit wars on math topics, but they happen all the time on politics.
This is true, and It's a problem, but it's not a particular problem of Wikipedia; it's pretty much true of history in general.
For example: if you look at Japanese history, many of the atrocities that were committed in the lead up to WW2 are outright omitted, linked to with less frequency that you'd expect, or downplayed. At least, as far as I think they should be included.
I'm not claiming to have a PhD in Japanese history, but I know a small bit about it, and it seems to me (and I can only speak for myself) that there is a distinct lack of 'bad' stuff about Japanese History in the English language Wikipedia.
And it isn't just wikipedia, it's all of social media and pretty much all of the internet. From silly nonsense like movie reviews to serious matter like war footage, if it has political or financial impact, it is subject to heavy censorship and bias.
One of these things is not like the other...
I've seen other, more important, news take much longer to update (hours) on their main pages.
The fact that it was rooted in claims about a woman cheating on a man is no coincidence.
I appreciate that sites effort to remain neutral but I think at some point if a group's actions and behavior don't match their claims... then just reporting their stated motivation is actually inaccurate.
The only good thing is that companies has been less acceptable for such behavior. One developer from bioware got fired for it, and it likely contributed when an other developer at Anet got fired.
I think that behavior was terrible, but also not really generally the views of folks who might be associated with "anti-GG".
Having said that...
One of the catches is that there wasn't an organized "anti-GG" side in the same sense there was a "GG" core group. To some extent the "GG" folks were the ones who defined who the "anti-GG" people were, and they strongly believed that there was an "anti-GG" group that behaved in the exact same way they did, but I don't think that really added up. Sometimes they defined an "anti-gg" person as just someone who gave a poor review to a game they liked, a woman who had a visible role working for a gaming company, or just liked having a female protagonist, or something pretty disconnected.
Most people that GG folks associated with "aniti-GG", really was more of an amalgam of various people and personalities who had various views .... but weren't centralized on a "anti-GG" identity, they were usually people associated with other things that had nothing to do with "video game journalism ethics". There effectively wasn't really an equivalent ying to the yang as far as groups and opposing views went. Certainly people "against" GG, but usually they were tied to other things too.
What was "anti-GG" didn't even have anything to do with "video game journalism ethics" and to some extent GG found these folks views or what have you unacceptable and sort formed that concept. "Anti-GG" was often a case of who "GG" thought they were and at times simply sought them out. Like I said no doubt some folks associated themselves with "anti-GG" but it wasn't quite a ying and yang. Many of the people initially identified as "anti-GG" by "GG" folks often talked about being against online harassment, and really had no clue what GG was until things grew quickly.
I feel like this process of taking an issue, expanding into an identity and tacking on ideas, then seeking out those views and people deemed unacceptable, and in some way trying to pick a sort of social media fight, is a very common thing with identity politics type behavior, and GG certainly fit that pattern. What was or wasn't "anti-GG" largely was defined by that process.
Not that John bane did that, as can be heard in the linked source in the above article, where he even address the same thing you say in that there were not an organized anti-gg. He describe basically three loose groups, those that harass which he think should be frozen out of the conversation, those reacted to those and "fed the trolls", and the third small category of people who simply wanted to discuss game ethics.
To be fair the discussion of game ethics was drowned out, through I think the same thing he said said back then is still very relevant today. We still have game reviewers that get punished by publishers and put on "black lists" if they give a game a bad review, or worse get takedown notices. We also got PC game reviewer like ACG using the ethical dilemma as the premise why patreon supported game reviews are better than those that get "sponsored" by the industry, which he start and finish every single video with...
But to go back, yes. There wasn't an organized "anti-GG" side. If I had remembered that part of the discussion I would had avoided using the word and instead spelled out what I meant.
Heres my evidence:
These are all substantiated facts that prove you wrong, I don't care that you are wrong for all I know you are a bot. But I wanted to show how to make an argument in good faith and substantiate your claims, it's up to you what you do with that.
Both sides used this to try and play the bigger victim. This a bad argument as the counter is just to mirror it, playing up your own victim hood while down playing the others. No truth can be gained from this argument only a fight in bad faith.
As a side not however, I personally treat anonymous threats a bit different from statements which is done with peoples real name next to the logo of the game studio that they work at. In part because here in Sweden we have a reality show which premise is to locate people behind anonymous threats and shame them, while also provide free lawyers to those few victims that get to be on the show in order to file civil suits. The accused troll is always either regretful or deny the accusation.
In contrast the people who celebrate the death of John Bane do not regret the statement nor deny it. They think they are justified in their behavior. To me that is significant.
That /r/kotakuinaction organised harassment campaigns and that they faked harassment claims is a pretty harmful accusation, care to back it up with some evidence?
Gamergate is really a topic that folks who want to belive are going to belive, and no amount of linking is going to change anyone's mind. You literally had folks posting their tweets from their account(s) and then if things went bad that same user would claim that same twitter account was a fake account someone else made to make them look bad.
It's just one of those things that I found not to be worth getting into a googling / link fight about, just as a personal policy.
People can make of that what they will / not belive me, but it not worth linking to it as I find folks will belive what they're going to belive anyway.
That may not be the case here, but it's a better policy than taking things on faith in my opinion.
> Gamergate is really a topic that folks who want to belive are going to belive, and no amount of linking is going to change anyone's mind.
Another opinion I don't share. I would rather give people the opportunity to prove me wrong so that I can have the benefit of changing my mind and being right.
I hope you enjoy your beliefs.
I can understand someone who doesn't know not believing me, that's understandable and I respect that.
What is strange is that even for a while on their main gathering forums ... they denied even the source of the moment being the post about Zoe Quinn. It was a very fluid movement from the start, hate, us vs them, and other identity moments allow for that.
A woman cheating with a game journalist in exchange for positive coverage on her game.
GG 'supporters' will also point to collusion/cooperation (perceived or real) between many game journalists pushing a progressive agenda
Which was false: he never covered that game. https://kotaku.com/in-recent-days-ive-been-asked-several-tim...
That's like... are you on Watergate's side?
No, not really, but...
> That's like... are you on Watergate's side?
There were people on (the) Watergate (break-in)’s side. There are still, oddly enough, people proudly on that side (Roger Stone, for instance.)
Anyhow, since the Watergate scandal, naming things “-gate” to evoke Watergate and the widespread (though not universal) revulsion is common by opposing activists, but just because the name sticks doesn't mean the association does.
Edit: I think I misunderstood the parent. To be on GG's 'side' in this sense would be to be a gamer who believes that games journalism should abide by some basic ethical standards and/or be a horrible mysoginist who hates the idea of female characters and catering to people besides straight white men, depending on who you ask.
I recall Stallman's remark that even if you're not interested in politics, politics is interested in you, but it looks more and more like there's nothing you can do to meaningfully and safely interact with the zeitgeist, so why the hell would you try to be part of any kind of politics. It feels more like a force of nature than an actual human activity. More like a tornado than a debate of any sort - just close your doors and windows, keep quiet and hope it's not your house that gets destroyed.
"The accused took as harassment" implies that there was no harassing intent and... there's just no way that's true. People like Zoe Quinn were absolutely harassed, I don't see how anyone could argue otherwise. Even the original incident that sparked the whole controversy was bunk: that Zoe Quinn got a favorable review from a journalist because she was sleeping with him. He never even reviewed her game!
If Gamergate wanted to point out unethical practises in game journalism then holy hell was there a lot to work with. "Exclusive" reviews that are always positive, "sneak peeks" and so on that are openly and obviously traded for positive coverage. Video games journalism is so far deeply in bed with the major publishers in the industry it covers that it's absurd. But somehow, Gamergate became all about a small number of independent game developers who just happened to be women, and were (indisputably) the victims of harassment, rape threats and doxxing. Weird, that.
The harassment from the core GG folks was systematic and severe. In several cases it escalated to physical stalking of women where the police became involved.
And should we be surprised? This whole thing got started when one angry ex boyfriend wrote a rant and got the whole 4chan gaming world to start harassing and demonizing his ex.
But sure, go ahead and keep claiming "it's about ethics in gaming journalism" and that there's no harassment, just people being too sensitive or faking it.
To be fair, ArbCom did eventually decide they'd had enough and indefinitely ban him for this - much to the anger of all the folks proudly taking a stand against harassment by fighting GamerGate. (Though it took something like three attempts at bringing it before ArbCom.)
But, this is a fallacy. Vaccines don't cause autism, the Earth isn't even a little flat, and GG wasn't in any way "about" ethics in games journalism — some people were led to believe it was, but they were useful idiots who were purposefully corralled to create a smokescreen. So I'd argue strongly against claims that the Wikipedia page is "biased" if it doesn't mention the ethics storyline. e.g.
notice the lack of cultural hell during "Gerstmanngate" — https://kotaku.com/yes-a-games-writer-was-fired-over-review-...
Or how the "sex for good reviews" accusation was about a game that never received a review from that publication
Or the chat logs that were found of the channers who worked the whole thing — https://www.dailydot.com/parsec/zoe-quinn-outs-4chan-behind-...
It's understandable, for parties with less information, to think this was more balanced than it was, but I hope with appropriate information we could stop giving that side credibility.
A great comic illustrating the dynamic http://chainsawsuit.com/comic/2014/10/15/the-perfect-crime/
Well, actually, it is a little flat. In fact it's quite flat; it has curvature (inverse radius) less than 1.6e-7 (0.00000016) per meter. In other words, it takes about 70 miles for it deviate from 'flat' by one degree.
(Golden mean is a fallacy, but that's not a very good example of it's fallacity.)
To be clear: This is not an endorsement. This is provided only because of the stark contrast with the wikipedia article depiction.
Wikipedia's goal (met or not) is accuracy, not equal time to every opinion.
> Extended confirmed protection, also known as 30/500 protection, allows edits only by editors with the extended confirmed user access level, granted automatically to registered users with at least 30 days tenure and 500 edits.
It was originally implemented to limit disruption on articles related to the Isreal/Palestine conflict.
It's worth seeing how gamergate describes itself. The "what is gamergate" column on the sidebar of a subreddit where they hang out might help there. Do note that I do provide the hyperlink, but I do not endorse either front.
Those posts are almost exclusively about media bias, manipulation and censorship. Isn't that what GamerGate claims to be about?
In the top ten, precisely one item (number ten) is about video games.
GamerGate is about more than video games, it's about media manipulation and bias and it's about journalists acting like activists.
Also if I recall correctly Rotten Tomatoes removed the ability to submit a review for a movie that hasn't been released yet, which to my mind seems like an entirely sensible restriction, particularly in the face of the obvious spamming that was going on. It seems to me like RT made a product decision relating to what best serves their users. What's the argument against it?
This is silly. They locked out reviews being placed before the movie was released in theaters, because the rating was being deliberately bombed towards the single digits by people who can't possibly have seen the movie.
Does that review sound like someone who is upset with a movie studio because they created fake outrage, or someone who is upset about a movie's female lead?
Plenty more examples: https://twitter.com/camethedawnxp/status/1097593187621842945
For instance, gaming and tech publications spent a lot of words trying to associate Gamergate with the use of swatting to drive women out of gaming. This caused much confusion as to what they were even talking about, because pretty much all the swatting attacks against gamers had been targetted at guys as far as anyone knew. A few years later, some guy with (as far as I know) no ties to Gamergate that anyone's been able to find was arrested for a series of rather misogynistic swatting attacks against women gamers that the press had known about but intentionally hadn't covered. They'd literally been trying to blame Gamergate for a swatting campaign that none of the people they were blaming could even have known existed because the only coverage was the vague and cryptic attempts to blame a completely unrelated group of people who'd criticised journalists for it.
Does every Wikipedia article have to include both pro- and anti- views? Do they need to be given equal weight?
I think I'd prefer a useful encyclopedia.
(As, I suggest, is appropriate.)
He kept getting all his updates reversed, as the perceived fact was the only one allowed. His proof was discarded.
He finally gave up, and only updated his personal comment page. And then the wikipedia did a personal page purge to stop searches from showing personal pages. Coincidence? I doubt it.
Those who control the history books they say.
This also has a chilling effect on free speech and what an individual is allowed to know about an organization, person, company etc. As any 'trusted' source of information is now spoiled.
The way we get ahead of this is do what the internet forefathers wanted to do to any problem... re-route. There are wiki clones and methinks their popularity will only grow now.
This should be the chief concern for Jimmy Whales and the Wikimedia foundation if they actually cared about providing 'an encyclopedia for all' because they are no longer providing a platform for learning but rather just another corporate blog.
It's wishful thinking. In the software and internet world, once something is entrenched, it's rarely removed from first position unless it no longer serves its primary purpose to its main audience. Which Wikipedia does.
It's a bit like Facebook vs Mastodon. Ask your non-techie friends about Mastodon and they'll probably go: that was a sort of elephant or dinosaur, wasn't it?
Most of the people reading here are either thinking of or trying or actually becoming living proof that this way of thinking is wrong.
Maybe instead of asking non-techie friends about mastodon we should be asking kids about myspace..
Facebook might fall on its own due to user fatigue. But it will still have 1 billion users 20 year's from now :)
That's like saying "Did the judge who took a bribe say anything unreasonable in their ruling?" or like saying "Did the academic study that was paid for a big corporation without disclosing make any logical leaps?"
Any paid, undisclosed influence is wrong, period. And almost certainly against TOS.
In fact, it's much more like the attorney is paid, which is considered fine in courts. Indeed, having contributors who are potentially biased, but who each argue their point and agree to a method of conflict resolution, is considered one of the most powerful methods of seeking truth. It's also used in academics, where each researcher bring their own biases to the table.
> Any paid, undisclosed influence is wrong, period.
I guess you didn't read the article? The paid influence was disclosed.
In theory (though tbf not in reality) everyone has the right to an attorney. AFAIK there is no corresponding right to a paid Wikipedia editor.
>> Any paid, undisclosed influence is wrong, period.
>I guess you didn't read the article? The paid influence was disclosed.
“But the plans were on display…”
“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
“That’s the display department.”
“With a flashlight.”
“Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”
“So had the stairs.”
“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.”
Wikipedia articles with significant edits from paid PR hacks need a big red warning sticker.
In other words, HuffPo is pretending that there's such a thing as being neutral, which is ironic considering how bad they are at it.
The point of my comment is that you can't divide the world up into biased and unbiased, label the biased part astroturfing (or whatever), prohibit it, and then expect a nice unbiased outcome. Rather, everyone is biased in their own ways and to varying degrees. The good outcome come from the truth-tracking aspects of the process, not from have unbiased inputs.
I understand that, but I'm arguing that the bias from financial incentives are just one form of bias. (That's why I said "or whatever".) I mean that it's not useful to divide the world up into no/negligible bias and bad/paid bias, regardless of what you call it.
> ...and undisclosed. That's a textbook definition of both astroturfing and acting in bad faith.
In fact, as stated in the article, the payments were disclosed. Do you have other reasons to think he's acting in bad faith, or just your mistaken belief that the payments were undisclosed?
I think Sussman is getting edits approved because (at first glance) they're substantially better written and still fall within the bounds of dispassionate writing.
Maybe Huffington Post could use some lessons in that, if their idea of journalism is to randomly drop not-dispassionate digs at Nextdoor with neither context nor justification.
Ever wrote anything on Wikipedia talk pages? Unless you are commenting on article with hundred thousands of daily views, your comments will remain ignored for years. Nobody is going to "implement your suggestions" or "accept corrections", —at best you will be ignored, and at worst you will be told to f##k off in Wikipedia's politically correct newspeak.
Who are the people, implementing his changes to pages? A certain number are of course bots and sock puppets. But relying on those exclusively is risky, and he would eventually get discovered and singled out by mods and check-users. So some of his editors got to be real people. Does he have an actual team of editors working on keeping articles updated full time through series of proxies? Probably not, — would be too expensive and also prone to ban.
Let's perform a mental experiment: you are a poor sod in Cambodia/North Korea/Thailand etc. who have recently discovering a beauty of Wikipedia. You look at the talk page of "Facebook" article and stumble upon comments of some guy, who says, that he is a representative of dedicated PR company. You make some quick calculations: your daily wage is several orders of magnitude smaller than average US wage, and the guy is probably getting paid A LOT of money by Facebook and the likes; going to darknet to regularly buy a new bunch of "proxies" (hacked computers in US residential areas) will costs you $XX per month; if you get him to pay you $YY, the rest of money will be your net profit...
You can guess the rest.
Heck it could even be an additional fee 'well for an extra 10k I will create a new personality that isn't tied to anything'
Everyone has an angle, everyone has their own personal and cultural historical baggage that’s going to color their perception of everything from commercials to politics.
It’s up to you to think critically, get information from multiple diverse sources, and form your own (biased) opinion, and always, always, be skeptical.
I disagree. Maybe everybody is biased. But the problem's just not that one. Judges and juries are biased, but we still trust them with Justice, that means deciding on life and freedom for many.
The problem is not bias, but giving up to bias instead of trying to overcome it. And of course if you got paid by a party in the controversy, you should know you've given up any hope of honesty.
It surprised me that nobody had added the “reads like an advertisement” template in all that time, so I did. Get out there and be vigilant.
The Sands article looks like it was written by a company employee / PR which I'm not sure is quite astroturfing. Depends on your definitions I guess.
It reminds me of a page I put up on the company Algenol which I thought interesting as it was trying to make ethanol direct from algae and sunlight and saying it would be cheaper than regular fuel. Then the whole thing got rewritten by someone like Algenol's PR and someone flagged it but I couldn't be bothered to re-edit the whole thing - takes ages. Then Algenol kind of failed, fired the boss and went on to other things. Not sure how the page is now.
Similarly, why not put a strict word count limit on discussion on Talk pages. If you can’t make a rebuttle succinctly, then the risk of Talk page filibustering is too high and mitigating that risk matters more than letting people write diatribes of objections to decisions about edits.
What would be more scary, and probably happens already in other cases, is if nefarious editors organized via private channels.
Calling Wikipedia 'neutral' is comical, it's full of opinion, ideology, bias, misinformation, disinformation, astroturfing, and other nonsense noise and utter garbage.
The article is dated on 14. of March though, so it should not appear on the front page but here: https://cited.news/wikipedia_pages/date/2019-03-14
There's certain ways to effectively critically read newspaper articles that I was taught at a young age and it's definitely a learned skill that I wish the US education system did better with.
I’m often surprised that people who denounce the Mainstream Media as biased and under the thumb of vested interests are quite happy to uncritically absorb any old crap from obviously biased and frequently insane “independent” sources they happen to agree with.
It doesn't take high intelligence to spot lies in the former, whereas it often takes significant intelligence and a long history of following the news from a broad selection of sources to spot lies in the latter. One group are hobbyists, the other are professionals.
The more worrying part is the orders of magnitude larger group that essentially considers ~everything that the MSM prints is true, at least to the best of their ability. For most people (including smart people on sites like HN), the mere suggestion that this may not be the case will typically get you categorized as a member of the former group, regardless of the facts of the individual point of disagreement.
This seems to be simply the default nature of human psychology that is independent to some degree from intelligence. Changing it would require a significant organized effort of teaching people critical thinking skills, and the state seems uninterested in anything of the kind, despite their stated concerns about the crisis of fake news.
People conspire all the time, so shouldn't any sane person suspect some conspiracies?
Hijacking the word "conspiracy theorist" to mean nut job seems like exactly the twisting of reality you are advocating to avoid.
Thus (not having read it myself), Manufacturing Consent could show how emergent properties of mass media might lead to them pushing a certain incorrect world view, rather than proposing a theory that requires the teams behind them to all agree to conspire and none of them to make that public knowledge.
That is right. Chomsky proposes 5 filters through which this process happens. These filters operate, according to Chomsky, not just in media, but in all of society. From kindergarten to our deadbeds.
I think this was best illustrated with Chomsky's 1996 interview in "The Big Idea" on BBC by Andrew Marr. Chomsky is outlining how the filters make sure certain viewpoints are popularized, and Andrew Marr asks "How can you know that I'm self-censoring?". To which Chomsky replies "I'm not saying you're self-censoring. I'm sure you believe everything you're saying. But what I'm saying is, if you believed something different, you wouldn't be sitting where you're sitting."
The 30 minute episode is well worth a watch, but the three minute clip of the above exchange is also available.
Nope it is Comcast who has earned that distinction. The same one who while technically a rival to them advertises heavily with them. The same one whose past actions have made net neutrality not a theoretical matter. Nothing illegal but their actions are flagrantly self-interested.
The term "conspiracy theory" has always always been derogatory
The big agencies are pretty well versed on this, look at the system approach they take on this one: https://jfkfacts.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Countering-W...
It is not the details of this specific conspiracy that is interesting, but the systematic approach to tackling it.
Let’s build toilets. If traditionally a locality has no toilets and you come in and want to do good and bring sanitation you’re still manufacturing consent, albeit for the good. Grassroots also manufactures consent if you have a main outside driver.
And it's not as much about the individual power structures, but how they influence the media to do it. The new players since the last publication are the tech companies and how they have tremendous power to selectively give voice or silence to push a certain narrative. They are slowly replacing the traditional media companies as primary player that manufacture consent. It seems there is a current battle between the two and I think the tech companies are winning so far.
The propaganda model does account for other non-governmental and non-media influences. This is talked about in the animation Al-Jazeera made.
I think in the past some of the news outlets sort of pretended to be unbiased. They could fool more people into believing that. Sure Fox News was mostly a one-party outlet, but others kept their bias behind the curtain. Since about 5-7 years ago, they stopped pretending as much.
At the same time, I think there is a perception that traditional media companies have failed to manufacture consent properly. There was this void created in that space and tech companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter and others rushed in to fill that void. Their message is "come to us, we'll manufacture consent better than these old crusty companies". Then you can see some of the traditional media hitting back at Facebook and others. And there is this sort of a battle between them as to who is a better player at manufacturing and controlling "truth".
I edited a technical subject [some 10+ years ago], and within minutes(!!) it had been changed again to a variant of what was originally there, I presume by a bot. Some further research taught me that the technical issue was actually a sensitive one for various new age groups. Since there is no way I could ever hope to manually compete with a team of scripted adversaries, I gave up.
Taught me something about Wikipedia.
Note: I have other edits that have been up for years, so not at all absolute.
People have great difficulty operating in low-trust environments. It takes a lot of work and is mentally draining to check everything, to distrust your co-workers and family and correct them when they start talking about the flat earth. Far better to stop the falsehoods being dripped into the public sphere in the first place.
My brother and I went to high school in different states. The obvious differences in the education we got about politically charged topics was disgusting. The state I went to school in basically omitted anything that could lead one to question the government's decision making the way religious schools sometimes "forget" to teach evolution.
It wasn't like they neglected to mention the Indian wars or Japanese internment in the 3rd grade because those are heavy topics for 3rd graders, they just gave those sort of things got a quick mention and no assigned work specific to them or serious discussion. They repeatedly failed to mention (early grades) or downplayed any legitimacy (later grades) of any grievance with the government. In retrospect they conspicuously skipped the 14th amendment (you know, the one that protects people from state encroachment on rights) because there's a very short path from it to some tough questions.
Edit: Come to think of it the one history teacher I had who actually promoted critical thinking grew up out of state.
My issue is not so much with the typical left-ish ideology determining what we did and didn't focus our coverage on. My complaint is with the all that coverage having undertone of government doing no wrong, ever. I believe this to be somewhat particular to the state I grew up in, not necessarily left wing ideology (of the time).
We covered civil rights yet it was covered as though government was some savior implementing reform over the objection of backwards southerners. We got to see videos from the period but none of them had police dogs attacking protestors. We covered the civil war but not the failure of reconstruction. We discussed Jim Crow not in that context but in the context of the interwar period. I don't recall the KKK even being mentioned in discussion of the 1800s. The trail of tears, the Indian wars. That was all blamed on settlers encroaching on Indian land never any government involvement other than "protecting settlers". I never heard of Custer, Sitting bull, Wounded knee, etc was skipped. Discussion of the post-civil war US was all about industrialization.
It definitely goes both ways. I'm not sure "progressive" whitewashing of the past is any better or worse than "conservative" (in quotes because who knows what these words mean anymore) whitewashing but they're both not good. I wouldn't even say the particular whitewashing my education was subject to followed and particular mainstream ideology, it just religiously avoided mentioning anything that would lead one to one being skeptical of government.
I simply meant to expand on the GP's point that education does in fact have a large impact on ideology but that effect is delayed until that group start voting en-masse.
If people actually learn it that is.
> It takes a lot of work and is mentally draining to check everything
Very true. However, it's far less taxing to learn how to read articles critically and detect possible half-truth telling, one example being spotting where the author is using carefully chosen words to project an idea without saying it outright. In my experience most articles on the topic of politics fall into this category, so it's best to read several versions of a story from various publications and see what kind of spin each one puts on it, which facts they include/exclude, etc.
> Far better to stop the falsehoods being dripped into the public sphere in the first place.
The first problem with this is, you'd first you have to get people to agree on what's false. I'd wager there's quite a bit you and I disagree on outside of whether the earth is flat, and I'm assuming you're probably a fairly reasonable person.
Secondly, taken literally this could mean (or gradually and eventually lead to a situation where) you can't print any speculative/inconclusive articles, and could only publish things that have been "proven" by "respectable", "right-thinking" organizations.
The power to define narrative has always been immense.
I'm interested in how the centuries-old debate about protectionism and free trade has reignited over the past few years, and I'm also concerned about how Wikipedia's editorial community and processes are evolving. It was a surprise to see the two subjects combined like this, but given what you say about the power to define narrative, I suppose it shouldn't have been.
The whole notion of narrative and its power, especially contrasted with discrete facts and fact-checking, is another area I've been exploring, arguably under the sscope of my blog's purview (intentionally both broad and vague, a blessing and curse).
Douglas Ruskoff's "Team Human" blog explores this with George Monbiot here, quite well.
Ep. 89 George Monbiot "Beyond Salvation and Disaster". Episode: https://shows.pippa.io/teamhuman/ep-89-george-monbiot-beyond...
The theme shows up both in the intro, at 4m30s, and in the conversation, starting at 11m30s, andcontinuing through the rest of the episode.
Lets say I pump a state's aquifers dry to bottle water and there is a scandal about it. If I remove that information from the common information repository about my company is that ok?
I wouldn't be so sure about that. SLS (the upcoming government funded rocket) is mostly a product of politics and lobbying and as such a very political subject. Quantum physics seems like an objective field until we start discussing funding for the next particle accelerator. Discussions about PHP have never been sane, even without Facebook having vested interest one way or the other. The laws of thermodynamics seem largely undisputed until the perpetual motion crowd starts another edit war.
It's easier to determine facts in technical subjects, making the work of good Wikipedia mods easier. But that doesn't mean they are free of agendas or that those agendas don't influence Wikipedia
Education is still the way to go, obviously.
biases has nothing to do with education but one may be more aware of them but i think thats more of a understanding of self or the human condition the scientific method tries to promote undiased results though but they do of course seep in.
And I don't even know if it would work that well. Per-IP edit limits would only stop PR companies with deep pockets for so long. They would do what the russians do, and just make account farms.
 Or so I've been told. I'd love to see actual stats on this. It probably follows a Pareto distribution; but with what power? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_distribution
I'm sure whitehatwiki.com would have been called exactly that if it were from Russia or China.