My name is Dan Murphy and I've been a reporter for many years. I chucked it for a while, starting at the end of July 2015. My last employer was the Christian Science Monitor. I do not represent them here (or really anywhere, except when they're publishing my byline). I have also worked for the dear, departed Far Eastern Economic Review, Bloomberg and for about 8 months (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth) The Jakarta Post. Free to edit here, banned from the island of misfit toys.
The lead to wikipedia's article on Jerusalem is a perfect illustration of the failure of the anonymous crowsourcing model. Unreadable as a question of style, missing the correct summary information as a matter of content, and completely failing to take the broad, historical view. It's a few hundred word scrawl exhibiting partisan warfare over content, over-sourcing, and the interests of truth warriors rather than scholars. And given the editing environment, it's unfixable -- a beast that changes here and there but can not break out of its cage of mediocrity and myopia. Good job everyone.
And while we're at it, Marshall Tito is an important topic for an encyclopedia that currently persists as, well, a steaming pile because of your trench warfare editing policies. Which brave admin will step away from the video game, fictional character, and porn actor lists to really fix this?
"It often happens that the 17-year-old is right and the professor is wrong."
— Jimmy Wales, leading the charge against "elitism" (AKA expertise, education and experience).
"Atheists can bang on about the supernatural not existing as much as they like – in the world of facts that view is shared by less than 5% of the global population. Serious people don't take their preaching seriously... So called mainstream scientists even falsify findings in medical research regardless of the possible consequences for patients. That said you guys are of course entitled believe what you like , but pushing a fringe POV so strongly violates our NPOV policy..."
— a Wikipedia editor expressing the healthy contempt for science and fact-based research that are rapidly becoming the core principles of the encyclopedia.
"Screw policy, screw what Wikipedia is not, forget all that rigidity. This list is cool. People like it. It should stay."
— a Wikipedia editor, explaining the difference between an encyclopedia and myspace.
"I am going to go ahead and ignore your request for citations. Sometimes, common sense is all that's required."
— a Wikipedia editor explaining the importance of reliable sources and verification as inclusion criteria for an encyclopedia.
"It would take much longer to do it that way."
— a Wikipedia editor finally explaining the good reasons behind why some people choose to avoid using references or citations when creating new articles.
"The Xinhua article (is a) reliable third party source."
— a Wikipedia editor demonstrating the need for good judgement and background knowledge in the evaluation of sources.
"We need a common vote for all Wikipedia users, to decide how things should be done, and eliminate all debates once and for all."
— a Wikipedia editor, obliquely explaining how mob rule can lead to fascism.
"If it was non-fiction, it would be perfectly valid, so I see no reason why fictional articles should be held to a different standard."
— a Wikipedia editor applying geometric logic to the real world.
"We must delete Wikipedia:Articles for deletion, because it fosters a battlefield mentality and ideology that is bad for Wikipedia by turning away editors and insulting real living people by having public discussions in which random accounts insult these people by arbitrarily deeming them "non-notable". AfD runs counter to the whole concept of a paperless encyclopedia that anyone can edit."
— one of our favorite editors, putting to bed the notion that Wikipedia should somehow look different to the world wide web.
"Using a device in a monkey's brain to move a mechanical arm and legs around from a distance, is quite relevant, since soldiers will do that in the future with killer robots. They will influence them from a distance, using telepathy in war."
— from the annals of irrefutable AFD arguments.
"I'm quite lost as to how "if I run across someone who is doing Wikipedia really bad" is "bad English.""
— A Wikipedia editor, demonstrating the appropriate level of regard for the written word.
"You yourself behave in a manner that goes against the spirit of the Wikipedia project and you barely actually contribute to it so that makes your existence here almost worthless."
-- Ah, the fans. I edit for the fans.
Bali ultimate "spent time early on editing The Jordan Times so i would guess he has some opinions on the holocaust that may influence his opinions."
— An editor committed to the Wikipedia way, showing the delicate and acceptable way to make a backhanded accusation of antisemitism.
"As you can see by the articles that interest him, he clearly has a political agenda-just can't quite figure it out, yet."
— A Wikipedia editor, struggling along in a binary world of Rocky & Bullwinkle vs. Boris & Natasha.
"His decision to oppose Russian imperialism is also seen as a good one, whereas his detractors have argued that he was a bore who stuck to his ill-thought out conservative principles only out of vanity and a sense on infallibility."
— From the introduction to the Wikipedia article on Metternich; a special level of suck.
"Of course, it is heartbreaking that such a young and lovely man, who might with luck instead have granted this killer a lifetime of bliss, is instead murdered so senselessly."
— From the discussion of a murdered young man.
Blocked editor: "I'm sorry. This is Kafkaesque. It is not disputed that I did not make the edit for which I was blocked." Administrator: "You say you are Kafkaesque. If you are User:Kafkaesque you need to need to make this unblock request in this (sic) account name."
"At the moment the priority is just trying to get the concept of the VE accepted, and trying to make sure there aren't irrevocable bugs - once we're done with that, usability is our next port of call!"
— A Wikimedia Foundation employee, on how to bring the people along to a preordained conclusion.
"In the real world people who kick over the office furniture and delete all their coworkers' data get fired. In Wikipedia we shower them with the attention they crave, sending an implicit "up yours" to all the constructive users whose time they have wasted."
"It's bad enough we practically give bad articles (OR/SYNTH plagued, sprawling unreferenced messes, and so on) a free pass and cheerfully smile on the preservation of bad and unsourced information with refrains of "but WP:PRESERVE." When it comes to the lives of real people, it is time for that game endlessly holding bad content in stasis to go out the window."
-- a Wikipedia editor, clearly insane.
"2009, PG Porn: A Very Peanus Christmas, written & directed by James Gunn for Safran Digital Group, playing "Mrs. Brown.""
— A Wikipedia editor; poetry.
"It's worrying that the school of thought around Wikipedia that protecting people's reputations shouldn't be done if it scares off the newbies exists, and even more so that it's prevalent. Seriously, anyone who puts protecting new editors and retaining terrible content above upholding ethical and legal commitments to integrity, accuracy, and protection of a person's reputation is quite simply a massive idiot."
— A vicious, kitten-strangling Wikipedia editor who clearly doesn't understand that the game needs an endless supply of fresh meat, ehr, players.
"We have a vicious circle in which policies and guidelines are tuned for deciding conflicts and then applied by POV pushers to make disputes about technicalities of policy application where they would lose immediately if things were treated correctly as matters of editorial discretion and subject to consensus of editors on the facts and presentation. As a result, editorial discretion has become almost illegal in the same way and by basically the same mechanism that "truth" has become an invective.... I am sure that most Arbs are pushing the project towards the abyss in very good faith"
— A wikipedia editor taking the lead in the (fictional) race to head the editorial content and standards board.
My first comment here. Ah, how young and naive (ok: naive) I was. The failure of this comment was a foreshadowing (foreavalanche?) of future wisdom..
"Our initial idea was that, look at all those people editing Wikipedia. Look at all the junk that they’re working on. Surely, if you give them a fresh classified document about the human rights atrocities in Falluja, that the rest of the world has not seen before... then surely those people will step forward, given fresh source material and do something. No. It’s all bullshit. It’s ALL bullshit. In fact, people write about things, in general (if it’s not part of their career) because they want to display their values to their peers, who are already in the same group. Actually, they don’t give a fuck about the material."
— In which Bali ultimate agrees with | Julian Assange and time ever-so-briefly stops.
"Serious-minded people interested in making substantive contributions to content are plankton in the Wikipedia food-chain."