Wikipedia editing courses launched by zionist groups
The Guardianreports that two Israeli groups, the Yesha Council of the settlers movement and another right-wing group, Israel Sheli ("My Israel"), have set up courses in "Zionist editing" for Wikipedia. It quoted one of the participants:
We learned what not to do: don't jump into deep waters immediately, don't be argumentative, realise that there is a semi-democratic community out there, realise how not to get yourself banned.
According to Israel National News, the goal of the course is to educate and enable an army of editors on Wikipedia and to provide them with professional skills at writing and editing in a manner which defends and promotes Israel's image. Ma'an News Agencyreports that the 'Best Zionist Editor' would be awarded with a free hot-air balloon ride. According to AhlulBayt, the Iranian news agency, "Around 50 right-wingers, including media professionals who live in Israeli settlements, are participating in the course, which aims to teach not only how to manipulate the open structure and style of wikipedia to push their far-right political agenda, but also how to do so undetected, in order to get into the administration of the site."
Haaretzreports that the first workshop (held on August 17 in Jerusalem) had around 50 participants, "nearly all of them religious and many from settlements". The newspaper remarked that "For years now, Wikipedia has been a fierce battleground between the Israeli right and left". The scope of the workshop, according to the organizers, included both the Hebrew and the English Wikipedia. On the Foundation-l mailing list, Asaf Bartov from Wikimedia Israel said that "some Hebrew Wikipedians have ... approached that group in order to explain the principles of Wikipedia to them ... as usual, the WP community is vigilant, and has means to counter such initiatives. We hope to win at least a few motivated editors, despite the unpleasant political overtones."
During the recent debates about network neutrality, which were triggered earlier this month by an agreement reached between Google and Verizon, several commenters used Wikipedia as an example of a site that would be or could have been affected by a non-neutral Internet. A Discoverblog post introduced the topic of the controversy as follows: "An open internet means all bits are treated the same: internet service providers process every internet content provider’s information at the same speed–YouTube or Hulu, Wikipedia or Britannica". In a comment for The New York Times' "Room for Debate", Tim Wu named Wikipedia as an example of "many of the best Internet sites [that] are non-commercial or don't really make commercial sense [and] will get slower and harder to use, while commercial sites like starbucks.com or walmart.com will load faster". His concern over Wikipedia's future was also highlighted on the blog of Reason, where it was noted that Wu "originally coined the term Net neutrality". However, Reason did not "see much evidence that Wikipedia or other non-commercial sites would become harder to use". Gigi Sohn from Public Knowledgeindicated that net neutrality might have been a necessary condition for Wikipedia's success in the past: "the public wants the FCC to be able to protect an open Internet that will ensure that the next Google, the next Facebook, the next Twitter and the next Wikipedia can succeed."