Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2017-11-24/In the media
Mistakes were made
Media reported on some errors in, or "hacking" of, Wikipedia, however short term. Maybe this is a good sign of the work's importance as a global media institution but maybe not a good sign of assumption of correctness for realtime events like a coup d'état or a televised beauty contest.
Vandalism of Phineas Gage was labeled "hacking" by the International Business Times and attributed to GNAA trolls in a campaign to smear BuzzFeed reporter Joseph Bernstein for reporting on the alt-right. (Jain, Rishabh (15 November 2017). "Wikipedia Hack Targets BuzzFeed Reporter Who Exposed Hedge Fund Billionaire's Alt-Right Connection". International Business Times.) The 2017 Zimbabwean coup d'état left the Wikipedia biography of Robert Mugabe in disarray, indicating for a period that he was no longer president, when (according to the current article revision) he was only under house arrest. (Austin, Winifred (16 November 2017). "Mugabe's Wikipedia profile updated to former president". Daily Post. Nigeria.) The International Business Times scorned Wikipedians again, holding up a revision of Miss World 2017 that listed the wrong winner – before results were actually announced, and which was after seven minutes – as proof that "Wikipedia page [sic] can be edited by anyone and you cannot trust the platform." (Sharma, Dishya (18 November 2017). "Miss World 2017 winner: Miss Indonesia Achintya Holte Nilsen is the winner? Wikipedia says so!". International Business Times. India.)
And in the feature-not-a-bug category: According to a Washington Times op-ed by Robert H. Knight, "Wikipedia is Britannica — but without factual safeguards" because to American Civil Rights Union with the self-identified account Truthwins09 were reverted and COI identified as a senior fellow employed by the group. Interestingly, for readers interested in finding out more about American Civil Rights Union, the Washington Times displays a synopsis of the Wikipedia article (with credit to Wikipedia). (Knight, Robert (29 October 2017). "'Whackapedia' and its error fest". The Washington Times.)
End of Wikipedia again
Wired magazine published another prediction of Wikipedia's end in "How Social Media Endangers Knowledge". The good news: "Trump's rise ... kicked in a significant flow of funds that has stabilized the nonprofit's balance sheet." The bad news: too many people are Amusing Ourselves to Death and not enough of us turning away from television-like media streams, reflected even in popular Wikipedia content which "tend[s] to revolve around television series or their cast".
- Computer generated garbage plagues The Signpost media summary team: Volunteer editors for The Signpost, the English Wikipedia newsletter, were indignant at the inconvenience caused by weird publications with article spinning: soulless computer-generated text designed to appear against search engine queries for the term "Wikipedia". These sorts of articles seem to be appearing more often. See for example
- bejay (16 October 2017). "Scandal at Wikipedia". www.amog.com.
- In praise of the one percent: "Nearly All of Wikipedia Is Written By Just 1 Percent of Its Editors" writes Vice magazine's Motherboard (November 7).
- Worried about Wikipedia's safe harbor: Wikimedia Legal's Technology Law and Policy Fellow Leighanna Mixter says that changes proposed by U.S. Congress under Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) to the safe harbor provisions of Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act would expose Wikimedia to liabilities due to contributors' content. (Liptak, Andrew (11 November 2017). "Wikipedia warns that SESTA will strip away protections vital to its existence". The Verge.)
- Addressing computing gender gap with editathons: Hilary Stohs-Krause, a Wikipedian from Madison, Wisconsin, wants to address the imbalance of articles on women in tech, specifically the history of women in computing, by holding editathons via a Women in Tech meetup group. She holds that one of the causes of the imbalance is an environment that disproportionately attracts "high-skills" male editors. (Lorenzsonn, Erik (15 November 2017). "Library hosting Wikipedia 'edit-a-thon' to improve entries on women in tech". The Cap Times.)
- Founder fighting fake news: Jimbo explains WikiTribune's purpose in combating "the rise of low-quality media and fake news". (Weckler, Adrian (16 November 2017). "'When Kellyanne Conway spoke of alternative facts, my head exploded' - Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales". Irish Independent.)
- Canvassing produces unintended consequences: According to Haaretz, canvassing by supporters of Discovery Institute's Günter Bechly sealed the article's fate during an AfD that featured the community "fending off attempts to politicize scientific content...by religious conservatives." (Benjakob, Omer (17 November 2017). "A Respected Scientist Comes Out Against Evolution – and Loses His Wikipedia Page". Haaretz.)