Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-12-27/In the media
A Nobel lecture, "we are not capable of bearing this enormity of information"
Olga Tokarczuk, 2018 Nobel laureate in literature, gave her Nobel Lecture, The Tender Narrator, on December 7, 2019 . Her references to Wikipedia, both to the promise of Wikipedia and the "disappointing" fulfillment of that promise, are close to the heart of the lecture's message. Extracts of the passages are given below. Wikilinks added.
John Amos Comenius, the great seventeenth-century pedagogue, coined the term “pansophism,” by which he meant the idea of potential omniscience, universal knowledge that would contain within it all possible cognition. This was also, and above all, a dream of information available to everyone. ... Will not knowledge within easy reach mean that people will become sensible ... ?
When the Internet first came about, it seemed that this notion would finally be realized in a total way. Wikipedia, which I admire and support, might have seemed to Comenius ... the fulfillment of the dream of humanity — now we can create and receive an enormous store of facts being ceaselessly supplemented and updated that is democratically accessible to just about every place on Earth.
A dream fulfilled is often disappointing. It has turned out that we are not capable of bearing this enormity of information, which instead of uniting, generalizing and freeing, has differentiated, divided, enclosed in individual little bubbles...
Firm accused of whitewashing articles for one-percenters
- See this month's Special report for more analysis of the claimed article whitewashing by Status Labs.
The Wall Street Journal published a 2,000 word article by Rachael Levy on December 13 titled "How the 1% scrubs its image online" (paywall) detailing efforts of Status Labs to control media and Wikipedia coverage of its clients. The subtitle was "Prominent figures from Jacob Gottlieb to Betsy DeVos got help from a reputation management firm that can bury image-sensitive Google results by placing flattering content on websites that masquerade as news outlets". The article named specific Wikipedia editor or editors.
An account named in the WSJ report as a related operative, Jppcap is now indefinitely blocked for "advertising or self-promoting in violation of the conflict of interest and notability guidelines". The publishing of this article by the Journal also led to the opening of a discussion on the Conflict of Interest Noticeboard. –B
Business Insider has reported on a less nefarious instance of editing on behalf of a wealthy and powerful individual, namely technology businessman Elon Musk. After perusing the Wikipedia article about himself "for 1st time in years", Musk took to Twitter to suggest some edits, including the removal of the label "investor" from the short description, since he insisted "I do basically zero investing." Musk also apparently jokingly supported the replacement of the word with the term "business magnet"—as opposed to business magnate. User:TechnologicalScribe subsequently altered the short description accordingly and added in the edit summary that the changes were made "as requested by Elon Musk". The phrase "business magnet" has since been removed from the short description.
Did ... ?
The Signpost story occupying this space cited The Washington Post which linked to another reliable source. We were essentially accused of outing for linking to The Washington Post and thus threatened with censorship by some oversighters. Rather than put our existence at risk, we have withdrawn the story and will pursue the matter via ArbCom in the New Year –S
It's alright, Ma. I'm only bleeding.
|“||This was the decade we learned to hate the internet, to decry its impact on our brains and society and to detest the amoral organizations that dominate it. Facebook steals ... Amazon is ... like the Death Star but successful. Instagram is for ... Reddit is for ... Twitter verifies ... Amid this horror show, there is Wikipedia, criminally under-appreciated, a nonprofit compendium of human knowledge maintained by everyone. There is no more useful website... while the internet mostly got worse, it kept getting better, reminding us that the web can be a good thing, a place where we have instant access to endless information, a true project of the commons at a political moment when the very idea of the mutual good is under assault.||”|
|— Mother Jones|
Wikipedia and Women in STEM
BBC Radio interviewed British physicist Jess Wade on her efforts to create more articles on women experts in science, math, and technology, with specific focus on the sudden, recent tagging of many articles she has edited for notability concerns by an IP address editor (the portion of the broadcast relevant to Wikipedia begins at 9:30). Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Katherine Maher was also reached for comment. She expressed concern about the gender imbalance in Wikipedia's content and editing community, but praised the community response to the taggings, including the blocking of the IP editor. More details at this issue's Op-Ed by Wade. –Ib
Block of Wikipedia in Turkey unconstitutional
Reported by virtually all major media including BBC, Reuters, The New York Times, Le Monde, etc. – just before we went to press, the Constitutional Court of Turkey ruled the block of Wikipedia in Turkey to be unconstitutional. –B
- Santa tracker used Wikipedia: As of 2019, NORAD Tracks Santa displays details of "overflown" cities using data scraped from Wikipedia (24/7 Wall Street).
- Experts see more opportunities for growth for Myanmar Wikipedia: Founded 14 years ago and now boasting 45,000 articles and 30 regular editors, Myanmar Wikipedia hopes to graduate from the incubator stage.
- Acoustics Group Project Looks to Improve Sound-related Wikipedia Pages: The Acoustical Society of America (which likes to emphasize its global scope) is working with Wiki4YearOfSound2020.
- 'A way to keep our language alive': How the Atikamekw Nation uses Wikipedia to promote its language in Manawan, Quebec.
- "Wikipedia for waste" launched as knowledge sharing platform
- The Cincinnati Art Museum Hosts an Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon
- These Bitcoin skeptics want to kill Wikipedia's Lightning page: Robert Stevens of Decrypt worries about the views expressed in the deletion discussion (now closed as keep) for Lightning Network, a payment protocol for blockchain-based cryptocurrencies. –Ib
- Fortune reports on London edit-a-thon and UK elections go to the dogs: about eight editors gather in Shoreditch on election night. Fortune concentrates less on the political writings of the edit-a-thoners, and more on their other interests such as the British Kebab Awards, The North London Literary Festival, and the somewhat more political Citizens for Undead Rights and Equality, Boris Johnson’s dog Dilyn, and Dogs at polling stations.
- The Dumbest Wikipedia Edit War of the Dumbest Decade: Witney Kimball of Gizmodo is unimpressed by a "bitter and petty and senseless" edit war taking place on Heights of presidents and presidential candidates of the United States over the height of Donald Trump.
- Slate is impressed by how civil Wikipedia editors are. The Very Respectful Wikipedia Battles Over "OK Boomer" –H
- AI overlords? Maybe not.: "Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales is Taking on Facebook and the Dangers Lurking in the Rise of Artificial Intelligence", Newsweek, December 12. Jimbo gives Newsweek some thoughts on the rise of surveillance capitalism and the future of alternative funding models, drawing from Wikipedia's success.
- Dalit deletions: In The Asian Age, activist Sanghapali Aruna writes about the outcome of an edit-a-thon at MIT for Dalit History Month: 82 out of 105 edits were deleted. She says that "knowledge creation in India is traditionally dominated by 'upper caste' scholars who create knowledge for a primarily 'upper caste' audience" and says that Wikipedia's notability and other policies have institutionalized the same imbalance.
- Battle over newspaper editor's bio Morning Star mentioned contentious editing culminating in page protection of the article Tom Newton Dunn. Dunn is political editor at another UK paper, The Sun.
- Indigenous language Wiki: The Taipei Times noted the launch of a new language Wikipedia – Sakizaya, the language spoken by the Austronesian Sakizaya people who are indigenous inhabitants of the island of Taiwan. See News and notes for more.
- Online assault?: According to The Washington Post and The New York Times, the Wikipedia page of journalist Kurt Eichenwald falsely reported his death, and suffered other anti-Semitic vandalism, at about the same time he was sent a tweet that induced a seizure.
- Indispensable: "How Wikipedia Became an Indispensable Part of the Internet" at Big Tech podcast, produced by The Centre for International Governance Innovation.
- "Former Bank of America Corp. executive Omeed Malik also received services from Status Labs, according to people familiar with the matter." – WSJ
- "A Wikipedia page about Mr. Malik also became the first result in a Google search of his name, displacing news articles. Following a Journal query, Wikipedia removed Mr. Malik's page." – WSJ
- "Disgraced blood-testing startup Theranos Inc. also received services from Status Labs, according to former employees. An editing account used by Status Labs ... according to people familiar with the matter ... made several favorable edits to Theranos' Wikipedia page. One edit removed a reference to an article in the Journal reporting Theranos devices often failed accuracy requirements." – WSJ
- "The hedge fund of billionaire Ken Griffin, Citadel LLC, hired Status Labs to edit information on Wikipedia in 2015 about the fund's investments and Mr. Griffin's art collection, according to a person familiar with the matter." – WSJ