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Old 7th February 2012, 04:39 AM   #1
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Psychics WhiteWashing their Wiki pages

It's not unknown for disgraced people (and their family, friends, and other partners-in-crime) to edit their Wikipedia pages when the spotlight dies down. Sally Morgan would probably have a hard time deleting any of the damning information about her right now, but what about the frauds of yesteryear?

I noticed that Rosemary Altea's Wikipedia page [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary_Altea ] had been totally re-worked over the last several months, and all the stains scrubbed out, by a one-page wonder named "Samaltea" -- anyone know who that might be?

So now there's no longer mention of Randi or Penn & Teller, or any 'uncomfortable' facts, and the page has been transformed into a promotional vehicle of this so-called "internationally renowned psychic medium".

I've fought these kind of whitewashing attempts in the past, but failed to anticipate how tenacious the subject would be, and faced with a never-ending battle against an army of round-the-clock sock puppets, I always ended up eventually throwing in the towel and walking away - as did most other allies of truth.

I just thought I'd let others know.
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Old 7th February 2012, 07:29 AM   #2
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I've never really got in to the whole editing Wiki pages thing, but can't you simply edit the relevant information back in?

Or are you saying when you do that, they edit it back out again?

If information is accurate, cited and relevant, don't Wiki have a system where a page can be 'locked' and any additions/amendments have to be approved and valid reasons given?
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Old 7th February 2012, 08:15 AM   #3
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There appears to have been some reversion and editing, it's no longer as biased.
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Old 7th February 2012, 08:49 AM   #4
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I'm not allowed to edit Wikipedia anymore. Mainly for doing the opposite if what your OP highlights. Fascists.
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Old 7th February 2012, 09:04 AM   #5
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I can and do edit wikipedia on a regular basis but usually only on the subjects that I know well enough to ensure that I don't introduce further errors.. ie, history and martial arts.

Sadly I don't know enough about the background of these charlatans to properly edit one of their pages.

I don't think just erasing everything and adding "Just another fraud" would fly too well.
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Old 7th February 2012, 09:10 AM   #6
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It doesn't. See my previous post.
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Old 7th February 2012, 09:36 AM   #7
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I've written a bit about skeptics editing Wikipedia at my skeptools blog.

Susan Gerbic took the ball and ran with it. She has a whole project over at her Guerilla Skepticism blog in which she gives advice to skeptics wanting to edit Wikipedia to fight against this kind of junk.


But yes, if you go in guns blazing and just make wholesale edits, regardless of how true they may be, you are going to be slapped down. And sometimes, despite Wikipedia's stated policies of civility, people will be kind of nasty about it.

However, if you take some time to learn the rules of the place, start slow, and carefully add material that is ruthlessly footnoted using reliable sources, you can have a huge effect on Wikipedia. I highly recommend it.


Those edits to Altea's page seem to be a clear violation of Wikipedia's conflict of interest rules. Checking the revision history today, it appears someone has pointed that out and reverted the edits. This is how Wikipedia works.

In the future, if you see something like this happening, you should feel comfortable enough to dive in and fix it. One of Wikipedia's other policies is called "Be Bold!"

I'll open an incident on the COI notice board to call these shenanigans to the powers that be.
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Old 7th February 2012, 10:45 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by krelnik View Post
In the future, if you see something like this happening, you should feel comfortable enough to dive in and fix it. One of Wikipedia's other policies is called "Be Bold!"
How do I request one of them speedy deletions where an admin irretrievably wipes the whole thing after alotting six hours for discussion? Because that's where the real power lies.
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Old 7th February 2012, 11:04 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
How do I request one of them speedy deletions where an admin irretrievably wipes the whole thing after alotting six hours for discussion?

If it fits the criteria, add the relevant tag to the page.

Speedy deletion is usually a lot quicker thn 6 hours. The quickest I ever had was when I added a page, looked at it and realised that I hadn't put in the "reflist" tag, so the references weren't displaying, and when I tried to edit the page to add it it had already been deleted. Maybe 10 seconds tops.
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Old 7th February 2012, 11:45 AM   #10
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I appreciate everyone's help. I was once a wiki'er in the early years, but it was a completely different place back then -- before rules, bureaucracy, mass-deletions due to lack of "notability" , commercial/idealogical agendas, sockpuppets, bot reversals, and banned ISP IP address ranges all took their toll on my initial enthusiasm.

It seemed like the pro-Scientology propagandists were largely defeated on Wikipedia by the anti's presumably-greater numerical superiority, though it was a long hard battle.

Eternal vigilance is always the key of course. I wonder if there might be some kind of web page monitor - something that would send a warning whenever, for instance, a monitored page has the text "self-proclaimed" changed to "renowned" - a tool like that would save a lot of frequent checking.
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Old 7th February 2012, 12:35 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
Speedy deletion is usually a lot quicker thn 6 hours. The quickest I ever had was when I added a page, looked at it and realised that I hadn't put in the "reflist" tag, so the references weren't displaying, and when I tried to edit the page to add it it had already been deleted. Maybe 10 seconds tops.
This is why it's always best to create a new article in your User Sandbox first, then move it or copy/paste it out into the main article space. Keeps those jackrabbit editors from second-guessing you.
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Old 7th February 2012, 12:37 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by chainlink View Post
Eternal vigilance is always the key of course. I wonder if there might be some kind of web page monitor - something that would send a warning whenever, for instance, a monitored page has the text "self-proclaimed" changed to "renowned" - a tool like that would save a lot of frequent checking.
Interesting idea. Perhaps some sort of filter that would pull from a Wikipedia watch list and look for certain words or phrases in the recent changes?
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Old 7th February 2012, 03:44 PM   #13
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Thanks Tim and Jim for bringing this thread to my attention.

I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I did not notice the changes to Rosemary's page (the positive ones) but did see the revert from today. I really need to clean out my watchlists to a more manageable number so I don't have these slip by. It is possible for someone to use the mb (very little changed) tag and then write that they fixed a spelling word or something like that and being busy not really look at the page. Then later you find out that a ton of things were changed and not for the better.

Chainlink the best we have at the moment is to put pages on your watchlist and check the list for changes. And like I said above actually look at the page even if you think was a simple fix of spelling.

The only other alternative we have is that we have other editors watching that hopefully catch what we miss, as it happened in this case today.

As Tim mentioned I do have a blog called Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia that teaches people how to edit, what to edit, when to edit and on and on. I give tons of examples of how to combat this kind of thing and really make Wikipedia into some far greater than it already is. I don't want to give you "the talk" right now, if you are interested check me out. http://guerrillaskepticismonwikipedia.blogspot.com/

My most current blog is called "What Skeptics can learn from The Mormans" which really applies to todays conversation.

I know several of you said that you once edited Wikipedia but...

Please seriously think of getting back into it, we really need you. The rules at times can be difficult as well as the other editors but all that can be gotten over, and the Big Picture is that we can rule this. Wikipedia is where the world is getting their information despite what You think of it. We can close our eyes, put our fingers in our ears and sing lalalalala over and over and pretend that Wikipedia does not matter.

Or we can figure out what went wrong (and why you don't enjoy it anymore) and move on. Its one thing talking to each other about making real changes in the world, helping people to think critically and whining over our beer about why people are so dumb. Its another thing to actually get involved. You can make major differences in the world, and you can do it while sitting nude in front of your laptop with bonbons nearby.

I'm warning you, there will be some problems you will face, people might not always like your changes. But guess what in the end you can really help out. Also you aren't going to hear from anyone saying "you know what? Reading that Wikipedia page changed my whole viewpoint of homeopathy, bigfoot, psychics". You might get a high-five and a shout-out from me, but really it is a war, we need you to help.

Contact me please if interested. I will train, encourage, nag whatever you need. Contact me by email please susangerbic@yahoo.com
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Old 7th February 2012, 06:14 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Susan Gerbic View Post
I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I did not notice the changes to Rosemary's page (the positive ones) but did see the revert from today. I really need to clean out my watchlists to a more manageable number so I don't have these slip by. It is possible for someone to use the mb (very little changed) tag and then write that they fixed a spelling word or something like that and being busy not really look at the page. Then later you find out that a ton of things were changed and not for the better.
Two good tricks to avoid that, both involve settings you can change in your account.

Click My Preferences at top, then click the Gadgets tab at far right. You need to enable the checks next to these two items:

(1) In the Browsing group: "Navigation popups, article previews and editing functions popup when hovering over links"
(2) In the Appearance group: "HistoryNumDiff shows the number of characters added or removed, rather than the size of the revision."

Now when you are looking at your watch list, the changes will display with the number of bytes added or removed (in red or green). So for instance a big deletion might display like this:

Atlanta‎ (diff | hist) . . (-1,972) . . Keizers (talk | contribs) (→Economy: add sub-article)

Also, if you hover over links, a short summary of the target of the link will pop up. Hover over "diff" in a change like above and you will see exactly what they changed! (It won't work here in this sample, though).

One of my big projects for the next few months is a series of screencasts on little things skeptics can do, and these Wikipedia settings will definitely be part of one of them.
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Old 7th February 2012, 10:24 PM   #15
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As usual Tim you are many steps ahead of us.
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Old 7th February 2012, 10:25 PM   #16
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That is really cool. Love the hovering part.
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Old 8th February 2012, 07:24 AM   #17
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Thanks, Krelnik. That is a very cool addition!

To those who have edited in the past but got burned out - I still encourage you to join Susan's Guerrilla Skeptics group. These relatively easy fixes come up pretty often and we can use the extra manpower. I do some editing on topics that I'm informed about, but the medical and pseudo-medical are outside of my ability, for example. I'm sure Susan would love to have a list of editors who can jump in and help on certain topic areas.
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Old 8th February 2012, 01:43 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Susan Gerbic View Post
Please seriously think of getting back into it, we really need you.
Unfortunately, years ago wikipedia made it very clear that it really did not need me, as all the subjects I would have been willing to invest time in improving were summarily deleted for non-notability, and me and my ilk were given a well-meaning shove in the direction of Jimmy's for-profit, ad-laden and just absolutely terrible Wikia.

Not that I'm still bitter or anything.
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Old 8th February 2012, 01:50 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
Unfortunately, years ago wikipedia made it very clear that it really did not need me, as all the subjects I would have been willing to invest time in improving were summarily deleted for non-notability, and me and my ilk were given a well-meaning shove in the direction of Jimmy's for-profit, ad-laden and just absolutely terrible Wikia.

Not that I'm still bitter or anything.
Now I'm curious. What subjects?
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Old 8th February 2012, 02:22 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
Unfortunately, years ago wikipedia made it very clear that it really did not need me, as all the subjects I would have been willing to invest time in improving were summarily deleted for non-notability, and me and my ilk were given a well-meaning shove in the direction of Jimmy's for-profit, ad-laden and just absolutely terrible Wikia.

Not that I'm still bitter or anything.
It might be that if you followed the guidelines set up by Susan Gerbic and Krelnik, you'd find a warmer reception today. They seem to be having success. I'd find it a daunting task to try editing without any guidance and I'd probably get frustrated very quickly. Glad this guidance exists.

Thanks,
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Old 8th February 2012, 02:32 PM   #21
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You know, I hardly remember the specifics now? This was back when Wikipedia's goal was to be a repository of all human knowledge, not simply pedantic_encyclopedia++. It used to be the place to go for information on nearly any subject - video games, internet phenomena, tech advice, anything. It was what we call wikipedia now, and tvtropes, and all the diverse wikis scattered across the internet rolled into one. Glorious.

Then over the course of a few months admins started purging every page that lacked a substantial print reference. Regardless of how otherwise important or influential the subject happened to be, it wasn't notable enough. Website articles caught the worst of it, because even today most internet news never hits print. Ostensibly this was in reaction to people claiming it was too inexpert, but Wikia had come out right around then, founded for-profit by the guy who called the shots at wikipedia. I'm too lazy to dig up the quotes but I believe he himself said to make Wikia pages if you didn't like the pogrom.

Add in a few grossly unjust cases of deletion, poor handling of the drama surrounding those incidents, and as you can imagine lots of good people quit in a huff due to frankly feeling like they'd been taken advantage of. And I still maintain they were right.
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Old 8th February 2012, 03:14 PM   #22
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Ah, thanks for the history. I wasn't around when that happened, I didn't realize it went down like that. Unfortunate.
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Old 8th February 2012, 04:54 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
You know, I hardly remember the specifics now? This was back when Wikipedia's goal was to be a repository of all human knowledge, not simply pedantic_encyclopedia++. It used to be the place to go for information on nearly any subject - video games, internet phenomena, tech advice, anything. It was what we call wikipedia now, and tvtropes, and all the diverse wikis scattered across the internet rolled into one. Glorious.
We've still got articles on computer games and internet phenomena. Wikipedia not being a "how to" was hardly a change


Quote:
Then over the course of a few months admins started purging every page that lacked a substantial print reference.
Completely untrue. While the areas I work in do tend to use dead tree sources a fair bit it is entirely acceptable and possible to write articles based on purely digital sources and I've do so from time to time.

The actual sources guideline is at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikiped...liable_sources

Quote:
Regardless of how otherwise important or influential the subject happened to be, it wasn't notable enough. Website articles caught the worst of it, because even today most internet news never hits print.
Websites to a hit because they are some of the least notable things that people actualy want to write about (well other than themselves) and web nerds are remarkably bad at documenting anything in a way that could be considered reliable. By comparison train nerds are very very good at documenting things to the point where you can find sources for every train station in existance.

Quote:
Ostensibly this was in reaction to people claiming it was too inexpert, but Wikia had come out right around then, founded for-profit by the guy who called the shots at wikipedia. I'm too lazy to dig up the quotes but I believe he himself said to make Wikia pages if you didn't like the pogrom.
Unlikely. Apart from anything else it was still called wikicities at that point. No the reliable sources thing was genuinely an attempt to make things more reliable. Can argue it either way but you don't need to create conspiracy theories (the neutering of wikibooks on the other hand looks as suspicious as hell).

Quote:
Add in a few grossly unjust cases of deletion, poor handling of the drama surrounding those incidents, and as you can imagine lots of good people quit in a huff due to frankly feeling like they'd been taken advantage of.
Not really. The spanish wikipedia had a lot of people quit at one point over advertising (which is probably a criticial part of why wikipedia still has no ads). English wikipedia never really had an equiverlent event.

Quote:
And I still maintain they were right.
Well you say that but then you notice that TVtropes has been tightening up of late. Perhaps its just a stake all wiki projects go through.
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Old 8th February 2012, 05:07 PM   #24
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It's hard to point fingers eight years after the fact, especially since all the actual evidence in the discussion pages would have been deleted along with the pages themselves.

There's a thing, actually. Why are pages permanently erased on delete? Why not just blank the page in a admin-only-revertible edit, leaving the history available?

Last edited by Beelzebuddy; 8th February 2012 at 05:23 PM. Reason: some days I can't keep my double negatives mixed up
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Old 8th February 2012, 06:08 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
It's hard to point fingers eight years after the fact, especially since all the actual evidence in the discussion pages would have been deleted along with the pages themselves.
Nope. Talk page archives and the like are still around. People tend to hang onto meta disscussion. We still got all 738 [[Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents]] archives for example. Also all 96 archives of jimbo's talk page and 50 archives of the [[Wikipedia:Notability]] talk page.

Quote:
There's a thing, actually. Why are pages permanently erased on delete? Why not just blank the page in a admin-only-revertible edit, leaving the history available?
Because then it wouldn't be deleted. Copyvios, libel not good to have around. For much of the rest wikipedia is not a free webhost. If you want to write about yourself thats what angelfire is for. Holding such articticles in a publicaly viewable deleted page would be a bit pointless.

There was for a while a project to grap every non speedly deleted page:

http://deletionpedia.dbatley.com/w/i...itle=Main_Page

But it appears to have lost interest.

Actualy these days pretty much everything goes into the deletion database (exceptions are more serious libel and some attempts to post things like phone numbers) which admins can dig things out of.
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Old 9th February 2012, 12:04 AM   #26
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Geni - Great points. I hadn't thought about the deleted pages really being deleted before. I suppose that makes sense, if you can go back and see the deleted page then it isn't actually deleted.

I'm sorry BB you have such a bad taste in your mouth about WP. I have only been editing for about 18 months and don't know about its past history. All I know now is that skeptics need to care about this. As I've said, we are not improving WP for us to read, but the world is getting its information from this source. And if we are not controlling it, who is?

If pages were cancelled because of notability then maybe they weren't notable? If there aren't enough sources to support the topic/person/event then there is a reason the page needs to go. Possibly if the sources exist now then the page should be re-written and presented correctly. Maybe it will stick now?

Before a page is deleted there should be some conversation? How did that fair?

WP isn't MySpace where everyone with some computer skills can have a page. The big picture is that we have to be choosy who/what is getting a page. Otherwise everyone would have one.

In the mean time... real work is being neglected. I'm back to my very long to-do list. If you want to become part of the skeptical MOVEMENT this is an excellent project, we badly need your help, just ask and I will help you. If you just want to be a part of the skeptical community then I'll see you at TAM. I'm too busy to listen now.
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Old 9th February 2012, 05:31 AM   #27
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It's interesting how the main point of discussion has evolved from a specific incident (Rosemary Altea) to an overall debate on Wikipedia. ....

Like Beelzebuddy, I'm also of the opinion that Wikipedia's "notability" rule was created mainly to benefit Wikicities/Wikia.

I think that a more common-sense "deletionist" approach would have been to assign a less-notable or poorly-documented subject to a lower category, move it to another section or site, while allowing the article the potential to be restored back to Wikipedia at a later date (as opposed to the current system of previously-deleted subjects having to be re-created from scratch). The problem with organizing this kind of multi-tiered Wikipedia structure is that it would serve to directly compete with Wikia -- therefore taking money out of Jimbo's pockets.

I'm sure a lot of early Wikipedians' disliked the new deletion rules because they had worked under the old rules (and promises) and the considerable time and effort they had donated was basically wasted. Many no-longer-in-spec subjects were deleted wholesale, rather than being updated slightly to conform to the new rules. It seemed like a deletion contest was going on. And I'm not talking about "personal vanity pages" but technical subjects.

Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
admins started purging every page that lacked a substantial print reference.
It certainly seemed that way. I also ran into the exact opposite problem: the attitude that "if it can't be found on the internet, it doesn't count as a reference." This was long before Google started archiving print media. (mindful of the draconian penalties for copyright infringement, I wasn't comfortable posting scanned pages to try to "win" this argument.) One of my interests was open-source software, but these pages were often shot down on both notability ("never heard of it") as well as verifiability (official release notes were not considered a reliable source, and even on Windows software, these rule-pushers apparently could not download the software or source code and see for themselves).

Originally Posted by geni View Post
Nope. Talk page archives and the like are still around.
If discussion pages were left online, then why are they not indexed by search engines? (Actually, I think that ALL wikipedia pages should be searcheable, it's not uncommon for the old revisions to be superior in many ways)

Originally Posted by geni View Post
Holding such articticles in a publicaly viewable deleted page would be a bit pointless.
It would prevent the same topic from having to be totally re-written at a later date. (yes, very many deleted topics eventually return -- and remain)

Originally Posted by geni View Post
Wikipedia not being a "how to" was hardly a change
My chief complaint is that there is no fairness or consistency on deletions. The How-to's on technical subjects generally get deleted, while the how-to's that appeal to prurient interests usually remain. If pornographic pages like "autofellatio" are allowed to remain, why not articles about useful "non-notable" open-source software? Because they lacked their own army of sock-puppets to defend them?

Originally people could participate in Wikipedia strictly as authors; now they must be a combination of lawyer, politician, and warrior to succeed, and a long term committment to remain and move up the ranks to really make their presence count. I'm glad for all the people like Susan Gerbic and krelnik who keep the flame alive. I gradually lost interest as the site evolved into something markedly different from what it was originally presented as, and had lost the very qualities that had attracted me in the first place. Maybe in some ways I feet like many who had joined the military: proud to have served, but glad to have left.

Ever since rising to the top of Google's rankings, Wikipedia has to a large degree been taken over by commercial interests, often of the unsavory kind, as well as people determined to push various agendas, deceptions and/or falsehoods. But far from ignoring Wikipedia, I agree that it's important to make sure that the 'dark side' does not win out in their quest to subvert truth, and therefore deceive the public who might erroneously consider Wikipedia an accurate and unbiased authority. A team-approach to editing might be one solution to getting more people involved, as well as being the best way to fight the more tenaciously guarded pages.
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Old 9th February 2012, 06:09 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by chainlink View Post
I also ran into the exact opposite problem: the attitude that "if it can't be found on the internet, it doesn't count as a reference."
I have never encountered that. I think maybe you ran into an editor that didn't understand the rules.

I've written articles where the only sources I could find that worked were on microfilm in my local library. I wrote proper bibliographic citations for them, and everyone seemed happy. See notes 5, 8 to 11, 14 and 17 to 20 in this article that I wrote. No complaints or disputes, in fact my text in the history section has barely been edited since I posted it. And I certainly didn't scan those articles for anyone.
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Old 9th February 2012, 10:26 AM   #29
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From Chainlink

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Wikicities/Wikia.
Someone please explain, I've never heard these terms.

Quote:
therefore taking money out of Jimbo's pockets.
What? Is there someone making money off Wikipedia?

Quote:
Ever since rising to the top of Google's rankings, Wikipedia has to a large degree been taken over by commercial interests, often of the unsavory kind, as well as people determined to push various agendas, deceptions and/or falsehoods.
I don't usually visit Corporate pages, so I'm not really aware of this. I have posted guerrilla skepticism references to Homeopathy being sold on the shelves of CVS Pharmacy and also on Walmarts pages. Last I checked the skeptical articles are still on those pages.

Catching falsehoods can be a blast, I've removed many from psychics pages. Its major cleanup and like cleaning out a closet at home, very satisfying. Here is a blog explaining some clean-up edits I did. And guess what I talk about Rosemary in the blog so we are coming full-circle in this very interesting discussion. LOL

Quote:
I'm sure a lot of early Wikipedians' disliked the new deletion rules because they had worked under the old rules (and promises) and the considerable time and effort they had donated was basically wasted.
I can imagine how frustrating this can be. I probably would be upset also. I'm working under the rules as they exist now and as I know nothing different am okay with those rules.

Quote:
But far from ignoring Wikipedia, I agree that it's important to make sure that the 'dark side' does not win out in their quest to subvert truth, and therefore deceive the public who might erroneously consider Wikipedia an accurate and unbiased authority. A team-approach to editing might be one solution to getting more people involved, as well as being the best way to fight the more tenaciously guarded pages.
Yes, a team effort. Did I mention I have this blog...

Team is just fine as long as we don't "gang up" on an article and swoop down to change decisions. I ask people to edit pages they want to edit. Also when I'm involved in a dispute (not often) if I mention it on my blog it is usually after the decision has already been made. I'll give the URL to the discussion because I'm writing this blog for people to learn. Discussion pages are great teachers.
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Old 9th February 2012, 10:35 AM   #30
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I think maybe you ran into an editor that didn't understand the rules.
This often happens. I'm about to write a blog on this subject but I'll try and quickly sum what happened a couple days ago.

Vassula Ryden's page. I had left a article by Joe Nickell who was criticizing and challenging her handwriting from God. Two editors took it off and said they were removing the link because Nickell had never "met Ryden" and could not criticize her. Then they said that "I" could not use words that were critical of her because WP rules will not allow that of a living person.

So I explained in a very nice way that they did not know what they were talking about.

Those editors said "oh yeah, well we are going to call an admin to set you straight and you can wish all you want" or words to that effect.

My answer was, okay lets call an admin. I did and explained the situation, the editors joined the conversation explaining they keep trying to explain the rules to me but I won't listen.

The editor (not an admin BTW) told everyone that the page needs more criticism. That editor Sgerbic is not criticizing Vassula but Nickell is. And of course that kind of edit can remain.

Also why would Nickell have to "meet" Ryden when he is just looking at hand-writing samples when he is an expert on hand-writing.

My point is...

A more timid editor would have backed down to the other people on the page. The edits would be removed and her page would be totally positive. (it still is mainly as I do not have the time to focus on her, did I mention that we really need help?)
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Old 9th February 2012, 10:37 AM   #31
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Just one more comment then I'll shut up and read all your responses.

My last blog seems to fit this conversation well if we go back to the Rosemary beginning.
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Old 9th February 2012, 12:13 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by chainlink View Post
Like Beelzebuddy, I'm also of the opinion that Wikipedia's "notability" rule was created mainly to benefit Wikicities/Wikia.
Well strictly speaking no such rule exists. Notability largely grew out of wikipedia's "No original research" policy (largely created to deal with perpetual motion cranks and the like) and the verifiability policy both of which date to 2003. Wikicities doesn't appear untill 2004.

Quote:
I think that a more common-sense "deletionist" approach would have been to assign a less-notable or poorly-documented subject to a lower category, move it to another section or site,
The option has been considered. It again runs into wikipedia not being a free webhost.

Quote:
while allowing the article the potential to be restored back to Wikipedia at a later date (as opposed to the current system of previously-deleted subjects having to be re-created from scratch).
Actualy things can be undeleted (and are from time to time) however if you follow:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:NewPages

for any length of time you will see lot of stuff that could never be used to create a viable article.

Quote:
The problem with organizing this kind of multi-tiered Wikipedia structure is that it would serve to directly compete with Wikia -- therefore taking money out of Jimbo's pockets.
Jimbo doesn't have as much control over the situation as you seem to think. In practice people don't want the maintance headaches. And of course for every inclusionist saying "how dare you not include X" there is a deletionist saying we shouldn't include Y. Frequently the same person

Quote:
I'm sure a lot of early Wikipedians' disliked the new deletion rules because they had worked under the old rules (and promises) and the considerable time and effort they had donated was basically wasted.
The stats on editor retention don't support your claims. You could actualy make a better case for the current generation not liking the deletion rules.

Quote:
Many no-longer-in-spec subjects were deleted wholesale, rather than being updated slightly to conform to the new rules. It seemed like a deletion contest was going on. And I'm not talking about "personal vanity pages" but technical subjects.
Getting a page that could be saved through a minor change through VFD or later AFD is basicaly impossible. Technical subjects didn't do to badly. Of course it depends on the technical subject but well any bit of tech related to WW2 seems to get by.

Quote:
One of my interests was open-source software, but these pages were often shot down on both notability ("never heard of it") as well as verifiability (official release notes were not considered a reliable source, and even on Windows software, these rule-pushers apparently could not download the software or source code and see for themselves).
Actually they could but wikipedia views things like "an examination of the source code reveals that the author was a frustrated entrant in the obfuscated C code contest" as original research. The problem is that the open source software movement isn't very good at documenting itself.

Quote:
If discussion pages were left online, then why are they not indexed by search engines?
Most of them are (AN/I isn't due to the amount of personal details and the like floating around in the archives).

Quote:
(Actually, I think that ALL wikipedia pages should be searcheable, it's not uncommon for the old revisions to be superior in many ways)
Because having a search engine spider trying to index every historical revision of George W. Bush would be bad for the servers. Other than that AFDs aren't indexed because it was found they rated rather highly in search engine results and some AFD comments were a bit uncomplimentary.

Quote:
It would prevent the same topic from having to be totally re-written at a later date. (yes, very many deleted topics eventually return -- and remain)
Well looking at my early deletions most are still deleted and the stuff that has been created the stuff I deleted wouldn't have been any use anyway.

Quote:
My chief complaint is that there is no fairness or consistency on deletions.
Well given that most of them are done by the same 100 people that seems unlikely.

Quote:
The How-to's on technical subjects generally get deleted, while the how-to's that appeal to prurient interests usually remain.
I think you are misusing the term "How-to".

Quote:
If pornographic pages like "autofellatio" are allowed to remain, why not articles about useful "non-notable" open-source software? Because they lacked their own army of sock-puppets to defend them?
Because for some reason third party sources are far more interested in writing about random sexual acts than they are about less used bits of open source software. On the other hand they are even more interested in writing about trains.

Quote:
Ever since rising to the top of Google's rankings, Wikipedia has to a large degree been taken over by commercial interests, often of the unsavory kind, as well as people determined to push various agendas, deceptions and/or falsehoods.
Not taken over. I know a fair chunk of the core wikipedians. PR people are a problem but at the present time it remains illegal to dump them in vats of acid so whats to do?
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Old 9th February 2012, 01:48 PM   #33
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Still don't know what these things mean. Wikicities/Wikia.
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Old 9th February 2012, 01:54 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Susan Gerbic View Post
Still don't know what these things mean. Wikicities/Wikia.
they are alternatives to Wikipedia. Wikia functions a host for single topic Wiki's. Examples would be the Pokemon Wiki or the Gossip Girl Wiki

Last edited by Alareth; 9th February 2012 at 01:58 PM.
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Old 9th February 2012, 02:58 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Susan Gerbic View Post
Still don't know what these things mean. Wikicities/Wikia.
A company founded by jimbo wales and some others with the intention of making money by providing free hosting for wikis and serving adverts alongside them. Mostly full of popular culture fan wikis. They lost a number of their larger wikis recently due to increasing the amount of advertising.
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Old 9th February 2012, 07:28 PM   #36
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I think Dave Hitt's wikiwar says it all. I wish something like Citizenpendium could really take off

http://www.podcast-directory.co.uk/e...a-2856842.html
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Old 10th February 2012, 07:29 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by pipelineaudio View Post
I think Dave Hitt's wikiwar says it all. I wish something like Citizenpendium could really take off

http://www.podcast-directory.co.uk/e...a-2856842.html
Attempts to push a POV that passive smoking is fine through patheticaly obvious cherry picking (hint nazis spoke german). Tries to post links to his own website. Result is that he gets reverted.

Objects to the graph at global warming claiming it is the debunked hockey stick. Firstly that hasn't been debunked and secondly wikipedia's graph isn't the Mann hockey stick.

As for Citizendium see http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Citizendium
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Old 10th February 2012, 03:41 PM   #38
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Would anyone be interested in helping to write a script or Web app to automatically monitor all pages on the watchlist on a daily (or even hourly) basis, and send an email report whenever the relevant parts get changed or omitted?

Sounds like a worthwhile programming project...
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Old 11th February 2012, 11:37 PM   #39
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Oh man thats a bummer citizenpendium crashed so hard

For my story, for what its worth, I gave up on wiki as I kept losing edit wars on basic facts about albums I had recorded, even down to simple and obvious things like where it happened, who played guitar, etc...
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Old 12th February 2012, 09:42 AM   #40
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Would anyone be interested in helping to write a script or Web app to automatically monitor all pages on the watchlist on a daily (or even hourly) basis, and send an email report whenever the relevant parts get changed or omitted?
How would this be different from checking your watchlist?
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