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  • Jul 24th, 2020 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re: Wikipedia is garbage

    Looking at Encyclopedia Britannica, I can see that on July 21, 2020 (only three days ago), EB's senior editor of biomedical sciences, Kara Rogers, added the following paragraph about Margaret Sanger (note, not spelled "Margret Sangor"):

    Sanger’s legacy has been complicated by her support of eugenics, the idea that selective breeding for desired heritable characteristics could improve future generations of humans—an idea that was popular in the early 20th century (though it was later debunked). At the time Sanger began her work with birth control, eugenics was championed by well-known and respected scientists. It is unclear how extensively Sanger was involved in the eugenics movement, though she did believe that birth control could be used to prevent the breeding of unfit individuals. In addition, through the “Negro Project,” working closely with NAACP leader W.E.B. Du Bois, Sanger brought birth control to African American communities. As a consequence of these actions, critics have described Sanger as racist. However, as with her work in white communities, Sanger emphasized the importance of giving African Americans choices about parenthood and the number of children they wished to have. It is generally accepted that Sanger’s notions were no more racist than those found in society in general at the time.

    I don't know if this is "better" than Wikipedia in terms of content, but I do know that I am more at ease knowing the identity and credentials of the person who added the content. That is almost always missing from Wikipedia's content -- you don't know the real name or credentials of (probably about) 90% of the content contributors; and even if you do have that information about the User, it's still a pain in the neck to look up and investigate who added which specific piece of text.

  • Jul 23rd, 2020 @ 1:02pm

    Re: Re: (as Gregory Kohs)

    I just clicked "Random article", and I got the page about James Lionel Michael. Some sentences from that short article:

    • After visiting Europe, Michael was articled to his father and began to mix in artistic and literary society.
      -- I understand that "articled" as a verb here means to bind by an article of covenant or stipulation, as with an apprenticeship; but will most Wikipedia readers have any clue what that sentence means?

    • Sheridan Moore states that Michael became friendly with Millais and Ruskin...
      -- Who is Sheridan Moore, and why do we care what he stated?

    • He became friendly with Joseph Sheridan Moore who introduced him to Henry Kendall, whom he afterwards took into his office and "treated as an affectionate elder brother would a younger one".
      -- Completely unsourced information, but we'll trust whoever wrote (or plagiarized) the Wikipedia article, I suppose.

    • Michael married in 1854...
      -- This sentence comes after the sentence telling us how Michael died, some 14 years after his marriage. It's information, but confuses the reader by being out of chronological order.

    • His long poem, John Cumberland, contains some good passages, however has many patches of prose.
      -- That seems like an opinion. Whose, we cannot know, because the claim is not cited to any source.

    It's not terrible, by any stretch... but I would hardly say that this "matches" the highly-respected professional publications off which the Wikipedia re-write is based. Agreed?

  • Jul 23rd, 2020 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re: One experiment in Wikipedia misinformation (as Gregory Kohs)

    It's been few years since I've wielded an axe in my perspective toward Wikipedia, and the link you provided is no more a "business" for me than a lemonade stand that you might see a child running on a hot summer day. It costs me more to run that website (out of respect to the contributors who published their content there) than I earn from leads generated by it.

    But, fair enough -- it's worth pointing out to strangers that I'm not just some "random" participant on Wikipedia.

  • Jul 23rd, 2020 @ 8:14am

    Re: Re: (as Gregory Kohs)

    One example of how even with references and citations, information is still filtered through a "house" lens:

    When CNN and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution both documented Ahmaud Arbery's past criminal history, some editors tried to recognize that documentation in Wikipedia. I know this is a sensitive subject to even address. But the editors were quickly reverted by administrators (without any community discussion), and if they persisted in trying to add back in that documentation, they were threatened with being indefinitely blocked from editing, and I believe some were in fact blocked.

    It was only permissible to present Arbery's past in as favorable a light as possible. I understand the "BLP - Biographies of Living Persons" policy on Wikipedia is intended to respect the human dignity of living people, the recently deceased, and the families thereof. But in a criminal case, shouldn't there at least be some allowance for discussing what the reliable news media have said in terms of background of both the alleged perpetrators and the victim -- especially if the two had a potential previous history with one another?

    All this while the accused killer(s) of Arbery were described on Wikipedia's talk pages as "rednecks", "murderers", "hillbillies", and the like. They were not protected by the BLP policy, it seems.

    Again, I am not saying this is an easy situation to resolve. It simply seems clear that the Wikipedia administrative authority had one (and only one) way of seeing that it was resolved according to their house point of view.

  • Jul 23rd, 2020 @ 7:57am

    One experiment in Wikipedia misinformation (as Gregory Kohs)

    When I set out a few years ago to test how resilient Wikipedia would be to subtle misinformation (and by subtle, I mean deliberately incorrect information, formatted suitably -- not things like "MIKE HAZZ THREE HEADZ! ! !" which most people associate with being handled relatively well by Wikipedia), I was rather surprised that fully 60% of my deliberately misinformed pieces of content were not remedied within not just days, but weeks or months.

    My research was given a mention in the Washington Post, and my own write-up of the experiment can be found here: ia-may-persist/

  • Feb 19th, 2017 @ 9:18pm

    Re: Re: (as Gregory Kohs)

    I wonder if this is the same John Thacker that represented Jimmy Wales in his 2nd divorce?
  • Apr 8th, 2013 @ 1:04pm

    Steal your next copy of the New York Times (as Gregory Kohs)

    When you steal your next copy of the New York Times, just make sure that you share it with a couple of your friends, or even a stranger, because that makes your theft of it okay. Do I have that right, Jenna? Because that seems to be the basis of your defense.

    (I wonder if Jenna Wortham has ever taken two minutes to consider how copyright basically ensures her paycheck?)
  • Jan 3rd, 2013 @ 9:16am

    It's not just not neutral, it's being helped along by Jimmy Wales (as Gregory Kohs)

    Readers who care even two whits about what is happening in Kazakhstan might be interested to learn about all of the back-deals that are going on to whitewash the actual history of how the Kazakh government regime has taken over the Kazakh-language Wikipedia. And all with the moral and financial support of Jimmy Wales and his Wikimedia Foundation:
  • Jan 20th, 2012 @ 7:03am

    Re: Talk amongst yourselves... (as Gregory Kohs)

    @Danny: You say, "[if] no reader or editor stumbles on the correction in Talk, [t]hen it is unlikely much of anyone is reading the main page". Over on Phil Gomes' "CREWE" group on Facebook, I easily found about 5 or 6 examples of Talk pages that received only a dozen or so page views per month, while the Article page received thousands of views. In these situations, requests left on the Talk page went unanswered for months, even years at a time. After I had pointed out these statistical facts, Gomes' booted me from the CREWE group. Apparently Jimmy Wales complained to Gomes because Wales thought I might shoot him with an AK-47, because I was photographed once firing an AK-47. You can't make up this stuff.
  • Jun 7th, 2011 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: So, let me get this straight (as Gregory Kohs)

    Oh, jeez, Mike. Have I really "painted" people with my broad brush? If you're deliberately ignoring the fact that many legal analysts have been discussing whether or not Section 230 pushed too far in favor of anonymous libelers, then that's reprehensible. If, however, you're simply uninformed, then let me give you some extra reading: tract_id=1352442


    Maybe you'll find some material in those papers that will round out your views about Section 230, responsibility, and defamation. Or, maybe you'll just toss them aside and go with your standard view, because that's easier.

    If I may apply an analogy, you sound like an anti-abortion advocate, circa 1965, saying that "right to privacy has nothing to do with abortion", unaware that in just a few more years, not only would it have to do with abortion, it would have *everything* to do with abortion. I realize that CURRENTLY, the law states that my view is an outside view, but I (and others) are convinced it will not always be this way. Free culture excesses will see to that. I'm not unreasonable. Clearly, the open discourse of human beings on websites that do not themselves contribute to the discourse is a valuable and precious resource. However, I believe there is also room to adjust the culture in a way that respects the dignity and rights of REAL people at least marginally more than those of PSEUDONYMOUS people. You may disagree with that, but if you were to poll 100 human beings at random (I don't care if they're American, or Dutch, or Korean, or Ethiopian), I contend that if they are intelligent enough to understand the question, at least 90 of them would more agree with me than with you. That's why I describe your views as "disagreeable". I contend that your views run counter to the vast majority of regular people's opinions. Your views are right at home on Techdirt, but that is not reflective of humanity, I hope you know.

    One last example... there's a website out there that pokes fun at me. I can manage the parody just fine, but I'd rather not point here to it with a link. However, in that site's text, it claims that my little 7-year-old daughter is "not of my seed" (or something like that). That was initially written three years ago, when my kid was 4 years old. The page was initially on a U.S.-based site which has shut down, it seems, but within days a free culture proponent, Sven Slootweg, was hosting a copy of the page in Europe, because he feels that "information wants to be free", I suppose. I asked if he would kindly take down the page, or at least withdraw the part that would be so offensive to a little girl. Guess what? He refused. That wouldn't be fair to the original author's right to free speech, he informed me. Could you describe for me, what is my course of action to find out who wrote this hateful comment about my relationship with my daughter? Or, should I just let it go (as I have), because the precious right of anonymous harassment should never be modified?
  • Jun 7th, 2011 @ 7:58am

    Re: Re: So, let me get this straight (as Gregory Kohs)

    I'm a happy customer of Faconnable. I bought one of their shirts in 1993, and it still looks great. High-quality material. I wonder if the Hezbollah alliance, though, now ruins that craftsmanship, since the seamstresses are clearly working half of their shifts sewing explosives into vests?
  • Jun 7th, 2011 @ 7:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: So, let me get this straight (as Gregory Kohs)

    I'll see your elementary logic fail and raise you a duplicate posting fail.
  • Jun 7th, 2011 @ 7:53am

    Re: Re: Re: So, let me get this straight (as Gregory Kohs)

    Oops, I didn't mention why I brought up Section 230. It's because I no longer consider Wikipedia an "interactive computer service" like AOL or Charter. I consider it a publisher like World Book or the New York Times. After all, it bills itself as an "encyclopedia" not a "forum" or "chat board", which are the types of venues that Section 230 was meant to preserve. I'm surprised you'd think that this has "absolutely nothing" to do with Section 230, when (for the Wikimedia Foundation's viability as an ongoing defamation platform provider) it has *everything* to do with Section 230.
  • Jun 6th, 2011 @ 7:54pm

    Re: Re: So, let me get this straight (as Gregory Kohs)

    Mike, because you say "there is a good process for identifying anonymous posters" does not mean that there is a good process for identifying anonymous posters. In fact, for those who have been libeled -- and I've seen cases much more savage and personal than what Faconnable has experienced, by far -- the current process of trying to find out who is wrongfully fucking with one's reputation is clumsy, overly protective of the masked aggressor, and (frankly) sickening. The pendulum is finally swinging back to at least a mote of accountability for one's outlandish claims in speech, and all I hear is "free culture" whiners, most of whom are too ashamed of their own outlandish views to stand behind them with a real name. I give you credit, at least, for putting your signature to your disagreeable views.
  • Jun 6th, 2011 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Re: So, let me get this straight (as Gregory Kohs)

    So, even though you didn't see the actual Wikipedia edits (they've been expunged), and even though the court document suggests that they said M1 Group "supports" or "is a supporter of" Hezbollah, you are willing to say that these statements on Wikipedia were "true"? No wonder you're an Anonymous Coward.
  • Jun 6th, 2011 @ 11:27am

    So, let me get this straight (as Gregory Kohs)

    Do I have this correct... A company that makes good clothes and wishes to keep their brand reputation in a good light should be berated by Techdirt readers because the company wants to know the name of the coward who used Wikipedia as a defamation platform to libel the company?

    Talk about abuse of Section 230.
  • Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 8:04pm

    David Gerard, and Fred Bauder too? (as Gregory Kohs)

    Wow, the whole wacky Wikipedia gang is here. David Gerard is on display in the TechDirt lead, and Fred Bauder shows up in the comments. Who are these people? Look up on Google, "David Gerard's wedding" or maybe "Fred Bauder Colorado Supreme Court". These are Wikipedia's most tireless supporters. What does THAT say?
  • Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 1:05pm

    One day... (as Gregory Kohs)

    While this particular case may be a lost cause, I think it's pretty clear that the pendulum is swinging back the other way from Section 230 provisions, as people begin to see how irresponsible websites can become about user-generated content, when you take away punishment for not behaving responsibly.

    Anyway, the Wikimedia Foundation really ought to be sued, but not for this. Rather, they should be sued for the sweetheart contracts they hand out, no-bid style, to corporations that favor their own staff and trustees. (It's called "self-dealing", and thus far the WMF does a fairly good job of deflecting attention away from it, but it is an ingrained practice there.)
  • May 11th, 2010 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re: (as Gregory Kohs)

    Mike, you continue to participate here in the thread you said you were done with, and by doing so you continue to display your ignorance.

    What's "stopping them" is the dual tactic of the Wikimedia Foundation and the out-of-control Wikimedia "community" to:

    (A) Pro-actively push (via public speeches, cooperative initiatives, and feel-good PR about kids in the jungle using Wikipedia) for wider usage of Wikimedia projects in schools, at all age levels; and,

    (B) An utter refusal to implement any sort of child-protective measures like adding filter-ready labels or age-specific warnings to some of the more objectionable and gruesome content that they insist on hosting.

    Do you see how these two agendas are at cross-purposes with parents, schools, and libraries who would like to embrace Wikimedia projects, but can't due to the morally reprehensible attitudes and practices that emanate from the Foundation?

    Your badgering of Larry Sanger to "explain" his motives -- repeatedly -- reminds me of a comedy sketch, where the house is on fire, but the person calling for the fire department to come save him is asked so many irrelevant questions ("What's your shoe size, Sir?", etc.) that it becomes laughable. Who cares what Sanger's ulterior motives are? The problem is apparent to him, the law obliges him to report it, and that should be enough for anyone who's not a pro-pedophile agenda pusher.
  • May 7th, 2010 @ 4:47am

    Re: Re: Looks like somebody cracked under federal pressure (as Gregory Kohs)

    I guess you didn't Google "Tyciol", one of your comment-leavers here, did you?

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