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Posted Monday, July 9, 2007

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I recognized the page at once... my biography in the English-language edition of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia which anyone in the world can modify at any time.
Monday, July 9, 2007

 

Cleansing the Wikipedia swamp: more horror-stories from the online-encyclopedia world

Our increasing reliance on Wikipedia changes the pursuit of knowledge

by Paul Jay, CBC News Online

TURKISH historian Taner Akcam arrived at Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport on Feb. 16, 2007, expecting to be picked up by a colleague en route to a lecture he was to give later that day. Instead, he says, he was detained at the border for more than three hours.

For visitors to be temporarily detained at the border is not in itself unusual but, Akcam told CBC News, the evidence the security officers showed him when he asked why they had detained him was: a page containing a tampered Wikipedia entry from December.

Wikipedia drone"I recognized the page at once," Akcam would later write on the website of the University of Minnesota, where he is a visiting professor. "The still photo and the text beneath it comprised my biography in the English-language edition of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia which anyone in the world can modify at any time. For the last year -- most recently on Christmas Eve, 2006 -- my Wikipedia biography had been persistently vandalized by anonymous 'contributors' intent on labelling me as a terrorist." [Full story continues: A question of authority | mirrored here

Posted Jul 8, 2007 10:16 AM PST Category: COMPUTERS/SECURITY

Long-time readers will recall how my entry at Wikipedia contained numerous errors which I kept correcting, and which kept getting reset back to the incorrect versions, until Wikipedia simply deleted my entry entirely. The last time the flawed information was reinserted, the ability to edit from outside Wikipedia was turned off, proving that the bad information came from within Wikipedia itself.

 

To all those concerned with historical accuracy, a reader asks: What is the staff of Wikipedia up to?

January 2006: Harassing someone while hiding behind a screen name is now a criminal offense: see panel at right

Wikipedia's hive mind

John Seigenthaler: A false Wikipedia 'biography' | mirrored here

The brains behind Wikipedia

Jimmy Wales, born Aug 7, 1966: guru/dictator; co-founder/administrator; trustee of Wikimedia Foundation; lives St.Petersburg, Florida, USA

 

Danny Wool, born Sept 7, 1963 administrator; resigned as Wales's executive assistant Mar 20, 2007; lives St.Petersburg, Florida, USA formerly lived in Brooklyn, where he worked for the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York

mail Tom H. comments, Sunday, July 8, 2007: "I have tried on repeated occasions to remove the loaded adjectives from the David Irving page of Wikipedia. Those changes, too, have been reversed and blocked several times. The person in charge of the page seems to be Jewish. The mediator seems to be Jewish. It is unlikely that your page will ever approximate neutrality! What amazes me is the speed with which the neutral language is reversed. It is as if these folks have nothing to do all day but monitor and manage the Wikipedia page. Since I do not have to "get a life" yet, I have given up. It is cowardly, I know, but I just do not have the time to battle their continuous hostility toward the "facts."

mail Jorge Marra,m Jr adds on Monday, July 9, 2007: "I had the same problem with Wikipedia, I corrected some information about the "fake" writer Paulo Coelho, like: "His books have a lot of grammatical errors, he was a user of drugs, he had homosexual relationships and he participated in a sect that adored the devil. I live in Rio de Janeiro and a lot of people know the real truth about him, but Wikipedia does not want publish."

 

January 2006: Harassing someone while hiding behind a screen name is a criminal offense

A NEW federal law was signed on January 5, 2006 by President Bush. Section 113 of the "Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act" states that when you harass someone on the Internet, you must disclose your identity. Here's the relevant language

"Whoever ... utilizes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet ... without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person ... who receives the communications ... shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."

The law is correct to target abusive Internet behavior that hides behind anonymity. Wikipedia's procedures should be overhauled in light of this new law. Every screen-name signature should always show the originating IP address next to it on Wikipedia, and those who open accounts should provide a verified email address. This is a minimum requirement for Wikipedia if it ever hopes to restore its good name.

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