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Wikipedia and the Assassination of JFK


John Simkin
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Wikipedia is one of the successful stories of the web. In less than four years it has grown to 1 million entries in 100 different languages. The current Encyclopedia Britannica has 44m words of text whereas Wikipedia has 250m words. Britannica has 75,000 entries whereas Wikipedia has 360,000.

Wikipedia has around 3,000 new entries a day (about 700 in English). The point about Wikipedia is that anyone can submit an article or can edit an existing one. For example, the entry on George Bush has had 500 edits in the last 3 months. Around 2000 people carry out over 100 edits a month.

It has a page on the assassination of JFK. It seems to have been written by John McAdams. Maybe members should get involved in editing the page.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._Kennedy_assassination

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  • 6 years later...

Wikipedia is one of the successful stories of the web. In less than four years it has grown to 1 million entries in 100 different languages. The current Encyclopedia Britannica has 44m words of text whereas Wikipedia has 250m words. Britannica has 75,000 entries whereas Wikipedia has 360,000.

Wikipedia has around 3,000 new entries a day (about 700 in English). The point about Wikipedia is that anyone can submit an article or can edit an existing one. For example, the entry on George Bush has had 500 edits in the last 3 months. Around 2000 people carry out over 100 edits a month.

It has a page on the assassination of JFK. It seems to have been written by John McAdams. Maybe members should get involved in editing the page.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._Kennedy_assassination

If you try to edit a JFK page with anything but the Lone Gun myth, it would be returned to the original text within minutes - day or night.

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From my observations, there certainly is a click of "Lone Nutter" editors on Wikipedia who have been doing an effective job of gaming the system regarding a few assassination related articles, to make sure other viewpoints are minimized or marginalized when they are not completely suppressed.

This is not the same thing as saying there is an official secret Wikipedia policy of pushing the "Oswald, and Oswald alone, did it" view. (There may or may not be such as well, but evidence for the former does not prove the latter.)

It looks to me that the main Lee Harvey Oswald and JFK assassination articles are pretty biased. Some of the secondary and tertiary assassination related articles, however, are sometimes significantly less horrid, thanks to nothing more than a couple of regular editors taking occasional interest in them.

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Guest Tom Scully

You have to be subtle in your edit strategy, instead of a frontline attack....

Examples:

Impregnable fortress, as most bios of the prominent are; filled only with "happy talk" mistaken for "neutral POV."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_H._W._Bush

Much softer target which forms the foundation for the bio above. Sooner or later the bio looks ridiculous,

but be patient, it will take time for that realization to set in..... lots and lots of time. Wikipedia is not

going away. I am convinced you have to learn how to use it to your advantage, unless you can achieve similar search google results on your own, as John Simkin has been able to do.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zapata_Oil

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Some tips on improving Wikipedia:

For those interested in improving Wikipedia, I have some suggestions. (Note: These are of course just my own opinions, from the perspective of one long term experienced Wikipedia editor; I in no way am speaking for Wikipedia.)

1)Log in. Anon editing without logging in is allowed, but editors who haven't logged in have the lowest standing in Wikipedia, and such anon edits are automatically the most suspect -- some regulars will tend to assume anon edits are probably just something silly by some random junior highschooler (many such edits are), and are apt to be reverted. One need not give a legal name; pick any nickname or whatever if you wish for your user name.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Logging_in

2) Spend a bit of time familiarizing yourself with Wikipedia policies and practices.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Introduction

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:FAQ

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Five_pillars

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:How_to_edit_a_page

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Tutorial

The instructions fall in two broad categories. One is the technical side of how to edit -- Wikipedia article editing has a few distinctive characteristics, but the basics are fairly easy with a little practice. Presuming you already know how to type and get on the internet, you've already mastered more difficult and complex skills. The second involves the human factor. I'd say that broadly most of the important rules and regulations boil down to some simple common sense: Be truthful. Be accurate. And don't act like a jerk.

This last point is considered one of the most sacred of Wikipedia, enshrined below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:No_personal_attacks

You can disagree with another editor on facts or accuracy, but refrain from name calling.

3) The first edits of new editors are often spot checked by experienced editors. Be a "good editor", one who a casual spot check will show is clearly working to make Wikipedia better.

The first edit by a newly created user account are the next most likely after anon edits to draw suspicion, so immediately jumping boldly into major rewrites of controversial articles is not recommended.

Since edits may be reverted for simple technical reasons like improper Wiki formating, it's best to get one's feet wet gradually and uncontroversially.

Quite possibly the article on your home town, or where you went to school, or your hobby, etc can stand a bit of improvement. Or if you have some ability at spelling and grammar, poke around at Wikipedia's "Recent changes"

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

and you'll probably quickly find some articles where your skills will be helpful.

4) Site your sources when information is not universally known or agreed upon. This last involves a bit more technical difficulty, but is well worth the effort for those who wish to eventually edit about "controversial" topics:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Citing_sources

The amount of material on Wikipedia citing verifiable sources has certainly improved significantly in recent years.

There are some useful easy tools for helping this trend along. For example, when an article has an assertion you consider dubious that is not specifically cited or referenced, add the tag "{{fact}}", which produces a tag in the text "Citation needed". If, after time is given for reply, no citation for the dubious statment is offered, the article may be safely edited to remove the dubious statement.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Citation_needed

Similarly, vague statements like "experts agree that" can be tagged {{who}}, a request to name specific names.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Who

More later if there is interest.

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Some tips on improving Wikipedia:

For those interested in improving Wikipedia, I have some suggestions. (Note: These are of course just my own opinions, from the perspective of one long term experienced Wikipedia editor; I in no way am speaking for Wikipedia.)

1)Log in. Anon editing without logging in is allowed, but editors who haven't logged in have the lowest standing in Wikipedia, and such anon edits are automatically the most suspect -- some regulars will tend to assume anon edits are probably just something silly by some random junior highschooler (many such edits are), and are apt to be reverted. One need not give a legal name; pick any nickname or whatever if you wish for your user name.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Logging_in

2) Spend a bit of time familiarizing yourself with Wikipedia policies and practices.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Introduction

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:FAQ

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Five_pillars

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:How_to_edit_a_page

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Tutorial

The instructions fall in two broad categories. One is the technical side of how to edit -- Wikipedia article editing has a few distinctive characteristics, but the basics are fairly easy with a little practice. Presuming you already know how to type and get on the internet, you've already mastered more difficult and complex skills. The second involves the human factor. I'd say that broadly most of the important rules and regulations boil down to some simple common sense: Be truthful. Be accurate. And don't act like a jerk.

This last point is considered one of the most sacred of Wikipedia, enshrined below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:No_personal_attacks

You can disagree with another editor on facts or accuracy, but refrain from name calling.

3) The first edits of new editors are often spot checked by experienced editors. Be a "good editor", one who a casual spot check will show is clearly working to make Wikipedia better.

The first edit by a newly created user account are the next most likely after anon edits to draw suspicion, so immediately jumping boldly into major rewrites of controversial articles is not recommended.

Since edits may be reverted for simple technical reasons like improper Wiki formating, it's best to get one's feet wet gradually and uncontroversially.

Quite possibly the article on your home town, or where you went to school, or your hobby, etc can stand a bit of improvement. Or if you have some ability at spelling and grammar, poke around at Wikipedia's "Recent changes"

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

and you'll probably quickly find some articles where your skills will be helpful.

4) Site your sources when information is not universally known or agreed upon. This last involves a bit more technical difficulty, but is well worth the effort for those who wish to eventually edit about "controversial" topics:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Citing_sources

The amount of material on Wikipedia citing verifiable sources has certainly improved significantly in recent years.

There are some useful easy tools for helping this trend along. For example, when an article has an assertion you consider dubious that is not specifically cited or referenced, add the tag "{{fact}}", which produces a tag in the text "Citation needed". If, after time is given for reply, no citation for the dubious statment is offered, the article may be safely edited to remove the dubious statement.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Citation_needed

Similarly, vague statements like "experts agree that" can be tagged {{who}}, a request to name specific names.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Who

More later if there is interest.

Thank you for posting this. I found it most helpful as I am certain did other Forum members

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