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Corruption at Wikipedia

John Simkin

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Article at Vice by Martin Robbins:

We all know that Wikipedia can be subverted its an inevitability of an open platform that some people will seek to abuse it, whether to gain some advantage or just for a laugh. Fortunately, the Wikipedia community has strong mechanisms in place to deal with this, from the famous cry of [citation needed] to the rigorous checks and standards put in place by its hierarchy of editors and admins.

In recent months though, insiders have encountered something altogether more worrying: a concerted attack on the very fabric of Wikipedia by PR companies that have subverted the online encyclopaedias editing hierarchy to alter articles on a massive scale perhaps tens of thousands of them. Wikipedia is the worlds most popular source of cultural, historical and scientific knowledge if their fears are correct, its all-important credibility could be on the line.

The king of these Wikipedia reputation managers is a company called Wiki-PR, who specialise in editing Wikipedia on behalf of their paying clients. The promise on their Twitter profile couldnt be clearer: We write it. We manage it. You never worry about Wikipedia again.

The services they advertise on their website are a catalogue of behaviours that run completely counter to the principles, rules and etiquette of the Wikipedia community. Under "Page Management" they promise, youll have a dedicated Wikipedia Project Manager that understands your brand as well as you do. That means you need not worry about anyone tarnishing your image be it personal, political, or corporate.

Another section focuses on "Crisis Editing": Are you being unfairly treated on Wikipedia? Our Crisis Editing team helps you navigate contentious situations. Well both directly edit your page using our network of established Wikipedia editors and admins. And well engage on Wikipedias back end, so you never have to worry about being libeled on Wikipedia.

Companies have attempted to manage their image on Wikipedia before, with mixed results. What sets this apart is the scale of Wiki-PRs ambition, and the depth to which they appear to have penetrated Wikipedias carefully established editing hierarchy.

Anyone can edit Wikipedia, but only a carefully vetted few are promoted to admin status on the site. Once in place, they have the ability to "block and unblock user accounts and IP addresses from editing, protect and unprotect pages from editing, delete and undelete pages, rename pages without restriction, and use certain other tools, giving them far greater power than the average user. Some 30-odd thousand people edit Wikipedia every month, but only a thousand or so admins have been created in the last ten years, and their recruitment rate has shrunk over that time. Wiki-PR isnt just claiming to edit Wikipedia, its openly bragging about access to Wikipedias elite....

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Guest Robert Morrow

Wipipedia is corrupt at its very core. Anyone who is credible on the JFK assassination is barred from editing there.

It is a total joke to say "anyone can be an editor" at Wikipedia. Nope, that is not how it works and all controversial topics, political and historical, are locked down with the official propaganda of whatever Wikiepedia wants it to be. It is most certainly NOT a collaborative and democratic process at all.

By the way, I am banned from posting at Wikipedia, and of course, it is for political reasons.

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A good related article is this one:


now you can add "sock puppets" to your internet vocabulary :)

Thank you for that Chris. This is especially relevant to JFK researchers:

"According to Alexa, Wikipedia is the sixth most-trafficked website on the Web. It’s the first listing in a Google search for every topic from major corporations to celebrities to all manner of controversial topics. If biased, for-hire authors have infiltrated the encyclopedia to a broader extent, we should all be worried. Wikipedia is the primary source of knowledge on the Internet."

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An expected part of being bound to free market concepts. It is good to study these events and come to some understanding of the elements that corrupt 'lofty ideals'. As such, while not without precedent, one can see a contemporary process unfolding.

It reminds me of the attack on the National Students Association in the late-mid sixties and how that, also not an unprecedented event, destroyed a potentially progressive organ. At the same time texas continues its selective distribution of texts to US students. The more things change...

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