In the news
ArbCom in the news, weak coverage of Italian firms, and more
Reactions to ArbCom decision
In a recent issue, The Signpost reported on the Arbitration Committee's decision to block the Church of Scientology and some of its critics from editing Wikipedia. Media outlets have continued to report on this case. The Los Angeles Times reported that Karin Pouw, a spokesperson for the church, reacted positively to the critics being banned and did not complain about the church being banned. Technology and information bloggers are concerned that Wikipedia is stifling free speech and that this decision sets a precedent for blocking other major organizations. Robert Cringely of InfoWorld sarcastically commented on the abuse of Wikipedia to improve the public appearance of the Church of Scientology and other large organizations. NetEffect criticized the block as being a temporary solution and suggested the increased implementation of WikiTrust and Flagged Revisions.
The first segment on The Colbert Report for 4 June was about the Scientology arbitration decision. Colbert mocked the usernames of arbitrators Carcharoth, FloNight, Newyorkbrad, and Wizardman, and said "They're just like the Supreme Court, only their robes are bathrobes."
Noam Cohen of The New York Times puts the decision in broader context in "The Wars of Words on Wikipedia’s Outskirts", and another Wikipedian, William Beutler, weighs in with a blog post.
Daily Mail and The Independent cover ArbCom resignation, badly
As covered in the Signpost, arbitrator Sam Blacketer—the alias of David Boothroyd—resigned from the Arbitration committee recently. An error-filled article on Boothroyd's Wikipedia work appears in The Daily Mail: "Labour councillor David Boothroyd caught altering David Cameron's Wikipedia entry". Charles Matthews lists some of the problems:
|Here's what else [in addition to stating that Boothroyd was "forced to resign"] is wrong with the Mail's coverage, though:
- "malicious tampering"
Handily assumes what it sets out to prove.
- "Any Internet user can alter pages but Wikipedia appoints supposedly
impartial and unpaid moderators to review and correct changes."
- "sock-puppeting - using multiple, bogus online identities to create
an illusion of support or unpopularity for a person or organisation."
"Bogus" is misleading journalese. "Pseudonymous", please. And they have
mixed in the definition astroturfing.
- "Wikimedia UK, the British arm of the U.S. company"
Another misleading article appears in The Independent: "Wikipedia 'sentinel' quits after using alias to alter entries".
Study of English Wikipedia coverage of Italian companies
Wikipedia's coverage of the 40 largest Italian companies is examined in a new Lundquist Wikipedia Research study published on Scribd. According to the executive summary, "Out of a maximum of 18 points for completeness of information, the average company article scored 8.4." Scores ranged from 17 for Fiat (the top Italian company), to 0 for the #40 company Snam Rete Gas. The report includes tips for companies to engage with Wikipedia without triggering negative reactions from the community.
New Zealand MP's staffer blocked
Stuff.co.nz reports that a New Zealand Parliament IP was blocked after attempts by a staffer for New Zealand MP Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga to remove material from the MP's Wikipedia article. Asked for comment, Lotu-Iiga described Wikipedia as "an open forum for people to sabotage or write remarks about politicians".