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Scottish MEP blocked for edit warring; ranking articles by importance

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By Gamaliel and Jheald

Scottish MEP blocked for edit warring on his own article

David Coburn

British media outlets reported this week that David Coburn, a Member of the European Parliament for the Scotland region for the UK Independence Party, had been blocked from editing Wikipedia on April 6. The indefinite block was imposed on the account David Coburn MEP by JohnCD after edit warring on Coburn's Wikipedia article.

From April 1–6, the account repeatedly removed references to Coburn's comments about opposing candidate Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh of the Scottish Nationalist Party. Coburn had repeatedly mangled her name and referred to her in a way that she characterized as "sexist - and possibly racist". The account also disputed other information, including Coburn's place of residence and high school.

The account made 59 edits to the article, but no edits to the article talk page or the account's user talk page, which includes numerous warning templates and attempts by other editors to discuss the article. The account did post frequent complaints in their edit summaries, including:

Despite the account's frequent use of the first person, Coburn gave what appear to be conflicting statements to The Guardian about who was using the account. They reported (April 29) that "Coburn said he had started editing the page after spotting mistakes on it, but that he had stopped after getting bored." Coburn also told them "It was done by one of my people. I don’t know how to press the buttons to make it work. I was telling them what to do. If there was garbage on there I told them to take it off."

The Scotsman quoted (April 29) Coburn's chief of staff Arthur Misty Thackeray, who blamed the matter on Coburn's lack of technological expertise. He said "it goes to the heart of the fact that David’s not an IT expert, so things like Wikipedia aren't his strong point." In The Guardian, Coburn himself attributed the conflict to supporters of Scottish independence: "I’m sure its all wee cybernats who've got nothing better to do with their time and they should actually be out getting a job." G

Are these the most important articles on Wikipedia?

Röyksopp performing in 2009

Gizmodo and other technology media outlets report (April 28) on a project from the Laboratory for Web Algorithmics at the University of Milan called The Open Wikipedia Ranking. The project's website ranks Wikipedia articles by importance using a variety of metrics. The top ten Wikipedia articles ranked by harmonic centrality are:

  1. United States
  2. World War II
  3. Association football
  4. United Kingdom
  5. France
  6. World War I
  7. Canada
  8. Germany
  9. China
  10. India

The website also presents top ten lists of articles in a variety of broad categories. Some odd results appear in the lists, such as Ronald Reagan topping the list of actors and Lady Gaga at the top of the list of fashion designers. Other strange results arise from limitations in handling the data and the reliability of the data itself. The website's FAQ notes:

The reference to that album was removed from Wikidata on April 30 and Röyksopp's discography does not appear to contain an album by that title. G

Advocacy editing may be afoot on sneaker articles

SoleCollector investigates (April 26) what appears to be advocacy editing on behalf of sneaker companies Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour since 2005. They examined edits from IP addresses and concluded "Nike had more Wikipedia edits relating to its own business than any other sneaker brand." These included edits regarding controversies involving Nike's use of sweatshop labor and the quality of materials. SoleCollector also identified three accounts it contends belong to Nike historian Scott Reames. Edits from those accounts include the addition of material noting the increase in Nike's annual revenue "despite [anti-sweatshop] campaigns", and disputing a claim regarding Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman, changes regarding Nike's corporate sponsorship in the wake of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal. G

Awards weekend

A clutch of awards from the American Alliance of Museums

In brief

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. Not pictured: an English horn
Radioshack TRS80-IMG 7206.jpg
A TRS-80

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  • The filter should tag unsourced BLP additions by IPs so that editors can review them for accuracy in a tagged-queue. Problem solved. Viriditas (talk) 05:23, 1 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]
    • Well , that is a sourced addition, but it sounds like a good idea. Of course BLP violations don't just happen to articles in Category:Living people, but we can take that as a good approximation. We then need to simply decide what constitutes an addition (or should it be any edit?) and what constitutes "unsourced". All the best: Rich Farmbrough12:48, 1 May 2015 (UTC).
    • It was clearly sourced, but a source like that from an IP address should be treated with at least some skepticism. Assume good faith, but also verify. Gamaliel (talk) 15:59, 1 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]

"it goes to the heart of the fact that David’s not an IT expert, so things like Wikipedia aren't his strong point"

Is this not a problem for everyone on the planet? I've been here a while, and I find it as difficult to write on the Wiki as ever, technically, but now with added heaps of bureaucracy. Maury Markowitz (talk) 11:22, 1 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]


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