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Grant Shapps story continues; Wikipedia's "leftist ties"

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By Andreas Kolbe and Gamaliel

Grant Shapps demoted

Grant Shapps

The Grant Shapps story continues to make waves in the British press. Shapps, a politician who was the co-chairman of the UK's Conservative Party until this week, has been accused of maliciously editing his own Wikipedia biography as well as those of rivals within his party (see previous Signpost coverage).

On April 30, the Register wondered whether Shapps had fallen victim to a Lib Dem plot. Shapps himself continued to deny any involvement in the Wikipedia edits in a BBC interview (May 8), calling it a "nonsense story" and adding: "In reality the Wiki founder, Jimmy Wales, phones me up the next day [...] he phoned me the next day, said, Sorry, not Wiki's corporate view, this was one individual, happened to be a Lib Dem activist, he shouldn't have said it, he's been chastised, he's under individual ... he's under investigation within Wiki, it was not true, but yeah, of course these things happen."

Even so, by May 11 the Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Independent reported that Shapps had been "sacked" or "demoted" in the post-election cabinet reshuffle, prominently mentioning the Wikipedia story as one of a small number of factors that might have contributed to the decline of Shapps' fortunes.

On May 12, Independent reported that the "Demoted Grant Shapps faced awkward first meeting with his new boss, whose Wikipedia page he was accused of editing".

The proposed decision of the arbitration case examining the Contribsx block and the events leading to the Shapps press story, originally due on May 21, is now expected on May 26, given the recent extension of the evidence submission period to May 18. A.K.

Wikipedia's "leftist ties"

Somewhat Reasonable, a blog of the Heartland Institute, an American conservative and libertarian think tank, complained about "Wikipedia’s Leftist Ties And Its Censorship Of The Facts" (May 12). The alleged "leftist ties" are rather tenuous. The blog post connects Jimmy Wales and Sue Gardner, former executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, to the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan group dedicated to government transparency. Wales, who is a libertarian, also allegedly has "close personal ties to multiple left-wing bigshots", though the post only specifies Wales' appearance at a birthday party for George Soros, a billionaire supporter of liberal causes who is often the target of American right-wing ire. The post also noted the support of Democratic candidates by two current American members of the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, which consists of ten members from seven countries. The post concludes "the evidence suggests Wikipedia has been affected by its leftist leaders and many biased editors", but does not specify how these "leftist ties" translate to any changes in encyclopedia content.

The blog cites a 2012 paper by Greenstein and Zhu examining bias in Wikipedia articles through identifying allegedly biased "code words", which indicated that bias in those articles was decreasing over time (see previous Signpost coverage). The blog post mentions only the specific issue of climate change as an example of "obvious" Wikipedia bias and "an effort to censor information", citing the work of Dr. William Connolley (William M. Connolley), an engineer and climate modeller, on Wikipedia. Connolley, a former Wikipedia administrator who is known for his work on climate change topics on the encyclopedia and is frequently the subject of complaints on climate change denial blogs, is labeled a "climate alarmist" in the post. The Heartland Institute receives millions of dollars in funding from oil and gas companies like ExxonMobil and politically conservative organizations which deny climate change. The New York Times wrote that the Heartland Institute is "the primary American organization pushing climate change skepticism." G

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Ha! Take that Shapps. —  Cliftonian (talk)  07:03, 16 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Magna Carta (An Embroidery)

Wikipedia's "leftist ties"

They cite this blog item by Anthony Watts as an example of Wikipedia’s "obvious" remaining bias, where factual, credible sources were removed to censor information that reflects badly on global warming alarmism – specifically this 12 October 2010 edit by William M. Connolley. They neglect to mention that the information is basically back in the current Harold Lewis biography. So yeah, right. Editors were able to expand the stub. I wonder if Lewis realized that when he came out with this public pronouncement in the final year of his 87-year life, that Wikipedians would give his Resignation from APS nearly equal weight to his entire Career as a physicist which preceded it. But yeah, someone will get around to expanding the "career" section eventually. Wbm1058 (talk) 13:33, 16 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]


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