Parliament IPs scrub MP articles of embarrassment and scandal
The Daily Telegraphreports (May 26), in a story widely circulated in the British media, on Wikipedia editing to articles of Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom prior to the May 7 United Kingdom general election from IP addresses assigned to Parliament. The editing included the removal of a sex scandal and involvement in the United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal, as well as the addition of "flattering" details. Many of the edits have been restored or removed by other editors. None of the politicians contacted by The Telegraph admitted that they or their staffs were responsible for the edits. A spokesman for one MP, Joan Ryan, denied responsibility, pointing out that she "did not even have access to the Parliamentary Internet network from which these changes were made" as she was not in office until the May 7 election. The Telegraph wrote: "It is impossible to prove the changes were made by the MP in question or their staff. However it is unclear why people unconnected to the politician or party would gloss up the Wikipedia biographies from inside Parliament."
The news outlet provided details on changes made to the articles of twelve MPs, listed in the chart below. G.
Addition of Jenrick as purchaser to the article Eye Manor.
Invisible history: women on Wikipedia
The New Statesman writes about gender bias on Wikipedia and asks "does it matter if our biggest source of knowledge is written by men?" (May 26) The Statesman notes the failure of the Wikimedia Foundation to increase the number of female editors from around ten percent and provides more examples of the disparity in article coverage: the well-maintained List of pornographic actresses by decade versus the "sprawling dumping ground" of List of female poets and the single article for six seasons of Sex in the City versus the 43 articles about Top Gear. The Statesman interviewed several women about their experiences on Wikipedia. Zara Rahman spoke about her negative experience editing the article on inventor and actress Hedy Lamarr, where Lamarr's discoveries were de-emphasized in the introduction in favor of information about nude scenes and a male film director's opinions about her appearance. (Rahman has previously blogged about her experience.) Theresa Knott (User:Theresa knott) became a Wikipedia editor in 2001 and was an administrator and member of the Arbitration Committee, but she stopped editing in 2012. She said about Wikipedia "The women who were on there were more likely to be people like me...Very geeky kinds of females who thought in a certain way and kind of fitted in with the men. There weren’t many women who would not traditionally be in a male sphere." Claire Millington, a PhD candidate in classics at King’s College London, began editing at a 2013 editathon. She said "There’s a pattern in what’s written about women and their achievements, and it’s basically that they’re not written about. I don’t want Wikipedia to be a place where women are written out of history again, because if it’s not on Wikipedia, it’s not visible." G.
An Aboriginal Wikipedia?: The Guardiandiscusses (May 26) the challenges faced by Clint Bracknell of the University of Sydney and other academics who want to create a Nyungar language Wikipedia, which would be the first Wikipedia from the Australian Aboriginal languages. Nyungar is spoken by 369 people at home as of 2011 and is primarily a spoken language. Bracknell said "Any language that’s not predominantly written is going to require greater flexibility in terms of uploading audio and video." Bracknell also said such a project would have to prioritize sources differently than other Wikipedias, such as oral history over inaccurate written depictions of Aboriginal life by Western observers. G.
Charitable arguing: Jimmy Wales wrote an article (May 24) for the Radio Times about the subject of charitable giving. He wrote "For me the idea of 'giving' has evolved, and I don’t think doing something good has to be about pity or being compelled by my conscience. I think there is a much more modern spirit of giving. Rather than giving being a totally selfless act I actually think it should be a selfish thing – in a good way. It can be fun and uplifting and just part of our everyday lives." The article seems to have attracted little notice or comment regarding its actual subject, but a clause unrelated to the topic – "When I first launched Wikipedia on 15 January 2001" – resulted in a long user talk page discussion on the oft-debated topic of Wales' precise role in the founding of Wikipedia, prompted by the usual suspects from Wikipediocracy. G.
Exciting local news: The Mid Devon Gazettereports (May 20) on a complaint added to the Wikipedia article for the village of Willand in October 2014: "As of 2011, two unknown vandals have been reported doing various things around the village, they have yet to be identified and the local police force has done nothing to find them." The Gazette noted that "at the time neighbours had complained about youths gathering on motorcycles in the vicinity of Willand Village Hall were becoming a nuisance." G.
Unfrozen caveman tweeters: BuzzFeedreports (May 19) on the Twitter backlash faced by cloud computing company FORTAcloud after it tweeted an advertisement featuring a woman in lingerie. One Twitter user linked to the "Objectification" section of the Wikipedia article sexism. The company responded to complaints with tweets claiming their ads were not sexist and that it was an advertising practice engaged in by other companies. One tweet read: "According to Wikipedia, advertising with images of beautiful girls is sexism." G.
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