The Signpost

In the media

Sanger on Wikipedia; Silver on Vox; lawyers on monkeys

Larry Sanger

Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger was interviewed by Vice for the story "Wikipedia's Co-Founder Is Wikipedia's Most Outspoken Critic". Sanger spoke of the beginnings of Wikipedia and the personalities it attracted:

According to Sanger, the resulting problems persist today:

At the end of the interview, Sanger reflected on his role in Wikipedia's founding and its success:

Sanger's interview was the subject of a few media reports, such as The Independent's story "Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger says website has been 'taken over by trolls'". Sanger complained that newspaper "basically made an article out of" the interview "without interviewing me or doing any fact-checking. And they got the thrust of the interview wrong." G

FiveThirtyEight boss blasts Vox, accusing the site of using "shortcuts"

Nate Silver

In an interview with Catie Lazarus on her show Employee of the Month, FiveThirtyEight boss Nate Silver, blasted Vox for a lack of originality in their work. He said when working on a topic, his team gets immersed in it so they can do the best work possible. In terms of checking for bias in his own work, Silver says through dialogue with people he disagrees with and encouraging feedback from a wider audience.

However, he clearly stated that Vox reads Wikipedia pages and “writes a take on” the articles and also accused Vox of not being able to back up its published information - “I know how hard my writers and my editors work to try and get the facts right, to not always go for the hot take that you can’t really provide evidence for, right?”

Vox has gotten in trouble for inaccuracy in its stories before but the Vox editor-in-chief, Ezra Klein, defended the site’s efforts. “I’m tremendously proud of the incredible work my writers do – good explanatory journalism is very, very hard, and as such, I think it’s best to let it speak for itself.”

In September, Vox was criticized for an article which was largely taken from a Wikimedia Foundation blog post (see previous Signpost coverage). L

"Monkey see, monkey sue"

Techdirt reports on motions to dismiss in the bizarre lawsuit filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) over the monkey selfie copyright dispute (see previous Signpost coverage). Motions from lawyers representing wildlife photographer David Slater and his publisher Blurb, Inc. ignored copyright issues and focused on the lack of standing, namely making the point that a monkey could not sue nor could PETA sue on the monkey's behalf. Blurb's motion summarizes this point in its first line: "This is a copyright case filed on behalf of a monkey." Slater's motion favors amusement but is almost as succinct:


+ Add a comment

Discuss this story

These comments are automatically transcluded from this article's talk page. To follow comments, add the page to your watchlist. If your comment has not appeared here, you can try purging the cache.


I don't know why people keep listening to Larry Sanger. I mean, look at Citizendium, a project he created to be Wikipedia as how he thought it should be run, then threw out Neutral Point of View, and encouraged equal time for climate change denial and science, evolution denial and science, and gave control of alternative medicine articles over to the practitioners of such dubious treatments. The man seems like a bitter crank who wants Wikipedia to fail, because he thinks he knows better (when he clearly does not). Adam Cuerden (talk) 16:12, 16 November 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Perhaps just a fleeting hype. Personally my ten-year editing experience in English WP is overwhelmingly positive, despite past blocks, topic bans and disagreements. Morons are everywhere, but as long as the majority works in a cooperative and supporting manner, the result is impressive and increasingly so. Brandmeistertalk 22:37, 16 November 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I wonder whether he knows the current wikipedia well enough to justify comments such as "Wikipedia never solved the problem of how to organize itself in a way that didn't lead to mob rule"? He may be an expert on our early days but is he up to speed with where we are now? For all its faults Arbcom exists and usually avoids mob rule, and the perennial attempts to augment it with mob rule for community deadminship never quite prevail. As for trolling, I didn't join until some time after his departure, but I rather think that trolling is one of those irregular English verbs that vary with one's perspective. Someone who empowered a homeopath with special status as Citizendium's lead expert on "the healing arts" might well regard many Wikipedians as trolls. If he is criticising something that he has not maintained his expertise on, he in turn might well be considered by some of us as making ill informed and negative comments. ϢereSpielChequers 13:00, 17 November 2015 (UTC)[reply]

You mean that news outlets write articles about people without interviewing them first? Shock! Horror! shoy (reactions) 15:40, 17 November 2015 (UTC)[reply]

  • Let me play Captain Obvious here. Wikipedia is an incredibly expansive work, very well implemented despite some kinks (and corporate bias), with thousands of dedicated and able and not-always-cranky volunteer editors, and a resounding success beyond anyone's wildest dreams. Any criticism that denies these things is the one who is trolling (or perhaps ginning up the cottage industry of Wikihate). That said, there are many useful criticisms of this place that need to be addressed. But looking to a guy who got his own "better" encyclopedia project horribly off-track isn't going to be of much assistance. Wikipedia is today the Internet of Knowledge. Google results are us. Slam it all you like. Or, one can work to make it better, the ol' constructive way. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 17:46, 17 November 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • I just stumbled upon Citizendium's "Charter" that it ratified in 2010. It's interesting to note some of the starker differences in structure compared to Wikipedia. I can already envision the kind of response it would receive if any one of them were proposed here. The main thing is that it seems to have a "top-down" governance, as opposed to Wikipedia's "bottom-up (in most cases)" governance. The three principal bodies are the Citizendium Council, which has final say on all content disputes; the Managing Editor, who offers interpretations on policy and can make "executive decisions" to enforce policy; and the Constabulary, which is responsible for enforcing behavior. Users (known as Citizens) can petition the Council for a referendum if it feels they have erred in a decision, and there is a formal appeals process as well. Interesting. Mz7 (talk) 01:30, 21 November 2015 (UTC) Might have spoke too soon with the "top-down" description, after digging further and finding their Myths vs. Fact page. Mz7 (talk) 01:52, 22 November 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I was there, almost from the start. Top down was the way it certainly did run at the start, regardless of what may now be claimed on the site . Larry appointed the people who could approve articles (I was one, fwiw), he decided the policies, he settled the disputes, he let people have exclusive rights to key articles and kept others from working on them. Eventually, he did accept a formal structure, and eventually, he did remove himself from the line of command. By that time, too many people had left, myself included. DGG ( talk ) 01:25, 24 November 2015 (UTC)[reply]


The Signpost · written by many · served by Sinepost V0.9 · 🄯 CC-BY-SA 4.0