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In the media

Women's history month

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By Smallbones

An explosion of women's history

During March's Women's History Month articles on Wikipedia's role in recording this history exploded in the press. We can only give a sample:

Continuing coverage

Mike Pompeo in Vietnam in 2019

Slate's Stephen Harrison discusses the gender gap's relation to Wikipedia's notability standards. Are the standards written in a way that allows the sexism of past generations to exclude articles on women?

Earlier this month Harrison wrote that Wikipedia has a citogenesis problem — websites copy uncited information from Wikipedia, and Wikipedia editors then cite those websites for the same information. Harrison notes that our list of citogenesis incidents includes the "facts" that Jar'Edo Wens is an Australian aboriginal god and that Mike Pompeo served in the U.S. military during the war in Vietnam.

In January Harrison wrote 'Wikipedia's Medical Content Is Superior' highlighting Doc James.

We look forward to Harrison's continuing series, Source Notes, which features Wikipedia. – R, S

Mike Vago's long-running Wiki Wormhole is a quirky column on some of Wikipedia's most quirky articles. Last week's column featured The Langley Schools Music Project about a 1976 elementary school band recording, re-released in 2001. What could be so fascinating about that? Listen to the linked YouTube video of Desperado. Vago claims the Wormhole will be a 5,664,405-week series.

Declared paid editing

Ashley Feinberg at the Huffington Post reports that "Facebook, Axios and NBC" used a declared paid editor, Ed Sussman (BC1278) from the firm WhiteHatWiki, to 'whitewash' their pages. Nevertheless she appeared to stop short of claiming that Sussman broke any Wikipedia rules, except perhaps that he badgered volunteer editors with "walls of text."

Breitbart News – which is not considered to be a reliable source on Wikipedia – repeated much of Feinberg's story and added some Wikipedia-bashing. A follow-up, which was written by banned editor The Devil's Advocate, adds some interesting details and takes a run at another declared paid editor, WWB. Breitbart links are not allowed on Wikipedia, but Donald Trump, Jr. has thoughtfully provided a link on Twitter.

In brief

Wikipedia's page views follow the Baltimore oriole's migration

Do you want to contribute to "In the media" by writing a story or even just an "in brief" item? Edit next month's edition in the Newsroom or leave a tip on the suggestions page.
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@GorillaWarfare: - Thanks for bringing this up. It's me you need to discuss this with. I wrote the paragraph and included breitbart because I think it's important to identify all sources on paid editing. There are a lot of stories on paid editing from non-reliable sources and they express a very different view than most others (e.g. "this is something every business needs, and here's how to get around the rules") I hope to be able to continue showing these views. In the first draft I ended this something like "Breitbart claims the article was written by banned user The Devil's Advocate. Please consider the source in evaluating this information." I was unhappy with this and ask for feedback in the Newsroom, but didn't get any. The last sentence seems like I'm telling the reader what to think. TDA contacted me on Meta and said it was written by him and gave me the DT Jr link. That did seem fair to everybody involved, but I forgot the declared editor target, who I did inform after publication when I saw it again. I don't expect to link even indirectly to Breitbart ever again, but may do other blacklisted links from time to time. Please let me know via email if there is anything else I should do here, or any steps I should take going forward. Smallbones(smalltalk) 19:49, 1 April 2019 (UTC)[reply]

@Smallbones: If The Daily Stormer wrote an article about paid editing on Wikipedia, would you link there? GorillaWarfare (talk) 00:09, 2 April 2019 (UTC)[reply]
@GorillaWarfare: You must admit that The Daily Stormer is an extreme example. Breitbart is not quit as extreme - there's even an argument to be made that it is fairly mainstream now (I wouldn't agree) because the former editor worked as a strategic advisor in the White House. Sad times I know. And the link wasn't made to Breitbart it was made to the President's son's Twitter.
But let's put aside the arguments and concentrate on what to do now. Should the link now be deleted? In future editions would you recommend not linking to any blacklisted sites? I'm sure you know policy on this better than I do (I essentially found nothing on a search in the day before deadline). Could you give me the links? Smallbones(smalltalk) 00:52, 2 April 2019 (UTC)[reply]
There is quite a range of websites that fall between "not as extreme as The Daily Stormer" and "a reasonable website to direct readers to," and I would argue that Breitbart News falls between the two. I don't know of any explicit policy saying The Signpost can't circuitously link to Breitbart News, but linking to Trump Jr.'s Twitter to evade a URL blacklist to direct readers to an extremist website seems, at best, poor judgment. GorillaWarfare (talk) 00:59, 2 April 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Well, let's keep the reasons that Breitbart News is blacklisted in mind: "The site has published a number of falsehoods, conspiracy theories, and intentionally misleading stories." We blacklist it to protect Wikipedia articles from these falsehoods, conspiracy theories, misleading stories from being presented as fact. Things are quite different when Breitbart News is the story. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 01:29, 2 April 2019 (UTC)[reply]
(EC)Thanks, GW. Going forward, I'll leave the link in for now - any real damage has already been done. I'll consider your arguments before the next issue and reconsider before indirectly linking to a blacklisted site. If you have further thoughts on this, please do email me. I've been thinking a lot about how Wikipedia's rules apply to The Signpost, see Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2019-03-31/From_the_editors. As far as I can tell, traditionally it's just been more-or-less a "hands off, we all know how newspapers are supposed to work." That changed with an ArbCom case about an April Fools' Day joke by Gamilele (sp). I think it may have been your 1st case. As near as I can tell now, it's considered something like a WikiProject talk page, or maybe Jimbo's talk page: rules about articles (OR, NPOV, etc.) don't apply in the same way, but more general rules (e.g. BLP, PA, harassment) do. Any help appreciated. Smallbones(smalltalk) 01:36, 2 April 2019 (UTC)[reply]
What about linking to sites that publish harassment, BLP violations, etc.? Possibly more concerning, to extremist sites which aim to radicalize readers? On a completely separate tack (and one I'm not sure I really agree with, but it's food for thought), I've seen less objectionable links removed from Jimbotalk and other discussion venues, citing WP:BADSITES. The argument for removal in those situations is often that posters on the site have engaged in the behavior outlined at WP:BADSITES, such as doxxing and other harassment, and so links to the site should be removed even if the directly linked content does not contain that behavior. In this case, the author of the Breitbart piece has engaged in that kind of behavior (against myself, actually), so it's a bit discouraging to see him amplified here. Furthermore, the piece itself "takes a run" at specific Wikipedians, as stated in this page.
To be clear (and to reply to Headbomb, my concern with linking to Breitbart is not that it's been declared an unreliable source. I'm well aware of the reasons behind it being declared an unusable source, and that that decision just means it can't be used to support claims in mainspace Wikipedia articles. The list of blacklisted and deprecated sources is fairly short, and although it overlaps with websites I think should not be linked from Wikipedia, it also contains websites that I wouldn't care about links to, and doesn't contain websites that I would. To use my above example, The Daily Stormer is not included there, but I'd still object if someone linked to it in a Signpost piece.
Not that it really matters, but just to correct the record, Gamaliel wasn't my first case. I'd been on the Arbitration Committee for two years by then, and I recused on the case. GorillaWarfare (talk) 02:34, 2 April 2019 (UTC)[reply]
@GorillaWarfare: I agree there's a general concern with linking to harassment/defamation, especially harassment of other editors. But this also has to be balanced against journalistic considerations when a such a story becomes part of the wider American national discourse. I freely admit I don't really know how to balance let's not link to general nonsense / gross character assassination / whatever against we need to report on these prominant political figures / media figures which have said general nonsense / made gross character assasinations / whatever except to do in based on my gut feeling. I suspect most of the American media are still struggling with that question as well, save for an increased reliance on their EiC to make a judgement call in those situations. I also suspect this is what Smallbones did here, but they can speak for themselves. However, it'd be worth investigating how other media outlets (the good ones at least) deal with those stories, and if they have developed guidelines for this beyond the 'gut feeling' approach.
For the record, I haven't read the Breitbart piece myself, mostly because there's nothing TDA has ever said that ever interested me much in the first place, and I didn't feel like giving Jr or Breitbart the traffic. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 03:01, 2 April 2019 (UTC)[reply]
I've had a few run-ins with TDA and RA myself and can understand why even the mention of his name might be hurtful. I didn't think the paragraph in any way validated what he wrote. Rather the opposite. I'll leave it there for now. Smallbones(smalltalk) 04:06, 2 April 2019 (UTC)[reply]
  • After reading the article in The Times of Israel, I can see that the Wikimedia Foundation presumes that it has sole rights to the high moral ground. I am very moved by the photographs displayed in the Times article, bringing to life the sweat equity and the joy that made modern Israel and sustain it today. – Athaenara 09:55, 20 April 2019 (UTC)[reply]


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