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In the media

Politics, lawsuits and baseball

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By Smallbones

You might think that there's nothing inherently political about writing an encyclopedia. You'd be wrong as several of this month's stories in the media show. There are regimes, political parties – or the people that these parties represent – businesses, and just ordinary people who would like to control the information that Wikipedians intend to be available to every single person on the planet. This month's stories range from the international and national to U.S. state and local politics.

Wikipedia v. China, Turkey, and the NSA

State and local politics

Looks like a duck

Do you have ideas on how Wikipedians can deal with the political pressures shown above? We'd love to see those ideas in the comments section below.

In brief

Do we still need a Collections Online?
(from Wikimedia Commons)

Gobbler of the month

Gobbler of the month
awarded to
Detroit Tigers
May 2019

In a May 3 tweet starting "Someone update his Wikipedia page" the Detroit Tigers said that their relief pitcher Shane Greene "owned the 9th (inning)" – a nonsense claim that only a PR hack could think was funny. Six minutes later the vandalism appeared on the page, as duly reported by another Tigers' tweet and by Detroit Sports Nation. The vandalism was soon removed. Perhaps the sports blog can be excused for reporting irrelevant vandalism as if it were news. Otherwise, they might need to work hard enough to report a real story. The Detroit Tigers, however, cannot be so easily excused. As a legitimate business that represents the city of Detroit to baseball fans throughout the world, they should not be trying to get cheap publicity by encouraging vandalism on Wikipedia.

There are legitimate ways that sports teams can increase their visibility on Wikipedia. For example, where they own the copyrights, they could donate photos of current players or of historical plays and players to improve the quality of our coverage of their teams. Or they might even post on their own website biographies of new players. If they really wanted to make it easy for Wikipedia editors to cover the team. They could even state on each of those pages "Material on this page is licensed CC-BY-SA 4.0". The quality of sports team coverage on Wikipedia can be increased by making it easy for our editors to cover the team. But the quality will never be increased by encouraging vandalism.

The Tigers have not responded to an e-mail requesting clarification or comment.

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As a baseball fan, albeit of the proper team, I can't get too worked up about it. First off we all know who really owned the 9th, and there are many much more ill-intentioned edits I'd worry about before standard fanboyism. That said, good people nipped that at the bud so said Yankee washout didn't get too much credit! The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 03:13, 1 June 2019 (UTC)[reply]

When the fanboys do it - at least half a dozen times a month it seems - I can say to myself "ordinary Wikipedia vandalism" - and forget about it. When it looks like sport writers are doing it themselves, because they can't bother coming up with a good story without vandalizing Wikipedia - I say someday I'll catch one of these bozos, but getting proof is pretty difficult. When the team itself tweets, in effect, "go vandalize Wikipedia" I say "that's why we have the 'Gobbler of the month'!" Somebody needs to call out the turkeys. Smallbones(smalltalk) 19:53, 2 June 2019 (UTC)[reply]


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