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You say you want a revolution

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By Smallbones

"We all want to change the world"

External videos
video icon Revolution 1 (slow version), (4:15)
video icon The Beatles – Revolution (fast version), (3:27)

Everybody wants to change Wikipedia in some way. Our model of knowledge production and distribution depends on it. Be bold! If you see something in the encyclopedia you don't like, change it. Many people want to change the Wikipedia model and use it for purposes other than building an encyclopedia. Good luck to them!

But not all change is good. This month saw examples of people striving to systematically change the content of our encyclopedia, Wikipedians and others trying to tweak the Wikipedia model of many small content contributors and many small financial contributors, and governments trying to dictate what an online encyclopedia should look like.

Baidu Baike offers its editors prizes, experience points, and wealth points in order to incentivize text contributions. Entries are reviewed before publication to filter out "reactionary content", racial and religious provocations, and the promotion of superstitions and cults. Advertisements, porn, fraud and gambling promotion are banned.
Some Chinese editors prefer Wikipedia because of the difference in review processes. According to the SCMP, one editor said "The operation process at Wikipedia is transparent – you can see why entries are published or deleted. At Baidu, the [review] process is in a 'black box'."
Hong Kong editors respond by editing articles on the Hong Kong Police Force, the current protests, and Carrie Lam. Reuters has published an interactive graph that displays the editing activity to show how the Hong Kong Police Force page has changed over time.
Previous coverage in The Signpost: Chinese Wikipedia and the battle against extradition from Hong Kong, The BBC looks at Chinese government editing, Carl Miller on Wikipedia Wars, and Observations from the mainland
If you have a calm and conservative attitude, you might instead conclude, along with Moscow Times contributor Ilya Klishin, that the additional funding is just a way to siphon off state funds to favored individuals. Or, if you have a less trusting attitude, perhaps by reading stories in Euronews and Reporters without Borders, you might conclude that the attacks on Wikipedia could be related to Russia's contingency planning to separate itself from the outside world's internet.
Meanwhile, folks at the Milner Library at Illinois State University have completed their own revolution by connecting Wikipedia's List of African-American writers to the library catalog records.
Taking it a step further, ISU archivist April Anderson-Zorn and grad student Stephanie Collier document women and minority archivists on Wikipedia, including Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler, Brenda Banks, Sara Dunlap Jackson, and Kathleen D. Roe. "It’s really important that we get this information out there; we fight to make sure that all voices are heard," said Anderson-Zorn.
Nobody has started writing about the usual end-of-the-year Wikimedia fundraising campaign yet, not even the WMF, but expect it this month. So whatever type of revolution you want, you can decide on whatever type of contribution you can make. All right? All right.
Readers' comments are requested below in the talk section. How much "social justice activism" is acceptable on Wikipedia? How much governmental or institutional participation? How much revolution? Or should we all park our consciences at the door before editing?

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Thanks @Toughpigs:. This one started with the song, which has been popping up in my head for about a third of all articles I added to this review for the past several months. Looking back at the article draft history it looks like it just hit me over the head with the China story and Jimmy's social network. Of course this is about the manipulation of Wikipedia, but it's not just manipulation, everybody's doing it. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, but your goose is going to get cooked. My only remaining question is whether the slow version or the fast version is better. Smallbones(smalltalk) 23:51, 30 November 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Um, obviously the fast version. The guitar is so much meaner :) -Indy beetle (talk) 02:52, 1 December 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, but I'm a sucker for "dooby doo wahs" Smallbones(smalltalk) 02:58, 1 December 2019 (UTC)[reply]
As my poetry teacher back in college once put it, "sometimes the Muse hands you a cookie." -- llywrch (talk) 23:21, 1 December 2019 (UTC)[reply]
It's also worth noting that WT:Social does not actually have that many users. It's pay-to-play or they put you on a waitlist and let you in when they feel like it... or something like that. So there's a bunch of people on a list, but only those who have paid up are actually using it. I can't imagine that charging for what all other platforms give away for free is a sustainable model that will take even a modest chink of the social media market. Competing with Facebook is something even Google failed at, and WikiTribune sure isn't Google. Beeblebrox (talk) 20:37, 1 December 2019 (UTC)[reply]
I think User:Beeblebrox you just need to invite someone else and you are let in. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:37, 2 December 2019 (UTC)[reply]
I agree - there's pretty extreme difference between Citizendium and Everipedia. This new encyclosphere things seems to be more towards the evripedia end but there were a couple of (slightly incongruous) mention of experts in his 18 min video. Sadly, I 'd expect the system he's proposing will be the equivalent of the echo chambers and bubbles that social media and online news have tended to enhance. The idea of basically being able to browse an encyclopedia where each article is chosen from a wide set in order to best match your ideology sounds pretty dire. T.Shafee(Evo&Evo)talk 04:11, 2 December 2019 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not so sure about that. Larry has long had inclusionist tendencies, I don't have any diffs off-hand but if you go many years back into his edit history you'll see what I mean. Certainly if you read the comments in his announcement he sees no contradiction; there's a back and forth with Carrite among others. It seems what he wants is an encyclopedia about everything edited by experts. Since that is obviously not happening, he's hit upon a different solution of placing all internet encyclopedia articles together to be rated for quality side-by-side with the idea being that the best will eventually win out. YMMV on whether this is a good idea, I certainly have my doubts. (talk) 00:48, 7 December 2019 (UTC)[reply]
@Czar: Editing as Activism, Edit-A-Thon to Correct Systemic Bias in Wikipedia — Programs & Events Dashboard: Articles Edited Peaceray (talk) 03:44, 2 December 2019 (UTC)[reply]


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