Olga Tokarczuk, 2018 Nobel laureate in literature, gave her Nobel Lecture, The Tender Narrator, on December 7, 2019 . Her references to Wikipedia, both to the promise of Wikipedia and the "disappointing" fulfillment of that promise, are close to the heart of the lecture's message. Extracts of the passages are given below. Wikilinks added.
John Amos Comenius, the great seventeenth-century pedagogue, coined the term “pansophism,” by which he meant the idea of potential omniscience, universal knowledge that would contain within it all possible cognition. This was also, and above all, a dream of information available to everyone. ... Will not knowledge within easy reach mean that people will become sensible ... ?
When the Internet first came about, it seemed that this notion would finally be realized in a total way. Wikipedia, which I admire and support, might have seemed to Comenius ... the fulfillment of the dream of humanity — now we can create and receive an enormous store of facts being ceaselessly supplemented and updated that is democratically accessible to just about every place on Earth.
A dream fulfilled is often disappointing. It has turned out that we are not capable of bearing this enormity of information, which instead of uniting, generalizing and freeing, has differentiated, divided, enclosed in individual little bubbles...
The Wall Street Journal published a 2,000 word article by Rachael Levy on December 13 titled "How the 1% scrubs its image online" (paywall) detailing efforts of Status Labs to control media and Wikipedia coverage of its clients. The subtitle was "Prominent figures from Jacob Gottlieb to Betsy DeVos got help from a reputation management firm that can bury image-sensitive Google results by placing flattering content on websites that masquerade as news outlets". The article named specific Wikipedia editor or editors.
An account named in the WSJ report as a related operative, Jppcap is now indefinitely blocked for "advertising or self-promoting in violation of the conflict of interest and notability guidelines". The publishing of this article by the Journal also led to the opening of a discussion on the Conflict of Interest Noticeboard. –B
Business Insider has reported on a less nefarious instance of editing on behalf of a wealthy and powerful individual, namely technology businessman Elon Musk. After perusing the Wikipedia article about himself "for 1st time in years", Musk took to Twitter to suggest some edits, including the removal of the label "investor" from the short description, since he insisted "I do basically zero investing." Musk also apparently jokingly supported the replacement of the word with the term "business magnet"—as opposed to business magnate. User:TechnologicalScribe subsequently altered the short description accordingly and added in the edit summary that the changes were made "as requested by Elon Musk". The phrase "business magnet" has since been removed from the short description.
The Signpost story occupying this space cited The Washington Post which linked to another reliable source. We were essentially accused of outing for linking to The Washington Post and thus threatened with censorship by some oversighters. Rather than put our existence at risk, we have withdrawn the story and will pursue the matter via ArbCom in the New Year –S
|This was the decade we learned to hate the internet, to decry its impact on our brains and society and to detest the amoral organizations that dominate it. Facebook steals ... Amazon is ... like the Death Star but successful. Instagram is for ... Reddit is for ... Twitter verifies ... Amid this horror show, there is Wikipedia, criminally under-appreciated, a nonprofit compendium of human knowledge maintained by everyone. There is no more useful website... while the internet mostly got worse, it kept getting better, reminding us that the web can be a good thing, a place where we have instant access to endless information, a true project of the commons at a political moment when the very idea of the mutual good is under assault.
|— Mother Jones
BBC Radio interviewed British physicist Jess Wade on her efforts to create more articles on women experts in science, math, and technology, with specific focus on the sudden, recent tagging of many articles she has edited for notability concerns by an IP address editor (the portion of the broadcast relevant to Wikipedia begins at 9:30). Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Katherine Maher was also reached for comment. She expressed concern about the gender imbalance in Wikipedia's content and editing community, but praised the community response to the taggings, including the blocking of the IP editor. More details at this issue's Op-Ed by Wade. –Ib
Reported by virtually all major media including BBC, Reuters, The New York Times, Le Monde, etc. – just before we went to press, the Constitutional Court of Turkey ruled the block of Wikipedia in Turkey to be unconstitutional. –B