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Corporate influence at OSM, Fox watching the hen house

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By Smallbones

OpenStreetMap's digital gentrification

Inside the 'Wikipedia of Maps', Tensions Grow Over Corporate Influence (Bloomberg) examines "digital gentrification" of OpenStreetMap which between 2015 and 2018 saw a sixfold increase in features edited by corporations, led by Apple. Lyft, Facebook, the International Red Cross, the U.N., the government of Nepal and Pokémon Go all depend on its data. In turn, "hundreds of millions of monthly users" depend on the organizations' use of the data. Commercial firms are protecting their investment in the data by editing and contributing more data. One startup, Mapbox, has raised $200 million to develop ways to format and transfer OSM data to its customers. Is this just another example of the benefits of crowdsourcing, or just another corporate takeover of the commons? "Hobby mappers" are worried that corporate representatives will be elected to the site's governance positions. Frederik Ramm, an OSM volunteer and consultant states "These companies don’t map for the same reasons we do, and because of that, I question deeply if our goals can align."

The last article on Wikipedia's COVID coverage? Not likely.

Wikipedia's Sprawling, Awe-Inspiring Coverage of the Pandemic in The New Republic joins dozens, likely hundreds, of articles on Wikipedia's coverage of the COVID pandemic, the first of which was published 384 days ago in Wired by Omer Benjakob.

Though this ground has been thoroughly plowed, Shaan Sachdev in TNR reports with a different angle. He states that with 86 million pageviews "the Covid-19 pandemic (article) is in a two-way tie for the thirty-fourth most viewed Wikipedia article, ranking alongside Miley Cyrus. It isn’t far behind thirty-first place, which is currently a three-way tie between Taylor Swift, Star Wars, and China."

Some of the other articles that link to COVID-19 are listed (in no special order) as: Mink, Racism in China, Royal Australian Navy, Graffiti, Cockfight, and Ricky Martin. Ultimately almost all articles of this genre focus on Wikipedia's volunteer editors, as they should. Editors included in this article include Andrew Lih, Netha Hussain and Liam Wyatt.

Larry Sanger, Fox News, the Daily Mail, and The Washington Times take on Wikipedia's bias

Fox News interviewed Larry Sanger in Inside Wikipedia's leftist bias: socialism pages whitewashed, communist atrocities buried. Sanger's views on Wikipedia's "leftist bias" and chaotic governance have been well-known since 2007. Over the years he's made a few good points, for example his claims that Wikimedia Commons contained some child pornography, but Fox's claim that he told them that "many Wikipedia pages have become merely left-wing advocacy essays" is exaggerated. Bias is difficult to define without having a grasp of the range of views typically accepted within a population. Fox's hard right views do not define bias within the US. Wikipedia's editors come from many countries beyond the US that generally have views to the left of the US. Fox does score points when looking at Wikipedia's coverage of Communism. Coverage of genocide by Communist governments is all but missing on Wikipedia – even when we call it "mass killings".

Bias in political science articles

Wikipedia’s political science coverage is biased. I tried to fix it. in The Washington Post. Samuel Baltz, a Ph.D. candidate at the U. of Michigan in political science and computing, spent a year trying to correct the biases he sees in Wikipedia articles on political science.

Could it be Valentine's Day?

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This image of a flower got 90 million hits per day on Wikimedia servers after India banned TikTok

In brief

After the birthday party

Anyone who has ever tried to correct errors in a Wikipedia entry, only to find them repeatedly reinserted by other contributors with a competing agenda, will attest to the site's unreliability. Even counting on Wikipedia as a repository of basic information, such as names, dates and places, is a crap shoot. Perhaps the vast majority of its articles are indeed accurate, but which ones constitute that majority, and at what point in time? Literally no one knows; it has become so vast that moderating its millions of entries in any comprehensive way would be impossible. This is how the site is designed to work.

— b.e.

Wikipedia may be unique online because it "sells no advertising". However, it does provide a free platform for companies to display their corporate messages, written by their marketing departments. Are these true statements vetted by Wikipedia? No. Wikipedia also has a devil’s bargain with Google. No matter what you search for on Google, from "cats" to "Catullus", Wikipedia is positioned first. If you do enter "cats", to learn about the animal, you get what reads like a Wikipedia advertorial for the movie "Cats".

— p.t.

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It's also an easy excuse by Wikipedia to avoid answering claims of bias on American political topics, as we just saw. Sir Joseph (talk) 23:09, 28 February 2021 (UTC)[reply]
The Fox News article's accusation was discussed on the talk page of the Communism article and the consensus seemed to be that Fox's arguments were biased nonsense and that they completely ignored basic Wikipedia rules when accusing us of a bias. Don't fall for their nonsense, It's just conservatives playing the victim. I don't deny that there are bias problems when it comes to Wikipedia, but one of those problems sure as hell isn't that we're biased against conservatives. X-Editor (talk) 04:48, 1 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]
They are also the same people who claim that social media is biased against them, despite all of the reliable evidence showing the exact opposite is true. If that's the case, which it is, then why should we trust them when they say the same about us? X-Editor (talk) 04:59, 1 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]
True, politics does exist outside of the USA, but here in India as well, it is the conservatives who are babbling about Wikipedia's "bias". I have a theory that it is those who support authoritarianism regardless of their ideology and country, who are babbling. (talk) 13:23, 1 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I made two points. One, yes we have a bias problem. Two, the aforementioned publications have an even worse bias problem. I think those points still stand. -Indy beetle (talk) 01:23, 1 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]
The Washington Post article doesn't say anything about us being biased against conservatives, which is the particular claim made against us by the Fox News article. X-Editor (talk) 05:09, 1 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]

(smalltalk) 01:00, 1 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Well said. X-Editor (talk) 05:01, 1 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Larry Sanger Twitter logo, a stylized blue bird

All, if I happen to be caught up in this purge—not that I’m a big Qanon supporter, but I’m interested and I’m friends with many who are—then go to for future updates from me.

22 Jul 2020[1]


  1. ^ Sanger, Larry [@lsanger] (22 July 2020). "All, if I happen to be caught up in this purge—not that I'm a big Qanon supporter, but I'm interested and I'm friends with many who are—then go to for future updates from me" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 23 July 2020 – via Twitter.
— Newslinger talk 02:13, 1 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Oh great. Larry's officially an idiot. -Indy beetle (talk) 02:55, 1 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Either that, or he's sold his soul to the devil aka the far-right (except that Faust gains knowledge and worldly pleasures while Sanger gains the ability to naturally behave like an idiot). (talk) 13:49, 1 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Who would win, the Ayn Rand reader Jimbo or the "my friends are Qpeople" Larry? -Gouleg🛋️ (StalkHound) 14:49, 1 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Chad Jimbo vs. Virgin Sanger. X-Editor (talk) 20:42, 1 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Anytime a news source quotes Larry Sanger like he's an authority on Wikipedia being "biased" my eyes roll so far back into my skull that I think I'm going to tear my optic nerves. Hemiauchenia (talk) 02:59, 1 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]
A real news source would never quote Sanger (unless they also quoted Wales or someone who disagreed with Sanger to make their news article show both sides of the story). (talk) 13:49, 1 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Sanger fell down alt-right pipeline and has lost it completely. It's really sad to see people fall victim to the pipeline, especially our co-founder, but It's never too late to get out of the pipeline either. X-Editor (talk) 05:06, 1 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]
So he's a moderate supporter? Nardog (talk) 21:02, 1 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Sanger was discussed at the Fringe Theories noticeboard last summer. His Twitter feed these days is retweets of "stolen election" propaganda, support for Rand Paul's transphobic remarks, boosting Zero Hedge, whining about Kermit the Frog being "cancelled", calling Naomi Wolf "one of the good gals", etc. I stopped scrolling when I got to Trump is the only president to have been acquitted twice of utterly ridiculous charges brought by a corrupt Establishment [1]. Not only is he a crank, he's a boring crank. XOR'easter (talk) 20:03, 1 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Oh god, he's transphobic too. X-Editor (talk) 20:41, 1 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Agreed. If Sanger complained about Wikipedia's actual faults, such as systemic bias and gender bias, then I'd be much more willing to give his criticism a chance. X-Editor (talk) 04:53, 3 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]

"Lena" was very interesting and quite fascinating.--3family6 (Talk to me | See what I have done) 21:09, 3 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]


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