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In the media

Denial: climate change, mass killings and pornography

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By Ganesha811, Smallbones

Climate change denial on foreign-language Wikipedias

External audio
audio icon The Denial Files 5. 'We fight climate denial on Wikipedia', BBC, 20 November 2021, 19:40

The BBC report Climate change: Conspiracy theories found on foreign-language Wikipedias says that "several foreign-language Wikipedia pages seen by BBC News are promoting conspiracy theories and making misleading claims about climate change". The languages in question include Belarusian, Chinese, Croatian, Kazakh and Swahili.

WMF senior program strategist Alex Stinson is quoted as saying "we need more people involved in this project", and that additional volunteers on those projects would help keep out "conspiracy theories and bad information". Yumiko Sato, a US-based Japanese writer who previously wrote on the issue for Slate, said that "Wikipedia only works if the editing community is large and diverse."

"As bad as Holocaust denial"

Wikipedia may delete entry on 'mass killings' under Communism due to claims of bias, published in The Telegraph reviews this AfD entry. Mass killings under Communist regimes was nominated for the axe for the fourth time under this name (and had been nominated twice before under the name Communist genocide). All previous nominations were 10–11 years ago. More in-depth reporting on the AfD can be found in this Signpost edition's deletion report.

The Telegraph quotes University of Cambridge historian Professor Robert Tombs, saying

(Deletion) is morally indefensible, at least as bad as Holocaust denial, because 'linking ideology and killing' is the very core of why these things are important.

I have read the Wikipedia page, and it seems to me careful and balanced. Therefore attempts to remove it can only be ideologically motivated – to whitewash Communism.

One editor dismissed the professor's concerns, saying "I fail to see why his view is important on this subject, being a historian in one subject does not automatically make you an authority on all historical subjects".

The story has been reported in multiple other publications, and the AfD received nearly 70,000 page views in the last week. The length of the AfD will soon surpass twice the length of the previous record holder. Currently, !voters are strongly in favor of keeping the article, and a snow close has been proposed.

Disclosure – the author of this section voted Strong keep at the AfD and has previously edited the article extensively. –S

Richard Desmond doesn't like being called a "former pornographer"

Make no mistake about it: British publisher businessman Richard Desmond indeed used to publish magazines with titles like Asian Babes, and Readers’ Wives, as well as operate a cable channel titled Filth, according to several reliable sources such as the BBC (link), The Times (link), the Financial Times (link), and The Guardian (link). The imbroglio originates from Desmond's claim that material must be illegal for it to be classified as "pornography", instead preferring the use of the term "adult material".

Early this month, The Guardian reported that they'd seen a legal document stating that Desmond would take action against Wikipedia.

(He) has now hired lawyers to demand Wikipedia permanently deletes any mentions of the word “pornographer” from his biography.

Lawyers acting for the businessman this week asked Wikipedia administrators to investigate edits to the page, actively monitor it in case the word is reinstated, and keep “genuine, factually correct, edits by Mr Desmond” on the page.
The use of the term ‘pornographer’ when applied to our client is at least factually wrong, gratuitous and insulting, and at most commercially damaging,” they wrote.

It is not clear which "Wikipedia administrators" he asked to monitor the article. Due to a belated request for comment, and the Thanksgiving holiday, the WMF legal department was unable to state whether Desmond or his representatives had contacted them.

While the term "pornographer" was removed three times from the article in the days following The Guardian story, it was quickly restored, and currently remains in the article. None of the editors who removed the word appear to work for Desmond. Several prominent editors have been single-purpose accounts tending to favor Desmond's point of view. Perhaps the most surprisingly prolific editor on the article has been Philip Cross, espousing a point of view in opposition to Desmond's. While there is little or no evidence that he violated policy in his editing of the article, Cross received a short-term block for violating a topic ban on editing articles pertaining to post-1978 British politics.

Signpost's story on false serial killer photo makes waves

Le Monde (link, in French) cited Andreas Kolbe's October Signpost article about a police photo of Floridian Nathaniel White being mistakenly placed in the Wikipedia article on totally unrelated New York serial killer Nathaniel White for more than two years.

Other media outlets who covered the story include Motherboard (Vice) (link), who added some of their own original reporting, Slashdot (link), Gigazine (link, in Japanese), and 10 sites in various European languages. Even Elon Musk managed a throat-clearing tweet on the subject.

Kolbe told The Signpost: "A good thing to have come from this coverage is that after being contacted by Vice, Google finally tidied up their Knowledge Graph panel, removing Mr. White's picture from it. A number of social media posters were also good enough to take the wrong picture down, so things now look slightly better."

Admin questions Creative Commons NFT "promotion"

Long-time Wikipedia administrator David Gerard, a respected cryptocurrency commentator, has raised doubts on his blog Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain about the propriety of the Creative Commons organization (CC) engaging in what he calls "promotion". He believes that CC is promoting non-fungible tokens (controversial financial instruments used by the cryptocurrency industry to sell certificates of authenticity in electronic works of art). CC denies that they are promoting NFTs, saying instead that they are simply encouraging discussion on their merits.

In brief

Game Console 2.0 on sale now, featuring Evan Amos' photos from Wikimedia Commons

See Wikipedia:Press coverage 2021 for a more complete listing of news stories about Wikipedia. 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.
In this issue
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This story, to me, was the biggest mystery of the month. What did he hope to accomplish by doing this? Did he intentionally leak his lawyers' work for some reason? Who else would have leaked the legal work? His lawyers? Smallbones(smalltalk) 03:38, 29 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
It may reflect a "no publicity is bad publicity" mindset.--Kent G. Budge (talk) 17:33, 30 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Frankly, it has always been weird to me that we type "AfD", considering Wikipedia:Articles for deletion isn't capitalized that way. I think it's mostly that "Afd" looks stupid, and "AFD" is obviously wrong since "for" would not be capitalized in any case. A compromise, I suppose. jp×g 12:31, 1 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Red X Off-topic @JPxG: Initialisms are basically always title-cased, is the thing. The only exception is in the sciences, where they regularly talk about "DNA" but always write "deoxyribonucleic acid" uncapitalized. As for the rest of us, we write "ATM" even though it stands for "automated teller machine", a phrase that has no business being capitalized except as a consequence of the fact that it's expanded from "ATM". (So, to put it another way, the expansion of an initialism is nearly always treated as a proper noun. At least until the acronym/initialism gets subsumed by the language entirely and detaches from its original expansion, as happened with "snafu".)
In isolation, "Articles for Discussion" would probably just become "AD", when made into an initialism; "AfD" would be used if the 'f' came from somewhere inside the word that started with "A".
(Ref: IMDb for Internet Movie Database, BeOS for Be Operating System, LaTeX (or LATEX, more properly) for Lamport's TEX — but TeX is a bad example all around, since the original name is actually made up of the Greek letters tau, epsilon, and chi. It's not an initialism at all, and Donald Knuth was a weird dude.)
Further, if there are other initialisms being used in the same linguistic space, all bets are off as to how they're forced to be distinct from each other.
There's also the further tradition of constructing backronyms from pre-selected initialisms/acronyms, and taking great liberties is practically the norm there. Both in real life, and in fiction.[1]

"Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division."
"And what does that mean to you?"
"It means someone really wanted our initials to spell out 'shield'."

So, there's pretty strong precedent for "AfD", or... well, nearly anything and everything else you can think of, TBH. English has always been an IAR space, since long before Jimbo was even born. -- FeRDNYC (talk) 12:06, 4 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]


I was thinking that Fox News would wait until after the deletion discussion is concluded to write an article, but I guess they are too eager to push an anti-communist agenda. X-Editor (talk) 21:24, 29 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
After the discussion closes as keep/no consensus there's not much of a story for Fox etc. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 08:39, 30 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@Gråbergs Gråa Sång: Good point, but how are you certain it will close as keep/no consensus? X-Editor (talk) 21:45, 30 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I can't be certain, but that's where my money is. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 21:52, 30 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
And why is that? What's been decided and by whom? Do you know something we don't? DublinDilettante (talk) 22:12, 30 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@DublinDilettante: The person literally said that they can't be certain, so I'm pretty sure they don't know anything the rest of us don't. X-Editor (talk) 22:39, 30 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Was the question directed at you? Why are you harassing me and reverting my edits across multiple articles? It's weird behaviour. DublinDilettante (talk) 22:57, 30 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Holocaust 6 million deaths, communism-related 100 million deaths? No words.... --TheImaCow (talk) 12:40, 4 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Just bad taste Smallbones(smalltalk) 03:54, 1 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
  • "pOrN iS LeGaL!"
Child porn: 👁️👄👁️
GeraldWL 01:27, 1 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]


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