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In the media

Putin, Jimbo, Musk and more

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By Bri, FormalDude, Ganesha811, Andreas Kolbe, Mhawk10, Lane Rasberry, and Smallbones

Guerrilla warfare against crypto-grifters

Wikipedia administrator Molly White, known here as GorillaWarfare, runs a blog (Web3 Is Going Great) cataloging misfortunes and scams in cryptocurrency. Today's Washington Post covers her in First she documented the alt-right. Now she’s coming for crypto (archive). Since 2021 White has been documenting ripoffs which she estimates cost cryptocurrency investors $10 billion. You can also find her on TwitterS

Putin – "You can't just rely on Wikipedia"

Putin enlightens Znanie CEO Maxim Dreval (5 May 2022)

Short video with subtitles here. Full meeting transcript (in Russian).

The Moscow Times reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants Russians to have alternatives to Wikipedia. "You can't just rely on Wikipedia," he says. So far he agrees with Jimmy Wales and most other Wikipedians. While Wikipedia is a wonderful place to start your research on a topic, it's not a good place to end it. A representative of Znanie [ru], a state sponsored non-profit which publishes lecture videos, was called on to agree with Putin on TV. They're ready to help.
See previous coverage in The Signpost about Putin's plans to replace Wikipedia with the Great Russian Encyclopedia here, here, and here. – S

Russia fines WMF $41,594

A "special military operation" is the name given by Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials to exchange of missiles, bombs, and bullets between Moscow's armed forces and Ukraine's which the Kremlin initiated on February 24. Western news sources and much of the rest of the world call it a "war" or an "invasion of Ukraine", as does the Russian-language version of Wikipedia. A new Russian law says that Russian publishers must only use the facts and terminology provided by officials of the Russian Federation when reporting military affairs. On April 26 a Moscow court levied a 3 million ruble fine ($41,594) on the Wikimedia Foundation for violating this law according to Reuters. The WMF has previously addressed this issue: "we will not back down in the face of efforts to censor and intimidate members of our movement. We stand by our mission to deliver free knowledge to the world." Don't expect them to pay the fine. – S

We're a battleground in a culture war. Is it genocide?

In The War Over Ukraine—On Wikipedia, Catarina Buchatskiy writes for Lawfare that the Kremlin is carrying out an "information war" on Wikipedia. She states "seemingly petty Wikipedia edit wars are actually an important battleground, and unfortunately, they are a battleground on which Russian narratives are much more successful compared to how Russian soldiers have fared on the ground in physical battle against the army of a nation Russians pretend does not exist." She states:

A debate is taking place about whether Russia is engaged in genocide within the meaning of the Genocide Convention, which defines genocide as any of several types of atrocity when “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such,” ... consider for a moment that this activity is taking place concurrent with mass killings, deportations of children and the deliberate destruction of cities.

FD, B, S

The Signpost and the "shadow war"

The Fake Accounts Whitewashing Oligarchs' Wikipedia Pages (subscription required): Omer Benjakob at Haaretz analyzes an article published here in March. He compares the recent Signpost investigation by Smallbones into "inauthentic behavior" around Russian oligarchs' biographies and related pages to past incidents and concludes that "Wikipedia is on Russia's radar" and that "a shadow war is playing out on Wikipedia between editors seeking to weed out for-profit editing and PR firms working for their clients". – B

A profile of Wikipedians and breaking news

Jason Moore at WikiConference North America 2016

CNN published an in-depth look at the Wikipedians who start and maintain breaking news entries. The article, Meet the Wikipedia editor who published the Buffalo shooting entry minutes after it started focuses on the contributions of long-time Wikipedian Jason Moore and several others. Going deeper than many similar pieces, the article does a very adept job of explaining Wikipedia's policies and how these articles are shaped over time. Kudos to the reporter, Samantha Murphy Kelly![1]G

A bit musky in here

The world's richest man is obsessed with how he is described on the free internet encyclopedia: in Slate, Stephen Harrison reviews the editing history of the Elon Musk article and notes that Musk has complained several times about aspects of his Wikipedia biography on Twitter. However, Harrison thinks Wikipedians had it right – and feels it is important that there is a place online "where billionaires cannot purchase their preferred version of events, nor own the means of conversation." – AK

Wales on Musk

Jimmy Wales comments on Elon Musk's buying Twitter. Speaking exclusively to LADbible, he said: "This is the point where I think it’s a huge risk for Twitter and Elon Musk, because if you go to [sic] far – or very far at all down that path from where Twitter is now - I think you start to lose market share. We have to remember, Twitter is not a monopoly, there’s loads of other platforms and places, we should be really focused on thinking about that competitive landscape. If you don’t like the moderation policies on one service, you can go somewhere else." Read the full interview here. – FD

Jimmy Wales interview: free speech and friendly society

Jimmy Wales in a different interview in 2018

In Reason, Katherine Mangu-Ward interviews Jimmy Wales [1] (30:48). Reason leads with "Wikipedia continues to quietly grow in utility, trustworthiness, and comprehensiveness" and it "has maintained its reputation and functionality since its founding, even as the rest of the social internet seems hellbent on tearing itself apart".

Reason and its editor, Mangu-Ward, advocate for some controversial positions, so this interview has some interesting sparring, but never breaks out in open debate. Discussion points include:

B, S

Other video interviews

In brief

One of many Space Force unit badges found on Wikimedia Commons
Is Kathy Barnette notable yet?
Tajh Taylor, Wikimedia Foundation VP of data science and engineering
Trichromia phaeocrota, accessed by 3 people in 2021

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Agreed. As an academic, you are expected to put in the extra effort to find more reliable sources. X-Editor (talk) 23:57, 31 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
But is it a "trend"? From the NYT review, it sounds like an exceptional oversight at Yale University Press. czar 04:23, 1 June 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I hope it was merely an oversight, if an embarrassing one. I'd much more concerned if Yale cognizantly signed off on it! -Indy beetle (talk) 10:27, 2 June 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not even so worried about feeling the need to preserve one version of an article, I am just generally uncomfortable that Kennedy cited Wikipedia instead of the sources WP uses that he presumably, hopefully, checked first. WP is getting better, but please don't cite us! Especially not in your academic book! Unless it's literally there to cite "For X years, Wikipedia has said Y on the subject..." before going into a mainstream perception argument. Kingsif (talk) 01:29, 2 June 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I'd be interested to see the citations. Is it a bare URL or a permalink? And what facts are cited? In all likelihood this is indicative of a serious lack of source reliability analysis skills by the historian in question. — Bilorv (talk) 15:03, 4 June 2022 (UTC)[reply]


Strikes me that Special:WhatLinksHere/Trichromia_phaeocrota might explain a lot: If an article is under a hard-to-spell scientific name, and the only link in (besides this article and the list of least viewed articles) is from a page that looks like this - a lengthy list of links to articles with one sentence at the top - the discoverability of the article is incredibly low. Adam Cuerden (talk)Has about 7.9% of all FPs 18:03, 12 June 2022 (UTC)[reply]

  1. ^ Conflict of interest disclosure: The subject of the article contributed a minor correction to this section. He authorized linking to his user page here, along with his real name.


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