Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 25% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY25". ×

Submission + - A tale of greed, influence peddling, and blood-stained money 1

metasonix writes: It may sound overdramatic, but it also describes this new Wikipediocracy post about Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, and his little-noticed and very deep ties to former UK prime minister Tony Blair. And their common ties to repressive regimes in central Asia and the Middle East, to conflict-of-interest Wikipedia editing, and to money — large sums of it. Wales even married Blair's former diarist and PR person, almost as if he were "using" her to assure his connections to powerful people in the UK. All of this is well-documented but almost never publicly discussed. No one can ever call Wales a "great philanthropist" again without some laughter from the cheap seats.

Submission + - Wikipedia admin's manipulation "messed up perhaps 15,000 students' lives" 5

Andreas Kolbe writes: Recently, "ArbCom", Wikipedia's highest court, banned an administrator account that for years had been manipulating the Wikipedia article of a bogus Indian business school – deleting criticism, adding puffery, and enabling the article to become a significant part of the school's PR strategy. Believing the school's promises and advertisements, families went to great expense to send sons and daughters on courses there – only for their children to find that the degrees they had gained were worthless. "In my opinion, by letting this go on for so long, Wikipedia has messed up perhaps 15,000 students’ lives," an Indian journalist quoted in the story says. India is one of the countries where tens of millions of Internet users have free access to Wikipedia Zero, but cannot afford the data charges to access the rest of the Internet, making Wikipedia a potential gatekeeper.

Submission + - Are Google and Wikipedia in a mutually-destructive relationship? (

metasonix writes: Who benefits from Google's increasing of Wikipedia data to support its search results? Mark Devlin, CEO of Newslines, a new crowdsourced news search engine, says the increasing co-dependency between the multi-billion dollar search corporation and its built-for-free partner hurts users experience, devalues web results and has turned unwitting Wikipedia editors into Google's slaves." And he offers evidence, unlike most WMF press releases.

Previously by Devlin: Stop Giving Wikipedia Money

Comment Re:"Millions of dollars spent" / state of Flow (Score 1, Insightful) 94

Clever piece of evasion there. "I would ballpark the total money spent around $100-$150K max." Was that on Liquid Threads by itself, or for the entire combined ten-year-plus project? Do you even know how much money was spent on Flow by the WMF, Mr. Deputy Director?

Submission + - The bizarre and complex story of a failed Wikipedia software extension

metasonix writes: Originally developed by Wikia coders, "Liquid Threads" was intended to be a better comment system for use on MediaWiki talkpages. When applied to Wikipedia, then each Wikipedia talkpage or noticeboard would become something resembling a more modernized bulletin board, hopefully easier to use.

Unfortunately, the project was renamed "Flow" and taken over by the Wikimedia Foundation's developers. And as documented in this very long Wikipediocracy post, the result was "less than optimal". After seven years and millions of dollars spent, even WMF Director Lila Tretikov admits "As such it is not ready for “prime time” for us."

Thus, like almost every other large software project undertaken by the WMF in recent years (for example), "Flow" didn't flow, it crashed and burned. Remember this story the next time Wikipedia runs more fundraising banners on its articles; now you have some idea of where the money actually goes.

Submission + - Is Wikipedia biased for Israel and against Palestinians? 5

An anonymous reader writes: Wikipedia's pro-Jewish bias has been discussed in Wikipedia-criticism circles for years, but today the Wikipediocracy blog ran a item relating to it that will attract controversy: it proves that English-language Wikipedia is heavily biased in favor of Israeli and Jewish subjects, and against Palestinians. And it starts with very disturbing examples — Wikipedia biographies of Israeli and Palestinian children who were killed in the endless civil war. Specifically, articles about Palestinian children who were killed by Israelis are almost guaranteed to be deleted from the "encyclopedia of record", while articles about Israeli children killed by Palestinians receive "special protection".

Comment Mr. Streater is just a traffic generator (Score 1) 2

And as said in another thread on Wikipediocracy:
"the WMF is not in the business of providing an educational resource, it simply uses the term as a way of extracting money from the uninformed. That its sole purpose is putting data on screens, and finding ways for people to add more data that it can subsequently put on screens. What the data actually is it cares not. It just cares about getting $50 million a year to junket about." Traffic, and resulting donations, are obviously all the WMF cares about. We should not be "surprised" about outright, successful vandalism and defamation. It makes traffic and traffic fuels the Wikimedia "movement".
To hell with Mr. Streater's reputation. To hell with everyone's reputation. They're "building" an "encyclopedia" here.

Submission + - Guilt by Wikipedia: how lazy journalists made Joe Streater a basketball villain 2

Andreas Kolbe writes: For more than six years, Wikipedia named an innocent man as a key culprit in the 1978/79 Boston College point shaving scandal. The name Joe Streater was inserted into Wikipedia by an anonymous user in August 2008. The unsourced insertion was never challenged or deleted, and over time, Streater became widely associated with the scandal through newspaper and TV reports as well as countless blogs and fan sites, all of which directly or indirectly copied this spurious fact from Wikipedia. Yet research shows that Streater, whose present whereabouts are unknown, did not even play in the 1978/79 season. Before August 2008, his name was never mentioned in connection with the scandal. As journalists have less and less time for in-depth research, more and more of them seem to be relying on Wikipedia instead, and the online encyclopedia is increasingly becoming a vector for the spread of spurious information.

Submission + - The latest Wikipedia code-word for "dysfunction" is "Superprotection" 3

metasonix writes: As if the problems brought up during the recent 2014 Wikimania conference weren't enough, now Wikipedia is having an outright revolt by its editor and administrator community, especially on the German-language Wikipedia. A new Wikipediocracy blog post goes into some detail on the story. The WMF, currently awash in cash from its donors, keeps trying to force flawed new software systems onto the community, and they have repeatedly responded very negatively. This time, however, WMF Deputy Director Erik Moeller had the bright idea to create a new level of page protection to prevent the new software from being disabled. "Superprotection" has resulted in an outright revolt on German Wikipedia and subsequent coverage in the German press, plus demands that Moeller, one of Wikipedia's oldest insiders, be removed from his job. And one English Wikipedia insider started a petition demanding the removal of "superprotection".