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

Submitted by metasonix
metasonix (650947) 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"

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:I assume the Wikimedia developers... (Score 1) 94

>But you missed out the third and worst of the options: editorial decisions which pander to the advertisers.

As a publisher who has run successful advertising sales teams in print and online you simply create policies that say the reader experience is primary and that any attempt by advertisers to influence editorial will be blocked. Readers can tell very quickly if editorial is influenced by advertisers and most publishers don't like to be pushed around. If advertisers really want unrestricted editorial presence they can buy an advertorial.

Comment: Re:I assume the Wikimedia developers... (Score 1) 94

Thousands of newspapers, magazine and websites deal with these issues every day without having to run porn or low quality ads. I don't see any complaints that it causes those publications self censorship. I suspect most of Wikipedia's worry about ads is driven by a fear that ads will try to counter bias in articles.

Comment: Re:I assume the Wikimedia developers... (Score 1) 94

Well I wrote it, and the self-censorship point is nonsense. There are lots of effective strategies that advertising-based media have used for many years to avoid self-censorship. To think that the situation is unmanageable is just incredibly naive. Such policies include accepting any kind of advertiser irrespective of their views (and let the reader decide the veracity of ads) or only accepting certain advertisers on certain pages, for example, no oil companies on global warming pages (although this type of policy actually a kind of censorship). The effect of any advertiser exerting undue influence is minimized by having many advertisers.

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

The wiki gives power to some users who are vocal about having that power removed. Unfortunately, those who are used to the "the wiki way" can see few other ways to organize content. To them, everything must be done on a wiki, whether that is the most appropriate tool or not. Flow is yet another example of choosing the wiki's flexibility over solutions that could easily be more practical. This inflexibility is also true for many of the non-encyclopedic pages of Wikipedia, such as news and biography pages where different editorial workflows and presentation will give better results. If you are interested I wrote a blog post about the many problems that are specifically caused by the wiki software.

Comment: Bias is a feature not a bug (Score 1) 5

by sparkydevil (#48674175) Attached to: Is Wikipedia biased for Israel and against Palestinians?

This issue highlights a structural flaw in Wikipedia's software, where the "encyclopedia" is being used for a purpose it was not designed for: Wikipedia is not a newspaper. These articles about dead children are news archives and not encyclopedic. An encyclopedia by definition requires fact checking. News archives do not require checking (or at the least the checking can be done external to the archive).

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

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
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"."

+ - Stop Giving Wikipedia Money

Submitted by sparkydevil
sparkydevil (261897) writes "This year Wikipedia's fundraising banner covers half of the screen. But, with $50 million in the bank, and most of last years $50 million raised going to a programming team instead of going to content creators, does the online encyclopedia really need your cash?"

Comment: Re:I don't get it (Score 1) 167

by sparkydevil (#48519123) Attached to: Is a "Wikipedia For News" Feasible?

I am the founder of Newslines. We are the closest thing to a Wikipedia for news, although we are really a mix of daily news, Wikipedia and YouTube. Our writers create news-based timelines on any person, product or news event.

There are many problems with the way Wikipedia deals with news (see my article Wikipedia's 13 Deadly Sins. On the reader side, news pages are text-based, very unstructured, and don't have embedded videos and cannot be sorted or filtered. On the writers' side there are many problems with the 10-year-old wiki software that create unnecessary conflict and trouble for anyone trying to add data. By using a simpler approval process we have very few edit wars, happier writers, and a better reader experience. Also, our model makes it much more difficult for groups of readers to push their point of view.

Since we launched in May, our writers have added over 25,000 news events, on thousands of topics. Unlike other work-for-free-while-we-make-billions sites, we paid our writers $1 per post for those posts. In the next few weeks we are moving to a revenue share, where writers and editors can get paid for their efforts. Some of our writers have already made thousands of dollars and we hope they will make much more with the new system.

Some examples: Google Glass, Ben Affleck, Michael Brown, Paul Graham

Comment: Re:notthebest (Score 1) 5

by sparkydevil (#48390427) Attached to: Wikipedia's 13 Deadly Sins

Sorry I've meant table of contents. On your site, I can't get a simple list of the new's items headlines.

That feature is on the list. Should be ready in a few weeks.

Yet on your google glass page you include a commercial and don't even try to declare it as this.

It's a news item, but I can understand the confusion. It's similar to adding an ad for a new MacBook release on the apple page. It's news and an ad.

Thanks for your comments. Definitely a few things to think about.

Comment: Re:notthebest (Score 1) 5

by sparkydevil (#48389269) Attached to: Wikipedia's 13 Deadly Sins

Maybe you are right that the web is not the place for illiterates, but I know from my kids who primarily use tablets and mobile they are not interested in textual media. They are the web users of the future. As I say in the article, why try and read 3000 words about Taylor Swift when watching a few videos will give you far more information?

"sin" 4 is tackled by wikidata, but unfortunately they are still in a very early phase.

I wonder what the incentive is for writers to do this work. I can understand people writing a page to get some glory, but there's not much glory in adding tabular data.

Content is created through controversies. First you say that in wikipedia there are so many conflicts, and then you say that Wikipedia is like a socialist dictature.

I said it has all the inefficiencies of socialist structures, resulting in a low-quality product. That you can download Wikipedia to your HDD is not the measure of a project's advancement. Also, it doesn't matter if the information is "free" if it is inferior. Most media in the word is actually for-profit.

You don't even make an index [newslines.org], and separate your content into "pages". wasn't paper the thing you regarded as "outdated"?

I don't know what you mean about an index. You can see our popular pages on our front page, and search for anyone else using the search bar. By adhering slavishly to a book-like metaphor, the information on Wikipedia articles is overly textual, and cannot be sorted or filtered. The user has no control over the page. The point is that the web gives us many more ways to display data that thinking about it as though it were a book.

And fanpages are already tackled by wikia. You are more a competitor for those, not for wikipedia.

Newslines is not like Wikia at all. We crowdsource news timelines on people, products and news events. Some examples: Amber Vinson (Ebola Victim), Google Glass, Virgin Galactic. None of these can be considered fanpages.

By giving editors money for writing content, you create a system in which lots of people write tons of bullshit, and your page gets more and more meaningless content that can never be updated.

Every post on our site goes through an approval process, so vandalism and other content issues are far less than those on Wikipedia. We also building systems to pay people to maintain the site, unlike Wikipedia pages, which after and initial burst of activity are left to wilt [insert thousands of examples here].

+ - Wikipedia's 13 Deadly Sins-> 5

Submitted by sparkydevil
sparkydevil (261897) writes "Almost all Wikipedia criticism comes is about the vandalism, hoaxes and scandals. There's very little about how the software model creates the many problems on the site. As an ex-Wikipedia editor and founder of a crowdfunding startup I examine Wikipedia's problems and trace them back to the core Wiki software."
Link to Original Source

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