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See Who Is Whitewashing Wikipedia 478

Decius6i5 writes "Caltech grad student Virgil Griffith has launched a search tool that uncovers whitewashing and other self-interested editing of Wikipedia. Users can generate lists of every edit to Wikipedia which has been made from a particular IP address range. The tool has already uncovered a number of interesting edits, such as one from the corporate offices of Diebold which removed large sections of content critical of their electronic voting machines. A Wired story provides more detail and Threat Level is running a contest to see who can come up with the most interesting Wikipedia spin job."
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See Who Is Whitewashing Wikipedia

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  • by MoneyT ( 548795 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @11:56AM (#20225657) Journal
    What did you expect? Everyone has different truths.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:00PM (#20225705)
    There is one truth, many perceptions to a truth, but only one truth. Some perceptions are closer to the truth than others, but they are still perceptions.

  • Re:TFA Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UbuntuDupe ( 970646 ) * on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:02PM (#20225751) Journal
    As much as it may astound us, even CIA agents are real people with real feelings and interests. (Well, to the extent that Buffy epsidoe music lyrics can count as a "real interest"...)
  • Re:TFA Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NickCatal ( 865805 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:03PM (#20225767)
    Uhh, we should also remember that there are some people at these places that make legitimate edits to Wikipedia. Just because an IP changes one or two things controversial, doesn't mean that all of their edits are BS. Also it is reason for someone to watch that users edits in the future to check for NPOV
  • Re:TOR (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) * <slashdot,kadin&xoxy,net> on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:04PM (#20225787) Homepage Journal
    They don't need Tor, they could just create sockpuppet accounts like everyone else who trolls Wikipedia, and hide their IP that way.

    Also, most of the Tor endpoints are banned from editing Wikipedia (anonymously) due to abuse anyway.
  • open (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SolusSD ( 680489 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:10PM (#20225879) Homepage
    in many ways the wikipedia vs britannica debate is a lot like open vs closed source. One you know what changes are being made and can decipher intent, the other is anyone's guess. Wikipedia may have its shortcomings-- but at least we can see them.
  • by oni ( 41625 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:12PM (#20225895) Homepage
    Why is there nothing on the discussion page? If you're fighting someone on the main page, you need to document it on the discussion page.
  • Re:BS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shadow Wrought ( 586631 ) * <shadow.wrought@g ... om minus painter> on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:20PM (#20226015) Homepage Journal
    Regarding Britannica, I'd like to see a source for your claims. Whenever a person spouts off a conspiracy theory like that without a source to back it up, it remains just that, a conspiracy theory.

    You do realize that the 7th Edition came out in 1827 [wikipedia.org], right? Its funny. Laugh.

  • by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <aussie_bobNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:32PM (#20226201) Journal
    You just get a different bias, and it's more difficult to figure out where that bias is coming into play.

    Do you understand what TFA is about?

    The whole point of a community resource like Wikipedia is to allow for multiple points of view, and by implication, multiple biases. As long as that's transparent and understood, it IS a bonus.

  • by Sunrise2600 ( 1142529 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:40PM (#20226307) Homepage
    Reality has a liberal bias. -Steven Colbert
  • Zug-zug (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Negafox ( 1142617 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:41PM (#20226327) Homepage
    Let's look at a few facts about Wikipedia: 1. Virtually anybody can edit most articles in their encyclopedia. 2. Wikipedia is widely known, popular, and many Internet users regularly visit the website for information. Rather than a conspiracy to manipulate information, likely many of these edits were done by employees without official authorization. It is likely that somebody connected to a company, organization, or political compaign casually ran into the Wikipedia entries and decide to make "corrections" based upon their own point-of-view. Even the Slashdot article in Wikipedia has had quite a bit of so-called whitewashing to remove criticism, which I presume to be by slashdotters. Personallly, edits become of concern when they are attempts to manipulate, mislead, or contain false information. Or, if the edits were done to harm or deface a rival Wikipedia entry (i.e. a Repubilican candidate editing a Democratic candidate's entry).
  • Re:TOR (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eggnoglatte ( 1047660 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:44PM (#20226379)
    Call me cynical, but I fully expected companies to edit wiki entries that affect their public image.

    IMHO, the scary part is how pathetically stupid this particular company goes about it. One would hope that a company like Diebold knows a bit more about IT security. Just send an employee with a laptop to your local wifi coffee shop already. Jeez.
  • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:47PM (#20226411)

    I'm glad someone added the slashdotliberalwhining tag.

    I can't tell you how much it bothers me when some whiny liberal drags out another tinfoil-hat theory about how "Big Business" is trying to manipulate public opinion by obfuscating facts, or how some (ooh!) big, scary police state is abusing its powers.
    The scary thing is I'm not 100% convinced this is satire.
  • Failed? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by weston ( 16146 ) <westonsd&canncentral,org> on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:48PM (#20226429) Homepage
    By what standard?

    It has, in fact, become a generally useful source of information. It's useful as a starting point for real research. It is, in short, not at all a bad encyclopedia.

    It's influenced by its own organizational culture and editorial bias. Welcome to the story of every publication on the planet.
  • by lawpoop ( 604919 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:57PM (#20226549) Homepage Journal
    First of all, calm down. Picasso was a painter, not a philosopher or an engineer. He's not telling you how to do your job.

    Second of all, the value of this quote helps a person to understand a commonly misunderstood by computer geeks. Computers are basically abacuses. They do boolean logic. They create answers. However, intelligence asks questions. We don't have a tool yet that can ask a question, and until we do, the only intelligent system in the universe that know of will be the human mind. Too often, people, both programmers and non-programmers alike, think that a computer can solve all the problem. However, that doesn't reflect reality. Human intellect needs to perceive and pose the question, and then use a tool to solve that problem, such as progamming a computer to solve that problem.

    But back in the working world, practical answers to real questions are quite valuable
    You have just shown exactly what Picasso was trying to enlighten you to. You need to have a good question first, in order to get a good answer. Or any answer, for that matter.

    That quote just strikes me as one of those pseudo-intellectual sayings that seems brilliant until subjected to a moment of rational thought.
    So you have no use for questions? That tells me you haven't spent a moments time thinking about the implications of this quote.
  • Re:TFA Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kingduct ( 144865 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @01:02PM (#20226591)
    Even evil people are human. That's what makes humanity so scary.
  • Company Pride (Score:5, Insightful)

    by superstick58 ( 809423 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @01:05PM (#20226629)
    It's possible that many of the edits are NOT deliberate corporate acts. Rather, I would imagine a prideful employee may see some controversial items in the article and would rather see them removed. I can see a situation where I uncover a defamatory comment about my company in wikipedia. I would likely interpret it as sensationalism or determine it to be minor compared to the accomplishments of my company. After all, why focus on a few minor negatives when the positives should shine through? Some may call it spin, but I could argue the "controversy" sections fit into the same category. So how does this relate to the article? Even dedicated employees need 15 min. break to browse wikipedia once in a while. So a random employee edits at work without any real company input and voila, slashdot labels the company as corrupt for having whitewashed the article.
  • Re:TFA Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rycross ( 836649 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @01:14PM (#20226735)

    I didn't imply that you said torturing people was justified. That's a real strawman. I was using it as an example.

    Ok fair enough....

    Does the fact that they like Buffy excuse any immoral actions they take? I think you are being disingenuous and trying to do a little propagandizing yourself. It looks as though you are trying to build sympathy for Big Brother.

    Wait, what? You just said....

    Give it a rest. Implying that its not surprising for CIA employees to have interests outside of work.

    I'm saying, why even mention that people in the CIA are real people? Do you really think we are all so childish as to completely demonize everyone we disagree with?

    Yes, absolutely 100%, I do believe that the average Slashdot user is childish enough to demonize people they disagree with. Are you new here? Peruse any political or Microsoft related topic for examples. Or how about the Novell thing? Or hell, the team working on Mono.

    Hell, to some degree, dehumanization of those who differ from you is pretty common. See: racism, classism, nationalism, religion, etc. In that vein, I think its valuable to have reminders that if you prick them, they'll bleed just like you.

    "I'm just saying, don't be surprised if the same guy who tries to manipulate the public's understanding, also likes Buffy." Why even point out the blazingly obvious like that? What is your motivation?

    His motivation was that someone thought that it was odd that the CIA had interests outside of the CIA, and this was silly.

    If you want to dig deeper than that, don't you think its valuable to understand that these people are doing their jobs for some reason other than simply enjoying doing unethical things? Its not about building sympathy for people who do bad things, but challenging the whole "Well they're just different from us mentality. Its been pretty much bullshit ever since it was first used. People are complex, and its far too often that people simplify them and dehumanize them as a way of coping with the lack of understanding and empathy. People also like to think that people that do bad things are simply different than them on some fundamental level, because otherwise they have the potential for evil within them.

    "Criminals are just bad people." "Republicans are greedy and evil!" "They deserved to get bombed because they support terrorism." And so on, and so on. Hell, even Hitler wanted to help his country, yet most people just assume he was satan incarnate. This may seem obvious to you, but to a lot of people, like many Slashdot users, its not.

    You're reading a hell of a lot into his post that just isn't there. What's your motivation?

  • by sohare ( 1032056 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @01:16PM (#20226761)

    It isn't, per se, even if it's original intent was to be. It's not so much a liberal vs. conservative issue, but there are a lot of untenable conspiracy theories floating around. Almost anything that deals with Big (pharma, business, gov. etc.) is bound to be a crock of shit. Most conspiracy theorist don't recognize the extreme scales they are talking about (i.e., thousands of people being closed-lipped), nor do they recognize that half the time they are talking about a non-entity (i.e., Big Pharma doesn't even exist. It's just a bunch of independent companies and academic researchers).

    Then throw in the fact that most agencies, be them government or business, have to be attributed with extreme evil genius to carry out their plots, yet on the other must be so simple minded and prone to errors that "Some Dude" can see through their schemes.

    Really, conspiracy theorists are just histrionic megalomaniacs. Rather myopic ones at that.

  • Re:TFA Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nuzak ( 959558 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @01:20PM (#20226817) Journal
    > Do you really think we are all so childish as to completely demonize everyone we disagree with?

    Judging by the typical traffic on slashdot, yeah, pretty much.
  • by E++99 ( 880734 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @01:20PM (#20226825) Homepage

    Truth is pipedream. For the most part truth is unattainable. It always relies on someones perception of events. Even if verified from other sources you cannot know for sure. I long ago accepted that truth does not exist, there is only the accepted "truth" and what I see, and I can't trust either.

    While you can call truth "unattainable" it is also infinitely approachable. Truth does not rely on anyone's perception of it; only our understanding relies on perception. If you convince yourself that truth does not exist, you have given up on the approach to truth and the gradual perfection of your own understanding. "Accepted truth" has very little value. Raw experience has very little value. The gradual eternal approach to Truth through reason, perception, revelation and humility has great value. And Truth itself has infinite value.
  • Re:TOR (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @01:25PM (#20226893)
    I don't call you cynical, I call you honest. Of course companies are expected to edit anything that affects their image. It's called "mitigation". If someone libels you by entering garbage about you into a wiki, if you are going to sue them effectively, you need to show how you mitigated the damage. If you don't do something simple that you can do, it looks like you really didn't care.

    Before wiki-anything can be considered more than just another biased source of info, the attitude that it is unethical for people to edit information about themselves (including companies) will have to change.

  • by nuzak ( 959558 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @01:28PM (#20226923) Journal
    > The only checks and balances in place are reviews by scientific peers!

    As opposed to the alternative, which has no methodology and no review whatsoever. Show me one case where science has been wrong where it was corrected by something not science.
  • by Rycross ( 836649 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @01:37PM (#20227011)
    I don't think Batman was trying to say that the methodology of science was wrong, but trying to draw parallels between that methodology and that of Wikipedia.

    I'm not sure if its an apt comparison, however. My mother could edit an article on computer programming that I wrote, but she is by no means my peer in this area. In science, the people reviewing you generally have the background required to be able to accurately and meaningfully judge your results. The same isn't necessarily true of Wikipedia. In the same way, however, its better than the alternative. Wikipedia isn't perfect, but not much in life is.
  • How is Science any different from groupthink?

    Scientists perform experiments.

    The experiment is the be all and end all of science. I think the reason that scientists get a lot of flack like the parent post nowadays is because there are so many pseudo-scientists around that claim to be using the scientific method but really aren't. Psychologists, sociologists, eugenicists, data miners, etc, etc. There's a lot of news articles these days claims that "scientists" have conducted an "experiment" supposedly proving some claim. Nine times out of ten, it turns out that cargo-cult scientists have performed another ritual with the appearance, but none of the substance of a proper experiment.

    I've ranted long enough. The answer to your question is that scientists subject their theories to experimental verification/falsification. Peer review doesn't even enter into the equation. Freud was peer reviewed.
  • by QRDeNameland ( 873957 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @01:44PM (#20227101)

    What if someone was part of the perpetrating "Chinese government"? Could they not interpret the same sentence as follows?

    "the chinese government [which is controlled by the glorious people's communist party] killed [treasonous and criminal] student protesters [who wanted to undermine and likely overthrow our glorious leaders] at Tiananmen Square in 1989 [and they were entirely justified and indeed heroic for doing so]."

    While you and the GP (and I, and the vast majority on /.as well) read the original statement with the bias you noted, it is certainly not inconceivable that the statement could be interpreted with precisely the opposite bias, which I think was the GP's point.

  • Besides missing the point (WHOOSH!), experiments have to be interpreted. Who interprets the results of the experiments? Scientists and their peers. There *is* a framework in place that science is supposed to follow. That's why no one can successfully claim that "I lit a match, therefore it's cold fusion." But at the end of the day, it's the people committed to following that framework that make it work.

    Freud wasn't the only one who was peer reviewed. Einstein, for example, was also peer reviewed. And there was a lot of resistance to his theories in the day. The key is that his peers held themselves to the ideals of the scientific method. They poked, prodded, and tested his theory (both logically and empirically) until they were forced to accept it.
  • Re:TFA Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @01:48PM (#20227141)
    Even evil people are human

    Evil is a crutch to avoid understanding. Why did person X do deed A? Because their evil. See, no need to think about what their motivations are, why they might see their deeds as beneficial to society. As a citizen of "The Great Satan" you would think we would understand that more than we do.

    If Bush had taken the time to understand Al Queda's and Hussien's motivations instead of just declaring them insane and evil, we might not be mired as an occupying force in Iraq today. Surprisingly, the CIA did understand this, it took months of browbeating to get them to come up with an implausible senario to suit a myoptic president set on upstaging his father...

  • There is no such thing as an "objective, external reality". All things viewed and/or reported by a human being are subjective.
    This is similar to the logically self-contradicting phrase "There are no absolutes", itself an absolute.

    Or contemplate "This statement is false" as a mind bender.


  • by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @01:59PM (#20227293)
    The experiment is the be all and end all of science.

    Reality and physics doesn't care what the results of the experiment are, but the groupthink comes from sciences interpretation on the results.

    As in... "I put leaches on my scurvy patients and they get better so it must have been the leaches kind" of thinking.

    In itself, trying the leaches isn't wrong, but I've failed to noticed other issue due to pre-conceived notion such as the fact that the eating of lemons and limes had nothing to do with my patients getting better.

    The scientific method usually tries to minimize this as much as possible, but often times we are still left with the debate of "Does dark matter exist?" or "Can we prove black hole exists?"

    Right now, its still groupthink and anyone who would say "There are no blackholes!" would get shunned even if he had a compelling argument. Those in the community that had an open mind would of course review his material in a peer review.

    As it is now... The things that have the hardest time with controlled experiements (like black holes) are the ones that groupthink gets applies to since we can't create a black hole in a lab and see what it does.
  • by Per Abrahamsen ( 1397 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @02:03PM (#20227347) Homepage
    I'm not surprised that the character traits of people who would make good CIA employees would also be attracted to Wikipedia.
  • Re:TFA Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheSkyIsPurple ( 901118 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @02:06PM (#20227401)
    Evil is a crutch to avoid understanding

    "Evil is a crutch to avoid understanding" is a crutch to avoid understanding.
    The term "Evil" can be such a crutch, but it is something much more. It is a simple way of describing a particular person or activity in shorthand. (And that's the context in which it was intended here, I believe)

    I'd go nuts if I couldn't say "Evil people drink milk too", and instead had to say "Among the people who drink milk are those whose childhoods were so difficult they never learned to build supporting relationships and ended up isolating themselves outside the norms of human interaction in such ways that they no longer recognized murder, rape, and torture as things that were in and of themselves bad, as well as those who became so deeply angry because a fundamental belief they had was shown to be invalid that they could not deal with it and had to try to force the rest of the world to conform to their reality, and mimes"
  • Re:TFA Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @02:10PM (#20227449)
    I'm not only familiar with the Factbook, it was the source I consulted upon hearing that we were invading Iraq. It took about 5 minutes of reading to realize that the best possible outcome of the war was to turn Iraq into a mirror image of Iran, thus destroying the only check (other than Israel) on Iranian power in the Middle East. In other words, according to the CIA, Iraq war=dumb.

    And yes, I'm a conservative.
  • by kinglink ( 195330 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @02:20PM (#20227603)
    Ok let's think about this for a minute. I edit Wikipedia. I'm editing an article on ... which is a likely title

    A. Legend of Zelda

    B. The mating habits of beetles.

    C. The list of solar systems that begin with B discovered in 1945.

    Well A. is the most likely, and that's my point. The people editing these articles HAVE interest in them. So Diebold got caught? No let's look at the edit and decide if it was acceptable (and likely it wasn't) but just because someone removes something that is related to them doesn't mean it's not a correct edit.

    It's not ok for Diebold to remove the offensive article's text, but if an employee of Diebold who got fired "unfairly" put it there that's ok? Are we now going to decide that a person having an interest in a topic is wrong. If all I edit is information about lockpicking does that mean I work at a lock manufacturer and thus can't be trusted?

    The whole point I'm trying to make is we need to look at the EDIT not the editor to decide if changes are fair. Wikipedia is community edited and some people are trying to say that if you're involved with the article's target you're not able to edit. So really should wikipedia be "community edited except for people who work with the article" or should we reevaluate the standards by which we point out "partisanship".

    Btw if you choose the second choice above that means we can't have any experienced people talk about the article which is the problem. If I own an iPhone I can't write about in wikipedia so all we then have is second hand experience with products and PR postings. Like I said the solution is to stop worrying about WHO edits wikipedia and instead focus on edits being done to wikipedia.
  • Re:TFA Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by heinousjay ( 683506 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @02:31PM (#20227781) Journal
    The problem is, everyone has a personal definition of evil, and it looks ridiculous to people who don't agree. You can't just use a shorthand if it isn't completely common. This isn't to argue about your particular definition, I'm just saying it's a touchy thing on a site where the term is applied equally to George Bush, Google, and anyone who thinks RMS is a cosmic joke.
  • by JamesP ( 688957 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @02:33PM (#20227823)
    It can be worse.

    Just imagine the National Softball Association receiving black folders through the "top secret" mail (or something like that).

  • by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @02:42PM (#20227981) Homepage Journal
    That's a good point, but there is such a thing as being too close to a subject to provide proper NPOV, especially with controversial subjects such as most of those in TFA. A good contributor will recognize this and either distance themselves from the article, propose their edits or new sources on the talk page for someone else to go over and possibly add into the article (or at least start a discussion,) or - and this is the big one - at least make the edits from home or from a named account or something so as not to reflect badly on who they represent every time they go out and stamp that organizational IP on something. It's one thing when a person's User Contributions page identifies them as biased about something, but it's quite another when a corporation is manipulating an article that has anything to do with their own PR, and leaving a trail of IPs that anyone can follow.
  • by LihTox ( 754597 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @02:47PM (#20228055)

    Big Pharma doesn't even exist. It's just a bunch of independent companies and academic researchers.

    Those academic researchers don't even exist either. They're just a bunch of atoms.

    Collective behavior can arise even when the pieces are not actively working together; that behavior can be given a name, whether it's "Joe Smith the biologist" or "Big Pharma".
  • Re:TFA Interesting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GigG ( 887839 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @03:48PM (#20229003)

    They are also professional spies.

    Actually woefully few of them are. The VAST majority of CIA employees aren't what anyone would call spies. And even those that are aren't. CIA employees who gather intelligence are "Officers", those foreign nationals they recruit are "Agents."
    It's the guys that spy on us that are spies in the CIA vernacular.
  • Re:TFA Interesting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kweinkauf ( 1142697 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @03:50PM (#20229033)
    Well, I agree that sometimes the word evil is used to freeze thinking, but your second paragraph is inane to the point of ignorance. We know what Al Qaeda and Hussein's motivations are because they have told us. Their own websites and communications leave no doubt as to what motivates them. They want to kill us. They want to eradicate us from the face of the earth. Do you get it now? We are not "mired" in an occupying force in Iraq. We are supporting a people who are trying to be free of tyranny. We are doing what the French did for us when we were trying to gain our independence from England; supporting a people who long to be able to command their own destiny, apart from any despotic rulers like Al Qaeda or Hussein. Don't you remember the looong lines of people in Iraq on the day they were first given the opportunity to vote? Or doesn't that fact jive with your pre-conceived notion that Bush is evil and must be stopped?
  • by plague3106 ( 71849 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @04:00PM (#20229171)
    actually, it can be said that statement has bias in it. first, you're implicating "the chinese government". who is that? the communist party as a whole? the military? the soldiers themselves who fired on the protesters?

    I'm not implying the government, I explictly said it. I think you need to learn what bias is, because its not about splitting hairs. Goverment includes the military, I belive that's obvious. If I had said the Chinese military had killed them, its also likely they weren't under orders from the government.

    which brings me to the second point: student protesters. what were they protesting? you only protest if something is wrong, right?

    A group only protests if they believe something is wrong, yes. Does that automatically mean the protesters had valid points? No, not at all.

    your "bias-free" sentence, which states nothing but the facts, absolutely has the underlying message: the chinese government [which is controlled by the opressive communist party] killed [innocent] student protesters [who wanted a better life] at Tiananmen Square in 1989 [and they were wrong for doing so]."

    Did I write the parts in brackets? No? Then you're interjecting your own bias into my statement. YOU think that's what I said. Its not. There is a reason I didn't include those words. For whatever reason people today feel there's always something between the lines when there isn't. It really needs to stop.

    of course, that's probably because the facts themselves carry a bias.

    Facts don't have a bias; people add their bias when interperating facts.
  • Re:TFA Interesting (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Kenji DRE ( 1020807 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @04:05PM (#20229259)

    You really cannot take any of the IP's on this list and directly connect it to anyone at any company or organization, any more than the RIAA can take an IP of an alleged music pirate and say they individually are the ones that did it.
    True, but if the IP belongs to a certain company and the message edited serves the interest of that particular company, I can safely assume that it's the doing of that company.
  • by DynaSoar ( 714234 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @05:29PM (#20230287) Journal
    > whitewashing and other self-interested editing of Wikipedia.

    That would be all of it. Seriously. One person's truth is another's spin. Even the science.

    And one person's correction is another's censorship. Feel free to embark on that particular sinking ship.

    The signal of consensus opinion is only strengthened by the noise of bias. Apply 'stochastic amplification' to behavior. It's less biased than the more common 'cognitive dissonance' but the result is the same. Those to whom a particular point is egregious enough will act on it.

    I could have sworn the point was made when the subject came up a week or two ago. It's no less applicable just because someone made a widget that tells you the poo stinks. You won't step in it, and be happy; the flies will land on it, and be happy; someone else will stomp on the flies, and be happy. Let's all go get happy. That's what epoostimology is about.

    Try a different direction if you prefer: "Deep and dark, yet within it is an essence. That essence is real and can be discovered. Therein lies truth." -- Ch. 21, Tao the Ching, Lao Tzu. That "essence" is in the deep content, and in the dark metacontent regarding the creation and changes of all the content. I'll take my essence from my reading of these, not from someone's widget, because it too has an agenda in its essence.
  • Re:TFA Interesting (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @05:38PM (#20230375)
    I agree with much of your statement, but to say that Israel is the "only check on Iranian power" says a lot about your own views and how they are skewed.

    I think it's in the US's best interest to leave Iran completely alone. They aren't really harming the US, except via Iraq, which is a bad idea on our part anyway and we should bail out.

    If Israel has some problem with Iran, and I know a lot of Israelis do say that, as do some of my more conservative American Jewish friends, then let them solve it on their own. One needless war at a time please; zero if possible.

    I think what a lot of people forget in the US is that on September 11, the Iranian government condemned the attacks. We've been conditioned to hate Iran ever since they overturned the CIA-installed puppet government. It's a cold war kind of hate, the likes of which you see directed towards Cuba or the former Soviet Union, even to this day. I think that is very misplaced. We need to hate less people, and make friends instead of enemies. If we really want to serve the US agenda, we need to trade with these people, so that capitalism can drown out their government as they'll come to appreciate goods from the US, etc.
  • by turing_m ( 1030530 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @08:24PM (#20231769)
    "Really, conspiracy theorists are just histrionic megalomaniacs. Rather myopic ones at that."

    The only myopic people are those who swallow the line of the mainstream media verbatim, even when it contradicts itself and easily verifiable facts. The belief that only your government and media is much like believing that only your God is real and all the rest are fairy stories.
  • Mod Parent Up (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheVelvetFlamebait ( 986083 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @10:48PM (#20232633) Journal
    Not for his partisan political opinions, but for his explanation of "evil". He's perfectly correct. Evil is basically a religious construct, and deserves just as much of a place in our understanding of our world as other religious concepts, like creationism, and the will of God, etc, etc.

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?