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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 + - Why women have no time for Wikipedia 2

Andreas Kolbe writes: Wikipedia is well known to have a very large gender imbalance, with survey-based estimates of women contributors ranging from 8.5% to around 16%. This is a more extreme gender imbalance than even that of Reddit, the most male-dominated major social media platform, and it has a palpable effect on Wikipedia content. Moreover, Wikipedia editor survey data indicate that only 1 in 50 respondents is a mother – a good proportion of female contributors are in fact minors, with women in their twenties less likely to contribute to Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation efforts to address this "gender gap" have so far remained fruitless. Wikipedia’s demographic pattern stands in marked contrast to female-dominated social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest, where women aged 18 to 34 are particularly strongly represented. It indicates that it isn’t lack of time or family commitments that keep women from contributing to Wikipedia – women simply find other sites more attractive. Wikipedia’s user interface and its culture of anonymity may be among the factors leading women to spend their online time elsewhere.

Comment Re: Quit whaling on Jimmy (Score 1) 113

For a long period of time, yes -- most of the links from Wikipedia to Wikia were exempted from the "nofollow" rule that Wales imposed personally on all of the other links found in Wikipedia. So, Wikia got a special and important boost from Wikipedia between about 2007 and 2009. And guess what? At that time, 60% of the board of directors of the Wikimedia Foundation were Wikia principals. Wikipedia editors: You scratch Jimbo's back, and he'll scratch his own, too.

Comment Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (Score 1) 113

Amusing mischaracterization of the 2006 version of MyWikiBiz. By the way, Wikipediocracy has its own Wikipedia article, too... and it fairly clearly shows that Wikipediocracy has repeatedly broken and/or influenced internationally-covered stories about Wikipedia. The site is very successfully reaching the goals of its mission statement, no matter how badly you wish to paint the site's leadership as "unsavory".

Comment Never-ending (Score 1) 5

What is really amazing, and most people don't know about, is that there is a software extension called "Pending Changes" that could be installed in a few minutes on Wikipedia. This requires an established editor to "approve" any new edits to articles before the edit goes "live" on the article page. It would snuff out at least 90% of the silly hoaxes, by my guess. The English Wikipedia actually voted *for* Pending Changes, but because the minority was so antagonistic, the Wikimedia Foundation retreated back to their money-collecting and didn't install it. The German Wikipedia has it installed, and you rarely hear about hoaxes on that language's Wikipedia.

Submission + - "I accidentally started a Wikipedia hoax" 5

Andreas Kolbe writes: The Daily Dot's EJ Dickson reports how she accidentally discovered that a hoax factoid she added over five years ago as a stoned sophomore to the Wikipedia article on “Amelia Bedelia, the protagonist of the eponymous children’s book series about a ‘literal-minded housekeeper’ who misunderstands her employer’s orders”, had not just remained on Wikipedia all this time, but come to be cited by a Taiwanese English professor, in “innumerable blog posts and book reports”, as well as a book on Jews and Jesus. It's a cautionary tale about the fundamental unreliability of Wikipedia. And as Wikipedia ages, more and more such stories are coming to light.

Submission + - Pranks, hoaxes, manipulation: Virtual Unreality on Wikipedia ( 2

Andreas Kolbe writes: Kids confess on Reddit that in order to wind up a classmate named Azid, they added his name to the Wikipedia article on Chicken Korma. Two years on, and Azid is established online as an alternative name of the dish. A prankster twice changes the name of the inventor of the hair straightener, and both names are now widely credited with the invention online. Another kid writes in Wikipedia that coatis are also called Brazilian aardvarks, and incredibly, the name catches on in newspapers, even a university press book. Governments around the world seek to control Wikipedia content through anonymous contributions. Misinformation and propaganda on Wikipedia spread like a virus into other publications: how pranks, hoaxes and manipulation undermine the reliability of Wikipedia, and indeed the fabric of consensual reality.

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