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Why are editors fleeing Wikipedia?

Three reasons are suggested: Wikipedia is no longer cool; the editing standards are abstruse and there are fewer areas left unexplored; and, progressive or anti-corporate content is purged with regularity. DownWithTyranny!: Is Wikipedia's real problem really that it's become un-"cool"?
But maybe Wikipedia's inscrutable "editorial" policies and procedures raise problems other than the interest level of 15-year-olds. Our friend Dave Johnson, one of the sanest as well as smartest people we know, calls attention to a post he wrote for HuffPost in March 2009: "Watch Out for Wikipedia." Try this: start or edit a Wikipedia article that includes information that might be unfavorable to conservative corporate interests, perhaps in the area of tort reform (incl medical malpractice, etc) or trade/protectionism, etc. Try adding citations to studies that show that tort reform is a corporate-funded effort to keep people from being able to sue companies that harm them... I tried it and it was removed in a few minutes. . . . Try editing entries covering other issues around trade, economics or corporate issues. See how long it takes before a pro-corporate viewpoint is returned to the article. Or add an article about a progressive organization. I added an article about the Commonweal Institute, and it was immediately removed, so I put another up and it was immediately flagged for removal. (I am working to save it...) An article about me -- put up and edited by others -- was also removed twice. The circumstances involved a professional "leading tort-reform advocate" -- while I'm the person who wrote this report about how the tort reform movement is involved with the corporate/conservative movement. Go figure. The lesson, clearly, is that there are cadres of right-wing zealots, possibly on someone's payroll, standing "guard" over Wikipedia, pumping it as full as they can get away with with their lies and delusions and making sure that any contrary truths are whipsawed. ("I know of one corporate-funded conservative movement insider who spends much of the normal workday and evenings editing Wikipedia," Dave wrote.)

August 07, 2011

"Even The Death Penalty Doesn’t Deter Copying"

And When Even The Death Penalty Doesn’t Deter Copying —...

August 06, 2011

"'Real names' policies aren’t empowering; they’re an authoritarian assertion of power over vulnerable people."

A really excellent point. Ever since Google started banning people from ALL google products (email, reader, docs, etc) for using pseudonyms, this message has been getting louder. It's easy to attribute the idea that pseudonyms and constructed identities don't have any real worth to either marketing greed (real names are real money to marketers) or to a sort of blind nerd version of Male Privilege (you only need to be stalked online once to realize the value of hiding your true name). Google has backed off on the perma-bans, but they need to acknowledge that nommes de web have a necessary role in the internet. danah boyd | apophenia -- “Real Names” Policies Are an Abuse of Power
. . . Over and over again, people keep pointing to Facebook as an example where “real names” policies work. This makes me laugh hysterically. One of the things that became patently clear to me in my fieldwork is that countless teens who signed up to Facebook late into the game chose to use pseudonyms or nicknames. What’s even more noticeable in my data is that an extremely high percentage of people of color used pseudonyms as compared to the white teens that I interviewed. Of course, this would make sense… The people who most heavily rely on pseudonyms in online spaces are those who are most marginalized by systems of power. “Real names” policies aren’t empowering; they’re an authoritarian assertion of power over vulnerable people. These ideas and issues aren’t new (and I’ve even talked about this before), but what is new is that marginalized people are banding together and speaking out loudly. And thank goodness. What’s funny to me is that people also don’t seem to understand the history of Facebook’s “real names” culture. When early adopters (first the elite college students…) embraced Facebook, it was a trusted community. They gave the name that they used in the context of college or high school or the corporation that they were a part of. They used the name that fit into the network that they joined Facebook with. The names they used weren’t necessarily their legal names; plenty of people chose Bill instead of William. But they were, for all intents and purposes, “real.” As the site grew larger, people had to grapple with new crowds being present and discomfort emerged over the norms. But the norms were set and people kept signing up and giving the name that they were most commonly known by. By the time celebrities kicked in, Facebook wasn’t demanding that Lady Gaga call herself Stefani Germanotta, but of course, she had a “fan page” and was separate in the eyes of the crowd. Meanwhile, what many folks failed to notice is that countless black and Latino youth signed up to Facebook using handles. Most people don’t notice what black and Latino youth do online. Likewise, people from outside of the US started signing up to Facebook and using alternate names. Again, no one noticed because names transliterated from Arabic or Malaysian or containing phrases in Portuguese weren’t particularly visible to the real name enforcers. Real names are by no means universal on Facebook, but it’s the importance of real names is a myth that Facebook likes to shill out. And, for the most part, privileged white Americans use their real name on Facebook. So it “looks” right. . . .