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Wikipedia Wars -- Lake Express Ferry 176

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the go-jump-in-the-lake dept.
vhfer writes "Wikipedia Warfare has become the latest tool in the battle between rival lake transport systems. The Lake Express Ferry, which links Milwaukee and Michigan, bypasses Chicago traffic. The competing SS Badger runs from Manitowoc, an hour North of Milwaukee, to Ludington, Michigan. The article in the Milwaukee Journal details efforts by SS Badger supporters to highlight some of the delays and problems experienced by the Lake Express, in an apparent effort to divert some traffic to the Badger. Numerous edits to the article added links to news articles critical of the Lake Express, and some derided presidential candidate John Kerry's 2004 ride and the political value of it. The operators of the SS Badger deny responsibility for all the postings, and also say they aren't Internet savvy enough to alter a Wikipedia article."
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Wikipedia Wars -- Lake Express Ferry

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  • by w33t (978574) * on Monday August 28, 2006 @01:28PM (#15995321) Homepage
    After all, it seems that Wikipedia readers are more interested in much different topics [wikimedia.de] anyhow.
  • What a defense! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by crazyjeremy (857410) *
    I find a good way to defend myself is to deny I have the ability to use a wiki.

    If these guys say they aren't intelligent enough to edit an entry in wikipedia, why should we trust them to run a ferry?
    • Re:What a defense! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 28, 2006 @01:33PM (#15995361)
      You confuse "intelligent" with "computer savvy."

      A ferry operator has a different skillset than you. They might not even be interested in learning how to use Wikipedia.
      • Re:What a defense! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by qortra (591818) on Monday August 28, 2006 @01:55PM (#15995545)
        They might not even be interested in learning how to use Wikipedia.

        I'd bet they are now.

        Moreover, the whole point of Wikipedia was to be accessible to a variety of different kinds of people in order to encourage people with various skillsets to contribute. Clearly [wikipedia.org], some people that know how to use wikipedia know a great deal about ferries.

        Consider that computers these days are becoming all purpose tools. While many slashdot visitors are not exactly savvy in the culinary arts, I would guess that most of us can use a fork pretty well. That is because the fork has become a tool that is useful to the general population. Wikipedia is such a tool (though far less ubiquitous, and somewhat less useful).

        I realize that these ferry operators are not the right generation for such a skill and they ought to be given a significant amount of latitude for such a limitation; however, let's just say that if, in 25 years, a 50 year old ferry operator gave the same excuse, I would be a little concerned.
        • by soft_guy (534437) on Monday August 28, 2006 @02:15PM (#15995654)
          While many slashdot visitors are not exactly savvy in the culinary arts, I would guess that most of us can use a fork pretty well.

          Sure we know how to use fork! It is easy - it doesn't even take any arguments.
        • by Digital Vomit (891734) on Monday August 28, 2006 @02:30PM (#15995735) Homepage Journal
          Consider that computers these days are becoming all purpose tools. While many slashdot visitors are not exactly savvy in the culinary arts, I would guess that most of us can use a fork pretty well. That is because the fork has become a tool that is useful to the general population. Wikipedia is such a tool (though far less ubiquitous, and somewhat less useful).

          Did you just equate computer usability with the usability of a fork?!

        • by kthejoker (931838)
          Isn't that the point of the GP? That Wikipedia isn't a fork?

          And I'd be surprised if it was a fork in 25 years. The Internet, maybe; but if you ask 100 people in 25 years, "Do you know how to edit a Wikipedia article?" I guarantee half will look at you with confusion and despair.
        • While many slashdot visitors are not exactly savvy in the culinary arts, I would guess that most of us can use a fork pretty well
          When i first saw this, i thought of the emacs vs. Xemacs fork.... Are you stating Slashdot users show a lot of utility for Xemacs?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by parliboy (233658)
      Can you run a ferry? If not, should I trust you to run a computer?
      • by soft_guy (534437)
        In related news, a drunken Slashdotter runs aground causing the premature deaths of many "in Soviet Russia" jokes.
      • by MBCook (132727)

        Fair enough, but while running a ferry is hard (and requires training becuase it can be physically dangerous to yourself and passengers) pressing the edit button on Wikipedia isn't.

        Besides, are you telling me that no one at that company has a kid "smart enough" to edit Wikipedia even if the adult didn't know how? I know how this would work in my house. "Hey, how do I edit this Wikitingjinary"? All of a sudden, look, they are editing.

        The challenge level to the average person who knows nothing about either

        • by Rakishi (759894)
          pressing the edit button on Wikipedia isn't.

          It's everything else that you need to deal with that's hard. Quite a few people don't edit wikipedia even though they can because of all the crap that is involved (making your addition grammatically correct, stylistically correct, NPOV correct then dealing with potential reversion wars, justifying what you post, not upsetting people with too much free time, not posting links that people don't like ,etc.). Look in the comments section of some articles, people post
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by superstick58 (809423)
      I guess we can trust them to run a ferry in the same way that you can trust me to accurately post to a slashdot article yet I have no clue on how to operate a high speed ferry that runs across lake michigan.
      • by Frymaster (171343)
        I guess we can trust them to run a ferry in the same way that you can trust me to accurately post to a slashdot article yet I have no clue on how to operate a high speed ferry that runs across lake michigan

        holy straw man batman!

        • wikipedia comes with help pages and tutorials. ferry's rarely do
        • wikipedia mistakes can be undone. ferry mistakes can't
        • wikipedia is accessible for everyone to operate. ferry's aren't
        • wikipedia mistakes are non fatal. sometimes ferry mistakes aren't. sometimes.
        • virtually everyone
    • Re:What a defense! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Monday August 28, 2006 @01:53PM (#15995524) Homepage
      vIf these guys say they aren't intelligent enough to edit an entry in wikipedia, why should we trust them to run a ferry?

      For the same reason I trust welders, plumbers, electricians and the like to do their job and not necessarily expect them to either know what wiki is, or know how to edit an entry on it.

      We simply don't need everyone in the world to be able to do tech things. They could be exceedingly good at what they do. Not knowing how to edit on wiki is not a mark of intelligence, it's a mark of how much you understand web technologies.

      Despite it's popularity, the web is not the be all and end all of how the world works.

      Cheers
      • Once someone knows how to browse the internet, anyone with any amount of intelligence can figure out how to edit a wiki. Were you taught how to edit a wiki? I certainly hope not. I figured it out in half a second, and I would trust anyone who can browse the internet to figure it out in less than a minute unless they're severely disabled. Wikipedia is peppered with edit buttons; they're not hard to find. As a last resort, a ferry operator could always ask someone how to edit wikipedia. So not only does
        • Perhaps they are just the type of person that doesn't care about Wikipedia?
        • Re:What a defense! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by crozell (872334) on Monday August 28, 2006 @03:06PM (#15995956)
          Once someone knows how to browse the internet, anyone with any amount of intelligence can figure out how to edit a wiki.

          Wow...simply not true. I know it might surprise the demographic who reads slashdot, but there are still lots of people out there who are very uncomfortable with using computers to do anything. They aren't stupid - they probably have many skills that us computer-literate folk would have a very hard time acquiring. But, they may just barely understand the concept using a computer to browse the web withoug feeling like they can figure out how to edit a webpage. The internet (and most things technology) are viewed as a giant mystery to some people - they are happy to use it, but the thought of being able to edit or contribute is just foreign.

          Lastly, anyone who uses their own ignorance as an argument is someone to be avoided.

          I agree with your point that anyone could find someone to help edit a page if they didn't want to do it themselves. But, I find it ironic that so many people here were venomous toward the RIAA for going after grandmothers who "obviously" didn't know enough to download music, but are happy to vilify the people playing the "ignorant" card when the issue at hand doesn't isn't something slashdot can rally behind.

          • by aethera (248722)
            Agreed! On one of my first visits to Wikipedia, I came across a very small spelling error in the article. And not a British English vs American English thing, just a letter transposition. I fixed it using the way that seemed obvious at the time. (clicked on the edit tab and edited it). It got reverted almost immediately and I got some terse note saying something to the extent of "You're a new user, you know nothing about how this site works, go away." So, I did.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gstoddart (321705)

          Once someone knows how to browse the internet, anyone with any amount of intelligence can figure out how to edit a wiki.

          Mostly true, but, as I said, what is to say that any of the ferry operators can do more than the most basic of web surfing if at all? What is to say that even if they know about wikipedia? Like I said, a lot of smart people simply do NOT use 'teh internets', nor do they care to. Doesn't make them dumb, it makes them either uninterested, or uninformed, or simply unaware. They may be exc

        • by icebike (68054) *
          > So not only does this person lack any computer skills, they lack communication
          > skills or any problem solving skills.

          > Lastly, anyone who uses their own ignorance as an argument is someone to be avoided.
          --

          Yet they are entrusted and Coast Guard certified to run a ferry. Imagine that. /sarcasm.

          Look sonny, its time for you to turn off the computer and go out and get a job.

          The world does not revolve around wiki, its not even on most people's radar screen.

          The world has many people with commiunication
        • by mgblst (80109)
          I have met people like you before, people who obviously lack social skills, and are unable to comprehend that people are different.

          Just because you can do something in a few seconds, does not mean that the majority of people can do it, even in many more minutes of study.

          Does this mean that the Ferry operators are innocent - no. But not because of your argument.
      • very true, and while editing a wiki might seem like a very simple task to us here at /. It really hasn't taken off in full force for most internet users never mind ferryboat operators.

        I'm a head moderator over on Xbox-Scene, after getting tired of editing out of date FAQs and tutorial topics I decided to start a wiki for console modding. For about the first 6 months the site was up I was the only contributer, not because I couldn't find anyone who wanted to contribute, but because most of the people inte
      • by geekoid (135745)
        ". They could be exceedingly good at what they do."

        can everyone in a field be exceedingly good?
    • by orasio (188021)
      "I couldn't have poisoned his filet mignon, your honor, I just can't cook!"

      Lame excuse.
    • "If these guys say they aren't intelligent enough to edit an entry in wikipedia, why should we trust them to run a ferry?"

      You'd trust a barber who didn't know how to cut & paste to cut you're hair, right?
  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Monday August 28, 2006 @01:32PM (#15995352) Homepage Journal
    ...without a link to the Lamest Edit Wars in Wikipedia [wikipedia.org].
  • As Slashdot readers we're aware that when people new to online communication find they can publish anything to the world, they can be like little kids in candy stores. With no parents for supervision, they'll pick a little of this and that, and when caught with a mouthfull by the store owner, will mumble a denial.

    Wikipedia gives that kind of power to people unexperienced with digital media attention, and depending on the personality, they may be naive, or malicious.
  • Anime? (Score:5, Funny)

    by LukeyJunk (620483) on Monday August 28, 2006 @01:32PM (#15995356)
    Is it just me, or does the headline sound like the title of a bad Anime?
  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Monday August 28, 2006 @01:34PM (#15995372) Homepage Journal

    Ah! The memories. When I was but a tad my dad would take the family in the stationwagon from Midland to Minneapolis, via Ludington to Manitowoc (famous now for aluminium cookware) on the C & O ferries. The SS Badger [wikipedia.org] may hark from those days, it looks like it does. Back then there was a lot of traffic across the lake from Wisconsin, where automobile furniture (seats) and body parts were transported to Detroit with the assistance of several of these large boats which could hold several rail cars in their holds. They'd also take on automobiles and passengers for a nominal fee. They ran like clockwork, regardless of the weather and crossings in poor considtions could be the kind you spent clutching a paper bucket. I found chewing gum helped.

    Nice to see they still run them. If the weather's fair I would consider a drive to Ludington (or Manitowoc) just for the ride. Ludington's a nice place to visit and camp.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by crozell (872334)
      Yup...the Badger was one of the C&O ferries, built in the early 1950's. When C&O finally sold off the ferries another company (MWT I think) ran them primarily as freight ships for a while before they finally had to shut them down. It just wasn't profitable after it became so easy to get rail traffic through Chicago and when maintenance costs for the ferries increased with their age. The boats sat idle for a while before a businessman invested a bunch of money to refurbish one ship (the Badger) as
  • by GundamFan (848341) on Monday August 28, 2006 @01:36PM (#15995388)
    This points out the biggest problem with Wikipedia, people are selfish. When questions of NPOV come up the disscusion offten becomes not what the NPOV is but who's oppinion will be included in the article and accepted as truth.

    There is a Penny-Arcade comic that sums wikipedia up nicely I can't (due to a proxy) look it up right now...

    Disclaimer: I am a huge Wikipedia fan... but I only "trust" non political geek culture (Comics, video games) to be relitivly accurate.
  • by ZachPruckowski (918562) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Monday August 28, 2006 @01:38PM (#15995403)
    Wikipedia works rather well at the core. Articles about science topics, or most history topics are OK. There are issues with current event topics, but there are plenty of editors working on those. the real problem that no one mentions with Wikipedia is on the fringes. there are 1.3 or so Million english articles. Some of them are poorly translated paragraphs from other languages. Some of them are straight lifts from a Press Release, and some of them are pretty incomplete. This is one such case. While editors can work on NPOV more directly with articles like George W. Bush or Jesus, there are only a handful of editors working on the fringes. I was hitting up the random pages button, and a few days ago, I stumbled across the "Miss Bikini of the Universe" page (no jokes, please). It consists of a few poorly translated paragraphs, a picture that's three years out of date (but attractive nonetheless), and a notice that Ukraine's candidate won the most recent one (which apparently was over the weekend in China somewhere), but no mention of the winner's name, DoB, etc. Now, I tried to do some cleanup - verb tenses, complete sentences, etc., but the page needs an awful lot of work, and frankly, I'm busy, and the orginal writer looks like he ran a few news articles through Babelfish.
    • by s20451 (410424)
      Edit wars and Stephen Colbert are the wrong test of Wikipedia. What I have often wondered is how hard it would be for a small, quiet conspiracy to cause considerable damage to the factual accuracy of Wikipedia, especially in historical articles that don't get a lot of attention.
      • What I have often wondered is how hard it would be for a small, quiet conspiracy to cause considerable damage to the factual accuracy of Wikipedia, especially in historical articles that don't get a lot of attention.

        "Historical articles that don't get a lot of attention" might be easy to distort specifically because they don't get a lot of attention. OTOH, the same not getting a lot of attention that would make it easy would also make it of rather limited utility.

        Of course, most encyclopedias in general are

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by owlnation (858981)

      Wikipedia works rather well at the core...

      No... maybe... how do you know for sure? There's simply never any guarantee of that. Perhaps a random page is accurate, perhaps it just looks plausible but is in fact dangerously wrong. I think the history pages are the most worrying. If, rather than a direct large scale act of vandalism, some interested group was to slowly over a number of years quietly change little things you could really distort a view of the world. Fox News anyone?

      Depsite much publicity (a

      • No... maybe... how do you know for sure?
        Well, there is the study [com.com] which found it comparable in terms of accuracy to the Encyclopedia Britannica, which strongly suggests that it works at least reasonably well as an encyclopedia.
      • by wumingzi (67100)
        Depsite much publicity (and on /. too) about how low quality and unreliable many Wikipedia pages are, it never ceases to amaze me how many people link to it from these pages or are willing to trust it to prove their point. I guess most people here are university educated and really should know better. Personally, I would prefer to mod every post with a wikipedia link offtopic (unless obviously intended to be funny) - at least until such time as it is a trusted source.

        All right, I'm going to call you on this
      • First of all, our troll moderation is ridiculous. At least you are a good (+2) troll. Wikipedia is generally right. It is a very good source of information. Oh sure, theoretically some evil cabal could mess with the information, but in practice it works very well. As far as linking to articles, I think it should generally be to a specific revision, but other than that it is fine. Until the flaws manifest themselves, they don't matter to someone using the encyclopedia. My only issue with Wikipedia is it
      • ZachPruckowski: "Wikipedia works rather well at the core..."
        owlnation: "No... maybe... how do you know for sure? There's simply never any guarantee of that."

        Where's the guarantee that information in, say, Britannica is accurate?

        I'm not just being a smart-ass; it's a serious question. What, exactly, *is* a trusted source? What makes a fact, a fact? How much do we take on faith whenever we accept knowledge without firsthand experience?

        These are age-old questions; Wikipedia just forces the issue into stark
        • ZachPruckowski: "Wikipedia works rather well at the core..."
          owlnation: "No... maybe... how do you know for sure? There's simply never any guarantee of that."

          Where's the guarantee that information in, say, Britannica is accurate?

          I'm not just being a smart-ass; it's a serious question. What, exactly, *is* a trusted source? What makes a fact, a fact? How much do we take on faith whenever we accept knowledge without firsthand experience?

          Yes, it's a smart-ass question - typical of someone who ju

      • Another post that dares to question the Great and Mighty Wikipedia moderated down into non-existence. Sad.
    • by bannerman (60282)
      It may be that the existing article is pretty bad, but isn't that better than nothing? You can probably get a decent idea of what the event is about, and in most cases that's all that is necessary. If it's a popular subject, the article will eventually be polished up and turned into something.
      • It is better than nothing. I'm just saying that one of the strengths people espouse for Wikipedia is the diversity of content, and that doesn't work if most of the focus is only on the core content. I'd bet that 20% of the articles get 80% of the edits.
  • by webword (82711) on Monday August 28, 2006 @01:38PM (#15995404) Homepage
    I like Jason Scott's rant about Wikipedia over at ASCII [textfiles.com]. It is related to this next Wikipedia War in the following way:

    "It's that there's a small set of content generators, a massive amount of wonks and twiddlers, and then a heaping amount of procedural whackjobs. And the mass of twiddlers and procedural whackjobs means that the content generators stop being so and have to become content defenders. Woe be that your take on things is off from the majority."

    A related issue is that with some topics, you will *always* have debates. Certain wiki topics will always cause people to be at "war" with each other. I doubt this will kill off wiki technology, but eventually there probably will be some social conventions to handle disputes. Or, perhaps a more rigid technology will take the place of wikis. Who knows.

    Sorry to ramble. My point is just that we need to be careful that we don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. In plain language, a wiki war doesn't mean that wikis are bad.

     
    • by multimed (189254)
      "It's that there's a small set of content generators, a massive amount of wonks and twiddlers, and then a heaping amount of procedural whackjobs. And the mass of twiddlers and procedural whackjobs means that the content generators stop being so and have to become content defenders. Woe be that your take on things is off from the majority."

      I agree right up until the last sentence. It sounds too much like Colbert and I think is inaccurate. Most of the difficulties with Wikipedia aren't because a majority

    • I like Jason Scott's rant about Wikipedia over at ASCII [textfiles.com].

      Jason Scott is an arrogant, self-impressed idiot who thinks he's god's gift to techies because he remembers "the golden days" of BBS's. I met him at my first (and last) slashdot "meetup"; he dominated the conversation amongst a table of eight, spending hours talking about his favorite subject: himself.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bcrowell (177657)
      "It's that there's a small set of content generators, a massive amount of wonks and twiddlers, and then a heaping amount of procedural whackjobs. And the mass of twiddlers and procedural whackjobs means that the content generators stop being so and have to become content defenders."
      This is absolutely, smack-bang on target. Wikipedia is largely complete now, and very little improvement is going to happen with most of the articles on important topics. They're as good as they're ever going to be, so if the a
      • Wikipedia is largely complete now, and very little improvement is going to happen with most of the articles on important topics.

        As long as you restrict "important topics" to matters of history about which relatively complete knowledge exists now that are far enough in the past that current articles don't have agenda-driven cruft polluting them, that's maybe true; for moving target topics, like those in science and technical fields, that's certainly not the case. Anyway, what's important isn't a fixed targ

  • Gah! Link! (Score:5, Informative)

    by LincolnQ (648660) on Monday August 28, 2006 @01:39PM (#15995415)
    I hate how Slashdot rarely links to the ACTUAL THING THE ARTICLE IS ABOUT. Lake Express [wikipedia.org]
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by webword (82711)
      You make it sound like Slashdot is a person. ;-)

      Remember, people submit news to Slashdot. So, blame the submitter: vhfer

      Then again, I suppose you could blame CmdrTaco for not making the update.
  • by Anti_Climax (447121) on Monday August 28, 2006 @01:51PM (#15995509)
    I say we just rename both Ferrys after Stephen Colbert and call it a day.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Lake_Express [wikipedia.org]
    Lake_Express edits [wikipedia.org]

    SS Badger [wikipedia.org]
    SS Badger edits [wikipedia.org]
  • But the owners 8 year old kid is :P
  • I know it's a cliche, but before this article, I didn't know that there was another ferry that went across lake Michigan besides the Badger.
  • by mcguyver (589810) on Monday August 28, 2006 @02:12PM (#15995638) Homepage
    Lake Express was definitely a victim of abuse by SS Badger. Pretty funny comments!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lake_Exp ress&diff=72406828&oldid=72405352 [wikipedia.org]
    The ferry's operational season has been a bit of an embarrasement for the owner's of the company. When first launched the company announced that the ferry would operate each season until December 31. Because of lack of fall ridership and many press reports of sea sickness earlier in the year, the ferry's operations were ended in October during the first year (2004). In 2005 the company announced they had a plan to make it to the end of the year through better promotion. In 2005 the company was again forced to end their season early as the ship did not seem well equipt to make it in the Gales of November.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lake_Exp ress&diff=68850407&oldid=61693002 [wikipedia.org]
    http://www.milwaukee-muskegon.com/ [milwaukee-muskegon.com] Site comparing Lake Express and other Lake Michigan Car Ferries

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lake_Exp ress&diff=72436565&oldid=72428201 [wikipedia.org]
    not to mention that it crashed into the pier at muskegon without passengers aboard in 2005 april

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lake_Exp ress&diff=72437357&oldid=72436565 [wikipedia.org]
    In August 2006 several trips were cancelled because of waves and mechanical problems. The vessel was only running on three of its four engines and halted all trips for passenger comfort due to wave conditions. All ferry service was halted to fix mechanical issues on August 15 through August 18.
    • I'm not so sure; I should see all sorts of "The S.S. Badger is the best f*!@in' ferry on earth!" vandals on S.S. Badger [wikipedia.org], but that hasn't happened. Maybe just someone disappointed with their ride, or a Muskegon teen with nothing better to do.
  • But the main difference is that the SS Badger is going from way out in the boonies to effing nowhere in 4 hours. Getting from any population center in WI to any in MI is as fast or a lot faster by car (Green Bay->Grand Rapids or Milwaukee -> Detroit). The Lake Express is less extreme, but still not a huge improvement. I lived South of Chicago until last year and contrary to all the complains, the Tri-State isn't really that crowded most of the time. Now if anyone tries to save on the tolls by driving
    • by dieman (4814)
      Yeah, I did a comparison again between them for trips starting in minneapolis and I was hard pressed to figure out why not just drive the distance or stay in a hotel in the middle of nowhere for a night after driving for 8 hours or something. The trip time savings for Detriot and Traverse City (trusting google maps, which isn't really up to date on speed limits) was only like 2-3 hours at most, and actually it seemed like the express was a worse deal from this direction since the trip distance savings was
  • by PeterChenoweth (603694) on Monday August 28, 2006 @02:18PM (#15995679)
    I have taken the SS Badger several times. My sister took the Lake Express earlier this summer.

    They are very different ships for different purposes. The Lake Express is newer, faster, and more prone to breakdowns and postponed trips due to the higher speed. The SS Badger is older, slower, and more reliable due to it being an 'old fashioned' coal-burning boat that chugs slowly across the lake. The Lake Express is pretty much assigned seating, enclosed from the elements, with very limited space outside on deck. The SS Badger is completely open seating and you can spend the entire trip outside enjoying the views, the rain, and the coal soot.

    If you want to minimize your time spent on the water and travel in a new, state-of-the-art, fast boat, take the Lake Express. If you want to prolong the experience and enjoy being out on the lake, take the SS Badger.

    The two companies can compete all the want, but I think they have two different customer bases.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by crozell (872334)
      I mentioned this in another post, but there's a lot more to the story than what is reflected in TFA or wikipedia. Customers that just want to get from point A to point B (without driving) will generally want to get there as fast as possible unless the transportation is part of the reason to take the trip. That obviously makes the Lake Express ferry appealing to a fair number of people, and it is likely that some people that would have taken the Badger otherwise will now opt for the Lake Express ferry.

      Nor

  • by wowbagger (69688) on Monday August 28, 2006 @02:34PM (#15995757) Homepage Journal
    What? Nobody (at least, nobody above +2) has posted a link to WikiTruth [wikitruth.info]? Well, let me do so then.
  • +1 funny... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lpangelrob (714473) on Monday August 28, 2006 @02:39PM (#15995784)

    Ha. Didn't think this would make it to Slashdot. (I didn't participate in the Lake Express wars, but I did recreate the entire S.S. Badger [wikipedia.org] page because it was created, and persisted, as a copy-and-paste of the History section of their website [ssbadger.com]. I did notice strange things happening in Lake Express at the time, though...)

    A more difficult issue in Wikipedia is figuring out how many copyright violations are in the encyclopedia. I don't see how it's feasible for every copyright holder to keep tabs of their Wikipedia article(s); that's not very fair to the copyright holder. More distressing, it seems that the art of proper summarization and citation has been lost from the general community in our generation (aged early 30s and younger) for some time.

    With regional, nontechnical and just plain unpopular topics like this, if I (as an editor) don't fix it when I see it, the odds are pretty good no one will fix it. Not to mention I may be introducing some unwanted, commentary-style bias that I'm unaware of. But it always goes back to "unpopular"... unless you have a strong contingent of editors on a particular topic, whether numbering 3 or 30, lightly-traveled topics are just not going to be as good as they could be.

    Regarding having opinions on an encyclopedia... it would be a better place if people just learned how and where to pick their battles. My answer to this [wikipedia.org] is "I really don't give a damn, just pick something; it's not that important!"

  • by Temujin_12 (832986) on Monday August 28, 2006 @02:44PM (#15995814)
    This highlights a more fundamental problem than the fact that Wikipedia is vulnerable to edit wars, and that is people's/company's/political party's disregard for truth. I have a good friend who was part of a recent high-profile gubernatorial race. I was surprised to hear from him that they had to constantly guard the wikipedia page about their candidate as it would constantly be vandalized. Is it just me, or do you also get a kind-of "sick" feeling when you hear about these kind of things? This is especially true when you take a step back and think about what the potential Wikipedia (and other sites like it) holds for improving the lives of people all over the world. When you look at it from this perspective, well written, unbiased articles, in my opinion, hold a certain level of sacredness. And when you see it being defiled you can't help but to feel disgust.

    Now, I know, this example is "small peanuts" in the grand scheme of things. However, it just makes me sick when I see this kind of intentionally malicious behavior focused on something with a primary goal to improve the lives of all.
    • "When you look at it from this perspective, well written, unbiased articles, in my opinion, hold a certain level of sacredness. And when you see it being defiled you can't help but to feel disgust."

      You must be new here. Earth, I mean, not Slashdot.

      Ha ha. Only serious.
  • ... a Lake Express [wikipedia.org] snow (11) [reference.com] storm.

    (Yeah, yeah. I'm _really_ stretching this one.)
  • It's clear that as Wikipedia gains a higher and higher profile, it is and will be abused by those who seek to make money. Just like 90% of all Internet appliances. Why did we let them?
  • by aywwts4 (610966) on Monday August 28, 2006 @03:13PM (#15995997)
    In Manitowoc at least I know there are quite a few tourist locations that depend on car-ferry traffic to survive, when they heard about competition to the badger they many felt quite threatened, The badger represents a rush that makes up most of their visitors, My girlfriend who did tours on the USS Cobia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Cobia [wikipedia.org] Says that the Badger represents about 60% of their traffic when it was in service.

    Manitowoc is a small town, and not exactly a tourist destination in itself, But thanks to the car-ferry which dumps it's passengers right into the downtown, a few things can stay alive that keep your attention for an afternoon. (A few blocks of downtown, an old time ice cream shop, a naval museum with submarine, and an art gallery.) Before they go to Door County (A real tourist area)

    The fact that people are trying to put propaganda into wikipedia doesn't surprise me, and the fact that nobody from Milwaukee probably cares doesn't either. A few hundred people coming on a boat wont exactly make or break their economy, But here its the rush that keeps anything tourist related open.

  • It seems that most Wikipedia arguments are over trifling matters that don't really concern the average reader, for which the truth can probably never be established accurately, or are matters of opinion. Was Copernicus Polish, or German? or Prussian? Are the New Avengers the same as the original Avengers? Etc., etc.

    So why not simply allow the edits to exist simultaneously? When accessing an article, first display a prompt listing the various versions, and allow the viewer to select the one he would like t

  • This is the problem with Wikipedia. You have hundreds of registered users posting FUD about a ferry system. For fuck's sake, those systems cannot be NEARLY as bad as the ferry systems in Corpus Christ/Port Aransas. Reading these Wiki links, then comparing with my real-life experience in ferries further south, I can safely say that these other northern ferries have it fucking EASY. Why they're bitching, nobody knows for sure, but they're bitching, and bitching over what seems to be very trivial matters.

    I
  • "The operators of the SS Badger deny responsibility for all the postings, and also say they aren't Internet savvy enough to alter a Wikipedia article."

    The folks at the SS Badger may not be smart enough to do it themselves, but they sure as heck thought it was a good idea to do it when they first hired their SEO/domain squatter/adwords bottom feeder "consultant" to stir up bad publicity online. This story's a good lesson on what happens when half-brains hire low-class bottom feeder "new economy" douchebag

  • by mattr (78516) <mattr@telebod[ ]om ['y.c' in gap]> on Monday August 28, 2006 @11:57PM (#15998109) Homepage Journal
    Surfed through the edit wars pages and that was interesting though I didn't find the one on chips. It seems that a wiki is by design vulnerable to 1) edit wars and 2) wasting of critical resources, namely the time of authors and administrators, and the perceived reliability of the wiki, by such wars.

    Being a wiki admin I suppose means you are asking for it and shouldn't be surprised at having to arbitrate such battles, but unless the number of admins increases at the same rate as the wiki's articles and readers this is a losing battle. It seems that many of these may be resolved by choosing least common denominator, ignoring the battle and maybe relying on the wiki's search engine a bit more to show related articles.

    How about creating a forking wiki? I am not aware such a thing exists yet. Based on the recognition that unlike a static encyclopedia with a static board of editors and publication date, the wikipedia and other wikis are organic entities and involve people with divergent and yet possibly valid opinions. For example see the wars on UK/US terms, historical interpretation (not revisionism), etc. While the U.S. Wikipedia seems quite cool-headed I don't think that is guaranteed for other languages either.

    So a forking wikipedia would allow each main article to have links to different versions if there is more than one valid one, basically allowing readers to see both sides of the topic. It would be up to an admin to decide on whether a view is valid enough, since it seems that only a small percentage of pages would have more than one view. You would have to ensure somehow that holders of one view do not edit the other in a prolonged war by locking it.

    This sort of functionality might be useful in cases such as description of historical persons and events (e.g. battles), and possibly unpopular but official views held by contemporary governments about history, geography, etc.

Mediocrity finds safety in standardization. -- Frederick Crane

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