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The Register Exposes More Wikipedia Abuse 524

Posted by Zonk
from the it's-the-internet-how-could-there-not-be-drama dept.
cyofee writes "The Register has up another article exposing abuse of Wikipedia's policies and processes. It tells a tale of a man, Gary Weiss, controlling the Wikipedia article about himself and his enemies (one of Wikipedia's biggest taboos) all under the blessing of the Wikipedia Cabal. A man who attempted to expose the affair on Wikipedia, along with his his entire IP range (some 1000 homes), was permanently blocked. This comes only days after the affair of the Secret Mailing list."
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The Register Exposes More Wikipedia Abuse

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2007 @11:36AM (#21612703)
  • by Sockatume (732728) on Friday December 07, 2007 @11:36AM (#21612707)
    This sort of stuff happens all the time, the only difference here is that somebody's decided to sell the idea to the general public as a devious "Wikipedia elite" rather than a couple of administrators with personal axes to grind. I notice there was no reference to using Wikipedia's own complaint processes to try and resolve the issue - just the usual edit, edit, get blocked, complain about it on your blog pattern.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2007 @11:47AM (#21612885)
    I've seen entire /26s blocked by idiot moderators on Wikipedia, it happened once because I didn't register and undid vandalism that was being done by a registered user. They actually banned me for massive vandalism, then I skipped ips since they are dynamically assigned from my isp, in response for this, "use of sockpuppets," they banned the entire /26, and when it was pointed out how fucking retarded the entire situation was, they declared that I should register or expect this.

    Wikipedia is entirely untrustworthy and run by a bunch of blooming wackos with no concept of reality.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday December 07, 2007 @11:58AM (#21613061)

    News flash! The Register has less credibility than Wiki, if only for this idiotic smear job.

    I'd mod you Troll -1, had I mod points today. The credibility of The Register, which has a reputation years long, is not in question with me.

  • Re:All or nothing (Score:5, Informative)

    by dtobias (262347) <dan@tobias.name> on Friday December 07, 2007 @11:59AM (#21613087) Homepage
    Speaking as one of the people who was quoted in the article with critical comments about Wikipedia's leadership and policy, I'm certainly not out to "destroy" Wikipedia. I still like Wikipedia, use it as a reference all the time, and enjoy editing it (and hope they don't ban me for saying critical stuff about it). What I don't like is the attitude of certain cliques there, and I hope that articles like this lead to some reform that cuts off their power without destroying the site itself.
  • by owlnation (858981) on Friday December 07, 2007 @12:11PM (#21613273)

    Look, stories like this are seriously hurting The Register's credibility, and now Slashdot's as well for reposting this nonsense credulously.
    Wrong on two levels.

    1. The Register -- what credibility?
    2. Nonsense? -- Stories like this are essential - it's called "freedom of the press". Obviously some Wikipedians don't like that sort of vandalism... um, I mean thing.

    At least The Register (for all its many faults) and Slashdot do attempt to get the truth about Wikipedia out there. That's very important, considering the kind of people who appear to be running Wikipedia.
  • by Chairboy (88841) on Friday December 07, 2007 @12:16PM (#21613353) Homepage
    I've been accused of being part of the 'cabal' because I'm an administrator who pissed off a bunch of people last year, and have on-again off-again been hounded by characters who keep baying conspiracy and trying to get folks worked into a lather.

    Until now, I assumed that people would be able to properly set the bozo bit on these guys, but now that they've gotten The Register convinced, it's time for the big secret to come out:

    We (the Wikipedia admins) aren't competent enough to form a conspiracy. Seriously. We all have our own agendas, our own skillsets, varying levels of intelligence, and wildly different ideas on how the project should run. Accusing us of having the ability to form a global star-chamber of sorts that seeks to control the nature of truth is like accusing us of keeping the metric system down or making Steve Gutenberg a star.

    We're just editors with some extra tools, and we fight like rabid cats.

    But thanks for the compliment.
  • by joeszilagyi (635484) on Friday December 07, 2007 @12:35PM (#21613639)
    Go to:

    * http://www.wikipediareview.com [wikipediareview.com] WR is a forum that is populated by a mix of Wikipedia administrators posting openly, regular users, and a few "banned" users. Unfortunately, the Wikipedia 'elite' routinely badmouth the holy hell out of the WR forums because of the fact that "banned" users are allowed. Also, the Wikipedia "BADSITES [wikipedia.org]" final solution (which is still active--disregard that rejected notice, its just been implemented anyway), was a direct revenge response against Wikipedia Review and similar sites that the Wikipedia leaders have no ability to silence or control in any way.

    * http://www.wikitruth.info [wikitruth.info] Wikitruth is a private Wiki, which is ran by a variety of actual Wikipedia administrators, who post deleted content from Wikipedia and other insider information. Wikipedia HATES Wikitruth, almost as much as they hate Wikipedia Review, but are both helpless and powerless against them. Why? Because anything posted to Wikipedia is posted under the GFDL, and you can't de-GFDL Wikipedia content. Wikipedia just "chooses" not to display deleted content as an editorial decision. Oops.

    Go to Wikipedia Review for frank and uncensored discussion about Wikipedia. Yes, some lunatics and social and/or mental defectives live there; the same as on the Slashdot comments. But a frightening number of smart and eloquent people post there. Those are the ones that Wikipedia is truly frightened of, because they can't be controlled or stopped. Go to Wikitruth for the best insider dirt.

    I'm sure someone will mod me down as flame bait, or trolling, or someone who edits Wikipedia will be along to troll me. However, isn't it funny how whenever this sort of thing happens, you *cannot* get a straight answer out of the Wikipedia "executives"? It's always spin control, and damage control, sadly. Irresponsible.

  • by joeszilagyi (635484) on Friday December 07, 2007 @12:48PM (#21613845)
    Its really not a giant conspiracy, Cyde. It's a pretty hamfisted bunch of tiny little ones, which makes it even worse. Especially as the scale of things they're willing to go to war over is pretty tiny and pathetic.

    Nice signature quote, by the way. Did you know they're gearing up for pre-production for a sequel? Last I read they're just buttoning down the funding.

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Friday December 07, 2007 @12:52PM (#21613911) Homepage Journal
    But we've known THAT all along, right? Everyone has an agenda and whether or not they know it is irrelevant; their bias will show in their work. Take your research from several different sources and go see with your own eyes if you're really that interested.

    On a side note, we need the same level of transparency into our Governments that we're currently seeing in Wikipedia. There were shenanigans going on, but those shenanigans were exposed for anyone who bothered to look for them. Opensecrets.org is a good start, but it doesn't really offer the same level of governmental shenanigans-catching.

  • by Animats (122034) on Friday December 07, 2007 @01:30PM (#21614449) Homepage

    Ugh. Now that I've read the Wikipedia article on "naked short selling", I'm probably going to have to edit it. It doesn't mention some of the real problems. "Naked short selling" creates fake stock, which is then purchased and owned by someone. And they can vote that stock. This can lead to more votes than there are shares outstanding.

    The fake stock created by naked short selling is supposed to be replaced by buying real stock within 13 days. But that's not always happening. "Overstock.com" has had such fake stock outstanding for years, more fake stock than they actually have outstanding.

    Here's a New York Times article [nytimes.com] that discusses the issue. Forbes [forbes.com] has also written about this.

    The top stocks with fake stock outstanding for long periods [mcmaster.ca] are:

    • Overstock.com
    • Martha Stewart
    • Netflix
    • Blockbuster
    • Delta Airlines
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2007 @01:53PM (#21614747)
    Just added a simple reference on Wikipedia about the Register article as an anonymous user. As an outside observer with no axe to grind I wondered how long it would be beofre it was modified. It took 11 minutes. Once the reference was removed the article was "protected" from modification until next year.

    Was removed by an IP 209.200.52.180 that is somewhere in NYC. The same IP has made dozens of edits just like the article states. Looks like foul play to me when you simply remove a factual reference because it brings light to bad behavior.

    Overstock.com page on Wikipedia (my edits from 68.34.73.97): http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Overstock.com&action=history [wikipedia.org]
    All edits from 209.200.52.180: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/209.200.52.180 [wikipedia.org]

    The anonymous edits from that IP are numerous. In my book if you do that much editing you should have an account. I maybe touch one or two articles a year (maybe) so just add anonymously. I do not remove or correct information anonymously, as that is ass-hattery (in fairness, I have corrected some bad spelling and/or small grammar slips).

    Looks to me from all the recent press that Wikipedia is just like the rest of the world: full of partisanship, feuds and corruption.

    Won't get my donations.

  • by sl3xd (111641) * on Friday December 07, 2007 @02:30PM (#21615305) Journal
    Being from the salt lake valley (where overstock.com is headquartered), I know a few people who used to work there.

    Used to is the operative word. They weren't let go; they quit. And the reason is always the same: Rampant nepotism.

    When a relatively new (and incompetent) person is promoted, and a highly experienced and trained person is passed by, it raises an eyebrow. When the reason the person was promoted is they are a niece/nephew, it's a different story entirely.

    It's not any one branch of the company - it seems systemic, from management, to sales, to marketing, to IT.

    And there's a slow exodus of the people who actually have talent, which are then replaced by relatives...

    With that kind of corporate culture-- promoting illegal hiring and promotion practices, it's not hard to see how overstock.com can have management that isn't willing to see any of their own problems. Being oblivious to their own problems, they decide to try to put blame on external sources - be it Wikipedia, financial institutions, etc.

    That being said, I would like to see more transparency on Wikipedia.

    And I certainly feel that blanket IP address bans are a bad thing. Banning people whose only 'crime' against wikipedia is belonging to the same ISP as someone who is a problem is not something I'd expect.

    I really do think that Wikipedia should consider more thorough authentication mechanisms -- like requiring a crypto certificate from an authority that verifies identity; however this is an expensive and time-consuming process. But it should help reduce the sock-puppet effect.
  • Re:Unsurprisingly... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Achromatic1978 (916097) <{robert} {at} {chromablue.net}> on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:06PM (#21616649)

    especially as Wikipedia has hit so high in its search rankings seeing as it's essentially one gigantic fucking linkfarm (that gives out no bump to anyone else now that they implemented external-link "nofollow" tags).

    Not entirely correct. There is a policy in place that allows Wikia - Jimbo's for-profit enterprise - links, to not be "nofollow"ed, and gain the benefit of Wikipedia's PageRank. Funny, that. If you go look at Wikipedia's entries on Family Guy, too, you'll see another interesting practice - great swathes of things been "not-notable" transwiki'd to Wikia, where ads on each and every page generate Jimbo income. Almost every single link on the Family Guy entries now point to Jimbo's Wikia.

  • Of course, Mr Cyde Weys [wikipedia.org] a very early administrator, and one viewed by many to be one of the cabal, if not at least definitely "inner circle" material, may not be your most neutral debater in this issue.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:24PM (#21620599)
    "You see? The problem is that the buyer of the shorted stock can't vote the stock if the trade fails. That is because the stock doesn't exist, and it doesn't exist because nobody but the board of the company in question can create more stock. You can't create "fake" stock just by shorting it. That is why it is possible to sell more than a company's float via naked shorting.
    "

    What a bunch of crap. There is hard evidence posted from FOIA requests from the SEC and analysis of proxy voting records that prove that illegal naked short selling is occurring along with companies having more than 100% of the total shares outstanding voted in corporate proxy votes. The receiving broker has no idea if the shares credited in a computerized book entry are legitimate or phantom shares in their customers account and no incentive to uncover the facts if so interested. You are correct when you state:

    "You can't create "fake" stock just by shorting it."

    It is created by intentionally failing to deliver illegally naked shorted shares often using the market maker's exemption. It is nice that you tout the WikiNazi party line, but the facts are much more convincing in this argument.

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