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German Wikipedia Has Problems With Paid Editing — and Threats of Violence 55

metasonix (650947) writes "As German journalist Marvin Oppong learned recently, there are a number of people who work to make articles about certain corporations and trade groups on German Wikipedia 'look better.' And when Oppong published his discoveries, one reaction was an openly violent threat, aimed at him, posted on de-WP's 'Kurier' noticeboard. Just as with English Wikipedia, it is apparently a 'terrible crime' to criticize German Wikipedia, even when Jimbo Wales's 'bright line' rule on paid editing is being violated. Unlike English WP, the Germans will threaten to 'curbstone' people for saying it."
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German Wikipedia Has Problems With Paid Editing — and Threats of Violence

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  • by Chacham ( 981 )

    Wouldn't it be more appropriate to give the Wikipedia [] link for Marvin Oppong [] (English []?

  • German wikipedia sucks. Just sayin'.
    • Wikipedia jumped the shark a long time ago. Now it is just evil. Still useful, but very very evil.

  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by buchner.johannes ( 1139593 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @11:12AM (#46694343) Homepage Journal

    One person said something mean in a comment thread. Shocking! This is not the climate of the family-friendly internet I grew up with!

    Seriously, a death threat is only relevant if it was specific and realistic threat.

    • One person said something mean in a comment thread. Shocking!

      There is much more than that! The author also made these shocking discoveries:

      1. Some people try to make themselves look good.
      2. People will do things in exchange for money.

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      Have you read the Wiki pages of Google or Rush Limbagh? Clearly written by shills. Have you seen the responses when one talks negatively about Google. Personal attacks are very common. This is little new, but the solution when certain agents have money to burn to create a very crafted images, is elusive.
  • But oh my gosh! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rmdingler ( 1955220 )
    Are these miscreants aware of the damage they could do to Wiki's journalistic integrity?

    Wikipedia: when you want to say you fact checked , but you don't have time to do it properly.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm sorry, but you can find threats of violence on the English Wikipedia, and other less blatantly unsavory conduct, which is even worse in its way, since it's not so easy to reject.

    Threatening violence is easy enough to recognize. Other forms of manipulative conduct can be harder to spot and more difficult to expunge.

  • s/the Germans/some assclown on his iphone at a berlin pub/
  • Curbstone (Score:3, Funny)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @11:43AM (#46694731) Journal

    > "Germans will threaten to 'curbstone' people for saying it"

    Pick your punchline:

    1. I'm gonna have to look that up on Wikipedia.
    2. Well, that's an improvement over a gas chamber anyway.
    3. I found a curbstone in Elder Scrolls Online and was wondering wat it was for.

  • Wikipedia is not completely opposed to paid edited. Here's a conversation I had with someone from Wikipedia:

    From: Me
    To: Wikipedia

    I just saw this ad for a freelancer pop up ( and thought that you might be interested in blocking the requested entries.


    From: Wikipedia
    To: Me

    Paid editing is not prohibited but it is certainly not encouraged. At the moment the best I can do is to post a message on the Conflict of Interest N

    • Hmm, astroturfing? Or someone wanting to get someone else to do all the leg work for their end-of-semester paper?

      • Not at all. This is a legitimate line of traffic between Wikipedia and me. I probably should have deleted the ad link, but it didn't cross my mind at the time. Unfortunately, I can not edit my entry so there it is... Out of curiosity, how could this be used to get someone to do my end-of-semester paper? For grins, I teach at a college; I am not a student there.
        • I had actually assumed such, I was only suggesting that the job-offer came from someone wanting to astroturf Wikipedia. Or... Want to do a paper on NODWIN? Too honest/untrusting to just pay someone else to do it? Well you can still hire them to do the background research for you and summarize it nicely to at least Wikipedia-grade quality, with the added bonus that on the off-chance that your professor does a cursory background check themselves their primary source will probably be the one you commissioned

          • Hmm, as a second thought - it could also be a potential investor or employee. It's probably a lot cheaper to commission an honest article on Wikipedia than to hire a consultant/investigator to gather similar information for you.

          • Gotcha. I see what you were saying. I read it as you thought I was astroturfing or something else. I guess reading comments (I know, I know, don't read the comments) on sites makes me assume that everyone's on the attack.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The german Wikipedia has more a problem with Blockwart-Administrators. I guess on the english version it's the same with "administrators".

    Everyone understands what the term means, why it is there, but you cannot edit it in anywhere, they will exterminate it asap.

    Wikipedia kills itself, I had edits in the article about "Lightsabers" (well, just the german one) reverted where I made the sentences read better (nothing else and the originals were clunky). If people spend ti

    • by rossdee ( 243626 )

      "Wikipedia kills itself, I had edits in the article about "Lightsabers"

      Wouldn't that be Lightsabres ? Saber is american

    • I had some German student revert an edit I made about the second largest carnival in the UK (second only to notting hill) - I was on the council committee that organized the dam thing and was in charge on one of the events that had 1000 participants and over 200k spectators - I just gave up with wikipedia after that.
  • by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @12:24PM (#46695115)
    " Unlike English WP, the Germans will threaten to 'curbstone' people for saying it."

    Yeah because all german are like that. *eyeroll*. Or alternatively one or two scums doing it for paid money saw the danger of their revenue evaporating, or even more likely, one or two idiot thought it to be fun to threaten that guy.
    • Careful. You came dangerously close to criticizing Wikipedia there. If you had then as per Section 34 (1), WikiG I would have been legally required to threaten to curbstone you. For your convenience I have appended a translation of the relevant article to this post.

      Section 34 Defense of Wikipedia's Honor
      (1) If any German citizen becomes aware that Wikipedia is
      1. criticized;
      2. ridiculed;
      3. slighted;
      4. compared to Hitler or
      5. mentioned by or in the same sentence as an Axel Springer AG publication
    • This quote is more than an overgeneralisation. To me it's definitely on the verge of open racism.
      You doubt? Just replace "Germans" with "Arabs"...

    • Err have you seen the politics having a riot on may day is normal in Germany - instead of say in the USA and UK being seen as an aberration
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Original German: "Ein geistiger Tiefflieger, er soll aufpassen, dass er nicht mit dem Kinn am Borstein hängen bleibt".

    Translation: "A mental low-flyer (i.e., low-flying plane), he has to take care that his chin doesn't snag the curb".

    The statement is that this guy's head / brain is flying so low that any obstacle become insurmount-able, even the curbstone. It's a big stretch to see this as a threat of violence.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      That's what I thought at first. However, see comment above: [] "You need to know that Oppong is black, and that the editor who made the comment has an 88 attached to his name. 88 is a neo-nazi code for Heil Hitler (HH, the eighth letter of the alphabet, twice). Curbstomping gained notoriety in Germany after neo-nazi youths used the method some years ago to execute a 16-year-old in East Germany." If someone with an 88 at the end of his user name made a comment about my chin h
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Taking the articles into account in which the editor is involved, I'd be very surprised if that 88 doesn't have a less conspicuous origin. I can see how the meaning of the quote may be lost in translation, but it clearly means what the other AC explained: It's just an elaborate way of saying "that guy is a complete idiot". It's an insult, not a threat.

  • I'll start to worry about the German Wikipedia when a swastika appears on the main page and the those who threaten to curbstone other editors resort to more Gestapo tactics. Then we'll know that they have fully returned to their old ways. Until then, I won't lose any sleep.

  • So, to summarize:

    1) it appears from the threads on this post that many Slashdotters find it acceptable for corporate paid editors to mess openly with Wikipedia articles.

    2) and, it's similarly perfectly acceptable for anonymous Wikipedia editors to threaten people who uncover these schemes.

    3) plus, Oppong is black, and the threat involved "curb stomping", a very ugly act of violence that white "skinheads" are fond of doing to their enemies. As Oppong noted, it was seen being done (by a white racist,
    • First, metasonix, as you get so agitated about this and looking at your posting history, can we assume you are Marvin Oppong himself.

      Second, as has been pointed out here as well as in the comments to the article you cite for the threat (which only gives your ... uh ... Marvin's shortening of the threat instead of the full line), the full line in question is

      "Ein geistiger Tiefflieger, er soll aufpassen, dass er nicht mit dem Kinn am Borstein hängen bleibt."
      Translation (thanks to an AC) "A mental low-fly

      • 1) No, I am not Oppong. I did partly assist him with the publication of his Wikipediocracy article. That is all.

        2) I don't read German and so am not privy to much of what happens on de-WP. But Wikipediocracy has a couple of regulars who follow de-WP, and they tell us that even though it is better run overall than en-WP, it has major problems with "cranks" pushing extreme viewpoints. Also, many of the worst users on Wikimedia Commons, who fight any controls over adult content tooth and nail (resulting in
        • by WoOS ( 28173 )

          > Are you "Giftzwerg 88"? Because your furious spluttering reminds me of him.

          No, I am not. But would you be so kind to explain the inconsistency of that comment above (refering to a German commentor on Wikipedia) and
          > I don't read German

          I find it ironic that someone posting news on slashdot about an article about conflicts of interest does not reveal that he himself has one as coauthor of the mentioned article. And defends quoting out of context by bashing people pointing it out as "nitpickers".

  • by BillX ( 307153 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @11:49PM (#46701657) Homepage

    The 'threats of violence' thing appears to be a naive misunderstanding of German, if not an intentionally sensationalist one: have a look at the comment by user "Required" following the article, which explains the original German idiom.

    The actual "curbstone" quote in question is:
    "Ein geistiger Tiefflieger, er soll aufpassen, dass er nicht mit dem Kinn am Bor[d]stein hÃngen bleibt."

    It's not a threat to curbstomp anyone, but a colorful insult that loosely translates as "someone with such a low-flying intellect, they have to watch out for curbstones lest they hit their chin on one". Indeed, Google auto-translates it as:

    "A spiritual low-flying aircraft, he should be careful that he does not hang with the chin on the curb."

  • essentially the mods are dickheads and there is a debate about every 2nd article if it meets the importance criteria as if they had to fit the whole think on a single floppy and need to save bytes.

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