Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wikipedia and attribution

This article on Wikipedia authors editing entries relevant to them made me think; I've edited my father's entry (though that was a while ago, and someone else has been at it since) and thought nothing of it, because I was in possession of better facts. But that's not the only question -- sometimes you want to know the source. Google News is in the news itself for soliciting reactions from subjects of stories, but at least it's clear who's speaking there. My thoughts on Wiki-attribution are unformed, but perhaps anonymity and neutral point of view cannot always coexist.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wikipedia relies on people to voluntarily provide information on the topic. People will only do that when they have a motivation, which will impart their internal biases. The fewer posters, the more likely it will be one sided. Simple solution is to learn to live with it. Expect a post on a business will have been modified by the business, because it is in their ineterst to do so. Expect that a post by a person will be modified by themselves or friends and family if its glowing, or by enemies if its hostile.

Ana Aman said...

Wikipedia is a good source for quick information but not always very reliable.
Anyway did you ask the person who modify for the source of his information? You should look in the history of the page and see exactly who's contributing to the entry.

Rebecca Tushnet said...

To Ana Aman: I didn't check the source, because I didn't see anything obviously wrong with the revisions. Which is a cautionary tale of its own, for people who use Wikipedia but don't have independent knowledge -- plenty of things can be wrong without being obviously wrong.

Anonymous said...

I would like to endorse most of the comments above.

One of the biggest problems with Wikipedia that I have discovered is that its policies and administration in dealing with disputations or allegations has little to desire and breaches the principle of natural justice and a ncomplaintants right to privacy.

If you seek to edit an article to provide what you consider is a balance to the issues/comments published more often or not you are subjected to a campaign of harassment and villification by those that want to prevent the information you consider should be included in the article being published, Even if you go to the labor intensive effort of providing full citation and references and quotations backing up the information you wish to include. You are most likely to be subjected to persistent harassment and at times a gang-attack. Those involved have friends and contacts and they find a sympathetic Administrator who has a built in bias selectively applies a block to your account and forces you into going though a process of further breaches of your privicy and denial of natural justice as you now have to prove your innocence, the more complain the more you are subjected to vilification. (Aim to shame complaintants into not comlaining and not consitibuting) te process adopted by Wikipedia is equivalent to being locked in stocks and those that you have been defending attacks against are permitted to join in and throw fruit and insults at you whilst you are denied the right to a proper defence or review.

Administrators reviewing the cases are more often then not associated or have a working relationship with the initial administrator approached by your critics to intervene.

In one such case there were over six administrators who all decided that they could opt-in, there is no random appointment process any adminstrator can pikup a case under review) they can make determinations even though they had not actually made any real assessment of the facts or sought an explanation or further information by the complaintant. There is no due process in a civilised or just maner.

Complaints are not dealt with in a confidential fashion and the person making the complaint is assumed to be the villain and not a victim.

There is no natural justice or professionalism in the way on which cases are reviewed.

Unless your fairly persistent, or your have friends in high places, there is no way on which you will receive a fair and unbiased review.

If you persist by asserting your position then the administrators label you the victim a vandal or claim someone other offence which is designed to prevent any complaints form proceeding beyond the first unjust intervention.

The process of review is akin to shopping around to find a court/judge you know to back your side.

It could be that a class action is exactly what is needed top bring Wikipedia account for what is a seriously lacking in their administration.

Wikipedia does not have qualified privilege and must respect the rights and dignity of all aggrieved parties ad not subject then to a unjust, unfair trial by mob rule.