back to article Paid Wikipedia-fiddling on wheels

It isn’t just feral estate agents who drape their cars with adverts. Reader James sent us this photo, which you may want to examine more closely if you’re an enthusiastic Wikipedian. The “London Biography Company” purports to boost your reputation on Wikipedia. On its website it claims clients are “FTSE100 CEOs, senior …

Anonymous Coward

I prefer the business of...

reputational mis-management.

"Got competition? A company you want brought to its knees through death by a thousand cuts? Someone in power try to sleep with your wife? We can reputationally mis-manage them for maximum detrimental impact on their business!"

It's amazing how much you can get away with that's negative if it's portrayed in a factual manner backed up with bibliographies no-one checks.

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Re: I prefer the business of...

Dats a verry nice reputation you've got der sir. It would be a shame if something... were to happen to it.. What yous need is protection. If you know what I mean. We're nice guys, and we take care of our friends. You wanna be our friends don't you...?

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Re: I prefer the business of...

@ I ain't Sparticus

I read your comment in the voice of Sgt. Detritus, although I'm sure he's one of the good guys.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I prefer the business of...

Ha! That's exactly what I did!

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Re: I prefer the business of...

I thought Chrysoprase, myself.

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D- Must Try Harder

I'm fairly sure these "reputation management" firms are companies that have extended their existing activities to editing wiki articles for clients, rather than hordes of fed-up amateur wiki editors trying to turn a living on it.

Still, why let reality intrude on an attempt to sling mud at something you don't like. Pity you couldn't work in a way to have a pop at Stephen Fry along the way.

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Alert

Re: D- Must Try Harder

I've yet to come across a company or business with a bad reputation that hadn't earned that bad reputation.

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Re: D- Must Try Harder

"I'm fairly sure these "reputation management" firms are companies that have extended their existing activities to editing wiki articles for clients, rather than hordes of fed-up amateur wiki editors trying to turn a living on it."

There is actually a company called, without the slightest trace of irony, Schillings.

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So

Exactly how much of a scumbag do you have to be to require "reputation management"?

What is the elReg unit of scumbaggery?

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Re: So

"What is the elReg unit of scumbaggery?"

The Nixon?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So

>What is the elReg unit of scumbaggery?

The Trump?

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Re: So

>The Trump?

I would go for the microtrump, since no-one else would ever manage to reach 1 otherwise.

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Re: So

1000 Trumps is a Clinton.

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Re: So

"What is the elReg unit of scumbaggery?"

The Lawyer.

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Re: So

"The Trump?"

That would be the unit of Douchebaggery.

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Re: So

"What is the elReg unit of scumbaggery?"

The Shkreli.

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Coat

Re: So

1000 Trumps is a Clinton.

Trump isn't 1000th of the man Clinton is?

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Re: The Lawyer.

Ooh, downvoted by a lawyer...

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Wrong dialling code

I couldn't trust someone to accurately work on a Wikipedia page when they format their phone number so badly. The (0) is pointless, and London's dialling code is 20, not 207: the local number is 7205 7152 and not 205 7152.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wrong dialling code

The (0) is so common as to be excusable (it's probably an american thing ;-) but I do agree about the 7!

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Re: Wrong dialling code

@dotdan

0207/0208 for London followed on from the 071/081 codes (1990). The old "London" code being "01"

(those of a certain age may remember 01-811-8055). In those days, it was possible to dial a local number without the STD code.

Inner/Outer London - Beattie will explain:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9oJdGaC-wA

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wrong dialling code

No, the format is correct, it is you who are wrong.

+44 - UK

(0) - not required internationally but required in the UK

207 - inner London area (vs 208 - outer London)

205 - local exchange

7152 - number at exchange

But then I remember when it was 01 for London and (just about) when exchanges had names not numbers.

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Re: Wrong dialling code

I couldn't trust someone to accurately work on a Wikipedia page when they format their phone number so badly.

I'm all for pedantry and accuracy but there are good historical and common-practice reasons for formatting a London number in that way. Not to mention that there are a lot better reasons to distrust a wiki-astroturfing outfit than telephone number formatting.

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Re: Wrong dialling code

Marking the zero as ignorable in international dialling (ie, putting it in brackets) is fine, I do it myself if I have to give a number and I'm expecting it to be dialled from outside the UK.

What I don't understand is why you'd write it like that on the side of a vehicle that will probably never leave the M25?

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Re: Wrong dialling code

The BT phone book here tells you what the STD code for London is:

http://www.thephonebook.bt.com/publisha.content/en/search/uk_codes/search.publisha?Search=London+Greater#

The answer is '020'

There is no 'inner' and 'outer' any more. The number that corresponds with what used to be the local exchange is now defined as having four digits, and can start with a 7, or an 8, or indeed a 3 since 2005. So London numbers can be

020 3xxx yyyy

020 7xxx yyyy

020 8xxx yyyy

...and indeed it is expected that all the other digits can be used in that leading position.

Full details of the UK telephone numbering plan are published by Ofcom here:

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/36070/numbering_plan_july2015.pdf

which can be found on this page:

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/information-for-industry/numbering

There is a Wikipedia page dedicated to misconceptions about the numbering plan:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UK_telephone_code_misconceptions

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Re: Wrong dialling code

@Fruit and Nutcase, @AC and @'s water music

I know WHY people get it wrong, but they get it wrong. Just because you get it wrong too, it doesn't make it right!

All the downvotes go to show that there's still work to do. It's only been the case for 15 years - you'll get there eventually! Type a London phone number into your Android or iPhone: it'll put the correct spacing onscreen for you. Ditto Leeds (yes I know it used to be 0532 xxxxxx, but those old numbers are 0113 2xx xxxx now, NOT 01132 xxxxxx).

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Re: Wrong dialling code / confused

I always thought STD stood for something else... or does that mean I can get the clap when I misdial?

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Trollface

Re: Wrong dialling code

Is no one going to post the number from The IT Crowd?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wrong dialling code

Just because a new fangled device formats a particular way doesn't mean its right! The 0207/0208 format has evolved for a historical reason so just because you millennials don't understand anything that you can't type into a phone doesn't mean its wrong!

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Re: Wrong dialling code

In these days of VoIP it's even more meaningless, I have an 0203 number I can use in London, Bristol, or Cairo equally well

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Re: Wrong dialling code

Just because a new fangled device formats a particular way doesn't mean its right!

New fangled devices, BT, OFCOM, 1995's PhONEday campaign, 2000's Big Number Change campaign and Wikipedia's article as linked above are right. You're not.

Pick up any London phone, try dialling your version of a 7-digit local number: it won't work. It'll only work if you dial it correctly as an 8-digit number, or if you superfluously dial the 020 code before the 8-digit local number.

If you really think that 0207 is inner London and 0208 is outer London, could you point out on any map where 0203 is?

The 0207/0208 format has evolved for a historical reason

It has: the historical reason is because some people do not understand how the 020 format actually works. It is perpetuated because those people, even though wrong, insist that they are right without either proof or use of logic.

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Re: Wrong dialling code

London's area code is (020) domestically, or "+4420" internationally. The next eight digits are the subscriber number, and the first digit of this has no geographical significance, and there are three ranges in use at present: 7xxx xxxx, 8xxx xxxx and 3xxx xxxx.

The distinction only matters if you're phoning from another fixed line number within London; from a mobile, you always have to dial the destination area code, so it's fine.

The confusion is a legacy of the decade-long manoeuvring of London's phone-numbers in the UK's wholesale reinvention of its numbering plan between 1990 and 2000. From 1990, there were indeed two area codes (071) and (081) which changed to (0171) and (0181) in 1995 before finally being merged back into (020) in 2000.

On "Swap Shop", the (01) 811-8055 number was specially set up for the BBC by the Post Office a year into Swap Shop's run to reduce the number of mis-dials. They picked "811" as it was the most numerically-distant exchange code from existing London exchanges (when entered on a phone-dial). The original "call the BBC" number was (01) 288-8055 [yes, I did have to look that up]. After the 1990 London split, the number became (081) 811 8181, but that was long after my days of getting up early on a Saturday.

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Their editor numbers have plummetted.

Most of it is now done by turd polishing bots. Conversions of foreign language pages by AI with less intelligence than a log of wood. Scaping of gazette databases "Xstan is a village in Iran with 5 familes. The head man is very nice." Scraping from sports almanacs "Joesph Blight played football with Tesco under 21's in the 3rd division of the Truro league for two games in 1972"

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Joke

Re: Their editor numbers have plummetted.

So pretty much as it was, with less vandalism?

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Not Smart

They can't be doing that well - they're stuck on the old model Smart with the rock hard suspension and the interesting transmission. You'd think a reputation management company would spring for a Twingo in Smart branding because, after all, that's part of the business model.

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Re: Not Smart

THANK YOU.

On one hand, it's good to see that you're not getting ripped off, paying for some stupid bastard's flash M3 or whatever.

On the other hand, if you're selling "reputation", there's a distinct possibility that driving a useless, underpowered tin can isn't helping your cause. I mean, if you don't know what a twit you look in that, how much can you know about improving your customers' reputations?

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Joke

Re: Not Smart

"driving a useless, underpowered tin can"

For driving in London? How much power do you need? Is it measured in horse power or cyclist power? Or some smaller unit that's more usable?

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No surprise, but...

Here's my experience:

I've been trying for several years to have a biography published on Wikipedia of someone who had a very long and influential career in video gaming, worked for almost every big name you can think of, has a very important patent and is the engineering leader of many of the most popular games you ever heard of in the past. You know, the person who makes the games actually work.

And that's the short list of his achievements. He is also very well known and respected inside the industry.

Yet it was rejected every time I tried to submit it with vague reasons given no matter how many times I rewrote it and scrupulously followed their guidelines.

He finally had to resort to paying someone to get it published.

I have no love for Wikipedia.

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Marketing Moron Meddling

... That's my term for the assassination of facts for the sake of some fool's benefit. Marketing Morons (as opposed to Marketing Mavens) have contempt for those consuming the products they sell. In this case the Marketing Morons are selling propaganda, that ancient form of destroying people's ability to think sanely by way of aggressively shoving lies up their spinal column.

Marketing Morons are part of the core of self-destructive biznizziz, aka parasitic pseudo-capitalism.

I've contributed information, money and editing at Wikipedia for years. Crap like the disinformation described in the article is expected. People's reputations aren't only inflated into circus balloons, they're also destroyed at Wikipedia. I've don't plenty of recovery, helping out people attacked by dickheads and trolls who are out to hurt them in the net. It's a factor of open technology. Cleaning out this form of human defecation is a pleasure.

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DrM
Paris Hilton

New article needed?

Sounds like a Wikipedia article is needed, a bio for London Biography Company?

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Holmes

“For that reason I don’t talk to the press.”

Hmm... don't talk to the press because it's all above board, but for some reason people think it isn't?

That makes me feel so much happier about it.

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