back to article Jimbo Wales dumps lover on Wikipedia

On one level, it's an encyclopedia. On another, it's The Comedy of Errors. Over the weekend, in response to a story from Valleywag, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy "Jimbo" Wales used the world's most popular online encyclopedia as a means of dumping his girlfriend - onetime Fox News pundit Rachel Marsden. Marsden responded by …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Andy Worth

    *chuckle*

    Sorry, I just had to quote.....

    "With his post, Wales also says that none of this should affect the trust you have in him or his encyclopedia. "I care deeply about the integrity of Wikipedia, and take very seriously my responsibilities as a Member of the Board and as a member of the Wikipedia community. I would never knowingly do anything to compromise that trust.""

    Does anyone actually HAVE any trust in Wikipedia any more? I was under the impression that it was little better than an online cult these days, run by its "SS" admins.

  2. heystoopid
    Joke

    Ah

    Ah a faux political commentator , not really the best job description of some one would ever want to boast about ! , should the long overdue winds of change sweep through the nation like a long overdue enema to silence the printing presses paying the bills so as to speak and the boss hogs in the feeding trough !

    So far given the current lot in the Faux New York office , one blonde thinks Canada had sent it's army overseas in the sixties to fight in Vietnam and others appear to routinely rewrite history on a regular basis to suit the insane red neck argument of the day (remember the initial false reporting in Florida in 2000 before the official results were from the New York Office or the so called fictional Portland Oregon Riots in 2001 and the doctored news lists pushed out by the Faux Propaganda machine is er well very extensive indeed)

    Meanwhile the netizens have submitted numerous clips on the tubes taking apart the crafted propaganda that Faux claims to be the news that is fair and unbalanced and bent as hell it self !

    As to who is the Faux Propaganda that purports to political comment or the man that runs the semi netizens reference machine , but please don't ask me because I don't really care either way , nor do I suspect at least more than 42 of your loyal fans do as well !

    Say that's a cool idea , a poll with five questions who is winning

    a/ jimbo

    b/ the ex

    c/ don't really care

    d/ it's only more Faux propaganda !

    e/ two losers

  3. Smallbrainfield
    Coat

    I think most of the people willing to bid on the t-shirt

    will be more interested if Rachel Marsden has washed it after wearing it.

    *pervs*

  4. Matt
    Paris Hilton

    My page on Wiki

    I haven't actually got a page there, but if I did, I think sleeping with Jimbo, while apparently effective, is a price I'm not willing to pay in order to get a more positive report!

    Paris, because her opinion might differ :-)

  5. LaeMi Qian Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    To quote Aust. Radio/TV announcerJohn Blackman

    "Like meatloaf through a straw... these are the days of our lives"

    Having read the article makes me feel all dirty as I haven't felt since I stopped reading my mum's New Idea or Woman's Weekly magazines many decades ago (the latter is actually published monthly for over a decade now here in Aust. but I guess calling it 'Woman's Monthly' was out... then again, considering the severe cramps I get in my frontal lobes from reading the cover at the supermarket checkout.........)

    Even my mum gave up reading them long ago.

    Please don't do this again. Even the opportunity to to mock-a-pedia is not worth enduring knowledge of these people's tiny tiny lives!

  6. DrXym Silver badge

    What is it with the Register and Wikipedia?

    The Register seems to really dislike Wikipedia. It seems virtually every single article including this one is deliberately negative and invents some irrelevant, baseless or distorted reason to have a go at the site. I have to wonder what the hell Wikipedia did to deserve all this.

    Any community edited site is going to have issues but by and large Wikipedia has been an astounding success.

  7. Nicholas McGee
    Heart

    Is there a page on El Reg or (God forbid) WikiPedia

    Re. the reason why The Register hates WikiPedia so much, and the reason it continues to put such an effort into it, for those who need to be caught up to speed?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    meh

    Don't want to be too negative, but really this story makes Reg Towers look like the Hello! - or worse, the Zoo/ Nuts - of the IT world. Yes he's a bit weird, yes his pet project is a bit of a joke/ cynically partial/ has secret plans to take over the world, but really, this kind of gossip is surely beneath El Reg?

  9. citizenx

    Pathetic

    Pair of big kids!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I don't care

    why do you?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rachel's wiki entry

    Having just read Rachel's wiki entry, I think I would have been tempted to steer well clear!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only on the interwebs...

    Would drama arise over a chick that looks like that...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Making sure white stains

    Surely it's extremely unwise to enter into any kind of personal relationship with a journalist or writer; I would have expected more wisdom from someone as sharp as Jimmy Wales.

  14. Antony Riley
    Thumb Down

    If I wanted to read Valleywag

    I would go and read valleywag, not el reg. (or read BBC news which is nearly as bad these days).

    tyvm.

  15. James Dyer

    no title

    What amazes me is that people are bidding, and well, on ebay for these things...Just goes to prove that you can sell anything on ebay (if you're sad enough).

  16. Dunstan Vavasour
    Go

    IT

    Well, I think that this falls well within the sociological impact of IT which the Reg should be covering. If you want some puffed up, self important website which religiously regurgitates manufacturer's press releases, there are plenty of alternative outlets.

    I value the Reg for its eclectic range of stories, highly subjective analyses of them and generally iconoclastic tone. You don't have to read every story - if you think this one is beneath you, just pass it by.

  17. Stone Fox
    Coat

    @ DrXym & AC

    Wikipedia is without doubt a huge part of the IT world and one of the most clicked on websites going.

    The reason the register keep writing about it DrXym, is that it's a joke. A well known, well published joke and everyone already knows the punchline. If they stopped behaving like a bunch of power-hungry adolescent twats they might attract less negative publicity.

    And @ AC, no, I don't agree with your opinion that this is decending towards "hello", this is a valid story with an IT angle that if you can't see than I'd question both your intelligence and your ability to find 'IT' with two hands a flashlight! Hello??? One of the most popular sites innapropriately used for dumping of girlfriend by founder? One of the most famous idiots in IT today acting like a pratt?

    It seems the only times I ever post here are in reply to stupid and ill considered comments by other people, if I can't find something original to post myself maybe it's time I got my coat....

    It's the black leather one with the bile umbrella!

  18. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Funny

    Funny stuff, this Web 2.0 thingie, really ... Can't dump any chick without it being spilled all over the place ...

    Also, as others have noted, I really wonder why Wales, who, as per the article, had read Marsden bio on WP, went into the relationship. He surely knew how it would end up ? Or doesn't he trust WP at all ?

    PH icon since it's sex-related.

  20. Joel

    That's the point

    "I would have expected more wisdom from someone as sharp as Jimmy Wales."

    If the twit weren't duller than a butter knife, he'd ignored whatever was being said and done the right thing.

  21. Gav
    Paris Hilton

    Trashy story

    So this guy has been going out with this girl for like, a month, and then they broke up. In the course of breaking up some bottom feeding scandal rag has stuck its oar in. It's a bit of a mess and everyone looks a bit foolish.... including The Register for delving into this intrusion into other people's private lives.

    All I can see here is the usual complications of getting involved with someone through your work. It happens all the time, it can present difficulties, Wales handled it as well as anyone else would have. How he handles the breakup of a short-term relationship, however, is scarcely anyone else business and we're unlikely to get an unbiased summary from anyone.

    Being someone important in Wikipedia doesn't mean you never have a messy love life sometimes. Being someone important in Wikipedia doesn't mean it's everyone's business.

  22. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  23. Alex

    @DrXym

    I refer you to the text in the top left corner of the page you are currently reading.

    As for inventing "irrelevant, baseless or distorted reason[s] to have a go at the site", if you simply go to a Wikipedia article mentioned on The Register and click the 'discussion' tab, I think you'll find reason in spades.

    Success=/=Quality

  24. Alex

    Here's the bit that matters

    He edited articles of the woman he was sleeping with in order to present her more favourably, which is a conflict of interest. The fact that he slept with a semi-famous human female doesn't matter.

    One would have thought that preventing conflicts of interest would be important on a site that claims to be the sum total of all human knowledge and the 8th most popular site on the internet but the co-founder has carte blanche to determine content.

    A Bad Thing, IMHO.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Broken up?

    In what sense did Wales "break up" with her on Wikipedia? How did he do that - where is the page or history? The Wales post linked to is just a comment regarding other gossip, I don't see why this is a "break up" message?

  26. MarkMac
    Unhappy

    @Broken up?

    He 'broke up' with her on Wikipedia in the sense that he posted an open comment explainnig his ex-relationship with her. Apparently this was the first time she knew the relationship was over. The comment itself is mentioned in the Register article, and even linked to....

  27. Del Merritt
    Thumb Up

    @Alex

    "if you simply go to a Wikipedia article mentioned on The Register and click the 'discussion' tab, I think you'll find reason in spades."

    No kidding. It's a fun read. E.g.:

    "I suspect a lot of gossip columnists, trash tabs, etc. will disagree. Interesting how the New York Post gossip page is a good enough source for this bio but Jimbo Wales' own statement is not. The credibility of Wikipedia has sunk through the floor. 192.197.82.153 (talk) 20:40, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

    It isn't even relevant. A statement published on wikipedia is not a good source for someone else's biography on wikipedia. It'll be in the register soon enough. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 207.112.80.142 (talk) 21:56, 2 March 2008 (UTC)"

    So I suppose that means that El Reg *is* considered a "good source". Bravo!

  28. Daniel B.
    Joke

    it could have been worse

    ... He could have posted "I did not have sex with Rachel Marsden."

    That, combined with "white stains" would have been hilarious, indeed. It seems Jimbo didn't learn Clinton's lesson...

  29. DrXym Silver badge

    @Stone Fox

    "The reason the register keep writing about it DrXym, is that it's a joke. A well known, well published joke and everyone already knows the punchline. If they stopped behaving like a bunch of power-hungry adolescent twats they might attract less negative publicity."

    You call it a joke. The vast majority would call it an astonishing example of what you can accomplish through cooperative research and development. Is it perfect? Of course not? Does it contain mistakes? Yes of course it does. Does it deserve valid criticism? Absolutely. Does it deserve one baseless and negative rant from the Reg after another? No way.

    I really don't get your hate for the site or why you might consider the people who run it "power hungry". Unless you think someone is "power hungry" for moderating vandalism, incomprehensible gibberish, reverting emotive / non-NPOV comments, or correcting a million and 1 other errors. Such a site doesn't moderate itself and relies on volunteers. It is a meritocracy. If you don't like the way it works, you are free to volunteer your time and effort to do it some other way.

    If anything, Wikipedia seems to have attracted such hate precisely because it is such a powerful tool. Egos get bruised as contentious changes are reverted. I just wonder why the Reg is so annoyed by the site.

  30. James Moran
    Thumb Up

    The Getaway

    Gents, how many among us have also left items of clothing behind following a regrettable encounter? This woman is frightening and it's obvious that JW was just another to make The Getaway. I'm sure she's used to it by now.

  31. John Benson
    Thumb Down

    Not up to the quality I have come to expect of The Register...

    ...but, as with Wikipedia and a number of other sites I visit, entertaining and/or informative a fair amount of the time is good enough for me.

    Out of curiosity, I just ambled over to Wikipedia to peruse their entry on The Register, which gets a much fairer shake than Wikipedia does here.

    And once again, why pillory the somewhat open editorial apparatus of Wikipedia when no transparency or accountability is demanded of the "professional" news media, let alone the ability to contribute content? What antidote is there to concentration of media ownership other than wikis and blogs? And is it not to be expected that some wikis will bulk larger than others in the scheme of things?

  32. DavCrav Silver badge
    Stop

    @DrXym

    "Such a site doesn't moderate itself and relies on volunteers. It is a meritocracy. If you don't like the way it works, you are free to volunteer your time and effort to do it some other way."

    The point is that it's not a meritocracy. A meritocracy is where those who are better-informed and more intelligent rise; Wikipedia's system for rising is whether other Wikipedians agree with you, and you are unemployed/a kid, and so have lots of time to devote to altering articles.

    If it were a meritocracy, then it wouldn't be an encyclopaedia that anyone can edit, because some people are idiots.

  33. Luther Blissett

    Is Rachel Marsden anybody?

    Or just some body? I don't want to wiki (obviously) neither can I be arsed to google.

  34. Alex

    @DrXym

    Logical fallacy of an appeal to an imagined majority aside, I'd like to comment on:

    "It is a meritocracy"

    which is untrue. It is a whoever-has-the-most-time-on-their-hands-to-edit-ocracy.

    To put it another way: Professors have less time to edit the big ball o' fun than their students. There are also fewer professors than students, which compounds the problem. I'll agree that it is astonishing, even that it is a success, at least for those who make money through it. None of that adds to its value as an encyclopedia, which is what it claims to be.

    And the idea that "if you can't beat them, join them" doesn't address this. To focus on the point of this article, why would anyone start editing, knowing that Mr Wikipedia can simply overide you if he so fancies?

  35. Gareth
    Thumb Up

    @DrXym

    Wikipedia is promoted as a replacement for traditional encyclopaedias and reference sources.

    While a great accomplishment and a rather useful tool for dilettantes and lazy students, it does suffer from some serious issues which mean that it should not be trusted as an authoritative source (although as a source for facts which must then be checked, it's great).

    This sort of gossip, while in isolation is better suited to the trashier supermarket tabloids, highlights these serious political issues which undermine the credibility of Wikipedia and therefore the Register is justified in publishing it.

    (In fact, I'm mainly here because of el Reg's cynical, suspicious analysis of Web 2.0 puffery)

  36. J
    Joke

    @DrXym

    Are you by any chance a Wikipedia editor!?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wikipedia. Fox news.

    Is there a moral high ground somewhere in here?

  38. Chris
    Flame

    We need an icon....

    called "Why Wiki?" for all the whiners who don't want to see Wikipedia on El Reg. And while we're at it can we get a Jimbo with horns?

    You can't parade as a blogsite to dump your woman on, then switch to being an encyclopaedia, then revert to being a possibly inncurate hive kinda-sorta reference material whenever you feel like. It's this sort of wishy washy, can't make up our damn mind nonsense that makes me wish for Wikipedia's non-existence.

    I don't want to wake up someday and have to encorporate the Wikipedia search into our corporate portal because some yuk-yuk named Jimbo has come up with enough whalesong to validate Wikipedia's place in the list of useful Web 2.0 utilities.

    So please continue to bash Wikipedia and drum up as much bad publicity as possible.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    HOO-HOOOO-HAA-HAAAH!

    HEE-HEEEEEE-HEH!

    <snort/>

    HEAARGH-HAAA...

    <come back later -too busy laughing/>

    HAA-HAAAA-HOOOOH-HOOOOO

    HAR-HAR-HEE-HEE

    HAT HAT HAT

  40. WhatWasThat?
    Joke

    @DrXym

    I'm sorry, Penalty kick awarded for use of annoyingly (and increasinly) irrelevant cult term: "non-NPOV".

  41. T. Scheisskopf
    Unhappy

    Uh-oh. You better run, Jimmy.

    Oh, Jimmy?! *Rachel Marsden??!!*

    If you have a pet rabbit that is not boiling in a pot right now, please, get it to a safe spot. Word to the wise and all that.

  42. b166er

    Insulting

    There are many well-formed accurate and enjoyable pieces on Wikipedia and the fact that some of you attribute these to less intelligent individuals with too much time on their hands would be probably quite insulting to those intelligent individuals that wrote them.

    Ironically, they are probably not at all concerned with your petty, IDLE, remarks, preferring instead to concentrate on providing a source of easily accessible helpful information.

    Sure it's not perfect, but here's a newsflash, neither is humanity.

    Tch, people in glass houses

    If The Register considers Wikipedia to be so malformed and irrelevant, then why does it expend such negative energy on it? Sure it's fine to poke a bit of fun, that's what I love about ElReg, but rarely does an organisation or concept get shot down in such flames here.

    Spose I'll put it down to everyone having their own bug-bear and needing to vent once in a while.

  43. Marco

    What's new?

    Or "who doesn't get it?"

    That Wales and the top admins go and alter or have altered Wikipedia entries in a way favorable to them or those close to them, is no sensation. It has happened before, it happens now, it will happen again.

    So what point does the current piece serve? We witness another testimonial of the Wikipedian's ability to perceive only a fragmented reality. They do not see that this is not about a man breaking up with a woman and doing so in a not so nice way, but how this man used his position to achieve a means through breaking the very rules he himself set up.

    And there you go. We again see how Wikipedia is by its followers treated like a religion, as the only other instances of people being able to see reality in such a distorted way are where irrationality, religiousness and superstitiousness come into play.

    In other words: You know how biased religion can be, therefore once more be reminded of how biased any information on Wikipedia can be.

  44. Ishkandar
    Boffin

    In the words of the prophet....

    ..."Those in glass houses should not make love with the lights on !!"

    It is astounding the number of times that self-publicists complain about the negative publicity they have generated !!

  45. frymaster

    People talking about wiki bashing are missing the point

    Yes, of course it ain't perfect. The question is, what does it do about it's imperfections?

    And in this case, I do _NOT_ mean "low quality articles", I mean how does it handle disputes, conflicts, etc.

    And the answer, for a site promoting the hell out of its egalitarianism is, not very well. It seems to me to be insanely cliquey in its upper levels, and any time certain especially favoured or reviled people are involved in conflicts, any notion of consitency and impartiality goes out the window. This goes double for Jimbo, who practices classic hit-and-run management style ( http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2006/08/08.html )

  46. Mad Hacker
    Paris Hilton

    @ DrXym

    The Register tends to pick on anything popular.

    They hate Windows and Microsoft. Generally they pick on Google. They used to like Apple but now that they are popular they dislike Apple and the iPhone.

    Paris because she gets picked on because she is popular too.

  47. heystoopid
    Alert

    PS

    PS if you think she is the innocent party suggest you read up about her past history in Canada , the photos in the article show a small part of her true nature !

    link http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/03/29/marsden/?source=whitelist

    Given the misery she dealt out in Canada , poor jimbo he is really in for it big time !

  48. Morely Dotes

    @ heystoopid

    Have you been taking writing lessons from aManFromMars? Or jsut taking whatever he's taking?

  49. Morely Dotes

    @ Alex

    "The fact that he slept with a semi-famous human female doesn't matter."

    Considering the judgment exercised by Wales (the Jimbo fellow, not the country) in the past, I think we should all be grateful that his paramour was human.

  50. Morely Dotes
    Jobs Horns

    @ Mad Hacker

    "They hate Windows and Microsoft"

    As a techie who is paid to maintain the swill published by the Great Satan of Redmond, I hate Windows and Microsoft, as well. Familiarity with a contemptible culture breeds contempt. Windows and Microsoft deserve to be hated.

    Or, as the shrink tells me, "the fact that you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.

  51. Alex

    @B166er

    "There are many well-formed accurate and enjoyable pieces on Wikipedia and the fact that some of you attribute these to less intelligent individuals with too much time on their hands would be probably quite insulting to those intelligent individuals that wrote them."

    I'd love for you to be able to point me in the direction of an accurate wikipedia article but the fact is you can't. Not because they don't exist (they surely do) but because unless you're an expert on the subject of an article already, you can't determine an accurate article from an article held hostage by a student on holiday, no matter how well-written and well sourced it looks. Two problems:

    . Determining content mostly lacks any real accountability

    . Ignorance of a subject is rarely a barrier to being able to determine content

    Mean that ultimately, you can't have faith in wikipedia as a source of information.

    The idea that it's not perfect, but then neither is humanity seems an odd argument to me since it could be applied to absolutely everything ("drunk driving is not perfect but neither is humanity") without proving something has merit.

  52. QrazyQat

    but really

    I'm sure the Encyclopedia Britannica would've handled such a situation just as poorly.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Thank you, Alex

    > ... but because unless you're an expert on the subject of an

    > article already, you can't determine an accurate article from

    > an article held hostage by a student on holiday, no matter

    > how well-written and well sourced it looks

    Spot on chief.

    It's not the accuracy - a lot of the scientific/mathematical articles are pretty good. But reading wiki is like reading an article in the Daily Mail - you're never quite sure if it's research or opinion masquerading as such.

    It only takes a small amount of distrust in a source to undermine it's authority.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    "give her advice about her website"

    So now we know what Jimbo means when he says he is giving someone advice on their website. I hadn't heard that euphemism before.

  55. This post has been deleted by its author

  56. Wolf
    Jobs Halo

    So to have your Wikipedia entry improved, you have to sleep with the boss?

    Web 2.0? No, more like Office 0.2. Very old economy.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Poor, poor Jimbo

    I've met Wales a few times through work and he's a thoroughly decent chap, if rather obsessed with the whole Wikipedia project. Massive lack of judgement here, though.

  58. DrXym Silver badge

    Some answers to people who have made points

    1. No I'm not an substantial editor of the site, just a grateful user. I am an editor in the sense that I have made small changes and reverts when I've noticed things that are missing or wrong. Just like millions of other people. BTW I don't consider the site to be gospel and neither should anyone else. But it is a hell of a lot better than virtually everything else in every instance I've ever looked at it.

    2. I would be interested to know where Wikipedia ever claimed it would replace a traditional encyclopaedia. Perhaps it did make that claim but more likely it just claimed to be a community developed encyclopaedia. Even if it did claim it would replace EB or Encarta I fail to see how that justifies the Reg constantly ragging on it for largely pointless reasons (e.g. Jimbo's affair with some woman).

    3. Yes it is a meritocracy. You will find plenty of subject matter experts on the site. You will find plenty of people who tirelessly fix typos, revert vandalism, fix broken links, remove emotive words etc. I can of course see how people on the fringe, disgruntled people might feel there is some kind of cabal in operation if their work conflicts with the way the site works. I can also see that there are going to be plenty of occasions where personalities clash or people disagree. That's too bad, but it doesn't mean it isn't a meritocracy.

    4. Neutral Point of View (NPOV) is what Wikipedia strives for. Volunteers strike out non-NPOV comments all the time. Wikipedia has some fundamental policies and NPOV is one of them. Thankfully. There are plenty of other ways of flagging an article if you think it is incorrect, starting with the comments tab, but also marking pages for attention, deletion, clean up etc.

    5. It is no wonder that some people hate the site. Some people clearly can't or won't follow NPOV and attempt to cast an article around their own opinion and are smacked down for it. There are a lot of biased people in the world. That's too bad, but that is a reason to praise the site not condemn it.

    6. The pointless Reg articles will continue. I am sure there is a lot of interesting and valid criticism that could be made of the way Wikipedia works and how it could become better, but prattling on about Jimmy Wales personal life isn't one of them.

  59. Alex

    @DrXym

    1. I think it was fairly safe to say you were some kind of editor once you used the phrase "non-NPOV"

    2. From Jimmy's article: "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing." "The sum of human knowledge" is an encyclopedia slogan. "For free" competes with "not for free", which is the price of traditional encyclopedias.

    3. Take a look at my point above. There are subject matter experts on wikipedia but the fact that you can't tell who is an expert and who is an eloquent moron mean that it absolutely is not a meritocracy. A meritocracy means valuing a PhD higher than a GCSE, not valuing JoshuaJ over MkZ because JoshuaJ has 1,240 edits more to his name. And you're overlooking the point of this article. For all you or I know, the Rachel Marsden article was originally written by a Rachel Marsden expert. Then Jimmy came along and overuled that person because Rachel didn't like it.

    4. NPOV depends on this not being allowed to happen. If you value it, you must condemn Jimmy for intervening. Again, the story is not that two semi-famous people slept together.

    5. I actually have no axe to grind. I simply have no interest in editing a site which holds a core principle of "verifiability, not truth".

    On another tack, you seem to be wearing two hats depending on what you want to praise wikipedia for. On the one hand, you're praising it for being a great source of highly accurate information and on the other you're praising it for having plenty of people who correct the ton of inaccurate information that exists.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wikipedia mystery

    What happens if one of the editors' point of view about what is a NPOV is different to my point of view?

  61. b166er

    Alex

    You're quite correct in the assertion that I don't know everything about everything.

    Let's say I begin with a baseline of knowing nothing about a particular topic, if I then visit Wikipedia and browse the subject, I will gain some information that I previously didn't have. You point out, that I have no way of knowing at this point, whether that information is factually correct, however, it will undoubtedly have provided me with some pointers so I can go and research the subject more thoroughly and gain the benefit of different perspectives, to enable me to form my own well-rounded opinion.

    Your analogy is flawed, in so much as you use drunk-driving as a subset of driving. All drivers are not perfect, in fact, some are drunk drivers.

    As an example, off the top of my head, visit Wikipedia and search for the title of a film that you have little knowledge about. Once you have read that article, you will have a list of actors that participated in that film, a rough plot synopsis and some knowledge about the production of the film. What have you gained? More knowledge than you had!

    What is your area of expertise? Perhaps you could tell us, and then point us to an article on Wikipedia that is completely wrong in its summary of the subject and would provide no useful starting point for someone wanting to begin researching the subject.

  62. Alex

    b116er

    Hi, no such assertion was made. Whilst it's obvious that we don't know everything, what I asserted was that practically none of us know enough about where an article comes from to ultimately have faith in it as a source of information.

    I think it goes without saying that there is nothing like this problem with traditional encyclopedias where the element of distrust in source exists only so far as you can't tell if someone has falsified their qualifications.

    I can get information from wikipedia, but I know I can hardly rely on it being true. This is a problem for something claiming to be an encyclopedia of "the sum total of human knowledge". I don't believe I have claimed anywhere that wikipedia is worthless as a starting point (which is exactly how I use it) so I'm not going to try and find a worthless article. What it is not worthy of is being thought of as the source it claims to be.

    And it's not just what it claims to be, it's how it's used. How many people don't take the much harder step of verifying the information they find on wikipedia and simply accept it? The list includes journalists, lawyers and scientists, all of whom should know better.

    I still stand by my point that you could have equally said "X is flawed, humanity is flawed, therefore get over the flaws of X" unless there is something implicit in what you said that I've overlooked.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    @"Dr"Xym

    Stick a fork in it.

    Wikipedia's DONE.

    I talk to teachers...

    ...it's the Harris Tweed with the leather elbows, thanks...

  64. PT

    Who's Who

    How interesting! If DrXym and b199er are not the same person, then they certainly work well together as a team. Clearly he, she, it or they are indeed wearing two hats, as Alex points out.

  65. b166er

    Clearly

    Back into reality for a second PT ;p

    I don't contribute to Wikipedia. I must admit, that I don't have the requisite knowledge of any one particular subject, with which to contribute.

    I'm here only to point out, that Wikipedia has its uses, and that the unfaltering bad press that it receives here has me question the motive. A little constructive criticism goes a long way, but the flagellation here serves no obvious purpose.

    Alex, if indeed the Wikipedia is the "sum total of human knowledge", then perhaps that would include the total of uninformed human knowledge also. Perhaps not what was intended, but there you have it.

    As you so rightly point out, there are many among us who would take the information found in therein and quote it verbatim as the gospel truth (that's an oxymoron surely?).Therefore it is perhaps they who deserve to be pilloried, not the source of the information.

    There should be no barriers to learning and knowledge, Wikipedia has a large store of information that is available to people speaking many different languages.

    If it's the aim of the Register to point out that some of this information is inaccurate, then I accept that, but does it have to be so harsh?

    Bite the hand that feeds it, OK, but take the whole arm?

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Re: Who's Who

    <gasp/>

    You don't mean that people who praise Wikipedia could have descended to...

    <sottoVoce>...sock puppetry...</sottoVoce>

    ...or...

    <sottoVoce>...conflicts of interest?</sottoVoce>

    Heaven forbid!

    I know everyone likes ragging on Wikipedia, but they are rank amateurs at "forming new realities" when it comes to being compared with Faux Noose.

    The fact that he was blatantly discussing modifying content with someone from Fox "news" should set off screaming alarm klaxons throughout the world. It means that Wikipedia can be trusted to be "Fair and Balanced"(TM), just like Fox.

    Christ, you Wikidickia supporters, we just need to stand back and watch you dig yourselves in. Stop whining about the Mean Ol' Register.

    This baby is all yours.

    Paris, because this is better than fiction; just like her.

  67. Alex

    Flagellation

    is a fun word to say. Moving on...

    "Bite the hand that feeds it, OK, but take the whole arm?"

    As of today, I'm inclined to agree you, B166er! Another negative article on Wikipedia is on the front page...There's a reason it matters - misuse of donations being potentially scandalous etc. - but I'm a pretty incessant critic of Wikipedia and even I'm struggling to care. I'm sure Mr Metz will be ever-so disappointed by that.

  68. DrXym Silver badge

    @Alex

    "1. I think it was fairly safe to say you were some kind of editor once you used the phrase "non-NPOV""

    Nope, except in the sense I mentioned. I've touched a relatively small number of articles and usually in fairly minor ways. I have one article which I did quite a bit to but which I haven't touched for ages. NPOV is a very easy term to encounter especially if you read the site, look through the version history or read the help pages when writing your own content.

    "2. From Jimmy's article: "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing." "The sum of human knowledge" is an encyclopedia slogan. "For free" competes with "not for free", which is the price of traditional encyclopedias."

    So you still haven't found where he claimed it was a replacement for a traditional encyclopaedia?

    "3. Take a look at my point above. There are subject matter experts on wikipedia but the fact that you can't tell who is an expert and who is an eloquent moron mean that it absolutely is not a meritocracy. A meritocracy means valuing a PhD higher than a GCSE, not valuing JoshuaJ over MkZ because JoshuaJ has 1,240 edits more to his name. And you're overlooking the point of this article. For all you or I know, the Rachel Marsden article was originally written by a Rachel Marsden expert. Then Jimmy came along and overuled that person because Rachel didn't like it."

    Well you can find out simply by asking those people. Everyone has a home page. Most wikipedia volunteers fill them out in some manner.

    "4. NPOV depends on this not being allowed to happen. If you value it, you must condemn Jimmy for intervening. Again, the story is not that two semi-famous people slept together."

    The article states Jimmy Wales recused himself from touching the article due to personal involvement so what is your point?

    "5. I actually have no axe to grind. I simply have no interest in editing a site which holds a core principle of "verifiability, not truth"."

    Well you tell me how you know what is true if you think articles should not back up their statements. You see the problem is that if you think Wikipedia should state the truth without verification you will end up with a bunch of articles proclaiming Slayer the best band in the world, whites superior to blacks, Islam to be the one true faith, that abortion is wrong etc. The whole purpose of verification and of NPOV is to stop such things happening and to use them to revert changes when they do. A side effect of course is that a lot of people take reversions too personally.

    It isn't surprising Wikipedia has enemies. I'm just unsure why the Register is hating on the site so much.

    ""On another tack, you seem to be wearing two hats depending on what you want to praise wikipedia for. On the one hand, you're praising it for being a great source of highly accurate information and on the other you're praising it for having plenty of people who correct the ton of inaccurate information that exists."

    I've never said it was "highly accurate". I specifically said "I don't consider the site to be gospel and neither should anyone else. But it is a hell of a lot better than virtually everything else in every instance I've ever looked at it.". I didn't and would never claim it is 100% accurate. But normally it is better than other content you care to mention or references it at the bottom of the article where you can read more. In that capacity it works admirably.

    Of course if you want to use EB or Encarta instead there is nothing stopping you.

  69. DrXym Silver badge

    @Alex

    @PT, thanks but I don't need sockpuppets to bolster my point of view. If you so wish you can google my alias and you will see I have ~11,000 hits stretching back 8 years.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Oh, Dear, Do We Have a "Last Tur- er, Word" Troll?

    You'd think someone with "Dr" in their title, 11,000 hits, a Mensa ring, propellor beanie, inflatable sheep doll, etc. would have something better to do than try to chime into an article with the last word.

    What am I doing here, you whine?

    Waiting for you. I was wondering if you were enough of a loser to try to stick a comment in just before the comment window closes, as that is EXACTLY what a Wikipedia editor would do.

    Gotcha.

  71. Alex

    @DrXym

    1. We actually agree on this point. You said you were an editor in some sense and so did I.

    2. I think you're clutching at straws here. "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing" is exactly what encyclopedias claim to do but for a price. How can a (claimed) identical concept offered for free NOT be a replacement? Presumably, the goalposts have now shifted such that you won't be happy unless you see a quote, "Wikipedia will replace traditional encyclopedias" and even then perhaps you will say that 'traditional' is over '100 years old' rather than the relevant definition of being expert-led.

    3. I don't even think you really believe this unless you have never heard of Essjay.

    4. Jimmy "reviewed her bio and [he] found it not to be up to [Wikipedia's] standards" and so he forwarded it to OTRS because Rachel didn't like it. Think OTRS (whoever they really are) would have disagreed with their de facto boss and not ultimately over-ruled the original writer? Jimmy intervened. Jimmy led to the original writer being over-ruled. Incidentally, note the weasel-worded, "I recused myself from any further official action with respect to her biography". No further OFFICIAL action? You see, a good liar would realise that 'official' is redundant if he had really never edited it again.

    5. This is a clear straw man. You're claiming that because I object to the threshold of inclusion on Wikipedia being "verifiability, not truth", I'm in favour of "BS, and not verifiability". Consider, amongst the many possibilities, "verifiability and truth" as being preferable.

    Your final point is not sensible. If Wikipedia not gospel but is a hell of a lot better with than virtually everything else you've looked at (I expect you to now claim that you never meant 'better with respect to accuracy'), you have either:

    . found every 'thing' you've looked at for information to not be highly accurate, in which case you have surely looked at too little to qualify your original statement.

    . come to the conclusion that Wikipedia is highly accurate, in which case you're double-hatting continues.

  72. StopthePropaganda
    Thumb Down

    the point of bringing up each massive wiki flaw

    is so those promoting it as a "second coming" are balanced. People whine about "why so much hate towards wikipedia?" as if a negative is only to be mentioned once, but positives and kudos can be broadcast a thousandfold.

    It's called balance. It stops propaganda. Just because evil is reported once doesn't mean everyone should sit back and let evil fester. There will be reminders and watchdogs showing how screwed up wikipedia is until they *fix* the problems.

    That whole defense reeks a lot of Democratic presidential campaigns. You find a guy who got involved with bribery and special interest backdoor funding or illegal bundling and it's "oh it was a mistake I made years ago, so lets forget about it". No remorse, no consequences, just a desire to cover over mistake after mistake. Then makes it worse by insisting on destroying the careers of anyone who committed the same crimes. Make a land deal for campaign money as a Republican, lose your job, go to trial-media will mention the scandal over 2000 times in a year. Do the same or worse as a Democrat, and you get maybe 30 mentions in the same timeframe.

    Does that mean that we shouldn't bother to point out the fraud and corruption of either party of politicians? Should we focus on the Dems since the Reps are getting hammered well enough? Should we ignore the Dems since the Media refuses to carry the flag? Or should we sit apathetic and take it like good little peons?

    No, to any of the choices. And no to allowing corruption in any system. If you find something broken, fix it. If you can't fix it, find out who can and tell them the problem. If they fail to act, then make sure as many people know of the problem until the problem is fixed. Whether it's scientology or wikipedia or presidential politics, or local school board issues, don't let problems go ignored, nor buy into the "but it does good things so that balances out the bad ones" schtick.

    And, sadly, that's as far as we can go. Politicians and the cult-of-wiki type followers have made sure that the ultimate tool for the people to force their government to pay attention has been severely limited. Propaganda has forced many to believe that last tool is either unavailable or totally ineffective. History shows otherwise.

    to paraphrase "Freedom rests on three boxes. The soapbox, the ballot box, and the cartridge box". The third one was suppressed by politicians claiming it was "for your own good". The second is untrustworthy thanks to government insisting on e-voting machines. The reason you still have the first is because government thinks it is harmless and allows the sheeple to vent. But there's concern that it's still dangerous so you get crap like McCain-Feingold.

    But it's all you have left. Use it. use it against tinpot wiki dictators and the corruption of nations. Especially against those who make a big show of being run by an egaltarian system when they are everything opposite of their claims.

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Call for a Couple of New Icons

    A cartoon image of a rabbit peering out of a pot on the stove.

    The Wikipedia Logo, with a clown hat/bow tie on, or with a custard pie splattered on it.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OTRS explained

    Operational Thetan Retard Squad

    We need a Tom Cruise glyph.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019