Thursday, April 29, 2010

Myths about Wikipedia: Mistakes are reverted quickly

A frequent response to examples of mistakes in Wikipedia is that "mistakes get reverted quickly." If I were to write "Barack Obama is a Klingon from the Classic Trek era born in the year 2288 and sent back in time to fight the machines" in the Obama article, that would get reverted within the minute, if not sooner.

But that's a blatantly obvious error and no one would take it seriously even if it wasn't reverted immediately. What if instead I put in a mistake about someone "notable" enough to merit their own Wikipedia entry but not famous enough to have more than 30 'watchers'? (Watchers are Wikipedia users who put the article on their watchlists to be alerted of changes in real time).

Gregory Kohs at Akahele posted a carefully-researched account of how the Mike Ilitch article was wrong for almost three years! (See Randomly pick a date within the past six years the article has been up, and the chance of Ilitch's place of birth being correctly stated is about the same as is that of a tossed coin landing on heads—50/50.

Don't even get me started on the Seigenthaler scandal, the false Wikipedia biography that stood for months. If his son hadn't noticed it, who knows how much longer it would've gone unchallenged?

To my knowledge, the most recent example of an inexcusable Wikipedia mistake is the Sarah Palin death rumor I mentioned some posts ago. I had already mentioned that although that stood for just little over half an hour, it is still inexcusable because the article has almost seven hundred watchers. Sarah Palin was unknown five years ago and will hopefully sink back to obscurity in another five years, but at this point in time, how do you explain that none of the almost seven hundred watchers were awake and logged on at the very moment the false death announcement was made?

Maybe you think you're helping Wikipedia out when you correct a mistake you detect in it. Next time you do that, after your edit, look in the edit history (by clicking the "history" tab) and try to determine how long ago the mistake you just fixed was inserted. The results will be quite enlightening.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vicious warrior of the week: Deathphoenix

So Deathphoenix is the famous inventor of the "!vote." Are you bored yet?

If you are, that's how he wants you to be. That way, you won't pay any attention to his dastardly warrior moves behind the scenes.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gregory Kohs loses Yahoo! Answers account... again

I don't know why the guy keeps coming back to Yahoo! Answers. Gregory Kohs has lost his account thrice already that I'm aware of.

What is his big sin, anyway? I don't know the official reason he's been kicked off each time, but the thing the pro-Wikipedia duckspeakers have against him is that he asks "push" questions—questions he already knows the answer to but with which he hopes to provoke other people to the realization that Wikipedia is completely worthless as a source of information on anything and completely unworthy of donations.

But given that thousands if not millions of people continue to trust Wikipedia as being "good enough," it is important for people like Gregory Kohs to continue trying to do everything they can think of to educate people about Wikipedia. If, in researching the answer to a question Greg posts, someone gets it across his thick skull that Wikipedia can be trusted with neither intellectual property nor money, it will have been worth it. Besides, a question is a question, regardless of whether or not the asker knows the answer.

I suppose Greg might comment on this post and disclose his new username on Yahoo! Answers. It doesn't matter if he does, the Wikipediots on Yahoo! Answers have already figured out what it is. In one of his latest "push" questions, the user calling himself "Death Panelist" (previously "GrimJack") wrote "And try not to lose your Yahoo! account this time, OK?" Which quite likely means that it was him who reported Greg for a violation. That's the kind of thing Wikipedia apologists expend their limited intelligence on: figuring out the identities of Wikipedia critics.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dastardly warrior of the week: Eluchil404

Of all the numbers to put in your username, 404 has to be the worst. If you choose 666, at least you can say you're being cute or facetious. But 404, the File Not Found error code. Something's off.

Eluchil404 aspires to be a "wikignome" (barf) but his frequent participation in deletion discussions clearly indicates he does not take his aspiration seriously. And hell knows why he feels it necessary to express an opinion about inclusion criteria in Latin. Dorkus maximus.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vicious warrior of the week: Ahoerstemeier

Given that he's a self-confessed "Wikipediholic," it is kind of hard to believe that Ahoerstemeier really has a degree in physics and a job using the Delphi programming language. When would such a person find all that time to edit Wikipedia?

So proud is Ahoerstmeier of editing Wikipedia that he claims to have been specifically mentioned in the New York Times. Sure, whatever you say.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Brutal warrior of the month: Drilnoth

As brutal and vicious as the warriors selected last month were, you have to agree that Drilnoth outdoes them all in ruthlessness and drive. I have little to add to what I said earlier other than that now he has added a rather annoying bar to his user page, a bar that follows the bottom edge as one scrolls. Ugh.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Brutal Warrior of the Week: Anonymous Dissident

Oh, poor Anonymous Dissident! About a month ago, the poor guy declared that because of mounting real world pressures, he's "no longer able to sustain interwiki activity," so he's resigned administrative positions on all wikis except en.wikipedia. Cry me a river! And yes, his activity on en. is somewhat scaled back. But his sockpuppet activity is off the charts. Soon many of his socks will also reach admin status. It's only a matter of time now.