Monday, February 12, 2007

Information Warfare - postscript

Those who read the City Paper's cover story on local blogs probably read the sidebar about the ever changing Wikipedia entry for Luke Ravenstahl. Readers here remember when I first wrote about the topic last month. What I would encourage everyone to read is a comment left about that story on the CP web site. The City Paper is now the first paper in town I think that allows for online comments to its stories. Click on the story Ill Defined and scroll down to the bottomm andthe entry by a persona named Jon Bo.

His(I presume?) comment on the story about Wikipedia editing is really insightful and gets at some of the fundamental issues affecting Wikipedia's future. He also questions what is appropriate behavior for Wikipedia "editors" when it comes to policing (and is that really the right verb for this type of collective content management) wiki content. The story explains what Wikipedia has non-public info about the content generators. Jon Bo points out some basic Wikipedia policies that seem to preclude efforts to disclose that info to the public. Some have gone to court to gain access to that info and Wikipedia has fought back such attempts.

I would only add that it seemed the LR entry was being adequately corrected from the first clearly mischievous posting, often with editors far away and far removed from the local political process.. so the need for the new "local group of Wiki editors policing the Ravenstahl site," is confusing to me. Nonetheless, it raises some very fundamental questions that need to be understood if not answered. If content editing is open source just as content production is on Wikipedia.. then who edits the editors?


Blogger Mark Rauterkus said...

Who edits the editors? "peer review."

There is a culture of behaviors. There are shared experiences. There are norms.

Furthermore, there are more trusted editors / owners / coordinators in the realms too.

Open Source Sofware also has a rather big challenge. Entire operating systems with millions of lines of code come form folks who are paid $0. and never met nor talk. But it happens. They (we) work it out.

Top down thinking has that deer in the headlights look that you just posted about. Get over it. It has been figured out already. Lend a hand.

Wikipedia needs a local group of editors because the local content was lagging. Not to curb bad-boy edits.

Thanks for the posting.

Other local newspapers have had comment fields plenty of times. They've come and gone from time to time.

Monday, February 12, 2007 8:41:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

I may be conflating terms which may be confusing the issue. Wiki "editor" means writer wheras I mean it as it is commonly used.. and I am not up on all these terms for Wiki editors. I am not talking about who provides content.

but as I said, my main point is that the wiki entry for the mayor was being well 'policed' (which for the record I think is the wrong term to use) long before there was any local group formed to help out somehow. That supports the idea that wiki content can be adequately self-edited. but that just leads to an interesting question of why anyone formed a local group to "edit" (common usage, I am not talking about providing content but policing others' work) for the entry. I say the out of town editors and bots which were doing this before at least have a greater appearance of objectivity. and where were they before anyway? It seems to me that there has been mischievous edits (and reverts) on the LR entry since it was formed, there is nothing new here of late.. or at least since before I blogged about it over a month ago.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007 9:15:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Griswold said...

Unfortunately, I think something got lost in translation. The "local group" existed months before this. It's called WikiProject Pittsburgh, and it's a collection of Wikipedia editors with the goal of collaborating on articles about the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. It's not specifically local editors; the group is based only on area of interest. Unfortunately, this group is relatively small, and more eyes on articles means better articles. I have created pages that allow anyone to monitor changes that are recognized as part of the WikiProject's purview.

I will be happy to clarify any more questions or address concerns you have. But right now, I need to get back to watching Gilmore Girls with my fiancee.

Here's hoping Luke and Lorelei get back together!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

fair enough on that.

but in your CP comment you may be a little unfair to the comments by this Jon Bo. Whether one agrees or not, the sentiments were a fair reflection of some of the debates going on about the future of Wikipeida which is on the verge of running out of money and may be sold.. which would lead it into some uncharted territory. Let alone the question of who would get any money raised since it is a non-profit as it stands.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007 11:19:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Griswold said...

I'm not sure the license that editors agree to release their work under allows for commercial use.

The site has become so popular, and the strain is heavy on the machine.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007 8:46:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Griswold said...

Check out the second article here:

Wednesday, February 14, 2007 6:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris Griswold is no longer a Wikipedia administrator. He was forced to step down from his position in disgrace via an administrative action taken against him by the police of Wikipedia, its Arbitration Committee. It was found that he himself had been committing serious acts of disruption on Wikipedia while employing fake identities of his own creation, called "sockpuppets", to carry out his dishonest acts.

The process of his removal is documented at:

Friday, May 04, 2007 7:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would you mind deleting the above comment? It's part of a harassment campaign that went on for quite a while. Essentially, the person has used the impenetrable nature of Wikipedia to grossly exaggerate and misrepresent my stepping down as administrator at Wikipedia. The whole thing was embarrassing at the time, and this person has searched me out across the Internet to smear me wherever they can find my name.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007 6:29:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

Honestly, it does not rise to the level where it is that objectionable does it? There are commenters who have written far more scurrilous (and false for that matter) things about me here and I have not deleted those comments either. This is obviously a personal judgement, but to delete a comment based solely on content is clearly censorship. While I did not think about defining a code of conduct before I started this blog exercise, any criteria has to be based on that which goes beyond the pale of decency, not based on content. So I would not hesitate to delete comments laced with profanity or similar… also I found it necessary once to delete a comment where someone portrayed themselves as a public figure and it was believeable to the point that it could have caused undue confusion with the public. Though even that was a tough call.

So I may need to revisit this in the future, although my inclination would be to just turn off commenting altogether if circumstances required, vice trying to selectively excise comments.. where would I draw the line? That certainly would not the be the only comment to delete, it wouldnt even be the first.

I would be glad to discuss this more directly, via email or otherwise.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007 11:25:00 PM  
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