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The Internet Wikipedia News

GMU Prof Teaches How To Falsify Wikipedia — and Get Caught 183

Posted by timothy
from the ray-charles-is-god-see-footnote dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Yoni Appelbaum reports in the Atlantic that as part of their coursework in a class that studies historical hoaxes, undergraduates at George Mason University successfully fooled Wikipedia's community of editors, launching a Wikipedia page detailing the exploits of a fictitious 19th-century serial killer named Joe Scafe. The students, enrolled in T. Mills Kelly's course, Lying About the Past, used newspaper databases to identify four actual women murdered in New York City from 1895 to 1897, along with victims of broadly similar crimes, and created Wikipedia articles for the victims, carefully following the rules of the site. But while a similar page created previously by Kelly's students went undetected for years, when students posted the story to Reddit, it took just twenty-six minutes for a redditor to call foul, noting the Wikipedia entries' recent vintage and others were quick to pile on, deconstructing the entire tale. Why did the hoaxes succeed in 2008 on Wikipedia and not in 2012 on Reddit? According to Appelbaum, the answer lies in the structure of the Internet's various communities. 'Wikipedia has a weak community, but centralizes the exchange of information. It has a small number of extremely active editors, but participation is declining, and most users feel little ownership of the content. And although everyone views the same information, edits take place on a separate page, and discussions of reliability on another, insulating ordinary users from any doubts that might be expressed,' writes Appelbaum. 'Reddit, by contrast, builds its strong community around the centralized exchange of information. Discussion isn't a separate activity but the sine qua non of the site. If there's a simple lesson in all of this, it's that hoaxes tend to thrive in communities which exhibit high levels of trust. But on the Internet, where identities are malleable and uncertain, we all might be well advised to err on the side of skepticism (PDF).""
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GMU Prof Teaches How To Falsify Wikipedia — and Get Caught

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  • by Hentes (2461350) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @07:49AM (#40026739)

    The reason might be that noone read the Wikipedia articles. Once they have linked to them causing people to actually visit it, they were quickly debunked.

    • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @07:54AM (#40026773) Journal

      Exactly. If you create articles on obscure regional murder victims, then the chances are the articles won't be read.

      If you then draw lots of attention to it, then you're more likely to get found out.

      • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @08:00AM (#40026821) Homepage Journal

        Yup. Trying to convince someone that there was an obscure serial killer who lived and died 100 years ago is a lot different than trying to convince people that, say, a leading national figure is Muslim. However, the latter can also work because it's helped along by the "big lie" effect.

        • by TubeSteak (669689)

          trying to convince people that, say, a leading national figure is Muslim. However, the latter can also work because it's helped along by the "big lie" effect.

          That lie (like many lies) was helped by two things:
          1. The trust that viewers/readers place in the personalities/authors that were talking about the issue.
          2. Repetition. If you keep repeating a lie, it'll stick with some people, no matter how outlandish it is.

          These hoaxers had no resevoir of trust already built up with the community they were trying to deceive
          AND they had no real opportunity to repeat the lie in a way that would invade the common consciousness.

          • by oiron (697563)

            Don't forget 3: It plays to a LOT of prejudices of the target audience - a black Democrat as president - the core audience for the lie was probably looking for anything that would justify it not being so...

            • by cpu6502 (1960974)

              Yeah but they did the same to Clinton as well, as he's as white as a sheet. They just don't like Democrats. Period.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17, 2012 @09:37AM (#40027725)

              Don't forget 3: It plays to a LOT of prejudices of the target audience - a black Democrat as president - the core audience for the lie was probably looking for anything that would justify it not being so...

              I'll be more blunt than you were. They call him a Muslim because i's the next best thing to calling him a Nigger, which they know they can't get away with.

            • by hairyfeet (841228)

              I'd say the bigger problem was 4.-If you ACT guilty then folks will think you are. look at how long he stalled and BSed when he could have just had some copies of his birth cert printed that week and ended the whole damned thing right there. Frankly I'm starting to wonder if someone in his camp isn't trolling for the LULZ. I mean you put out a long form doc on the White House website that has obvious layers and fakeries in it? smells like trolling to me, like they WANT that shit to be the talk instead of...

          • That lie (like many lies) was helped by two things:
            1. The trust that viewers/readers place in the personalities/authors that were talking about the issue.
            2. Repetition. If you keep repeating a lie, it'll stick with some people, no matter how outlandish it is.

            You missed a very big 3rd one: confirmation bias. Listeners who have negative feelings about Group G and Person P to start with are quite likely to uncritically accept an accusation that P is secretly affiliated with G.

            (Like your two factors, this also

    • by makomk (752139)

      People did read the Wikipedia articles, though - they were there as part of a broader campaign by the students to create a viral hoax about the past that would spread.

    • by oldmac31310 (1845668) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @08:11AM (#40026905) Homepage
      That Noone fellow is notoriously gullible and even if he suspected that an article was falsified he would be too selfish to tell anyone.
    • by JustOK (667959)

      [citation needed]

    • It is true. I made a ridiculous looking wikipedia article back in 2006 while making a scavenger hunt for my girlfriend. For more than six years that article has sat there, even though it references fake people, fake companies and fake quotes. It has even been cleaned up a little by others over the years.

      The worst it got is a 'this article may contain original research' tag. I'm sure if it had widespread exposure someone would realize it is completely fake. But articles on wikipedia just don't get exposure.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17, 2012 @07:49AM (#40026741)

    is that people (possibly wrongly) believe what they read on wikipedia, but nobody believes fucking anything they read on reddit! the rest follows from there.

    • by Goaway (82658)

      This actually seems like a pretty plausible analysis. Reddit's culture of liars and attention whores is naturally going to make it a much worse venue for this kind of thing.

    • by jeffmeden (135043) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @08:22AM (#40027023) Homepage Journal

      is that people (possibly wrongly) believe what they read on wikipedia, but nobody believes fucking anything they read on reddit! the rest follows from there.

      You make a good point. Next time I want to know what the atomic number of lithium is, I am going to check Reddit given their penchant for hard hitting fact finding.

    • I don't believe anything I read on reddit or slashdot. Does that mean I'm suck in an infinite loop? Does that mean I'm suck in an infinite loop? Does that mean I'm suck in an infinite loop? Does that mean I'm suck in an infinite loop? Does that mean I'm suck in an infinit
      stack overflow

      • by mfarah (231411)

        I don't believe anything I read on reddit or slashdot. Does that mean I'm suck in an infinite loop? Does that mean I'm suck in an infinite loop? Does that mean I'm suck in an infinite loop? Does that mean I'm suck in an infinite loop? Does that mean I'm suck in an infinit
        stack overflow

        Boy, have you got a short stack...

      • by Tanktalus (794810)

        stack overflow

        Sorry, that's a different site.

  • Water is wet, etc (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rebelwarlock (1319465) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @07:50AM (#40026747)
    We've all rightly been suspicious of wikipedia since its inception. This isn't really news to anyone on slashdot. Sadly, the type of person who really needs to read this article (those who aren't very technologically proficient), will probably never see it.
  • by alphatel (1450715) * on Thursday May 17, 2012 @07:50AM (#40026751)
    Further proof that we need the government to assure all of our online identities and stop those that would deceive us!
    Truth-telling, I have found, is the key to responsible citizenship. The thousands of criminals I have seen in 40 years of law enforcement have had one thing in common: Every single one was a liar. J. Edgar Hoover
    • That statement could also be true if it was written as:

      Truth-telling, I have found, is the key to responsible citizenship. The thousands of politiciansI have seen in 40 years of law enforcement have had one thing in common: Every single one was a liar.

      I'm quite sure Hoover wasn't a 100% honest individual himself.

      Then again, although all criminals are not politicians, we all know all politicians are criminals. I'd much rather keep what little anonymity I have on the net and decided myself whom to believe rather than trust the criminals that make laws to ensure the people I'm talk to are being honest.

      • by Tanktalus (794810)

        I'm not sure it would be very far off if we changes "politicians" in your statement with "law enforcement officers." (I actually had a retired cop try to justify to me why marked cars should be able to speed down public roads with neither lights nor sirens going despite admitting it wasn't legal. If I were in an interrogation room, I doubt I'd get even that much honesty.)

    • by Theophany (2519296) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @08:28AM (#40027085)
      Yes, because Hoover was a beacon of morality...
    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      Further proof that we need the government to assure all of our online identities and stop those that would deceive us!

      Truth-telling, I have found, is the key to responsible citizenship. The thousands of criminals I have seen in 40 years of law enforcement have had one thing in common: Every single one was a liar.
      J. Edgar Hoover

      Would it be inappropriate to say "It takes one to know one?"

    • It is a quote from Louis Armstrong, the first man on the moon.
      Just check wikipedia if you don't believe me.

      Or check http://xkcd.com/202/ [xkcd.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17, 2012 @07:50AM (#40026755)

    There is certainly now a disinclination to do anything to improve Wikipedia, largely brought on by the obsessives who make up the "extremely active editors". You can barely mention the most obvious facts without being accused either of advertising or original research. The casual multitudes that made the site what it is just get put off.

    • So true. I started creating a new article about a local lake and it was deleted at some point between my first and 3rd save for being a useless stub or something. Have not contributed since and I started 50+ pages and who knows how many edits.

  • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @07:55AM (#40026781) Homepage Journal

    I really find this annoying because to me it shows a fallacy of thinking.

    Why should you *not* show skepticism of other types of writing? Just because it's printed by some corporate major publisher is not a guarantee that the material is correct. You're putting a lot of faith in "professional" editors that also might not be fact checking or promoting a bias (Ann Coulter's publisher comes to mind here).

    You should be skeptical of writing on the internet, but should be just skeptical of everything else. Everyone is human, everyone has bias, everyone has an agenda, everyone screws up.

    • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Thursday May 17, 2012 @08:26AM (#40027071)

      Wish I could mod you to infinity. Britannica for generations portrayed itself as objective because it hired subject matter experts to write its articles. But anyone in any given field knows that there is no one "objective" individual capable of writing a truly neutral article. People should have a healthy skepticism of *any* source, no matter how authoritative they portray themselves as.

    • by bryan1945 (301828)

      At some point, you're going to have to trust someone, unless you want to spend years researching all the chemical properties of molybdenum yourself. So we set up tiers of trust, which generally is determined by the amount of review, the expertise of the review, and how many times that review(s) have been wrong before. Of course, once you get into the social sciences, then you have to deal with the biases (as you said), plus competing models of thought (psychology), vague facts (history), processes (politi

    • by tomhath (637240)

      (Ann Coulter's publisher comes to mind here)

      I would include them in the mix, but I certainly wouldn't exclude other media outlets. Sometimes for fun I read through a half dozen or so Google links to the same news article, their bias jumps out at you. Fox, NY Times, LA Times, Al Jazeera, Asian Times, BBC, CNN ... it doesn't matter which you pick, the story will be subtly or not so subtly biased.

  • by mattiaza (2567891) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @07:58AM (#40026807)

    I have to agree with Jimmy Wales on this - this is experiment is just as "insightful" as demonstrating to people that you can get away with vandalism.

    Yes, it's not that difficult to troll Wikipedia. Just as it's not that difficult to scam old people, dump your trash in the forest, or scratch cars in a parking lot. You would most likely get away with it, but it does not mean that there is a huge security risk in parking lots that the world needs to be made aware of.

    Society is based on the fact that most of the time, most people are not assholes, and therefore we don't need a policeman following everyone at all times. People don't troll or vandalise because they see it as the wrong thing to do - and the small risk of getting caught, and humiliated or punished is sufficient to discourage the less ethical ones.

    • by cdrguru (88047) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @09:20AM (#40027533) Homepage

      Society worked in the most part 100 years ago because everyone knew that (a) everyone was watching and (b) people cared about their environment. So if someone yelled "Stop thief!" a lot of people in the area would pay attention and grab the thief.

      The Kitty Genovese case was the announcement to the world of that sort of community involvement had ended. It had been coming for a while, but that was really the big thing that people could point to. You might not remember this, but it was where a young woman was screaming she was being stabbed for something like a half an hour before finally succumbing to her wounds. Nobody came to help or even called the police.

      Today it is clear that nobody cares. They have their own lives to live and if someone wants to dump trash in a public part, so what? If one person is killing another, people walk by thinking "glad is not me" without a thought that it easily could be. In some ways it is true that most of the time most people aren't assholes. But the tendancy towards unthinkingly unkind behavior is increased when people are sure nobody is watching - hence while many will not shoplift almost everyone will pirate stuff in the privacy of their home rather than pay.

      The Internet isn't helping out much here, as people hide behind pseudo-identities and handles. This means the co-worker you are trusting at work may be the asshat that is screwing with your daughter's head on the Internet. You just don't know and if done properly will never know. And the co-worker may be a great buddy in public where people can see but on the Internet feels immune and invulnerable.

      Since the 1960s we have seen a great lessening of social involvement. People don't care what their neighbors are doing as long as they don't bother them with it. People will walk by panhandlers on the street - which is a good thing - but also just walk by someone injured. Women are taught from birth that if someone wants to help them they probably have an agenda that isn't good. While in 1920 Officer Friendly was the neighborhood cop today we know that cops are there to sodomize powerless people with broomsticks and do whatever it takes to get their quota of tickets, and again, nobody is watching, nobody cares and nobody is going to do anything.

      The risk of getting caught is almost non-existent today. If you chase down the statistics you find that major crimes - like armed robbery - have at best a 10-20% chance of resulting in jail time. Murder is a little better, rape is a little worse. The odds are definitely in favor of the criminal and they know it. Now, on the street it works out because after 5 to 10 such crimes they certainly do end up getting caught, convicted and jailed just because the percentages work that way. But it really sucks to be told that your rapist will certainly go free this time but will be caught eventually.

      Do not believe for a second that "society" is watching your back today. Your community doesn't care and isn't interested in your problems or difficulties. You might have a few friends that do, but not the community at large. And because of this each one of us is less safe and less secure. No, I don't have the answer to this because I'd say it is the result of population, immigration and just population density itself. But it is not 1950 and June Cleaver isn't interested in what your children are doing any more.

      • by bryan1945 (301828)

        This reminds me, don't self-defense classes teach women not to yell "help," or "rape," but something kind of odd instead? Like "I'm on fire," or "I lost my dog"? Something that would provoke a response to helping a single person, rather than get entangled into some sort of conflict? Wish I could remember what it was (I can't find any definitive answers), because I'd like to look it up to see if there were any stats on its effectiveness.

        As for your de-sensitization towards others, yeah, sadly it seems tha

        • by tehcyder (746570)
          Your description of US society may well be accurate. Fortunately, the rest of the civilised world is nowhere near as desperate.
      • by silverspell (1556765) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @12:23PM (#40030007)

        The Kitty Genovese case was the announcement to the world of that sort of community involvement had ended. It had been coming for a while, but that was really the big thing that people could point to. You might not remember this, but it was where a young woman was screaming she was being stabbed for something like a half an hour before finally succumbing to her wounds. Nobody came to help or even called the police.

        But the other side of the Kitty Genovese case [onthemedia.org] is that the media constructed a narrative -- "38 people watched and did nothing" -- that demonstrably wasn't based in fact. There were maybe 2-3 people who (probably) knowingly ignored it, and at least one who tried to help. Most of them had no idea of what was going on.

        It's worth thinking about why the story became what it did. From the media's point of view, mayhem sells -- "if it bleeds, it leads" -- and a ghastly, horrifying story is made all the more attractive when you add the "38 witnesses" angle. From a political point of view, there are certain...advantages...to making people feel fearful, cynical, and isolated. When you combine that with the right mix of anger and indignation, it can be very useful indeed.

        Maybe if you believe no one cares, it's partly because the people who control the narrative want you to believe that no one cares.

      • I know it feels that way, and there is some truth to what you are saying, but the fact is that crime rates haven't really changed, like, ever. If anything, it's on a downswing over the last few decades:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States

        http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2011/06/long-term-trend-in-homicide-rates.html

        The difference today is we hear more about it, because of the pervasive media.

        So cheer up. I'm not saying things are perfect now, but they weren't n
    • Yes, it's not that difficult to troll Wikipedia.

      Which is exactly the point of the exercise. From the earliest days, Wikipedia bragged about how hard it was going to be to troll Wikipedia. How bad articles and bad edits would be detected and corrected within hours, if not minutes. How the structure and community of Wikipedia was robust and resilient.

      However, as it has turned out, this is not the case. And most of the replies so far are doing everything they can to avoid discussing this elephant i

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Wikipedia manages to avoid bad edits by reverting the vast majority of them, immediately, regardless of their content. I've seen spelling corrections reverted. I abandoned Wikipedia to its editor cult years ago.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @08:00AM (#40026819)

    That ought to really impress any prospective employers.

    • by NJRoadfan (1254248) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @08:06AM (#40026855)
      That's something Scott Thompson can actually put on his resume now.
      • by cdrudge (68377)

        He can't say he took the class though, or can he? Maybe he just audited the class or did it as an independent study.

      • by khr (708262)

        That's something Scott Thompson can actually put on his resume now.

        And he can borrow from the Slashdot headline, "-- and Get Caught"

    • Well, they can always go work for political campaigns.

    • by Sarten-X (1102295)

      The title alone indicates to me that it's a liberal studies course, intended to heighten awareness of how trusted sources can be deceived. Getting an 'A' in a class with such a provocative title opens the door to interviews, where the student can demonstrate that they know and understand more than just the minimum qualifications for their degree.

      • by bryan1945 (301828)

        And if I ever stated something like "trusted sources" in reference to Wikipedia or Reddit, I would have failed whatever paper or project I was working on. But then, I was got my BS in engineering and MS in science.

        • by Sarten-X (1102295)

          No, they're not trusted in academic circles, but for daily use and rudimentary research, they are. Personally, I trust Wikipedia exactly as much as I would an expert in the field. The expert can be mistaken or pushing a particular agenda, but is generally informative and mostly accurate.

    • Getting an A+ is only achievable if you state that you never took the course.
    • If your future employer is going to be the Republican Party, the RIAA, the MPAA or Congress, it will!

  • my experience (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17, 2012 @08:01AM (#40026829)

    My experience vandalising Wikipedia - and I do it every so often because it amuses me and because I think Wikipedia is one of the most harmful things the Internet has ever produced - is that Wikipedia is a power struggle game by the impotent.

    So the number one rule for letting a vandalisation get through is to never openly disagree with "owners" of an article, i.e. those who make hundreds of edits to push their strong opinions. For example, you're not even going to get facts about Israel's atrocious behaviour in the Israel article, let alone bullshit. (However, it you write subtle bullshit which supports the position of the article owners, you're on to a winner.)

    The second rule is to avoid the lazy syophants. Such toadying slimeballs observe all recent changes everywhere for nonsense edits simply to bump up their contribution count, so you need to make sure that no change you make is obviously nonsense.

    The third rule is to appeal to stupidity. People who contribute to Wikipedia are neither very smart nor do they feel very secure, so you want to make an edit which is wrong but which makes them feel bad for doubting whether it's correct. If the statement you make is obviously irrelevant, or points to a mainstream source (e.g. mainstream news site) then it is easy to check, will be checked, and will be removed. If it cites a primary reference written for Adults, particularly if it isn't a guaranteed click away, you're much more likely to get away with the edit.

    The fourth rule is to eschew braggadocio. Mentioning an obvious troll - your own or otherwise - on any public forum will guarantee that the troll is fixed. As the Stasi well knew, every community has its willing informants.

    • Re:my experience (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SteveFoerster (136027) <steve@ s t evefoerster.com> on Thursday May 17, 2012 @08:11AM (#40026907) Homepage

      Even if all of your complaints about Wikipedians are true, I still say screw you for being a vandal.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I modded you up because it is interesting what you write, but don't get this wrong: This is not an endorsement, you are simply an asshole messing with other people's time and common goods.

    • My experience vandalising Wikipedia - and I do it every so often because it amuses me and because I think Wikipedia is one of the most harmful things the Internet has ever produced

      You are a waste of oxygen. Wikipedia is one of the best resources in the world, and, frankly if you lived to be 1000, you would never produce anything with even one millionth of the value.

      And your solution to wikipedia being bad is to try to make it worse to satisfy your own ego?

      Wanker.

    • by bryan1945 (301828)

      I am just wondering what types of articles does Mr. AC mess with? Messing with equations on math articles? Changing stuff on engineering or science? If I forget what Fermat's Last Theorem is (what, like I use it at work every day?), it would be nice to know that it wasn't changed to a^n + b^n = c^2n. (I'm going to have to check that article in about a week, aren't I? lol )
      Now if we're talking about pop culture and similar topical topics, meh. Still not correct nor nice, but I don't care if [female cele

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdotNO@SPAMhackish.org> on Thursday May 17, 2012 @08:02AM (#40026837)

    If you're willing to openly flout research ethics, it's not very hard to produce disinformation in many different venues, most of which rely to a greater or lesser extent on trust.

    Here are some other things you can do:

    1. Create an authoritative-looking website on an .edu domain with false information about historical events. Odds are, bits of it will eventually start to percolate into the literature and academic talks, especially if you're well-regarded in the area, and the false information is relatively obscure.

    2. Insert false historical facts slightly off the main article thesis into peer-reviewed articles. For example, write an engineering paper for an IEEE journal, and then insert a historical footnote with made-up biographical information. This will typically get a weak level of peer review, because IEEE journals will be primarily reviewing your technical contributions, not your historical footnote. Later, "launder" this false information into a more prominent position: write a more historical article, which cites the previous footnote as a source, thereby upgrading it. Now the peer-reviewed literature has confirmed your false information. Now you can really get it enmeshed in Wikipedia: write a Wikipedia article that cites your paper.

    3. If you're invited to contribute an article or two to a specialist encyclopedia, one of those "Biographical Dictionary of [Field]" type things, insert false information into it. These carry some authoritative weight, but facts in them are rarely checked in detail, because the work of putting the encyclopedia together at all usually strains resources as it is, so authors have to be trusted.

    If anything, I would say that Wikipedia is somewhat more resilient than many of these avenues are. The trick is that its resilience is somewhat eyeball-weighted: if you insert fabricated information into a widely read article such as [[George W. Bush]] or [[Byzantine Empire]], it will be noticed much sooner than if you insert it into a very obscure article that isn't linked anywhere, where nobody is even going to see it until some bored editor hits "Random Article" enough times.

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @08:08AM (#40026879) Homepage

      There's another way this can happen, though:
      1. Insert false information into Wikipedia without attribution on a subject that is likely to be of public interest.
      2. Wait for a harried news reporter to pick up on the false information and use it in their article without attribution.
      3. Go back and answer the [[citation needed]] with a link back to the news reporter's article.

    • by bryan1945 (301828)

      This is why we had at least one ethics class for each of my degrees. If the perceived gains outweigh the perceived risks, people will do this all day long. Sad that college & grad level people need this drummed into their heads. Ethics should be introduced into high school curricula.

  • Ownership (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheSpoom (715771) <slashdot@NOSpAM.uberm00.net> on Thursday May 17, 2012 @08:05AM (#40026853) Homepage Journal

    most users feel little ownership of the content.

    This is probably because the admins are very quick to remind editors that they are the real owners, with a revert.

  • by craznar (710808) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @08:08AM (#40026875) Homepage

    That is the reason Reddit picked up on it.

    Just over a year ago, I posted (by request) some truths - was quickly lynched by several thousand users, branded a liar and a troll and forced out of the community.

    Reddit users had just redefined the truth in their own image.

    The dangers of community driven information - be it reddit or wikipedia.

    • by bmo (77928)

      Just over a year ago, I posted (by request) some truths - was quickly lynched by several thousand users, branded a liar and a troll and forced out of the community.

      What were the truths?

      --
      BMO

      • by craznar (710808)

        I was diagnosed with a condition, and was asked to post about how it was to have it.

        • by bmo (77928)

          So what's the condition?

          --
          BMO

          • I was thinking that maybe it was one of the AMAs featuring a real live sociopath. The timeline doesn't fit, but the being labeled a troll part does: this one here [reddit.com] seemed to lie in almost every answer he gave. In particular, he claimed that he tried very hard not to act like a typical sociopath, and that he considered all the implications of any given action, but then claimed that he'd never bother to help out any of his "friends", keeping them around only for his own amusement. He admitted to lying habitual
    • I see something similar in other communities. When you cry "Wolf!" for every sheep that you see, sometimes you ends up really hitting where sheep are wolves disguised.

      Works, but the error rate tends to be... little greater than 95%. And still have the problem of discovering when the subject correctly pointed out that the sheep was a wolf
    • and these truths were?

    • by T.E.D. (34228)

      When someone starts talking about "truth" before (or without bothering) going into details, generally they are trying to blow smoke up my nether regions. If this is where you started from, IMHO they were quite right to be suspicous.

      I'm not saying you're wrong...just in really really bad company [google.com] at the moment.

      • by craznar (710808)

        There in lies the problem.

        When those telling the truth are tarred with the same brush as those who are trolls, liars and the like - then there is a problem.

        In my case - I was merely posting about my experiences with a disease that I have.

    • link? subreddit? username? anything to support your claim? moderators who banned you? Actions you took after it?

      • by craznar (710808)

        I AM A
        Same user name as Slashdot.
        I wasn't banned by mods, rather lynched by the mob. That is, could no longer stay.
        Actions I took - I requested help from the moderators - who didn't even reply to the request.

        • did involve a lack of proper proof? Because that subreddit, after being burned plenty of times, explicitly encourages demands of proof or else, downvoting the thread to prevent hoaxes.

          You must provide proof of your identity in the body of your post when you submit your IAmA

          If your identity is absolutely confidential, you may message proof to the mods

          If your post is suspected fake and you do not verify proof, it may be subject to removal

          This is a

    • by bmo (77928)

      >asked for proof or even just an assertion.
      >crickets.wav

      Trollboy.

      --
      BMO

    • by bryan1945 (301828)

      Saying your dong was 23" long as "truth" may be 'stretching' it. And the Reddit people redefining the "truth" because the ruler said differently is not really a lynching. When you don't actually meet the criteria for the "foot long plus" club, of course you're going to get kicked out. Though the "4 to 6" club would probably take your admission request.

  • This can happen anywhere. I certainly remember learning about the Tasaday in elementary school.

  • by Conspire (102879) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @08:35AM (#40027147) Homepage

    I find it completely ironic how the MSN throws Wikipedia under the bus. I was recently called by a major MSM print magazine to verify some facts in a story, some of the facts they were asking to verify were clearly laid out in a Wiki page that I myself had edited. Now after referring the editor to the Wiki page they said "we don't accept Wikipedia as a verification", and my response was "I already confirmed to you that the Wikipedia entry is factually correct", they then asked me to verify the facts listing them in the email as opposed to referring them to the Wikipedia site. So, I kindly did a screenshot and put it in the email saying "this is correct".

    Now the irony is, I pointed out how the framing of the other facts that they were questioning, was in fact misleading. I also pointed out that they had not included very important facts, which I did list out, which would correct the misleading framing of the story and make it clear in the reader's eyes. Not only did they NOT include the facts that I pointed out in the printed version, but they grossly exaggerated the position and framing that they chose. I guess that sells more magazines.

    The MSM industry is broken, corrupt, for sale, and in the hands of corporate giants looking to frame whatever story they want to spin. It is in their best interest that Wikipedia is relegated to a source than can never be used, and whose credibility is diminished to zero in the eyes of the public masses.

    Is a fake article about a fake mass murderer 100 years ago a sign of lack of credibility? Or is framing a story around living people that demean them in order to create an "interesting story" that will sell magazines and swing public view toward a desired consensus a sign of lack of credibility? The MSM has zero scruples, and I wonder if there a grant around this research professor? Would be very interesting to know if there was a grant, and who paid for it.

  • by Shompol (1690084) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @09:21AM (#40027543)

    George Mason University curriculum:

    "Lying About the Past" - a course for ex-Enron accountants, prerequisite for finding another job

    "Lying About the Future" - strongly recommended for a successful career in politics

    "Lying about the Present" - a required course for MBA majors

  • ...I just don't trust the content anymore. If I'm trying to figure out if the actress I just saw on TV is the daughter of Raquel Welsh, yeah, but anything where there's some vested interest in hiding or distorting the truth (politics), I've learned to stay far away from it. I like learning new things and simply don't have the time to be auditing as much as I'm learning.

  • Or do you get extra credit for "Lying about your past"?

  • Where's the control for this experiment? How about posting a similar but completely factual article? I bet you'd get the same results -- no response on Wikipedia, and a dogpile of people on Reddit calling "FAKE!"

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