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Wikipedia Scandal: High Profile Users Allegedly Involved In Paid-Editing 154

Posted by Soulskill
from the citation-needed dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A new Wikipedia scandal: two high profile users, one of them board member of Wikimedia UK seem to have been caught doing edits for personal profit. It was also discovered that they ran an SEO business related to Wikipedia. Quoting: 'Roger Bamkin, trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation UK, whose LinkedIn page describes him as a high-return-earning PR consultant, appeared to be using Wikipedia's main page "Did You Know" feature and the resources of Wikipedia's GLAM WikiProject (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) initiative to pimp his client's project. Bamkin's current client is the country of Gibraltar.'"
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Wikipedia Scandal: High Profile Users Allegedly Involved In Paid-Editing

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  • ...... so? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by viperidaenz (2515578)
    Where is the problem?
    • by mark_elf (2009518)
      No problem, the best thing about wikipedia is all the arguing and drama. This is truly awesome.
    • by Chrisq (894406)

      Where is the problem?

      Thanks, The cheque is in the post.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:23AM (#41383173)

    Gibralta is a region just north of Africa that is under British rule and all the inhabitants are perfectly happy with this state of affairs

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      We can ignore the fact that most British people are not happy with the government they have. A government that is in the business of selling that which belongs to the people of the country to their mates. Steal as much as they can while in office seems to be what's behind the actions of the cabinet.

      • by Yetihehe (971185)

        Steal as much as they can while in office seems to be what's behind the actions of the cabinet.

        How this differs from any other government?

      • This government is still better than the last government...

        • by sa1lnr (669048)

          This government is still better than the last government...

          It's definitely better at U-Turns and demonising the low hanging fruit.

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      Gibralta is a region just north of Africa that is under British rule and all the inhabitants are perfectly happy with this state of affairs

      While true it is a very odd description for a parliamentary off Spain [goo.gl]. Yes Spain is "a region just north of Africa", and the inhalants are happy being a British territory. Its odd not to mention that Spain are not very happy [wikipedia.org] with "the rock" being under British rule.

      • by Chrisq (894406)

        Gibralta is a region just north of Africa that is under British rule and all the inhabitants are perfectly happy with this state of affairs

        While true it is a very odd description for a parliamentary off Spain [goo.gl]. Yes Spain is "a region just north of Africa", and the inhalants are happy being a British territory. Its odd not to mention that Spain are not very happy [wikipedia.org] with "the rock" being under British rule.

        Damned spell check .. that's "Promontory off Spain" though Peninsula may have been better

        • by Pope (17780)

          And yet you missed "inhalants" in your correction. Sniffing glue again?

    • by Jiro (131519)

      There isn't any dispute that the inhabitants really are happy that it is under British rule. Spain says that the wishes of the inhabitants don't affect who owns it; Spain does not say that Britain is lying about the wishes of the inhabitants.

      By the way, Spain itself owns little pieces of land next to Morocco [wikipedia.org] similar to Gibraltar. Of course Spain insists that the situation is completely different since Spain conquered them in the 1500's instead of the 1700's.

    • Their happy accordance with the state of affairs is a side effect of being next to the province of Cimbalta [emedtv.com].
  • A bad thing? (Score:1, Informative)

    by The Shootist (324679)

    As FUBAR as wiki is I don't see how it can possibly matter.

    As an aside, there is data concerning impact craters that is no longer correct, I tried to edit the entry for the Moon and Mars; the hoops one has to go through made the entire process less than worthwhile.

  • by tgeller (10260) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:29AM (#41383191) Homepage
    It's not the fault of WP. As long as they toss him out, they've done the right thing and all's well.

    If they act like the Catholic Church and protect the abusers, that's another matter.
    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WikiScanner#Media_coverage_and_reaction [wikipedia.org] -- CTRL-F "Vatican". Probably just correcting a spelling error or something, but you never know ;)
  • Remember DMOZ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:30AM (#41383211)

    If you remember DMOZ, the community edited links directory, that died a death because they didn't tackle paid interests.

    I'd edit a category to remove keyword stuffing, and kill links to sites that were simply keyword stuffed pages with lots of links to another site. Obvious SEO stuff. As soon as I did that, a senior editor would drop buy, re-instate the links, and in coordination, the spammy gateway page would be replaced by a plausible site. After 2-3 months, the site would revert back to the spammy gateway page again.

    Of course the senior editors were linked to those sites, and that's why there was such close co-ordination, but there was nothing you could do about it. DMOZ did nothing to fix it, and people just stopped caring, it went away.

    • It's a bit more complicated than that... (it usually is). On top of a variety of internal problems, there was also the arrival of Google - which badly hurt hierarchical directory sites all over the web.

      Not that DMOZ has gone away, it's still around... it's just irrelevant in the eyes of many. Not because of linkspam, but because it's harder to use.

      • by BeanThere (28381)

        DMOZ is dead and irrelevant because its editors have made sure its crap, not because of the arrival of Google. Try get a legitimate site on there, in a legitimate category, through the submissions process. Try it. I defy you to do it.

  • From Jimmy Whales, the biggest WikiWhore of them all: "I'm shocked, SHOCKED, I TELL YOU"

    Sure Jimmy, sure.

    • by Mr2cents (323101)

      And what about the children?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Actually Jimmy takes no salary from the Wikimedia Foundation and doesn't even ask for expenses to be covered. He could have easily exploited Wikipedia's popularity to become a billionaire, but chose not to. Instead he just gets to be the butt of stupid jokes like this one from people who have no idea what they're talking about.

      • Re:Sure Jimmy, sure. (Score:4, Informative)

        by gl4ss (559668) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @02:50AM (#41383797) Homepage Journal

        Actually Jimmy takes no salary from the Wikimedia Foundation and doesn't even ask for expenses to be covered. He could have easily exploited Wikipedia's popularity to become a billionaire, but chose not to. Instead he just gets to be the butt of stupid jokes like this one from people who have no idea what they're talking about.

        he's found a better way than salary.

        "The way Mr. Wales makes a living is by getting $50,000 to $70,000 per speaking engagement when he goes and lectures about Wikipedia.[6][7][8][9]."

        he's burning through 21k/month from money ultimately derived from the bizniz, not bad.

      • 1. Extremely expensive speaking engagements. Standard way to buy favors of politicians.
        2. Wikia. Wikipedia is so deletionist as it is because if content is driven over to Wikia, Jimbo can make a profit of it with his giant Smurf ads.

        • by hvm2hvm (1208954)
          Wikia is not owned or doesn't have any connection to Jimmy Wales...
          • Wrong, and wrong. It's Wikia, Inc, a privately owned for profit enterprise. It was founded by Jimmy Wales (and Angela Beelsley, another Wikipedia bigwig), I'd call that a pretty big connection. They still own it as far as I know.

            • by hvm2hvm (1208954)
              Ok then, I just looked on the wikia site at the "about us" and nothing came up... Pretty sneak I guess.
  • Incidentally... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:32AM (#41383225) Journal

    Why would you trust anybody who(voluntarily no less) describes themselves as an 'SEO Consultant?

    Surely such people would be as laboriously excluded from polite company as their abominable creations are from search indices and email queues?

  • GLAM (Score:4, Interesting)

    by GigsVT (208848) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:42AM (#41383273) Journal

    GLAM wasn't created by normal Wikipedia editors. It was something the foundation made up to draw in people who don't really give a shit about open source type ideals.

    It's not really a surprise that it would end this way.

  • OK... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:45AM (#41383279)

    So who wants to write the Wikipedia article on this scandal?

  • I use Wiki nominally so i don't care about this situation. I am personally not surprised about this because when it (the site) first popped up years ago i thought to myself "what's to keep someone who's pissed off at you putting up whatever they want about you?".

    Think about it.

    • by Black Parrot (19622) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:50AM (#41383301)

      I use Wiki nominally so i don't care about this situation. I am personally not surprised about this because when it (the site) first popped up years ago i thought to myself "what's to keep someone who's pissed off at you putting up whatever they want about you?".

      Think about it.

      I did, and updated the article about you accordingly.

    • by sumdumass (711423) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @01:35AM (#41383517) Journal

      I did that to win a fake argument and poke fun with someone once. This was a while ago when Wikipedia was newish and I was messing with someone who I know claimed that everything on Wikipedia was 100% correct. He was learning about networking and I tried to convince him that the E in cat5e stood for elevated, it was the cables you used to run above the ceiling tiles. He insisted I was wrong and demanded I checked the Wikipedia entry. I had a friend change the entry while we were arguing about it and not only did he edit it to say that cat 5e stood for the "elephant- because it never forgets" standard, but added that anyone listening to (his first name) would be wrong in any explanation by default.

      You should have seen the look on his face when he looked it up to prove me wrong seconds later in front of 4 or 5 of us. Priceless.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I knew Gibraltar couldn't be trusted.

  • by gweihir (88907) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @01:18AM (#41383437)

    Identify the cretins, remove them, shame them publicly and move on. Does not invalidate Wikipedia or its approach at all.

    • by evilviper (135110)

      Yes, it does invalidate WP... They've got tons of bureaucratic policies, crippling admins from intervening all the time, and making editing WP a nightmare. And yet none of it worked to flag or stop some true corruption of WP.

      I long assumed WP would eventually die of neglect, as anonymous editors push their POVs in random articles with few editors. But maybe corrupt admins will do far more damage, much more quickly than the pleebs could ever hope to do so.

      • Seriously, they need ONE central rule-making body, not different standards for different subjects, categories, and admins. Fucking lock everything down for a month or two and rework the administration system.
    • by alexo (9335)

      Identify the cretins, remove them, shame them publicly

      ... crush them, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women.

      • by gweihir (88907)

        That would be overkill. Also, what to do with female cretins (cretinas?) and male ones in a same-sex marriage? Accept lamentations of their husbands as well? No, better do without lamentations and crushing.

  • by solferino (100959) <hazchem AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @01:32AM (#41383503) Homepage

    Bamkin's current client is the country of Gibraltar.

    Gibraltar is not a country, it is a British overseas territory [fco.gov.uk].

  • Wikipedia (Score:5, Funny)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @02:05AM (#41383621) Journal
    It's incredible how so many corrupt, self-absorbed people can make such a nice thing as Wikipedia.
  • by Submarine (12319) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @02:27AM (#41383701) Homepage

    There is no such thing as "Wikimedia Foundation UK". There is "Wikimedia UK" (officially "Wiki UK limited"). The Wikimedia Foundation is a US-based organization that runs the servers that host Wikipedia and handles the associated administrative and financial matters. Wikimedia UK is just a local users' organization, also known as a "chapter".

    By writing "Wikimedia Foundation UK", the article writer seemed to imply that Roger Bamkin was a powerful person regarding the management of Wikipedia / Wikimedia sites. This is not the case.

  • wkipedia is an oligarchy full of trolls, gamers, bureaucrats and shills... has been for ages

    anyone who thinks of wikipedia in the same light as britannica or world book is a moron

    wikipedia is full of interesting stuff, but it should never be relied on as a reliable source
  • That's like saying the country of Guam, or the country of Puerto Rico. Gibraltar is a territory. Its inhabitants are British.
  • by OnePumpChump (1560417) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @06:59AM (#41384981)
    Differing sets of conflicting rules, senior editors making their own personal information kingdoms, colliding and sometimes colluding with people who think they're editing UrbanDictionary.

    I only edit anonymously, and I do not talk to any other editors.
  • There is no "country of Gilbraltar" as the anonymous coward who posted the article suggests. It is a British overseas territory. It's something akin to Guam or American Samoa which are territories of the USA and nobody thinks they are countries.

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