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Wikipedia Businesses The Internet

How PR Subverts Wikipedia 219

Posted by Soulskill
from the citation-needed dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "We all know that Wikipedia can be subverted—it’s an inevitability of an open platform that some people will seek to abuse it, whether to gain some advantage or just for a laugh. Fortunately, the Wikipedia community has strong mechanisms in place to deal with this, from the famous cry of [citation needed] to the rigorous checks and standards put in place by its hierarchy of editors and admins. In recent months though, Insiders have encountered something altogether more worrying: a concerted attack on the very fabric of Wikipedia by PR companies that have subverted the online encyclopedia's editing hierarchy to alter articles on a massive scale—perhaps tens of thousands of them. Wikipedia is the world's most popular source of cultural, historical, and scientific knowledge—if their fears are correct, its all-important credibility could be on the line... Adam Masonbrink, a founder and Vice-President of Sales at Wiki-PR, boasts of new clients including Priceline and Viacom. Viacom didn't respond ... but Priceline — a NASDAQ listed firm with over 5,000 employees and William Shatner as their official spokesman — did. Sadly, Priceline didn't choose to respond to us via Captain Kirk; instead Leslie Cafferty, vice president of corporate communications and public relations, admitted, 'We are using them to help us get all of our brands a presence because I don't have the resources internally to otherwise manage.'"
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How PR Subverts Wikipedia

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  • If the internet organized itself with a sort of government and had votes and such on laws and such governing it, this wouldn't be a problem. The problem is that the internet needs representation, but all it has is our shitty bricks and mortar governments, and organizations like ICANT (cough, giggle), running the show.

    We used to deal with shit like this with things like the Usenet Death Penalty. We simply boot the companies off the internet. Suddenly, ethics and morality abounded. Nope... you can't blame the

    • by ZosX (517789)

      This is actually a great idea.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 19, 2013 @01:04PM (#45175753)

        Yeah, let's have a Congress of elected representatives who can sit down as reasonable men and women and make collective decisions on important policy issues! Kind of like the model of...

        Oh wait.

      • by Penguinisto (415985) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @02:16PM (#45176259) Journal

        Well, maybe...

        The old UDP system wasn't as badassed as proclaimed. It was fairly quickly subverted by simple dint of getting another ISP account.

        Netcop me over something that offended you in USENET? Hah - fuck you, I'm back on in less than two hours courtesy of an AOL floppy, some other uni's server which left their dial-in lines wide open (and lookie here - anon logins!), or one of a zillion other means of getting in. Seriously - it wasn't all it was cracked up to be, and get even less powerful as ISPs started popping up out of the woodwork. By 1999, even the little rural corner of Arkansas I lived in gave me a choice of at least 10 different ISPs (be they local and otherwise), not counting the UofA alumni accounts, the local government dial-ins (which also had a fun little generic login for awhile) and etc.

        Now - fast forward to today. In the age of free wifi damned near everywhere, 3/4/whatever-G mobile devices, and IP assignments that are almost as disposable as toilet paper squares?

        Yeah, good luck with that. Can't even call it by MAC addy, and until/unless an RFC is universally implemented that will simultaneous destroy any hope of privacy, you're kinda fucked...

        Sorry 'mano, but we've been hearing/hashing similar arguments since the days when Uni/.mil/BBS dominated things.

    • by Garridan (597129) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @01:05PM (#45175757)
      See, Wikipedia started like that, too. But very soon, our Internet Congress would be populated by corporate fucktards, and not long afterwards, anybody with a clue would be outnumbered and banned from the internet. Also, any mechanism that you create to ban folks from the internet will be used for governments for censorship. Great intention you've got, but that road leads straight to hell.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by koan (80826)

        How do you get banned from the Internet? It's literally impossible at this point in time.
        Of course if you have a Facebook account (and I wager you do) you're helping "them" to create exactly what you just said, a bannable Internet.

        So STFU.

        • by Garridan (597129)
          Context is important, friend. RTFP and STFU yourself.
      • by epyT-R (613989)

        Not just corp-rats, but PC-tards who would ban any sort of speech that questions the motivations of the dominant players in identity politics. The internet would have the culture of mainstream television.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 19, 2013 @01:15PM (#45175815)

      This is a terrible idea! You just read an article about PR firms editing articles about science & history. Facts are the least democratic things of all!

      Do you want people to vote on science? How many people think Relativity is just E=mc^2? They ignore all the import aspects about it. If there wasn't a maximum speed (speed of light), then kinetic energy (KE=mv^2) would go to infinity and create unlimited energy.

      Do you want people to vote on History? Well, they did, and the Holocaust only killed Jews. The other 5 million killed for handicaps, homosexuality, and others don't count. There were even 3 more genocides in the 20th century alone: Pol Pot's Cambodia (the educated), Serbia (muslims), & Rwanda.

      I don't want popular opinion to warp reality anymore!

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by koan (80826)

        And why is it you only hear about the Jews hmmm?

        Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Pieroxy (222434)

        Reality is just as subjective as the rest. There is no reality per se, just the account you can make of it. And this is subjective, and no two persons will tell the same story. Nobody knows that better than the police: Ask 3 eye witnesses about the facts and you immediately get 3 different versions.

        • by Sique (173459)
          Don't mess two different things up. There is reality, and there are our measurements, our convictions and our accounts of what reality is. Just because you almost never get the last ones to match doesn't mean there was no reality. Yes. There is reality. No. We will never know it completely.
        • by rtb61 (674572)

          PR=B$, lies for profit, that's reality. They have collected the shallowest, psychopaths and narcissists to spread lies as far and wide as possible on a for profit basis with total disregard of the consequences. They will pervert every possible medium of communication to feed the insatiable psychopathic greed to create the masquerade that other psychopaths and narcissists hide behind in their ruthless exploitation of everyone and everything on the planet.

          They basically generate an income by betraying the

      • This is a terrible idea! You just read an article about PR firms editing articles about science & history. Facts are the least democratic things of all!

        Do you want people to vote on science? How many people think Relativity is just E=mc^2? They ignore all the import aspects about it. If there wasn't a maximum speed (speed of light), then kinetic energy (KE=mv^2) would go to infinity and create unlimited energy.

        Do you want people to vote on History? Well, they did, and the Holocaust only killed Jews. The other 5 million killed for handicaps, homosexuality, and others don't count. There were even 3 more genocides in the 20th century alone: Pol Pot's Cambodia (the educated), Serbia (muslims), & Rwanda.

        I don't want popular opinion to warp reality anymore!

        And you even left off the Armenian Genocide.

        • I suspect he meant that there were three more after that, but yes, there was also the Armenian Genocide, and surely others too.

      • This is a terrible idea! You just read an article about PR firms editing articles about science & history. Facts are the least democratic things of all!

        Do you want people to vote on science? How many people think Relativity is just E=mc^2? They ignore all the import aspects about it. If there wasn't a maximum speed (speed of light), then kinetic energy (KE=mv^2) would go to infinity and create unlimited energy.

        Do you want people to vote on History? Well, they did, and the Holocaust only killed Jews. The other 5 million killed for handicaps, homosexuality, and others don't count. There were even 3 more genocides in the 20th century alone: Pol Pot's Cambodia (the educated), Serbia (muslims), & Rwanda.

        I don't want popular opinion to warp reality anymore!

        I think you've just pissed off an awfully large number of Armenians [slashdot.org] and I've just pissed off an equally large number of Turks [slashdot.org]

        • Fucking slashdot changed my links from wikipedia to slashdot. When are you clowns going to fix the site. It is completely fucking unusable on a tablet, I love lyx as much as the next geek but for fuck's sake it's 2013 not 1973.

          • <a href="example.com">...</a> [slashdot.org]
            <a href="http://example.com">...</a> [example.com]
            See the difference?

            Fucking slashdot changed my links from wikipedia to slashdot.

            Are you complaining because /. lacks a <DWIM> tag, along with the strong AI that implies?
            Or because someone failed to teach you about absolute and relative URLs [w3.org]?

            Either way, it seems a little unreasonable to blame /. for it.

            (Now the tablet UI, I'm with you all the way blaming /. for that abomination. If you have the ability, changing to a desktop user-agent string will get around it -- but there'

            • <a href="example.com">...</a> [slashdot.org]
              <a href="http://example.com">...</a> [example.com]
              See the difference?

              Fucking slashdot changed my links from wikipedia to slashdot.

              Are you complaining because /. lacks a <DWIM> tag, along with the strong AI that implies?
              Or because someone failed to teach you about absolute and relative URLs [w3.org]?

              Either way, it seems a little unreasonable to blame /. for it.

              (Now the tablet UI, I'm with you all the way blaming /. for that abomination. If you have the ability, changing to a desktop user-agent string will get around it -- but there's NO reason we should have to do that.)

              No I'm complaining because slashdot took a perfectly valid absolute URL and somehow munged it into something other than what I'd entered before pressing submit. The only difference between that post and the dozens of others I've made previously is that I was using a tablet to do it. Fucked if I know why they would do something different to html embedded in a post from a tablet versus a desktop but I know what was in the textarea before I sumbitted and it sure as fuck was an absolute url with wikipedia in th

    • And about five minutes later, the internet lobbyist would follow.

    • by koan (80826)

      I will blame anyone obscuring the truth.

    • by Joining Yet Again (2992179) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @01:35PM (#45175955)

      OK I giggled a bit.

      Wikipedia: verifiability, not truth; consensus, not truth; time available to engage in edit wars, not truth. objectivist power-mongering, not truth.

      OK, it's a fair introduction to some non-contentious subjects... although even e.g. where it's supposed to be good, like mathematics, I'd much rather go to Mathworld or a topic-specific repository (e.g. the MacTutor history of mathematics archive) for something written by people who are both knowledgeable and able to write... so, to refine my point, it's a fair introduction to trivia where a series-specific Wikia hasn't already been created.

      But what's really going for it is that it appears at the top of search engine results. And most people aren't using the Internet for anything important, which means anything resembling an answer is good enough.

      • by HiThere (15173)

        It's worse than that. If specialists in a field spend the time to contribute an article, they are likely to have it reverted by some idiot who knows nothing about the field. I won't speculate on his reasons, but facts are not what Wikipedia runs on, just what it occasionally provides. And then you can't trust them.

    • So we institute a government to acts that problems of other governments.

      Yup. That'll work.

      • by lgw (121541)

        That's pretty much half the posts on /. these days -"the government has been corrupted by companies: we need more government!"

    • by s13g3 (110658) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @03:38PM (#45176785) Journal

      No, the answer is not for a bunch of people to elect another bunch of people via popularity contest to exercise power over everybody else, especially including the people who didn't want the people who got elected in the first place.

      The better answer would be for people like yourself to, instead of throwing their hands in the air and blaming everybody but themselves for the problem, to actually get involved in efforts to combat those doing wrong, such as taking part in Wikipedia's anti-vandalism process, as opposed to just crying about evil corporations, etc.

      Remember, governments aren't interested in people, they're interested in furthering themselves and their own authority. No matter the intentions they start with, democracies evolve into tyrannies nearly without fail: Plato pretty well nailed it with the Five Regimes [wikipedia.org]. It's one thing when participation in a body with a government is voluntary, but when you propose to place everyone under your "protection", whether they want it or not, you're a mob with mafioso leanings at best.

      If this is an issue of genuine concern to the Wikimedia Foundation and their leadership, they can alter their policies to combat it. I don't propose to know how best or even if they should do so, but they have the ability to respond as they see fit, and there are undoubtedly options they could pursue if the threat is great enough. Let them and their governing body choose whether to subject themselves to some other governing body or shielding organization, if they wish to abrogate their own control and responsibility, but to suggest everybody should be de facto subject to another group of people making decisions for nearly everyone else based on principles they may not share is how you get the mess we have with most of the world governments today.

    • by epyT-R (613989)

      No, all that would do is create a single, easy target for the subverters, since the power would be concentrated there. The best system is the one we have now, where everyone has the option to put up a site containing the content they wish, which lets the viewers decide what to think. The current system at least forces them to push their propaganda one site at a time, rather than lobbying their desires via this 'government.' This limits their reach to their own domains, and 'social' media accounts, and any

    • by jopsen (885607)

      Nope, bad idea...

      This can be solved by technical means... and wikipedia ought to be more aggressively experimenting with this on beta sites etc.
      Editors could be asked to identify themselves, or to post bail after committing a bad edit... Edits could be reviewed, the entire system could be based on reputation.
      And the system could fortified against hacks, secret court orders, etc. by requiring each edit and/or review to be cryptographically signed.
      I also think that wikipedia should go after these PR companies by legal me

    • by chrismcb (983081)

      If the internet organized itself with a sort of government and had votes and such on laws and such governing it, this wouldn't be a problem.

      What exactly is the problem? That someone maintains a wikipedia page? That someone PAYS someone to maintain the page?

  • Surprise! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by For a Free Internet (1594621) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @12:50PM (#45175677)

    Capitalism! Freedom of the press belongs to he who owns one!

    This problem will only be solved after the workers have expropriated the bourgeoisie and established their proletarian dictatorship!

    • Mod parent up. Only after a global revolution where the scum are hung up (and/or shot) shall things start to get better. The trick, and this is difficult, is to make sure that new scum don't rise. I.e. it had better not be a Leninist revolution, rather, make it an anarchist one thanks.

      • by HiThere (15173)

        Sorry, anarchism is unstable, tending towards warlords, who become feudal barons, who fight until you have a king or an emperor. That how we got here. (Things were pretty anarchic in Europe after the Romans retreated and the Huns wandered through...though admittedly it never got all the way down to pure anarchy. For that you need to look at, perhaps, the Ik (reputed to have been quite anarchic and relatively peaceful until there was a drought and crop failure).

        I agree we need something different, but per

  • Never Kirk (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Shatner's persona of The Negotiator is not Captain Kirk, and Priceline have never used Kirk as a spokesman.

    • by Albanach (527650)

      Of course not. And no one watching the adverts thinks of Kirk each time they see him. And the folk who pass Shatner in the street, they don't yell Captain.

      I'm not sure what world you live in. Presumably not one the USS Enterprise ever reached. For the rest of us, and most fortunately for Shatner's bank balance, he will always be inextricably linked with Kirk - whatever role he plays.

      • by lgw (121541)

        Outside of /. he's probably more well known as Denny Crane. What's my name? Denny Crane.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 19, 2013 @12:55PM (#45175713)

    Fortunately, the Wikipedia community has strong mechanisms in place to deal with this, from the famous cry of [citation needed] to the rigorous checks and standards put in place by its hierarchy of editors and admins.

    [citation needed]

    • Fortunately, the Wikipedia community has strong mechanisms in place to deal with this, from the famous cry of [citation needed] to the rigorous checks and standards put in place by its hierarchy of editors and admins.

      [citation needed]

      From the article:

      Other clients are more outspoken, and less happy. Emad Rahim, Dean of the College of Business and Management at Colorado Technical University, recruited Wiki-PR earlier this year. [...]

      Rahim paid Wiki-PR $1,500 over two installments to create a page for him on the site. [...]

      At first he was happy with the result, but within two weeks the page had come to the attention of other Wikipedia editors. [...]. On July 17, Rahim emailed the firm after noticing that his page had been marked for deletion for not being notable enough. CEO Michael French replied, “You're covered by Page Management. Not to worry. Thank you for your patience with the encyclopedic process.”

      A few days later the page was deleted, and Rahim contacted French again. “You're in the queue for reuploading. We'll be live in five to eight business days,” was the entirety of French’s response. “What will prevent them from rejecting it again?” the academic asked. “It wasn't rejected. It was approved and went live,” French responded, adding: “Your page was vandalized.”

      When the page was finally created again, it contained only one sentence. Rather than apologizing, French told Rahim to raise his media profile, and connected the academic to Scarsdale media, who offered 30 days of "media relations efforts" for another $800.

      “They promised me results that they had no control over.“ At just 30 words long, Rahim’s profile cost him the equivalent of $50 per word.

      Sounds like Wikipedia was doing its job and "Wiki-PR" are a bunch of useless scamwers.

  • by tutufan (2857787) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @01:08PM (#45175765)
    Not sure that this is really new. The page for C++, for example, is regularly scrubbed of any critical material. At the moment, there is just one negative sentence, indicating that "C++ is sometimes compared unfavorably to [some other languages]". Whether that is an unbiased and appropriately detailed statement of the totality of current objective C++ criticism is left as an exercise for the reader.
    • The removal of C++ criticism on Wikipedia has been criticized on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] already. ;-)
    • by Spykk (823586)
      This has to be the work of... wait, who benefits from removing criticism about C++ again?

      Whether or not wikipedia thoroughly badmouths a language you don't like boils down to a spat between fanboys, which is not at all comparable to a paid service that helps you hide criticism of your organization from consumers.
      • This has to be the work of... wait, who benefits from removing criticism about C++ again?

        Ken Thompson suggested that Bjarn has been suppressing criticism of the language from the beginning. In an interview in the book, Coders at Work, he said that once Bjarn came at him quite upset about a criticism he'd made, not because the criticism was wrong, but because the criticism had been made at all.

  • by MLCT (1148749) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @01:12PM (#45175791)
    There is no point placing any stock in [citation needed]; these are PR companies. If someone challenges what they are adding to wikipedia with citation requests they will issue a press release, get questionable "newspapers" (i.e. trade papers, promotional puff periodicals etc.) to pick up the press release (normally it is verbatim) and then back slam that on the wikipedia text as a citation. A lovely circular piece of work that ensures the promotion continues.

    One way to minimise their PR efforts is to create significant Streisand effects on their work. But some PR companies are so desperate that they would probably even be delighted with that.
    • by evilviper (135110)

      The other extreme is true, too... Any random moron can slap [citation needed] and dozens of other tags into an article. It takes almost no effort, and there are no consequences for the idiot doing it without putting in any effort of being completely misinformed. Meanwhile, tracking down citations is obviously significant work in the best of cases. So some high quality articles have [citation needed] or [dubious] tags all over the place, left there for years. While some horribly slanted articles with on

    • by Trepidity (597)

      One way to minimise their PR efforts is to create significant Streisand effects on their work. But some PR companies are so desperate that they would probably even be delighted with that.

      Part of the reason there isn't much of a Streisand effect here usually is that in the common case, honestly nobody cares about these articles. A PR company writes an obvious fluff piece about some obscure internet portal or logistics company or for-profit university. If someone on Wikipedia catches it, they might try to ton

    • > One way to minimise their PR efforts is to create significant Streisand effects on their work.

      Perhaps this is why they are changing 10s of thousands of pages recently -- to tire out the other editors.

    • by chrismcb (983081)
      So what is the problem? Wikipedia is supposed to contain information that can be verified. The information exists in "questionable newspapers," but it can still be verified in those newspapers. If this is a problem then Wikipedia needs to change its policy on what can be used for verification.
  • Bad, bad stuff (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pharmboy (216950) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @01:13PM (#45175795) Journal

    What these companies do is serially violate Wikipedia policies while padding with fluff or outright lies. I'm not against paid editing itself, and a few people do it without problems, but the more known companies have methods they use are purely deceptive and they cause a great deal of expense and problems because of the thousands of sockpuppets they create, and the hit and run methods. They are not doing this in an open and honest way, whatsoever.

    Trust me. If I know anything, this I know, and I know it first hand from actually working the SPI cases.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 19, 2013 @01:15PM (#45175809)

    https://www.wiki-pr.com/services/

    The most outrageous part of this is that Wiki-PR claims to have Wikipedia admins on their staff, not just normal editors. There is one, and only one response to this - find out who they are and remove their admin status immediately.

    Als, some excerpts, as this stuff has to be seen to be believed:

    "We respect the community and its rules against promoting and advertising." - Claims the advertising agency whose following services completely revolve around image management and promotion of corporate interests.

    "Don't get caught in a PR debacle by editing your own page." - As if having an advertising firm editing it for you through a network of paid-for eds/admins looks any less corrupt and underhanded.

    "We've built technology to manage your page 24 hours a day, 365 days a year." - Blatantly working against the Wikipedia rule against asserting page ownership.

    "That means you need not worry about anyone tarnishing your image - be it personal, political, or corporate." - Possibly the worst admission, goodbye balanced articles, goodbye controversy sections, hello censorship and whitewashed articles.

    Though the abuse of an open platform for informing the public is to be expected, what is surprising is how blatantly these people are advertising their corruption of Wikipedia.

    • by asmkm22 (1902712)

      Seems reasonable to think that they could server both the interests of their client while still being kept in check by the community. Having some Wikipedia admins on staff would actually make a lot of sense. At least it's better than not having any, and finding out the stuff you're creating and editing has violated some rules after the fact.

      As for the page management and preventing people from tarnishing a client's image, that alone doesn't imply page ownership. There's nothing wrong with removing mud sl

      • by MtHuurne (602934)

        Seems reasonable to think that they could server both the interests of their client while still being kept in check by the community. Having some Wikipedia admins on staff would actually make a lot of sense. At least it's better than not having any, and finding out the stuff you're creating and editing has violated some rules after the fact.

        The rules are not secret; you don't need anyone on the inside to comply with the rules. It might help to have one or more experienced editors on staff, but admins is just asking for conflicts of interest.

        As for the page management and preventing people from tarnishing a client's image, that alone doesn't imply page ownership.

        The passages the GP quoted use "your page" and even "your own page", which does suggest ownership. Neutral would be "the page about you".

        There's nothing wrong with removing mud slinging from an article when it isn't true or backed up with facts and references. Now if they are claiming to keep a page clean from all negative information, even if it's true, then there are problems.

        Their page says "you need not worry about anyone tarnishing your image"; this either oversells their service or they don't care whether negative information is true or fal

    • by quixote9 (999874)
      "The most outrageous part of this is that Wiki-PR claims to have Wikipedia admins on their staff, not just normal editors. There is one, and only one response to this - find out who they are and remove their admin status immediately."

      Yes. Christ on a bike. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Why hasn't Wikimedia already done this? Anybody specific I can badger to tell them to hurry up?
  • why we're supposed to keep sending money to Wikipedia in order to to prevent it from becoming an advertisement platform.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947)

      why we're supposed to keep sending money to Wikipedia in order to to prevent it from becoming an advertisement platform.

      Because the reason these corporate PR scumbags can subvert Wikipedia is because they can outnumber the unpaid structure in place to prevent it.

      The only solution is to make Wikipedia stronger, more able to pay people to keep order and prevent a bunch of thugs from engaging in these edit spam attacks.

      Corporations do not have morals. They are unable to discern fairness or truth or even order

  • by j0el (154005) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @01:32PM (#45175931)

    As a long time marketer I can assure you that we ruin everything. email spam, ugly banner ads, interstitials, SEO manipulation, retargeting, on and on. We do it because it works. Even paid twitter followers work. Robocalls work. Blatant sex works (works really well). When Congress gets involved all that happens is we have to pay lobbyists to make sure we can get around any laws or regulations. When we find ways to make you aware of our clients or their products, when we find ways to make you like us, when we find ways to make you engage with us, even if the response is a very low percent, we will do it.

    Stop me before I annoy you again.

    • by PPH (736903) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @02:42PM (#45176437)

      Blatant sex works (works really well).

      I am skeptical. Convince me.

    • by Spykk (823586)
      Thank you for your honesty. You know, you seem like a pretty nice.... OH MY GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE!
  • Laugh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by koan (80826) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @01:33PM (#45175933)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki-PR [wikipedia.org]
    "this article may meet Wikipedia's criteria for speedy deletion"

    Lets all make an effort to not only keep the Wiki-PR article, but to include any *FACTS* we find that show what Adam is up to.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict-of-interest_editing_on_Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]
    You really need to see who it is trying to get the articles changed, some of the biggest criminals around.

    Adam "anything for a dollar" Masonbrink
    “We write it. We manage it. You never worry about Wikipedia again.“
    Really?
    What were they worried about the truth?

    So Adam wants to cash in on subverting one of greatest assets on the Inet.
    Show him how you feel about that.

  • Why not have the vendor write about their product as though it was a scientific experiment. With such things, "Best In Class" edited out; instead identification of what class the product is in. One could refer to it as the "Star Trek's Vulcan Test", if its logical, and unemotional, editing passes. It won't stop the grinning show offs, but it will cause them to stay on topic.

    A possible idea is that modifiers not be allowed. Another test is that schematics have to be downloadable for third party verificatio
  • readable (Score:5, Interesting)

    by koan (80826) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @01:53PM (#45176071)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2013-10-09/News_and_notes [wikipedia.org]

    As one disgruntled Wiki-PR employee is reported as writing: "The warning flag was when I was told not to mention Elance or work for hire." Those who work for Wiki-PR have indeed gone to extensive lengths to hide their activities on Wikipedia. This has included altering their habitual behavioral patterns, frequently changing their IP addresses (apparently to avoid being caught by the "checkuser" tool), and bypassing the normal gatekeeping process by which editors police new submissions to the English Wikipedia. One practice appears to exploit a loophole by creating a new page as a user subpage before moving it into the mainspace, where Wikipedia's regular articles are located. This "bug" was actually first reported in 2007 with the prescient warning: "creating articles in userspace before moving them into mainspace seems to me a sneaky way of avoiding scrutiny from newpage patrollers." Checkuser has also been sidestepped through the company's use of remote and freelance employees, who can operate from a large number of IP ranges.

  • How about if you turn your corporate web site into a public Wiki just like Wikipedia? We'd love to help you improve your corporate image.

  • Agreed! (Score:5, Informative)

    by sgt_doom (655561) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @01:56PM (#45176099)
    I agree with this post entirely. I first noticed this several years back, when I was researching the background of faux historian (frequently appears on PBS's non-news hour), Michael Beschloss' wife,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afsaneh_Mashayekhi_Beschloss [wikipedia.org]

    Note that nowhere in the entry does it mention that Mrs. Beschloss was a former employee of the Carlyle Group (which in point of fact she was).
    I became suspicious about this and noticed an extraordinary number of former Carlyle Groupers had excised that from their background and history. Most peculiar . . . .
    • I became suspicious about this and noticed an extraordinary number of former Carlyle Groupers had excised that from their background and history.

      Just how did you determine that they were former "Carlyle Groupers?" Is there some special IP address block allocated to former employees of the Carlyle group?

    • L:ol, I re-read what you wrote and you are an idiot.

      You are complaining that "a number of former Carlyle Groupers had excised that from their background and history." But the only one you cited, Beschloss, did not. How do I know that? I used the link on her view history page that says, Revision history search [ramselehof.de] to search for the word "Carlyle" and it was never in the article to be excised.

      So, in a story about PR firms screwing with wikipedia you post a bunch of stupid blather about your own personal issues

  • Did anyone bother to read the article? Don't bother, it's shite. It consists entirely of supposition and equivocation.

    Only one actual example is offered, and this example demonstrates the company in question is utterly incapable of controlling the process, the article in question was quickly removed and remains deleted.

    The rest is entirely arm-waving about the "scale of the problem" and "perhaps tens of thousands of articles" being involved. Various quotes from uninvolved people who's opinions add nothing o

  • Negative publicity can take it from there.

    Facts are malleable, statistics are... -- well you've heard
    that one before I'm sure.

  • It's not just the PR companies... there are many people who just hover over a topic and make sure the topic reflects their viewpoint, regardless of whether their viewpoint is substantiated. That's why I stopped contributing to Wikipedia, I've had edits (complete with citations) reversed with no given reason other than the hoverer did not like the tense of a verb I used.
    • Similar here. I used to work hard to clean up articles, add citations, and so forth, all carefully inside the rules & guidelines only to have my work reverted either without reason or (based on the reversions) because it wasn't slavishly praising the subject. Or even worse, work hard on an article, then see it deleted as "non-notable" (this commentary [highprogrammer.com] covers it well) because an editor & buddies uninterested in the overall topic hadn't heard of it. I don't have the energy to fight with them, and f

  • Only companies? Hardly.

    We have cliques of wiki editors who have agendas, we have non corporate organizations with agendas, we have internet groups of like minded people who make sure their viewpoints are the only accepted truth, etc. Wikipedia is slanted with the common viewpoints, not the historically or factually correct in many articles.
    The wikipedia rules are ignored when the editors disagree and enforced when a counterpoint they want to limit, its the standard attack method.

    My favorite was the common b

  • Both political parties have professionals that create and maintain pages on politicians down to very low levels. They frequently reverse unfavorable edits. Try it sometime.
  • Wikipedia is by its very policy a hear-say sight. For people to understand this and note the Wikipedia disclaimer, there is no need to think of questioning its credibility.

    For its not up to Wikipedia to be credible but of the sources they perform hear-say on.

    To say Wikipedia is failing in credibility is really only an indication of the credibility of its many editors choice of sources........ is as close as it gets to attaching Credibility issues to Wikipedia.

    Ultimately its the credibility of the sources wh

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