The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) recently reported on the "Wikipedia wars" in which they say fringe views "outstrip Wikipedia's capacity to police its content". The article is very critical of Wikipedia, saying "the free encyclopedia's openness and anonymity leave it vulnerable to manipulation by neo-Nazis, white nationalists and racist academics seeking a wider audience for extreme views". The Wiki community's own User:Doug Weller is quoted in the article as saying that the nature of Wikipedia leaves it very susceptible to manipulation by the alt-right and others. The report also quotes Magnus Hansen (User:Maunus) who says the encyclopedia's policies are "more oriented toward conduct than content", making it "hard to get users blocked or restricted for consistently providing ideologically skewed content". The journal Intelligence was held up as a demonstration of a questionable source for theories that made it into Wikipedia's article "History of the race and intelligence controversy". According to the SPLC article, POV-pushing racialist academics and others win battles by wearing a skin of academic neutrality and wearing down others in "tedious and frustrating debates or tie up administrators in endless rounds of mediation". In addition, SPLC says that false weight is given to fringe theories; the specific example of overrepresentation of Pioneer Fund theories was given. Other problems cited included the use of sockpuppets and meatpuppets to "win" the Wikipedia content war and content forks to preserve fringe content in the face of deletion.
Copying from Wikipedia
In what is seeming to sound like a broken record, plagiarism from Wikipedia has been reported yet again. This time around, lawmakers from Okayama Prefecture in Japan submitted reports about their recent trip to the United States that had passages copied from Japanese Wikipedia. Of the "13 reports, 11 were more than half identical" The Mainichi reported. The lawmakers did not deny the allegations, saying, "As a general rule, when writing reports, we weave together publicly available facts, and it's permissible for us to quote other sources. There are no explicit rules on writing up the reports, and so there are no problems with rule violations."
- Wikipedia Zero ends: TechCrunch and Engadget were among the news organizations reporting that the Wikimedia Foundation ended their Wikipedia Zero project.
- Humanity in a Picture: Wired reported on the struggle of Wikipedia editors to find the perfect image representative of all humanity on the page of a Human. They eventually picked the image shown. The article praises the editors for their efforts to account for biases – and to encapsulate the human race in one photo.
- How the page on a gun was taken over: The Verge contends that the Wikipedia article "AR-15 style rifle" has been taken over by gun enthusiasts, who are working in WikiProject Firearms to keep any mention of mass shootings off the page. Editor's note – the page was moved from "Modern sporting rifle" on February 24, and is move-locked.
- A uniquely Swedish idea: The Economist writes about an edit-a-thon run in collaboration with Wikimedia by Swedish diplomats in 54 embassies on International Women's Day. Further information: Wikipedia:Meetup/NYC/WikiGap.
- On editathons: The Las Vegas Sun commented that since 2013 "more than 7,000 people have created or improved more than 11,000 Wikipedia articles in a series of annual [sic] events with outposts around the globe."
- AI editors?: The Register mentioned that Google Brain has created artificial intelligence capable of editing with reasonable skill. Has the day come when AI will replace editors on Wikipedia? Not yet. But maybe we should start working on attribution policy for AI-generated article content just in case.