German court orders Wikipedia to remove defamatory statements about a computer science professor
Writing in Heise Online on 2 November, Torsten Kleinz reports that the State Court of Berlin (file reference 27 O 12/7) has ordered the German Wikipedia to remove a critical passage on language researcher Alexander Waibel. "Just how far can one go in making supposedly reputation-damaging claims without substantiating them?" Computer scientist Weibel had sued Wikipedia following a claim sourced to the MDR magazine Fakt, in which he was linked to surveillance programs of the US intelligence services. Weibel, a professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, sees the allegations of being connected with espionage programs as reputation-damaging. "One needs to be very careful before claiming a scientist has connections to the secret service", recommends the presiding judge. Whether the claims were justified or not was not taken into account by the court. The Wikimedia Foundation, which admitted to not being aware of any lack of veracity in the Fakt article, has not appealed the verdict. The corresponding text has since been removed from the encyclopedia's article.
If you are famous and you die, Wikipedia will be one of the first places people will go for the most recent information
Wikipedia 'Deaditors': The People Who Let The World Know When Famous People Die, says Antoinette Lattouf, senior reporter of 10 daily on 11 November. Revealing that Conor Crawford, a 30-year-old from Missouri who edits Wikipedia as Conman33 was the first to update the Wikipedia biography on the 2009 death of Michael Jackson, she continues by explaining that he was also involved in the reporting of the passing of Prince in 2016. According to Lattouf, "Wikipedia’s page view statistics show that the site is the first stop for many when actors and entertainers pass away". Crawford told 10 daily that "...in the 'era of fake news' Wikipedia needs to be more stringent".
- Consensus: Why some Wikipedia disputes go unresolved – Study identifies reasons for unsettled editing disagreements and offers predictive tools that could improve deliberation. Rob Matheson reporting on November 6 in MIT News . More on the story of the research is published in the 6 November issue of Science Daily.
- Paid editing: Yet another exposé, this time by Stephen Harrison in his 29 October column in Medium which includes a brief interview with admin SmartSE and David King (CorporateM) of Ethical Wiki. Entitled Wikipedia’s Top-Secret 'Hired Guns' Will Make You Matter (For a Price), it demonstrates again how hard it is to both combat undeclared paid editing, and to convince declared paid editors that despite the rules, their work is nevertheless unethical.
- Music: In Loudwire on 31 October, Graham Hartmann claims to prove and disprove what’s written in the Wikipedia article about the Megadeth lead guitarist Marty Friedman. Perhaps a training exercise for would-be New Page Patrollers could be to delve into the history and see who is right and who is wrong. Maybe Tina S the French teenage shred guitar phenomenon would know.
- Wikipedia: Sportfans schiessen bei Wikipedia gerne übers Ziel hinaus (Sport fans like shooting wide of the goal posts). The Executive Director of the WMF was in Berne, Switzerland on 10 November for a ten minute interview with editor Mathias Born of the German language Swiss daily newspaper Tages Anzeiger. The questions were routine and expected, as were the well-practiced answers, emphasizing the problems with contributions from sport fans, the need for more female contributors, and reassurance that the volunteer community's wishes for support are heard by the staff.
- Docufilm: Pitchfork's Kristen Yoonsoo Kim in a 2 November review describes the docufilm Bohemian Rhapsody about Queen as "...Basically Queen's Wikipedia entry as a biopic", "Even without all the problems attached to the production, Bohemian Rhapsody is not so much a film as it is a dramatization of a Wikipedia entry, watered down and overedited."
- Notable vandalism: For obvious reasons, The Signpost doesn't usually cover routine vandalism, but major media have reported on a recent incident at the Donald Trump article. Administrator TheSandDoctor explained the nature of the edit warring vandal or vandals to The Verge in a story widely reprinted (USA Today, Gizmodo, Newsweek and others). The UK media The Independent and Metro also carried a story. It does show that despite our very open policy towards editing, we are fairly quick to revert vandalism.