OpenStreetMap's digital gentrification
Inside the 'Wikipedia of Maps', Tensions Grow Over Corporate Influence (Bloomberg) examines "digital gentrification" of OpenStreetMap which between 2015 and 2018 saw a sixfold increase in features edited by corporations, led by Apple. Lyft, Facebook, the International Red Cross, the U.N., the government of Nepal and Pokémon Go all depend on its data. In turn, "hundreds of millions of monthly users" depend on the organizations' use of the data. Commercial firms are protecting their investment in the data by editing and contributing more data. One startup, Mapbox, has raised $200 million to develop ways to format and transfer OSM data to its customers. Is this just another example of the benefits of crowdsourcing, or just another corporate takeover of the commons? "Hobby mappers" are worried that corporate representatives will be elected to the site's governance positions. Frederik Ramm, an OSM volunteer and consultant states "These companies don’t map for the same reasons we do, and because of that, I question deeply if our goals can align."
The last article on Wikipedia's COVID coverage? Not likely.
Wikipedia's Sprawling, Awe-Inspiring Coverage of the Pandemic in The New Republic joins dozens, likely hundreds, of articles on Wikipedia's coverage of the COVID pandemic, the first of which was published 384 days ago in Wired by Omer Benjakob.
Though this ground has been thoroughly plowed, Shaan Sachdev in TNR reports with a different angle. He states that with 86 million pageviews "the Covid-19 pandemic (article) is in a two-way tie for the thirty-fourth most viewed Wikipedia article, ranking alongside Miley Cyrus. It isn’t far behind thirty-first place, which is currently a three-way tie between Taylor Swift, Star Wars, and China."
Some of the other articles that link to COVID-19 are listed (in no special order) as: Mink, Racism in China, Royal Australian Navy, Graffiti, Cockfight, and Ricky Martin. Ultimately almost all articles of this genre focus on Wikipedia's volunteer editors, as they should. Editors included in this article include Andrew Lih, Netha Hussain and Liam Wyatt.
Larry Sanger, Fox News, the Daily Mail, and The Washington Times take on Wikipedia's bias
Fox News interviewed Larry Sanger in Inside Wikipedia's leftist bias: socialism pages whitewashed, communist atrocities buried. Sanger's views on Wikipedia's "leftist bias" and chaotic governance have been well-known since 2007. Over the years he's made a few good points, for example his claims that Wikimedia Commons contained some child pornography, but Fox's claim that he told them that "many Wikipedia pages have become merely left-wing advocacy essays" is exaggerated. Bias is difficult to define without having a grasp of the range of views typically accepted within a population. Fox's hard right views do not define bias within the US. Wikipedia's editors come from many countries beyond the US that generally have views to the left of the US. Fox does score points when looking at Wikipedia's coverage of Communism. Coverage of genocide by Communist governments is all but missing on Wikipedia – even when we call it "mass killings".
- Fox gives a specific example of possible bias in another article Wikipedia restricts edits to Lincoln Project page amid sex scandal, claiming 'vandalism, as if there was no vandalism to the article.
- The Daily Mail repackages Fox's reporting on Sanger in Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger slams the site's left wing 'woke' bias and claims its days of 'neutrality are long gone'. Needless to say, Fox's original is better.
- Co-founder says Wikipedia's neutrality 'long gone,' cites leftist bias in The Washington Times says "Sanger tweeted that leftist activists gradually move in 'to take control of any influential institution not explicitly conservative … and they just work harder, and in more subtle ways, on the ones that are explicitly conservative.' " The attribution to Sanger is questionable and makes him sound like a conspiracy theorist. Folks who question why these sources aren't considered reliable by Wikipedians need only read these articles.
Bias in political science articles
Wikipedia’s political science coverage is biased. I tried to fix it. in The Washington Post. Samuel Baltz, a Ph.D. candidate at the U. of Michigan in political science and computing, spent a year trying to correct the biases he sees in Wikipedia articles on political science.
Could it be Valentine's Day?
- Wikidata for journalism and beyond: DataJournalism.com from publisher European Journalism Centre and author Monika Sengul-Jones report Wikimedia editors' views on how their Wikidata editing improves the media ecosystem for good journalism.
- Science fiction in Wikipedia's style: The science fiction community of the SCP Foundation is a non-Wikimedia wiki network that's growing in popularity. Wikipedia science fiction fans should like the recently published "Lena", in which the author qntm presents a story in the format of a Wikipedia article written some time after 2073. The article is roughly about a brain scan and the "first immortal". It is copyrighted so cannot be used to update Wikipedia in real time.
- Wikimedia CEO: Technology could be used for great harm: Katherine Maher has a 25 minute interview with Al Jazeera.
- Happy hump day: A Wikipedia page appears as an easter egg ... or trolling? ... from Henry Cavill. (Yahoo! News)
- Turkey's pro-gov't media still trying to get Wikipedia banned by Wikipedian John Lubbock. "Turkey's pro-government media have not given up accusing Wikipedia of various crimes."
- Click! on the BBC includes an interview with Jimmy Wales.
- Editathon on EDSA Revolution-related topics hosted by Wiki Society of the Philippines (Philippine Daily Inquirer)
- IDF Asks Wikipedia to Edit 'Hezbollah' Entry to Reflect Terror Designation (The Jerusalem Post)
- Myanmar blocks Wikipedia in all languages (India TV)
- Someone at Apple is editing ZZ Top's Wikipedia articles (iMore)
- Digital Unionism is Generally is Quite New interview on WikiProject Labor's edit-a-thon. Read their report back. (netzpolitik.org)
After the birthday party
- World in Progress: Wikipedia's past, present and future - extended interview: (audio) Deutsche Welle interviews Dr. Bernie Hogan from the Oxford Internet Institute.
- An Oral History of Wikipedia, the Web’s Encyclopedia: Tom Roston in OneZero conducts extensive interviews including Jimmy Wales, Larry Sanger, Katherine Maher, Andrew Lih, Britta Gustafson, Magnus Manske and Jeremy Rosenfeld.
- The Economist: Readers responding to The Economist's extensive coverage of Wikipedia's 20th birthday had very interesting comments, including these two:
Anyone who has ever tried to correct errors in a Wikipedia entry, only to find them repeatedly reinserted by other contributors with a competing agenda, will attest to the site's unreliability. Even counting on Wikipedia as a repository of basic information, such as names, dates and places, is a crap shoot. Perhaps the vast majority of its articles are indeed accurate, but which ones constitute that majority, and at what point in time? Literally no one knows; it has become so vast that moderating its millions of entries in any comprehensive way would be impossible. This is how the site is designed to work.— b.e.
Wikipedia may be unique online because it "sells no advertising". However, it does provide a free platform for companies to display their corporate messages, written by their marketing departments. Are these true statements vetted by Wikipedia? No. Wikipedia also has a devil’s bargain with Google. No matter what you search for on Google, from "cats" to "Catullus", Wikipedia is positioned first. If you do enter "cats", to learn about the animal, you get what reads like a Wikipedia advertorial for the movie "Cats".— p.t.