Wikipedia, oh how do I detest thee…

This post is making note of a thread started by Steven in 2008 on the sabre-roads forum. The thread is titled “Wikipedia, oh how do I detest thee...” and technically hidden since you need to register on the forum to see it. It was recently linked to by administrator Ritchie333 on the request for adminship discussion for Sir Sputnik.

The original post on the thread is quite detailed, and explains how Wikipedians copied a enthusiast road database to Wikipedia, and then declared the site they copied it from as unreliable.

The post contains several points of evidence to where information about a road was only available from the site, but kept on Wikipedia even after the references to the site were removed.

The site itself is called Pathetic Motorways and is an excellent resource for all the motorways that are in some way “pathetic” whether this is because they are short, unusual, demoted, lost, unbuilt, unfinished, or lost. It also has features on road history.

The 182 post thread contains numerous points against Wikipedia’s “no original research” policy, complaints of plagiarism, complaints based on the “reliable sources” policy.

Guy Grant

It also contains numerous examples of how Wikipedia looks to outsiders;

And in other news, the Wikipedia administrator concerned appears to go by the real name of “Guy Chapman”, who I believe Peter E knows…

OMG, not him! A particularly chippy individual, with more axes to grind than the busiest woodman. To see what he is capable of, go look at the Safe Speed wikipedia page. It’s not pretty …

Guy Chapman (AKA Guy Grant) is everyone’s least favorite User:JzG. Whose comments on Trumpists became slightly controversial and then caused an epic drama for no good reason. His userpage was the issue, as it was filled mainly with sensible comments like;

If you believe that justice in the US is fair and racially neutral, you are objectively wrong and probably not competent to edit in that area

And the comment that seemed to make everyone insane;

So, in my view, believing that Trump is a good President indicates that you are probably not competent to edit Wikipedia – the kinds of people who believe he was anointed by God are, in my view, delusional and have no place here.

99% of admins and 98% of editors probably agree with this statement, but because it could be considered offensive to Trumpists, it apparently had to go. He also makes comments that a lot of people want an entire article on, or at least to put it in the first sentence of Donald Trump;

Trump lies all the time, and even when he’s not lying, he doesn’t tell the truth.

The page is even referenced to reliable sources;

Here’s an objective truth: Donald Trump is justly considered the worst President in living memory, and quite possibly the worst ever.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

Because there’s nothing fringe about insulting Trump.

2008

This thread is so old it goes back to the Internet Watch Foundation and Wikipedia [NSFW] incident.

Interesting thread, especially in the light of last weeks events – the failed attempt of the Internet Watch Foundation to censor Wikipredia (sic) and the reaction it caused.

For those not aware, this was an incident in December 2008 when an image on Wikipedia was officially classed as illegal child pornography by the IWF.

This resulted in the Wikipedia page Virgin Killer [NSFW] being added to the UK’s national content blacklist. This is a system called Cleanfeed which is one of the UK’s internet censorship filters. (There are others on a per ISP level, and others for censorship of sites banned by court order).

All UK traffic to Wikipedia was routed through the Cleanfeed proxy, which meant that everyone editing Wikipedia from the UK suddenly had the same IP address as everyone else on their ISP.

The image, which is an album cover with a photograph of a naked ten year girl, is still classed as illegal under UK law and downloading it is still a criminal offence. A court in Sweden has confirmed it is illegal there as well.

For some reason it is allowed on Wikipedia, despite the fact that child pornography is illegal in the United States where it is hosted. It’s not even a free image, and is being used as ‘fair use’ on two articles.

Other articles which feature illegal images include Blind Faith (Blind Faith album) [NSFW] due to the photo of a naked 11 year old girl, and See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang Yeah, City All Over! Go Ape Crazy! [NSFW] which features a photo with a nude 14 year old girl in it, and Houses of the Holy [NSFW] which features a photo of several nude children.

Somehow these images are considered acceptable on Wikipedia, and to some extent they probably are legal in context to academic discourse and education, which is supposedly the aim of Wikipedia.

When they aren’t trying to be a news agency or an advocacy group that is.

On requests for adminship (RFA)

This is the comment Ritchie posted;

Just a comment on the answer to Q10, the underlying context to the question comes from this discussion (you need to register to read that but I’ll give you the basic gist in a minute) thread ten years ago, where a bunch of people removed citations to websites as “unreliable sources” but kept the underlying content. This annoyed the site owners, who could have been experienced FA writers by now, but were so bitten by this experience that they quit and have spent the last ten years criticising Wikipedia in a way that makes Wikipediocracy look like seasoned amateurs!

Specifically, “Well, that’s nice, isn’t it. “Not suitable for usage as a source or external link”. OK, then, well can you please remove all the stuff you’ve half-inched off [my site] then over the years? It seems that you’ve got an article on [something I researched] – and guess where’s about the only place on the Internet with any details, eh? It really, really brasses me off that Wikipedia just takes [my site] and regurgitates it into rubbish, and then has the temerity to moan about the quality of the site? If it’s so useless, then why do you want the information anyway? Muppets.” and “Ugh, that is overly pedantic and based on pedanticity. They clearly don’t like people using the site as a link but would rather they copy your … original research and hours of hard work trawling through archives etc, their loss. Making it fun is no problem, your content is sourced meticulously, your site will still exist and be more informative than the unverified plagiarised stuff on Wikipedia, it’s their loss.

I can’t work out whether to support Sir Sputnik or not; I think I might just sit this one out and go with consensus. It looks like the RfA is going to pass with flying colours, so just have a think about what I’ve written here and keep it in the back of your mind as you wield your mop and bucket. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 16:25, 15 October 2018 (UTC)

Resulting controversy

Trump_Baby_Balloon_at_protest_in_Parliament_Square
Baby Trump blimp. Image by Ritchie

Ritchie is an important bigwig at RFA, and quite vocal on London related issues and even some political issues. People listen to what he says.

Indeed if he hadn’t explained that it wasn’t a big deal, and said;

It’s not enough for me to oppose over a handful of incidents, and I’m happy to believe that now I’ve told Sir Sputnik this, he’ll understand where I’m coming from and take care with BLPs in the future.

Then the RFA may have been stuck on that precipice of no consensus to promote that some of the recent unsuccessful RFA’s encountered.

The hidden cost

This may not be immediately apparent, but after some RFA’s over the last month, it wa strongly debated whether linking to off-wiki evidence was acceptable. This is technically not off-wiki evidence, as the forum thread that was linked to did not feature any participation from Sir Sputnik. However it is definitely off-wiki and some people may take it differently, considering the following;

This annoyed the site owners, who could have been experienced FA writers by now, but were so bitten by this experience that they quit and have spent the last ten years criticising Wikipedia in a way that makes Wikipediocracy look like seasoned amateurs!

Certainly this event does seem to have put a lot of good content writers off Wikipedia on a permanent basis, which is sad.

Unfortunately I doubt the writers on sabre-roads could have dealt with the no original research policy so that would have been doomed for sure. Wikipedia is good, but for some obscure subjects it’s not the best medium. This may well be one of those obscure subjects.

So Wikipedia, is it just not the right format, or were these Wikipedians just doing it wrong? What infact is the difference since Wikipedia’s rules are quite literally the consensus of the editors?

This latest RFA shows an SPI clerk with absolutely zero quality content credits become an administrator. It features editors saying the encyclopedia is already built!

It would seem the rift between writing the encyclopedia and playing admin is getting wider, and this is not going to please the people that actually care about quality content.

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