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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

On the authors of Wikipedia's Benson-Pope entry

Now this is interesting.

One big issue with Wikipedia is its political pages getting taken over by overt partisans, leading to the inevitable problems of:
  1. Inconvenient facts ignored
  2. Weirdly out of place unsubstantiated opinions inserted in an obvious attempt at distorting or smearing the topic of the entry
  3. The inclusion of (2) as a sop to people on the other side of the political aisle
If this continues, many Wikipedia entries will become the online equivalent of local newspaper letters pages, with partisans for either side attempting to push their political viewpoints through by re-editing the pages. Most annoying.

Now back to the example. The last two major editors of Wikipedia's David Benson-Pope article are Labour Party member/former leftie blogger Greg Stephens and someone called 'Vardion'.

Vardion describes him/herself thus:
I generally work in the quieter areas of Wikipedia, and tend to avoid the more controversial articles. I also tend to focus on writing or expanding articles, rather than being active in the community. This is not a reflection of any unwillingness to engage — rather, it is simply a relection of the limits on my time.
Here's the last line from the Benson-Pope article:
There is now some speculation that the allegations were falsified by Phil Weaver.
Pardon? And the provided link is to a leftwing New Zealand blog.

This line (and many others) were added to Vardion's more neutral entry by Greg Stephens.

Rather than indulging in one of Wikipedia's numerous 'point of view' arguments, here at SH we've thought of a solution to this problem - we're starting our own Wikipedia on New Zealand politics, with local editors. And using evidence on blogs will not be allowed, unless its simply a source for a published quote or similar not available elsewhere online.

UPDATE: Here's what Greg Stephens added to Gerry Brownlee's entry:
Rumours are abound that he mis-treated some students, although these are unsubstantiated and maybe falsifications.
(thanks Bernard). See point (2) above.

Posted by Antarctic Lemur | 8/31/2005 04:18:00 PM

9 Comments:

Blogger Lucyna said...

Greg is getting worse as time goes on.

8/31/2005 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger tincanman said...

If the facts do not fit your ideology, alter the facts. Who cares what history has taught us - we rewrite history to match the party line. And that scares me - that Labour supporters will go so far as to edit an online, free encyclopedia to put themselves in a better light based on a Simpsons (!!!) quote. Talk about a credible source for the edit.

Or maybe one from the party will write it off as "humour" or the "punch/punch back" routine that Jordan tried.

8/31/2005 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger Murray said...

It was an "experiment"!!!!

Of course so was the nova rocket.

8/31/2005 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

I have always wondered how Wikipedia could have any credibility when any Tom Dick or Helen could come along and alter the commentary.

8/31/2005 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger tincanman said...

Greg has been editing a lot of different things in Wikipedia.

8/31/2005 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Was there not a police enquiry which has not yet concluded? Was there not an odious comparison with alleged torture in Abu Grahib (sp?) The odium being that the gooks were treated better than the school kids.

8/31/2005 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger Murray said...

Even BP's so called supports said he did do what he was accused of, they simply disputed the manner in which it was done claiming good humor and that the victims "deserved" it anyway.

Not exactly the flat "it never happened" from PB himself is it.

Bullying unpopular pupils is still bullying.

8/31/2005 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger Bernard Woolley said...

Check out his recent changes to Gerry Brownlees entry - document histories and diffs are fun :)

8/31/2005 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

What a dork.

8/31/2005 06:35:00 PM  

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