For years, the Internet Archive has been acquiring books (their goal is every book ever published) and warehousing them and scanning them. Now, these books are being "woven into Wikipedia" with a new tool that automatically links every Wikipedia citation to a print source to the exact page and passage from the book itself, which can be read on the Internet Archive.
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Molly Osberg and Dhruv Mehrotra at Splinter have done some great work tracing at least 150 Wikipedia edits back to IP addresses at the NRA headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia. Like the @CongressEdits Twitter account, which tracked edits from IP addresses on Capitol Hill, it's difficult to say for certain whether these were intentionally duplicitous acts under order from above, or just some bored administrative office worker with a comprehensive knowledge of crystal skulls and stinkbugs.
Given the NRA's long history with the savvy PR firm Ackerman McQueen, however, it's hard to chalk up the selectively-edited articles on Holocaust Denialism, George Zimmerman, or the history of "stand your ground" laws as mere coincidence.
In 2013, a few days after George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder charges after shooting the unarmed Trayvon Martin, and as “stand your ground” laws made national news, a Wikipedia user named SkippG created the first Wikipedia page for Brown v. United States, the 1921 case that set a precedent for Americans with no “duty to retreat” to legally kill someone in “self-defense.” SkippG also attempted some revisions to Marion Hammer’s page, insisting so thoroughly on their edits despite the protests of other editors that their account was later frozen. Coincidentally, a man named Skipp Galythly has been an assistant general counsel at the NRA for 20 years.
It's too bad Splinter will be shutting down soon, the latest casualty of the various clueless finance bros who scooped up the former Gawker Media sites after the company's evisceration by Peter Thiel. Read the rest
AdAge reports that North Face successfully placed advertising into articles at Wikipedia, without other editors of the publicly-editable encyclopedia noticing. This effectively allowed North Face to co-opt the site's enormous influence in Google search results.
According to the agency, the biggest obstacle of the campaign was updating the photos without attracting attention of Wikipedia moderators to sustain the brand’s presence for as long as possible, as site editors could change them at any time.
The "hack" worked, at least for a while, evident in a quick Google search of some of the places mentioned in the campaign's case study video.
Soon after the North Face campaign was featured on AdAge, Wikipedia’s volunteer editors were quick to remove North Face’s photos, noting that the effort breached the site’s user terms for paid advocacy.
North Face claimed to have "worked with" the Wikimedia Foundation, which immediately denied it and issued a damning statement of its own: Let’s talk about The North Face defacing Wikipedia.
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Yesterday, we were disappointed to learn that The North Face, an outdoor recreation product company, and Leo Burnett Tailor Made, an ad agency retained by The North Face, unethically manipulated Wikipedia. They have risked your trust in our mission for a short-lived marketing stunt.
In a video about the campaign, Leo Burnett and The North Face boasted that they “did what no one has done before … we switched the Wikipedia photos for ours” and “[paid] absolutely nothing just by collaborating with Wikipedia.”
The video was later published by AdAge, which said that the agency’s “biggest obstacle” was in manipulating the site “without attracting attention [from] Wikipedia moderators.”
In just one week, Members of the European Parliament will debate and vote on the new EU Copyright Directive, which contains two of the worst, most dangerous internet proposals in living memory.
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Quicksilver is a machine-learning tool from AI startup Primer: it used 30,000 Wikipedia entries to create a model that allowed it to identify the characteristics that make a scientist noteworthy enough for encyclopedic inclusion; then it mined the academic search-engine Semantic Scholar to identify the 200,000 scholars in a variety of fields; now it is systematically composing draft Wikipedia entries for scholars on its list who are missing from the encyclopedia.
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The Chronicle of Higher Education profiles LiAnna Davis, Wikipedia Education's director, who forges alliance with colleges and their faculty.
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People with a Wikipedia article about them usually resign themselves to living with an error-ridden, lopsided version of their life and work as a top search result. Artist Adrian Piper took matters into her own hands after numerous attempts to get hers corrected, rebuilding hers on her own site. Read the rest
Like many of the most popular websites, Wikimedia -- which oversees Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons among other sites and services -- publishes a transparency report in which it details commercial and governmental requests for surveillance and content removal.
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When Facebook was desperately trying to game the Indian regulatory process to get approval for its "zero-rating" system (where it would bribe Indian ISPs to give it the power to decide which services would be free to access, and which would be capped and metered), one of the frequent arguments in favor of this "poor internet for poor people" was that the Wikimedia Foundation had struck similar deals in poor countries around the world, freeflagging Wikipedia use on networks that were otherwise strictly capped and metered.
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Kevan Davis's Wikitext is an incredibly clever mashup of Wikipedia and Infocom-style text adventure games: starting with a random Wikipedia entry, it gives you the article summary, an 8-bit-ified version of the main photo, and "directions" to the articles referenced by the one you've landed on. (via Waxy) Read the rest
Deleted Wikipedia articles with freaky titles is the best article on Wikipedia. From "Ã‡â€¹Â¬Ã§â€°Â¹Ã¨Â§ÂÃ¨Â§Â£" to Zombucks, with many oddities along the way (such as "☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼"), all that remains are the tantalizing names given to what were surely excellent, well-researched and not at all fannishly promotional entries for geeky obsessions.
Here is the section for articles that began with "R".
Radioactive Pedophile on the Loose!
Random boner syndrome
Raving white octopus
Reasons Why Many People Study in China
Recombinant Human Dragon
Reducing your weight in a ver...
References to polycephaly in popular culture
Republic of Illinois
Richard's macaroni and cheese
Rihno man super kidoonfire
Ross hutchison anal explosion
Run 2 were u want run 2 were u want! im gonna catch u catch
Digestif: Wikipedia: Silly Things Read the rest
English Wikipedia participation peaked ten years ago and is down about 20,000 active users a month from its high point. Three big factors often get cited: deletionism, poor mobile editing options, and a lost spirit of inclusiveness. Everipedia wants to address all three with the latest attempt at an encyclopedia of everything. I spoke with co-founder Sam Kazemian about the project, which often pops up as a top search result for college-related news and people. Can they crack the code of next-gen participation? Read the rest
The online encyclopedia Wikipedia is inaccessible in Turkey, with officials saying it was blocked as an "administrative measure" thereby explaining why the courts weren't involved. Turkish media says the government asked Wikipedia to take stuff down, but was ignored.
"After technical analysis and legal consideration based on the Law Nr. 5651 [governing the internet], an administrative measure has been taken for this website," Turkey's Information and Communication Technologies Authority was quoted as saying, giving no further details.
However, the Hurriyet daily newspaper said Wikipedia had been asked to remove content by certain writers whom the authorities accuse of "supporting terror" and of linking Turkey to terror groups. The site had not responded to the demands, Hurriyet said, and the ban was imposed as a result.
The BBC's Mark Lowen says website blocking is common in Turkey, with Twitter, Facebook and YouTube among past targets. Twitter reports that Turkey, whose notoriously thin-skinned president Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently assumed greater powers, is the origin of more than half the requests it receives to remove tweets. Read the rest
Wikitribune (strapline: "Evidence-based journalism") is a newly launched project from Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, conceived of as a crowd-edited, crowd-funded tonic against fake news. Read the rest
In Even good bots fight, a paper written by Oxford Internet Institute researchers and published in PLOS One, the authors survey the edits and reverts made by Wikipedia's diverse community of bots, uncovering some curious corners where bots -- rate-limited by Wikipedia's rules for bots -- slowly and remorseless follow one another around, reverting each other. Read the rest
Readers recently saved the hemovanadin article from Wikipedia's ongoing extinction event through extraordinary measures, but that's just one of over 2 million stub articles deleted or at risk of deletion by Wikipedia's entrenched bureaucrats. Today's example is Chickenhead, a notable hip-hop song killed by deletionists in 2015. Read the rest