Tag: Wales

Wales wants to tackle fake news

A bloke whose online encyclopaedia is checked by fake penis experts, is keen to apply his knowledge to tackle the issue of fake news.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is launching a new online publication which will aim to fight fake news by pairing professional journalists with an army of volunteer community contributors.

Dubbed Wikitribune the site will make sure that you read fact-based articles that have a real impact in both local and global events.

The site will publish news stories written by professional journalists. But in a page borrowed from Wikipedia, internet users will be able to propose factual corrections and additions.

The changes will be reviewed by volunteer fact checkers. Wikitribune says it will be transparent about its sources. It will post the full transcripts of interviews, as well as video and audio, “to the maximum extent possible.” The language used will be “factual and neutral”.

While that would be fair enough, Wikipedia’s volunteer editors have shown an astonishing lack of news sense, or the ability to tell what is real or not. While allowing detailed biographies of porn stars they have a habit of ruling magazines and people as “not significant enough” and embark on crusades to purge the internet of people they do not like.


Wales dubs Cameron’s encryption blocking “moronic”

David-Cameron-at-the-EU-s-007Moves by UK Prime Minister David “I love bacon” Cameron to block the use of encryption have been dubbed “moronic” by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

Cameron thinks that by ending end-to-end encryption terrorists will have nowhere to hide and MI16 will know where they are going to place the bombs and have the coppers in place to stop them.

Wales is less impressed saying it was far too late for Cameron to stop end-to-end encryption and it was “a moronic, very stupid thing to do.”

It would be a bit like leaving your daughter in a pub we guess, but no one would ever do anything at stupid.

Wales called on internet users around the world to use end-to-end encryption, to ensure that their personal data and habits cannot be spied on.

Speaking at the IP Expo in London, Wales said that all major traffic will be encrypted soon – and that’s a good thing.

Wikipedia has adopted SSL encryption technology for all of its sites around the world, which means that the browsing of users can now not be detected by agencies or governments.

He said that there was a trend towards SSL as people have a higher understanding of a safe and secure public internet. It was no longer cost-prohibitive to encrypt all your data, thanks to advances in Moore’s Law advances and increased consumer understanding of the need for security, he said.

Efforts by governments and other agencies around the world have actually made it harder to track individuals, as major news stories such as the Edward Snowden revelations have heightened the public’s sense of the need for security.

Tablets to sort Scots wolves from English sheep

David-Cameron-at-the-EU-s-007The UK government is pushing through a bill to allow only English MPs to vote on English only matters as part of a pledge UK prime minister David Cameron made before this year’s general election.

Chris Grayling, leader of the House of Commons, said the Tory party is a “passionate supporter of the Union” of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. As there are 50-odd Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) members in the Commons, and sundry other MPs from the other two countries, the logistical matter of separating the Scottish, Welsh and Irish wolves from the English sheep is a bit of a problem.

The Tory party only has one MP in Scotland after the SNP staged a landslide victory which swept away nearly all Labout MPs as well as Liberal Democrats.

Currently, when MPs vote they file through two lobbies – one for yes and one for no – and are counted by human tellers.

But in a move which will propel MPs from Gladstone’s days into the 21st century, the Clerks have come up with a new system of telling using tablet computers to account for the differences in nationalities.

The tablets, said Grayling, will “give the Tellers an immediate tally of whether a measure has a majority of English MPs”.

He did not say which brand of tablets will be used, but the method won’t apply to the House of Lords because, well, it just won’t.

Grayling’s plans were picked up by Pete Wishart, the shadow SNP leader of the House of Commons.

He said: “What a lot of constitutional bilge and unworkable garbage!” He said the plans will create two classes of members of parliament. “We would do as well to stamp the foreheads of Scottish MPs before they go into the Lobby, and I thought that the Leader of the House was quite close to suggesting or proposing it.”

Grayling said: “The honourable Gentleman seems a tad on the exercised side”.

Climate change censored on Wikipedia

While most of the world’s press said that the weird weather in the US was probably caused by climate change, the world’s online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, didn’t mention that suggestion.

According to Pop Sci, that is because the brains behind the Wikipedia page, Ken Mampel, an unemployed, 56-year-old Floridian, is a climate change denier who used the page to push his own agenda.

Mampel created a winner on the page. His Wackypedia article was the single most-viewed document about Hurricane Sandy. Mampel established himself as by far the most active contributor to the page, with more than twice the number of edits than his nearest contributor.

But Mampel made sure that the Hurricane Sandy article, for four days after the hurricane made landfall in New Jersey, had no mention of “global warming” or “climate change”.

Indeed, it was not until 1 November that a new section appeared at the bottom of the page titled “Connection to global warming”.

It was deleted by Mampel, who insisted that it be sent to the global warming page.

Mampel has continued to fight to keep any discussion on global warming on the grounds that this was a cause. He has made it clear that he does not believe in climate change and has had to bend a lot of the reports so that climate change is not mentioned.

For example, he mentioned that New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg had endorsed Obama for president based on his handling of the hurricane. He failed to mention that Bloomberg had specifically mentioned climate change in his endorsement speech.

There are shedloads of examples of science focused comments about Sandy being linked to climate change but Mampel wouldn’t add that to the Wikipedia entry.

If someone pointed to a reference, he took it out because in his religion, it is not proven.

The hijacking of Wikipedia by those with political views or wishing to push an agenda has always been the site’s Achilles’ heel. In this case it is just one editor, with oddball ideas, trying to keep information that does not fit into a fantasy away from the great unwashed. 

Wikipedia is practically finished

A historical researcher said that Wikipedia is about as good as it is going to get.

Writing in the Journal of Military History, which we get for the spot the cannon ball competition, Richard Jensen wrote that Wikipedia may be as complete as it’s ever going to be.

Jensen describes how the Wikipedia entry for the War of 1812 shows how complete the online encyclopedia is.

The post, which explains how the British came back after the Revolutionary War, burnt the White House and nearly took the country back, has more or less stopped being edited.

In the early days of that war’s Wikipedia entry, it was being edited dozens of times a day by a dedicated group of history buffs, Jensen wrote.

This has happened to thousands of articles as the major events, people, and concepts in history are covered more or less comprehensively.

Jensen pointed out that there are a finite number of things about which one can write about one subject.

He said that once an encyclopedia reaches 100,000 articles, the pool of good material shrinks. By the time one million articles are written, it must tax ingenuity to think of something new. Wikipedia passed the four million article mark in summer 2012, he said.

There is still a lot of work to be done in Wikipedia, such as the localisation of articles to other languages, he suggested.

Wikipedia hit by "pay for entry" scandal

Two trusted Wikipedia types are editing Wikipedia pages and facilitating front-page placement for paying clients.

According to CNET, Jimmy Wales is furious. After all it is one thing to make worthy people disappear because you have a chip on your shoulder about their fame, it is another to make unworthy people appear because you know someone who is a Wackypedia editor,

Roger Bamkin, trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation UK, whose LinkedIn page describes him as a high-return-earning PR consultant, appeared to be using Wikipedia’s main page “Did You Know” feature and the resources of Wikipedia’s GLAM WikiProject to hawk Gibraltar – which is his client.

In August, Gibraltar was featured as a Wikipedia DYK front page feature an astonishing seventeen times in two to three days. It got more publicity than the Olympics.

Jimmy Wales wrote a stiff missive saying that it was wildly inappropriate for anyone in an official role to take payment from customers in exchange for securing favourable placement on the front page of Wikipedia or anywhere else.

However, at the same time, Wikipedia community members exposed a PR-strategy Wikipedia page editing business run by GLAM editor Max Klein.

Klein runs a consulting business called “untrikiwiki” which has the aim of using a Wikipedia article to guaranteed a top three Google hit.

He said that he had worked out how to bypass Wikipedia’s ‘conflict of interest’ editing and has made more than 10,000 edits over the last eight years.

Wales said that he was unaware of this case, and hadn’t had time to look into it, but if it was true then he will be “extremely unhappy about it”. “It’s disgusting,” Wales said.

Part of the problem is that there is no Wikimedia UK policy against “paid editing” for Wikipedia pages, though Jimmy Wales has said that paid editing is against Wikipedia values and policy. 

Wikipedia is accurate says, er, Wikipedia study

A Wikipedia-sponsored ‘pilot study’ has praised the online Encyclopaedia’s accuracy and claims that it is better than Encyclopaedia Britannica.

For the record, if you wrote a page on Wikipedia about yourself, you would find that one of its teams of editors had deleted it for being advertising. However when Wikipedia commissions a study into itself and reports that it is wonderful, this is apparently ok.

The Wikimedia Foundation last November enlisted the e-learning company Epic and researchers from Oxford University to conduct what would be the first organised look at Wikipedia’s accuracy.

Before that, a 2005 report by Nature, showed Wikipedia had at least four mistakes per article in comparison to three for Encyclopaedia Britannica.

The results indicate that Wikipedia articles scored higher in each of three languages, and fared well in categories of accuracy and references.

English Wikipedia fared well against Encyclopaedia Britannica in terms of accuracy, references and overall judgement.

What makes us smell a rat is that the report said that there were little differences between the two on style and overall quality score. We were not aware that the Encyclopaedia Britannica articles were penned by a person with a crayon, like some of the wikipedia articles appear to have been. Nor does the Encyclopaedia Britannica employ people with faked doctorates or fake penis experts.

Epic states in its own press release that Wikipedia articles emerge commendably.

One of its advantages is that Wikipedia articles were more up to date than other articles and were generally considered to be better referenced.

Furthermore, they appeared to be at least as strong as other sources in terms of comprehensiveness, lack of bias and even readability.

You can read the report here 

Wikipedia admits it needs to change

Wikipedia appears to have woken up to the fact that its crack editorial team of fake Phds, and false penis experts with a chip on their shoulders, are not cutting the mustard.

For a while now Wikipedia has been edited by a select bunch of people who have a habit of erasing people and things from history that they don’t like.

The downside of this is that people who do know what they are talking do not touch Wikipedia with a barge pole.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales told the Wikimania 2012 conference at George Washington University’s campus in Washington that it was time for things to change.

The 11-year old site is struggling to draw new editors, especially women and is showing its age.

Wales told AP that it was time for Wikipedia to update itself and its community needs to be a little more welcoming.

The moment a person makes their first edit they are immediately corrected or deleted by someone who knows very little about the subject.

Sue Gardner, president of the Wikimedia Foundation warned the conference that the outfit was losing editors and the problem may be that Wikipedia is “homely, awkward and hand-crafted”.

This has made it difficult to attract new blood who want to add to the site’s collection of at least four million entries.

Most of the current batch of editors are young men and only 10 percent to 15 percent of Wikipedia’s editors are women. This is possibily because young men on Wikipedia do not like women, particularly if she is the Everywhere Girl who must be hunted down and deleted wherever she is found.

Wikipedia has launched easier editing software and partnered with groups such as the Ada Initiative, which works to support women in the open-source technology community.


Theresa May throws O'Dwyer to the wolves

British Home Secretary Theresa May’s plans to bring transportation back into UK law are gathering pace.

For the last year, May has been sending asylum seekers back to whatever country wants to torture them and is now starting her new plan to transport people back to the colonies.

While many people would think the approach is dragging the UK back to the 18th Century, May can point out that was a period when Britain had an Empire and before the Labour Party gave it away.

May’s latest candidate for transportation is TVShack founder Richard O’Dwyer, who she wants to be sent to the US to be tried, jailed and never to see the white cliffs of Dover again.

Despite widespread calls for her to engage her brain and tell the Americans to sling their hook, May is insisting on transporting O’Dwyer to the colonies.

In doing so, O’Dywer gets one of those quaint American trials which lets the wealthy off but forces sentences of millions of years on those who can’t afford representation.

O’Dywer faces a charge of copyright infringement, which means that he has managed to annoy private companies so much that they have asked their friends in government to mount a criminal investigation.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales’ started an anti-extradition petition last week. May, however, does not seem to mind that 200,000 voters thinking she is bowing down to America is a problem.

She pointed out that the UK courts found there were no statutory bars to his surrender under the Extradition Act 2003 and so she signed an order for his extradition to the US.

It is true that May’s transportation policy might be questioned by his appeal hearing later in the year. However, the judge’s hands are pretty much tied by a bizzare extradition process which allows for British citizens to be dragged into US kangaroo courts, while American citizens cannot be similarly treated in a UK court.

Wales pointed out that the case against O’Dwyer is thin and if it is prosecuted anywhere it is should be in the UK. No US citizen has ever been brought to the UK for alleged criminal activity that took place on US soil.

In countries like New Zealand, extradition of people on copyright charges have not been going so well. Kim Dotcom’s arrest has already been ruled illegal and judges are asking why he is being charged in the US when his business had little to do with that country.

Still, if Teresa May’s desire to bring in transportation goes ahead, it could lead to all British criminals ending up in Australia, New Zealand and the US. 

Wikipedia founder fights for TVShack.net creator

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has started a campaign to stop the extradition of TVShack creator Richard O’Dwyer to the USA.

O’Dwyer, from Sheffield, is alleged to have committed copyright offences and is facing extradition to the US.

Charges against O’Dwyer in the UK were dropped before he was handed an extradition notice which leads many to believe that Big Content wants one of its famous kangaroo court show trials in the US – where O’Dwyer will face a jail sentence of a few thousand years and a multi-trillion dollar fine.

So far the British authorities have gone along with it. In January, a judge ruled he could be extradited to the US.

Home secretary Theresa May, who lists her hobbies on Facebook as “sending people to legal doom in other countries”,  signed off the extradition in March.

The thing is that in the UK, TVShack did nothing illegal. It linked to sites where video could be downloaded, but did not offer the downloading function directly.

It was like Google in that it acted as a search service for video content, sometimes leading to unauthorised sites. TVShack was not hosted in the US and so any “criminal behaviour” happened in the UK – so, he should face British justice and not the expensive charade of justice which is planned in the former colonies.

Wales has said that the internet as a whole must not tolerate censorship in response to mere allegations of copyright infringement.

On the Change.org petition page he wrote, as citizens, everyone must stand up for our rights online.

O’Dwyer always did his best to play by the rules: on the few occasions he received requests to remove content from copyright holders, he complied.

Wales said that while copyright is an important institution, serving a beneficial moral and economic purpose, it did not mean that its powers should be unlimited.

Nor did it mean that humanity should abandon time-honoured moral and legal principles to allow endless encroachments on our civil liberties in the interests of the moguls of Hollywood.

Wales said Richard O’Dwyer was the human face of the battle between the content industry and the interests of the general public. It is similar to the fight againstanti-copyright bills SOPA and PIPA, when the public won its first big victory. This could be the second, Wales said. The petition has 12,610 signatures.

There is a chance that the rules might be changed. The House of Commons’ Home Affairs Select Committee claimed the extradition treaty between the UK and the US was not protecting the rights of British citizens.