Tag: wikipedia

Wikipedia lists the Daily Mail as an “unreliable source”

130103mailThe fake-penis experts at Wackypedia have decided that the UK’s Daily Mail is not a reliable source while accepting that the Kremlin backed fake news of Russia Today and Fox News is accurate.

The inner circle of self-professed experts at Wackypedia stopped polishing their fake doctorate certificates, trying to make famous people disappear and deciding which technology magazines are real and waded into the Daily Wail.

Observers point out that the move is highly unusual give that it allows links to sources such as Kremlin backed news organization Russia Today, and Fox News.

The editors described the arguments for a ban as “cantered on the Daily Mail’s reputation for poor fact checking, sensationalism and flat-out fabrication”.

The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia but does not control its editing processes, said in a statement that volunteer editors on English Wikipedia had discussed the reliability of the Mail since at least early 2015.

It said: “Based on the requests for comments section [on the reliable sources noticeboard], volunteer editors on English Wikipedia have come to a consensus that the Daily Mail is ‘generally unreliable and its use as a reference is to be generally prohibited, especially when other more reliable sources exist.

This means that the Daily Mail will generally not be referenced as a ‘reliable source’ on English Wikipedia, and volunteer editors are encouraged to change existing citations to the Daily Mail to another source deemed reliable by the community. This is consistent with how Wikipedia editors evaluate and use media outlets in general — with common sense and caution.”

Microsoft relies on Wikipedia and loses Melbourne

Surprised-KoalaMicrosoft’s Bing made the grave mistake on relying on data collected by Wikipedia for its mapping software and lost Melbourne.

While Melbourne might not be the nicest it place to live, there were a fair few who felt that Bing Maps moving it to the wrong hemisphere was not exactly fair dinkum.

Apparently Vole made the mistake when it collected the data. Ricky Brundritt, a senior program manager at Bing Maps, said that the outfit does not normally rely that much on Wackypedia, but sometimes it uses it.

Unfortunately, in this case the Wackypedia entry for Melbourne was designed by the same fake penis experts and geniuses that decided that Mike Magee, the Everywhere Girl, and Fudzilla did not exist. They put in the wrong map references.

However, to be fair to the fake penis expert editors they did fix the co-ordinates in February 2012, so Bing has been getting it wrong since then. Suddenly Apple Maps, which used to send Australians to the desert to die, is looking a bit more reliable.



President Trump would be a technical disaster, tech outfits warn

maxresdefaultMore than 145 tech power players have penned an open letter to the world+dog and all the ships at sea about the most likely republican candidate Donald Trump.

The letter, posted in the Medium, said that they had listened to Trump over the past year and had concluded he would be a disaster for innovation.

The authors of the letter hail from some of tech’s most powerful companies like Google, Facebook and Apple, as well as startups, venture capital firms, nonprofits and universities.

The names include Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield, IAC’s Barry Diller, Reddit’s Alexis Ohanian and Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales. A disclaimer at the bottom notes that their views don’t reflect those of their companies so it is just personal and not business.

The authors slam Trump’s “anger, bigotry, fear of new ideas and new people,” particularly when it comes to immigration. Trump’s immigration beliefs are in clear opposition to those of many Silicon Valley leaders, who have pushed for comprehensive immigration reform so they can keep their foreign developers.

More than half of the country’s “unicorns” — or private companies valued at $1 billion or more — have at least one immigrant founder.

The letter said that Trump had shown “poor judgment and ignorance about how technology works,” they wrote, citing his proposal to “shut down” parts of the Internet and the fact that he has revoked reporters’ press credentials.

“We stand against Donald Trump’s divisive candidacy. We embrace an optimistic vision for a more inclusive country, where American innovation continues to fuel opportunity, prosperity and leadership.”

Trump was not likely to get must support from Silicon Valley. For a start they are the sort of liberals that his supporters blame for everything. It is also not the first time that tech leaders have taken him to the cleaners. In June, Sam Altman attacked Trump’s “casual racism” as everyone knows that racism needs a jacket and tie and well-polished shoes.


NSA snooping scares Wikipedia readers

spyInternet traffic to Wikipedia pages summarising knowledge about terror groups and their tools plunged nearly 30 percent after revelations of widespread Web monitoring by the US spooks.

A paper in the Berkeley Technology Law Journal analyses the fall in traffic saying  that it provides the most direct evidence to date of a so-called “chilling effect,” or negative impact on legal conduct, from the intelligence practices disclosed by fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Author Jonathon Penney, a fellow at the University of Toronto’s interdisciplinary Citizen Lab, looked at the monthly views of Wikipedia articles on 48 topics identified by the US Department of Homeland Security as subjects that they track on social media, including Al Qaeda, dirty bombs and jihad.

In the 16 months prior to the first major Snowden stories in June 2013, the articles drew a variable but an increasing audience, with a low point of about 2.2 million per month rising to 3.0 million just before disclosures of the NSA’s Internet spying programs.

Views of the sensitive pages rapidly fell back to 2.2 million a month in the next two months and later dipped under 2.0 million before stabilising below 2.5 million 14 months later, Penney found.

Penney’s results confirm other research which noted a five per cent drop in Google searches for sensitive terms immediately after June 2013. Other surveys have found sharply increased use of privacy-protecting Web browsers and communications tools.


Wikimedia spy suit tossed because Wikipedia too small

Wikipedia_mini_globe_handheldA US judge threw out a law suit bought by Wikipedia against NSA spying because the online encyclopaedia was too small to fight the government.

In his 30 page ruling, US District Judge T.S. Ellis found that Wikimedia and the other plaintiffs had no standing, and could not prove that they had been spied on.

Judge Elliss found that there is no way to definitively know if Wikimedia, which publishes Wikipedia, one of the largest sites on the Internet, is being watched by the spooks.

According to Ars Technica he was not that impressed with Wikipedia’s logic that because it was so big, it must have been a target of NSA survellience.

As he wrote in his memorandum opinion that the statistical analysis on which the argument rests is incomplete and riddled with assumptions.

“The  plaintiffs insist that Wikipedia’s over one trillion annual Internet communications is significant in volume. But plaintiffs provide no context for assessing the significance of this figure. One trillion is plainly a large number, but size is always relative. For example, one trillion dollars are of enormous value, whereas one trillion grains of sand are but a small patch of beach,” he wrote.

He added that the plaintiffs have alleged facts that plausibly establish that the NSA uses Upstream surveillance at some number of chokepoints.  But they failed to establish that the NSA is using Upstream surveillance to copy all or substantially all communications passing through those chokepoints. In this regard, plaintiffs can only speculate.

Since the Snowden revelations about NSA spying it has been difficult for legal challenges filed against government surveillance to advance in the courts.  This is mostly because the victim have to prove they were hacked.


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.

Publisher gives “elite” Wackypedia editors present

Wikipedia_mini_globe_handheldScientific publisher Elsevier has donated 45 free ScienceDirect accounts to “top Wikipedia editors” to “aid them in their work” in a move which has been slammed by the open access movement.

Michael Eisen, one of the founders of the open access movement, which seeks to make research publications freely available online, tweeted that he was “shocked to see @wikipedia working hand-in-hand with Elsevier.

Elsevier provides very expensive scientific journals, which can be accessed on line. The assumption is that if Wackypedia gets access to his journals free they will link its papers as a form of advertising.

Eisen said that this would mean that it would populate encyclopaedia with links people cannot access without a big bank account.

Over the last few days, a row has broken out between Eisen and other academics over whether a free and open service such as Wikipedia should be collaborating with a closed, non-free company such as Elsevier.

Eisen’s fear is that members of the public seek to follow such links, they will be unable to see the article in question unless they have a suitable subscription to Elsevier’s journals, or they make a one-time payment, usually tens of pounds for limited access.

Eisen tweeted “@Wikipedia is providing free advertising for Elsevier and getting nothing in return,” and that, rather than making it easy to access materials behind paywalls, “it SHOULD be difficult for @wikipedia editors to use #paywalled sources as, in long run, it will encourage openness.”

He called on Wikipedia’s co-founder, Jimmy Wales, to “reconsider accommodating Elsevier’s cynical use of @Wikipedia to advertise paywalled journals.” His own suggestion was that Wikipedia should provide citations, but not active links to paywalled articles.

Wikipedia purges paid shills

socksEditors on the ever popular Wikipedia said they have purged a number of accounts of people who take money to write shill stuff on the web site.

The editors said they have blocked 381 user accounts, saying they were engaged in what Wikipedia calls “undisclosed paid advocacy” – that is taking money from companies or individuals to hype up particular entries.

The editors said in a blog post that they want to make sure Wikipedia is “an accurate, reliable, and neutral knowledge resource for everyone”.

The volunteers said they wiped out 210 articles created by the 381 “sock puppet” accounts and believe the articles they killed – related to businesses, business people or artists – were promotional in nature.

They believe the Wikipedia violations were created by a coordinated group but they did not say who or what organisation was responsible for the shills.

Wikipedia doesn’t believe all paid editing is a violation of their Ts&Cs, citing, for example museum and university employees who do, however, disclose their affiliations.

Wales prefers his Waterloo Sunsets

jimmy-walesWikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales prefers his Waterloo Sunsets to Silicon Valley claiming that  London’s cultural assets make it a better place to live.

However he said that the capital needs to have a tech community if it is ever to rival Silicon Valley.

Speaking at the launch of the Tech.London, news site, Wales said he meets people around London and they ask “when do you go back to San Francisco? assuming I’m here for a few days, but I live in London.”

“There’s always this bit of British self-deprecation about ‘oh well, things are so great in Silicon Valley’. But I can tell you, things aren’t that great in Silicon Valley. London has all these incredible advantages of a tech scene, but it’s also a place people want to live. Nobody wants to live in Silicon Valley – it’s dreadful out there.”

Wales said that London was an incredible cultural city, it’s at the crossroads of the world. In the US you have San Francisco for tech, Los Angeles for movies and Washington for politics. In London you have all these things. It’s a great place to do business.

While the London’s tech scene is “incredibly important” to the city  it must be fostered if the country is to remain on the world stage as it transitions to a knowledge based economy.

“London has a tech community but it’s a bit disparate,” he said. “Entrepreneurs feel very alone and are unsure what will happen if it doesn’t work out. Having a fantastic, vibrant community, it makes it easier, safer for people to do a startup.”

He said that it is possible to get closer to Silicon Valley culture if you do a startup and it doesn’t work out, you can get a fantastic job at Google or Facebook or somewhere.”


Corporations lag on social networking

Old Coca-Cola ad - Wikimedia CommonsSome of the biggest corporations in the known universe are behind the times when it comes to social networking.

That’s the conclusion of a study from Penn State university, which has analysed the Fortune 500 and found some big names lacking.

Marcia DiStasio, a professor at the university, said: “Several firms on Fortune magazine’s list of America’s most admired companies are failing to achieve basic social media standards, let alone best practices.”

She said not all the companies had a Twitter account, a Facebook page or a YouTube page.

Fifty one percent of the companies had basic, Wikipedia fed pages including ExxonMobil and Berkshire Hathaway.

But firms like Coca Cola did the best at presenting their image on the social networking sites, she said.

“All of the industries have room for improvement, but there’s specifically some more room for improvement in the health care industry,” she said. “Social media really helps create brand supporters and connect with people in more ways.”