Story 2015-09-01 K48C Wikipedia bans hundreds more paid editor accounts and deletes affected articles

Wikipedia bans hundreds more paid editor accounts and deletes affected articles

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in internet on (#K48C)
story imageThis morning, Wikipedia parent organization Wikimedia announced they have banned 381 user accounts that were engaging in “undisclosed paid advocacy.” In other words, they were posting promotional articles to the user-editable online encyclopedia, without revealing that they were paid to do so. The articles being posted were related to businesses, business people or artists, and they often included biased or skewed information alongside unattributed material and potential copyright violations. As a result of the investigation, editors on the site have also deleted 210 articles that were created by these accounts.

Back in October 2013 Wikipedia first sent a cease-and-desist letter to the firm Wiki-PR, which promoted its ability to help article subjects claim their “top spot in Google search results.” Wikipedia said then that it banned 300 accounts associated with the firm (which argued it only had 45 people working for them.) That makes today’s 381 accounts ban actually larger than the Wiki-PR scandal.
Reply 8 comments

Ban: good. Name-and-shame: better. (Score: 2, Interesting)

by wootery@pipedot.org on 2015-09-02 16:39 (#K7NM)

I suspect they'll have better luck deterring this nonsense if they actively shame the companies who pay for/execute the biased bullshit.

They'll never win the cat-and-mouse if they just ban accounts.

Re: Ban: good. Name-and-shame: better. (Score: 2, Insightful)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-09-02 19:53 (#K88M)

So I'll just hire them to edit your company article for better, then get you caught for this.
You'll be the one to get shamed.

Re: Ban: good. Name-and-shame: better. (Score: 1)

by wootery@pipedot.org on 2015-09-02 23:22 (#K8S7)

That's a good point. I guess shaming the PR companies would be a good 'compromise' though, if their identities can be reliably established.

Re: Ban: good. Name-and-shame: better. (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org on 2015-09-02 21:54 (#K8JV)

It isn't just paid editing firms they have to worry about. Wikipedia's policies, in general, are entirely untenable, requiring overwhelming force of numbers that just can't be sustained.

Citizendium did a better job than I can, explaining why Wikipedia doesn't work:

* no coherent narrative
* disconnected grab-bags of factoids
* degraded by minor ill-judged tweaks
* intelligent laymen are often mistaken
* "squaters" always win
* blatant and shameless levels of bias
* Vandalism is a headache
* part anarchy, part mob rule
* disputes sometimes go on interminably
etc.
http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/CZ:Why_Citizendium%3F

Re: Ban: good. Name-and-shame: better. (Score: 1)

by wootery@pipedot.org on 2015-09-06 15:24 (#KKW7)

I get what they're saying, but here's a random topic I thought to compare:

http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/AK-47 (nope, HTTPS isn't available)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AK-47

Wikipedia's article is not only far more complete, it's also better written! The Citizendium article over-emphasises comparison against the M-16, and is openly biased in so doing:
The AK-74M fires the same ammunition, but is made of lighter and more rugged materials and features a side-folding stock.
But no mention is made of the advantages of the M-16.

Citizendium have some interesting ideas, but I really can't see them getting anywhere near Wikipedia.

More examples: there's no article (literally nothing) on OpenCL, for instance, or even CUDA! There's an article on the GPU, but it's absolutely laughable.
This would be fine if Citizendium were a newcomer, but at this stage, it's not.

Re: Ban: good. Name-and-shame: better. (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org on 2015-09-06 15:51 (#KKY7)

No, Citizendium hasn't turned-out well. Whatever the reason... lack of publicity, early policy mistakes, second-mover disadvantage, etc., it's not going to challenge Wikipedia on equal terms. I do, however, whole-heartedly agree with their detailed tirade on why Wikipedia sucks, and firmly believe Wikipedia must either get saner policies or is going to implode and fall apart at some point.

Re: Ban: good. Name-and-shame: better. (Score: 1)

by wootery@pipedot.org on 2015-09-06 19:42 (#KMDP)

I think their problem was the high barrier of entry. You can't 'get hooked' by starting out with a small change.

I wonder how Wikipedia could be re-structured. Maybe a far larger tier of lieutenants (half-mods, as it were) with the power to stamp out edit-wars and such, but without all mod powers.