Jon Bo | Pittsburgh City Paper

Jon Bo 
Member since Feb 10, 2007



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Re: “Ill Defined

This is a typical example of Wikimedia Foundation's anonymous administrators making policy on the fly, contrary to Wikipedia's published pseudo-policies. A year ago, when John Seigenthaler Sr. complained about misinformation in a Wikimedia Foundation publication about him, Foundation founder Jimmy Wales told media it would be contrary to the Foundation's policies for Wikipedia to reveal the ISP of the person who worked with the Foundation to libel Seignethaler. A long-time investigator from Texas eventually revealed the owner of the IP number used to libel Seigenthaler - in this case when it was readily available from the non-secret portion of Wikipedia available to anyone with internet access. Wikimedia Foundation's administrators routinely block members for supposedly revealing personal information about Wikipedia's volunteer administrators. (I say volunteer... they volunteer for the Wikimedia Foundation, but have made no promises as part of the administrator-selection process that they aren't paid by an outside interest to use their unusual access to secret parts of the Wikipedia Web site to influence direction in favor of secret employers paying a person to influence Wikipedia as an administrator.) But now this Chris Griswold, speaking to the press as a Wikimedia Foundation administrator, revealed to the press private information from secret logs maintained by Wikimedia Foundation. Wikimedia Foundation could easily solve these problems by requiring contributors to register, to disclose at least privately their real identity and to agree to terms of service, as attorneys advising almost every other interactive Web site advise site owners to require. Instead, Wales and the new foundation president insist on enforcing their radical views of social networking then blaming their failure on the people they invited to participate in their network where participants are subjected to a system of ad-hoc pseudo-laws, an arbitration committee that claims to "litigate" infractions of laws that have never been endorsed by constituents in a well-governed election, and where the rules are pitted against long-standing advice posted on Wikipedia as a "guideline" that users should "ignore all rules." Wales has now moved on to projects that profit from Wikipedia's extensive volunteer contributions and has virtually jumped ship from Wikimedia Foundation leadership at the very time Wikipedia's financial troubles are becoming unmanageable. In his wake, we have a Web site where there are no rules, where laws are made up as one goes, and where all problems with the site are attributed to "bad users" the site attracts while the Foundation established to distance the site (and related liabilities) from its core personnel refused to acknowledge that its failed experiment in anarchy is the main reason libel is standard fare at Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation's stance expressed in Wikipedia is that users can fathom the trustworthiness of various "editors" (usually anonymous Wikipedia writers) by reviewing their edit history. Let's see if this Griswold is a generally cooperative guy who follows Wikipedia guidelines to improve articles by incorporating other contributions, or is prone to generate controversy by acting on his own preferences: In this edit, he erased a donation because "I prefer it the other way" In this example, Griswold accused an anonymous donor of criminal vandalism for removing misinformation about Fred Rogers, the host of a popular children's program. How did Griswold excuse his republication of a rumor that Rogers is a child molester? He called it an urban legand, and called a well-meaning donor a vandal for trying to remove the libel. What does this say to the people offering Wikimedia Foundation libelous attacks against the mayor of Pittsburgh? Just call the libel "urban legands," maybe expose the libel as lies on another rumor-mongering Web site such as the site Griswold sited as a source for his debunked insults against Rogers. Without responsible editorial supervision, any person can be libeled in such a backwards manner.

Posted by Jim Bob Roberts on 02/10/2007 at 11:42 AM

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