[Foundation-l] Porchesia

Birgitte SB birgitte_sb at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 1 14:47:52 UTC 2006

Please excuse me, Gerad, for paroding your response to
my conncerns a few weeks ago below. 


Most of the new page patrolers are volunteers. There
is certainly too much work in
the first place. It is a stellar performance what so
few people do with so
little investment.

Their first priority is to watch out for libel,
combine this with
the growth that we experience this is a big job. There
are several big jobs
that have been postponed time and again for many many
months (OK I don't know en.WP well enough to know what
these jobs are but surely these patrolers have to-do
list they haven't been able to get to).

When you find yourself another editor to patrol new
pages for you, it does not mean that
they will catch everything; the only thing achieved is
that you are
closer to getting it all. This is not to say that the
patrolling is busted,
it is that your expectations are not compatible with

/end parody

Perhaps you should just adjust your expectations to
the reality of wiki and realize evetually this stuff
will be found (or maybe it won't)  But just be patient
and realize people are doing their best and they will
eventually get to the articles you are concerned with.
/end sarcasm

I honestly don't know the answer to your problem
Danny.  I do wonder whether you tried addressing this
on the wikipedia-l list and came here only after
getting an unsatifactory respose there.  But you
should know better than to come to this list for
*solutions*.  And so should I for that matter.

But what I really want to say is this.  I think these
people in the larger Wikimedia community, whose help
you want coming up with creative solutions.  I think
these people will be caring a great deal more to help
you with en.WP's problem when they start recieving
help with their own problems.  Here is a very
incompetet list of questions/problems which did not
recieve the help looked for here.

*Wikibooks: How do develop policy to disallow
"unethical manual"  (i.e. How to commit a crime)

*Wikibooks: (and many others)  Information on
trademarks and how to correctly reprint Wikimedia
material because of trademarks.

*Wikibooks: Is Wikimedia a publisher per the GFDL?

*ru.WP: What does the WMF require/recommend a bare
minumum for Verifiability policy?

*general: when will we have new steward eletions?

*Wikiversity: NPOV & academic freedom for research

*hu.WP: The Foudation's position on non-free images

*nl.WP: MAny internal fights they seem to have
problems handling

*general: Foundation position on logo derivatives

All these things and many more were brought up on this
list by someone looking for help.  No clear solutions
was arrrived at on this list.  I hope the problems
were solved off-list in the original projects that
asked them.  There are more people at en.WP itself
capable of solving "Porchesia" than there are on this
list.  You should be talking to the people who
actually do new pages patrol and asking them what they
need to do a better job.

Birgitte SB

--- daniwo59 at aol.com wrote:

> While I generally agree with Birgitte, I have to
> take exception here.  
> Porchesia appeared on one of our projects for ten
> months. It was caught quite by  
> accident, when someone pointed it out to me. This
> raises an important issue,  
> relevant to all major languages and projects--what
> are we doing to ensure the  
> veracity of the information we provide. This is
> especially relevant, given the  
> other discussion about spamming, which Brad raised.
> If we can have a fake 
> island  with 300,000 imaginary people get through
> for ten months, we can 
> certainly have  a fake company get through for 10
> months. This company can even get 
> people to  read up on them and take their money. And
> if you look the company up, 
> it is on  Wikipedia, Answers, and any other mirror.
> This is a serious 
> problem. Wikipedia  provides credibility. 
> There are two problems with this. Both are, in my
> mind,  serious ethical 
> issues. 
> 1. Given our size and reputation, we are in the
> process of transforming  from 
> a medium that reports fact to a medium that can,
> potentially, create fact.  
> Colbert and the elephants is symptomatic of that
> (for people who don't know the 
>  reference, see Jimmy's opening remarks at
> Wikimania). In the particular case 
> of  Porchesia, someone has just argued on the
> mailing list that it should be 
> kept  because it is now an internet meme. The fact
> that it has been on 
> Wikipedia for  ten months ensures that 
> ).  This is worrying. Are we now reporting on what
> we 
> report? Where do we draw the  line between reporting
> information and creating 
> information? I believe that this  issue is
> sufficiently serious to warrant 
> discussion among all Wikimedia  participants, not
> just the people on WP:EN.
> 2. The second issue is more sinister. Several months
> ago we received a call  
> in the office from a major police agency. Someone
> created a false identity  
> and used it to extract money from unsuspecting
> victims. When people  questioned 
> how important he was, they were told, "Just look me
> up on Wikipedia."  Were 
> the people who gave him money stupid? Yes. So are
> the people who answer  tragic 
> emails telling them that their long lost but
> fabulously wealthy  relatives 
> were killed in car crash in Togo. And yet, people
> continue to answer  those 
> emails. The article on EN was quietly deleted, the
> man was likely  arrested, but 
> the problem remains. Given our position and the
> respect we  receive, Wikipedia 
> in all languages is an open target for spammers and
> con  artists. I believe 
> that this is also an issue that should be addressed
> by the  larger community, and 
> not just limited to WP:EN.
> There is a tension between accuracy and openness.
> Citizendium and  
> Everything2 are two extreme answers to that tension.
> If, however, we are to  maintain 
> both, we must address the tension when it occurs. We
> must come up with  creative 
> solutions. And that is something that involves more
> than just the  English 
> Wikipedia.
> Danny
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l at wikimedia.org

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