[Foundation-l] Wiki Scanner & wikinew

Kat Walsh kat at mindspillage.org
Tue Aug 21 22:43:15 UTC 2007

On 8/21/07, geni <geniice at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 8/21/07, Brian McNeil <brian.mcneil at wikinewsie.org> wrote:
> > I have to ask why people are going to such great lengths to excuse the
> > actions of News Corp.
> "Actions of News Corp" I doubt it. Some of their emplyees probably but
> without authorisation those cannot be said to be the action of news
> corp.


I hate Fox News; I think it's dealing a rather harsh blow to the state
of public discourse and what passes for news. (Someone always leaves
it on in the cafeteria, and so I am exposed to its programs far more
frequently than I might like.)

But I would not say that the edits made from computers in its address
space are the actions of News Corp. (They spread enough terrible
articles that they're willing to endorse and even advertise to the
world.) The edits may be things News Corp would actually approve of (a
lot of them look like they would be) -- but they may also be the
actions of support staffers and interns on their break, some guy
playing a joke on his co-worker, or people who just still don't know
that yes, everyone can see your changes when you make them, who may
well have been fired for their actions if anyone knew about them at
the time. I seriously doubt News Corp finds it to be in their interest
to replace an entire article, even one critical of them, with juvenile
vandalism, for example, yet that sort of edit can be found among the
others WikiScanner turns up. (Here's an example, from someone who
clearly didn't enjoy "The Incredibles".
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?diff=prev&oldid=68303976 )

To treat a story about someone we dislike with less concern for
skepticism and neutrality than another story is just as irresponsible
as any bad reporting others do -- so I'd rather err on the side of
caution. Wikimedia projects are somewhat notorious for being overly
pedantic in the attempt to reach neutrality, and I can't deny that at
all. But I'd far rather have that and get a very truthful picture than
a more exciting story that doesn't mention things the reader may not
realize or may get the wrong idea about.


(The above opinions are just the opinion of someone blathering on, not
the location from which I am currently posting. :-P)

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