2018/09/24: Snippets are being edited to improve/damage reputation or send certain signals to different audiences.
While the changes in the Bipartisan Report panel illustrate the possible use of the Wikipedia snippets to either damage or salvage the reputation of a publisher, there are other changes that are puzzling in their nature. Here is one, concerning the magazine American Renaissance, a white supremacist publication.
Figure 5: Knowledge Panels for American Renaissance on Jan and Sep 2018. The change of the text snippets makes one wonder which audiences are being targeted.
Both text snippets shown in Figure 5 acknowledge that American Renaissance is a white supremacist publication, but the provenance of the categorization differs. In January, the snippet lists third-party, well-known organizations as sources for the “white supremacist” label, however, in the September snippet, we read that the publisher self-describes as a “white-advocacy organization”. This shift of perspective (who does the labeling?) needs to be a matter of debate. Should these information panels tell us what the organizations think about themselves (how is this different from “About Us” pages which literacy experts suggest to avoid) or how other (especially watchdog) organizations regard them?
I don’t know how we can solve these issues without increasing the burden on Wikipedia editors. However, I think it’s important to raise awareness about these issues, so that we continue to actively address them. Furthermore, Google and Facebook need to better acknowledge the limitations of their initiatives and increase their support for Wikipedia and other knowledge production organizations.
2018/09/10: The lack of diversity in Wikipedia biographies of notable individuals extends to women in STEM. Ongoing lack of representation in the largest, most frequently accessed body of knowledge in the world contributes to the silencing of our voices.
“According to Wikipedia, being a notable person is less about to life expectancy, somewhat more about education and economic status, and even more about positions of power.” - Klein and Konieczny, 2018
To help change cultural perceptions of who can contribute to STEM and to inspire the next generation of young scientists and engineers, it is essential that open access platforms, especially Wikipedia, offer a realistic perspective on the diversity of people already working to tackle big global challenges and historical contributions by underrepresented groups. Let’s speed up the process… sixteen more years to achieve gender parity on notable biographies is too long!
What can women and allies in STEM do to accelerate the improvement of Wikipedia as an inclusive, fact-based resource for the global community?
2018/09/15: Then Peer Production sat down and wept, because there were not other worlds for her to conquer
Is the reluctance to pay editors a barrier to equitable participation on Wikipedia? Not exactly. Global economic inequalities mean that an encyclopedia built on paid edits would also reflect those inequalities. We’d probably have an encyclopedia with even more content about rich countries and wealthy corporations than we already do. What we instead need are models that both address the fact that different parts of the world have different capacities to volunteer, and at the same time remove some of the short-term problematic incentives that paid editing would bring about.
Its reliance on self-motivated volunteers works exceedingly well in certain parts of the world; but, in other regions, this model has become an economic barrier to entry. Maybe as a consequence, Wikipedia is surprisingly imbalanced in its coverage of global knowledge.
Almost a decade ago, we began mapping all of the content on Wikipedia and found that the site was a highly unequal representation of the world. There were many more articles about Europe and North America than there were about poorer parts of the world. One of our more recent mappings showed more articles written about Western Europe than all of the rest of the world put together. For every article about Africa, there were twenty about Europe. That was despite the fact that Africa is three times larger than Europe, it has over twice the population, and has roughly the same number of internet users.
Since then, much effort has been spent on identifying the underlying causes. Our own research found that the availability of broadband is a clear factor in the likelihood of people around the world participating in Wikipedia. Another study showed the importance of the availability of sources in local languages, to be used for citations, including local media sources.
2014/12/11: Wikipedia is amazing. But it’s become a rancorous, sexist, elitist, stupidly bureaucratic mess.
As it turned out, I’d run into a couple of what one Wikipedia administrator terms “The Unblockables,” a class of abrasive editors who can get away with murder because they have enough of a fan club within Wikipedia, so any complaint made against them would be met with hostility and opprobrium.
Wikipedia’s overarching goal is the much-vaunted neutral point of view, or NPOV, which means that an article should impartially reflect the opinions of reliable sources, or RS, on a subject in proportion to their prominence. In practice, this can mean any number of things. In the best case, which does occur reasonably often, spirited debate on the “talk” page of an article results in ongoing negotiations and refinement to an article until it is truly high quality. The editors who can work harmoniously in pursuit of this ideal goal of neutral “consensus” can make editing Wikipedia a wonderful and productive experience. Yet in other cases, it can result in ongoing “edit wars” in which groups of headstrong editors group into dueling factions that duke it out for supremacy of their version of the page—“consensus” achieved not through impartiality but through the greater endurance of one side of partisans.
I realize there was an earlier study that says Wikipedia is no worse than Britannica, but does Britannica have a culture of amateurs holding the keys on what is included and what is omitted, or is the approach far more scholarly and professional?
Photo by Niccolò Caranti, CC BY-SA 4.0.
Photo by Kain Kalju, CC BY 2.0.
The pending update to the EU Copyright Directive is coming up for a committee vote on June 20 or 21 and a parliamentary vote either in early July or late September. While the directive fixes some longstanding problems with EU rules, it creates much, much larger ones: problems so big that they...
I was a contributor for OpenStreetMap for a long time, and I advocated for OpenStreetMap for a long time, but the project has stalled while the proprietary mapping world has continued to improve in data quality. For those of us who care about Free and Open data, this is a problem. In this article, I explore the reasons why I think OSM has stalled, as well as solutions to get the project back on track.
Social networks train us to focus on images and emotions, sapping the quest for knowledge.
By Flavia Fascendini Publisher: APCNews 09 January 2017
Angolans have found a clever way to share files using Wikipedia Zero and Facebook's Free Basics, but what happens to the existing Wikipedia community?
Today's empires are born on the web, and exert tremendous power in the material world.
Without us noticing, we are entering the postcapitalist era. At the heart of further change to come is information technology, new ways of working and the sharing economy. The old ways will take a long while to disappear, but it's time to be utopian
The rise of mobile devices is worsening a longtime shortage of volunteer editors.
Il Tribunale di Roma ricorda che, al limite, a diffamare potrebbero essere gli utenti. E se il Moige si è scontrato con i Wikipediani nel tentativo di apportare le modifiche alla propria pagina, la community ha saputo agire per adeguarsi alla legge
Il 6 maggio 2015 leggo un articolo di Riccardo Luna in cui anticipa la pubblicazione disponibile per tutti di circa 1.000.000 di voci dell'Enciclopedia Treccani. Mi autodenuncio subito: io sono un
Ieri su Repubblica è apparso un articolo, "La Treccani ai tempi di Wikipedia conquista il web", dove Riccardo Luna racconta come il portale Treccani sta per raggiungere il milione di voci disponibili gratuitamente per tutti. "E soprattutto, certificati. Autorevoli. Niente bufale.", continua Luna che per l'occasione ha intervistato il direttore generale della Treccani, Massimo Bray. Bisogna dire che i tempi sono proprio mutati: ancora qualche anno fa Wikipedia anelava a confrontarsi con la Treccani, mentre ora le parti si sono invertite ed è la nonagenaria enciclopedia che spiega come essa sia molto meglio della giovane concorrente, mettendosi persino a competere sulla quantità. Detto tra noi, le gare a chi ce l'ha più lungo (l'elenco di voci) mi sembrano stupide: sarei molto più felice se l'impegno nel creare nuove voci di Wikipedia fosse invece usato per migliorare quelle esistenti, ma un limite dell'enciclopedia libera è che nessuno può essere costretto a fare qualcosa che non gli interessi. E per il resto?