Can Wikipedia handle the truth?

Can Wikipedia handle the truth?

Summary: Where is the truth in Wikipedia?

TOPICS: Microsoft

The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is Wikipedia's own notion of “verifiability,” not truth, I pointed out last September in “Is Wikipedia ‘knowledge’ merely third party hearsay?


Wikipedia has an aversion to truth, as I discussed in “Why Digg fraud, Google bombing, Wikipedia vandalism will not be stopped.”

Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger decries the “serious and endemic problems” afflicting Wikipedia as I put forth in “Web 2.0 smackdown: intellectuals vs. amateurs in Citizendium.”

Sanger describes an ineffective and abusive “amateur” Wikipedia community: 

The community does not enforce its own rules effectively or consistently. Consequently, administrators and ordinary participants alike are able essentially to act abusively with impunity, which begets a never-ending cycle of abuse.

Michael Arrington has publicly admitted fears of intimidation by Wikipedians has dissuaded him from attempting to correct errors in Wikipedia’s TechCrunch entry: 

While wikipedia appears to be open to all, I’ve seen numerous examples of changes getting immediately deleted for what appears to be political reasons rather than the pursuit of pure knowledge. And I’ve also seen people be attacked for making changes that appear to be factual and correct.

The TechCrunch listing on wikipedia has a number of errors. But there is no way in hell I’d ever think about fixing those errors. The wikipedia community has completely intimidated me to the point where making a change to that site is unthinkable. 

Web 2.0 phenomenon TechCrunch has apparently resigned itself to an untruthful Wikipedia entry.

What about Bill Gate's Microsoft Wikipedia entries? Is Microsoft intimidated by Wikipedians as well?

Does Microsoft believe changes to the site are “unthinkable”?

The Associated Press is reporting that Microsoft has acknowledged it approached a writer and "offered to pay him for the time it would take to correct what the company was sure were inaccuracies in Wikipedia articles on an open-source document standard and a rival format put forward by Microsoft":

Catherine Brooker, a spokeswoman for Microsoft, said she believed the articles were heavily written by people at IBM Corp., which is a big supporter of the open-source standard...

Brooker said Microsoft had gotten nowhere in trying to flag the purported mistakes to Wikipedia's volunteer editors, so it sought an independent expert who could determine whether changes were necessary and enter them on Wikipedia. Brooker said Microsoft believed that having an independent source would be key in getting the changes to stick, that is, to not have them just overruled by other Wikipedia writers.

Brooker said Microsoft and the writer, Rick Jelliffe, (a technologist) had not determined a price and no money had changed hands, but they had agreed that the company would not be allowed to review his writing before submission. Brooker said Microsoft had never previously hired someone to influence a Wikipedia article.

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales is cited as admonishing Microsoft: 

Wales said the proper course would have been for Microsoft to write or commission a "white paper" on the subject with its interpretation of the facts, post it to an outside Web site and then link to it in the Wikipedia articles' discussion forums.

"It seems like a much better, transparent, straightforward way," Wales said.

Wales' convoluted notion of "transparency" and "straightforwardness" breeds the non-truths at Wikipedia.

Wales has an aversion to direct sourcing of facts; He apparently doesn't believe in "facts."

Shouldn't directly sourced and attrributed facts be the objective of an "encyclopedia," not third-party, twice-removed "interpretations" of the facts?

Topic: Microsoft

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  • I don't care what anyone says...

    Wikipedia has become more useful to me than Google. It's a great tool.

    I can find what I need in most cases without having to weed through 10 million advertisements in the listings.
    • Well, that's ONE opinion anyway.

      Wikipedia just has too many errors, for it to be a reliable source of information. Until some process is developed to insure that all of the information is factual, I'll stick to the more reliable sources I use.
      linux for me
    • Even if the information is not accurate?

      That seems like a short sighted way of looking for relevent information.
  • Amen!

    I'm glad to see [b]someone[/b] is speaking out about Wikipedia. You can add me to the list of people who state publicly that they have given up on contributing to Wikipedia because of incessant edits by "gangs" who re-edit accurate, well-sourced contributions because the contributions don't agree with the re-editors' religious views. I am an attorney who can read about 8 languages, I spent a year in a Ph.D. program in languages and linguistics, I passed two parts of the CPA exam and have taken about 16 courses in Christian and Messianic theology and related topics. I spend a good part of my working day researching and writing. I spent hundreds of hours researching, writing and documenting for Wikipedia articles until I realized it was a waste of time because no credentials are required and certain topics turn into endless political debates--even things like "Aisle" (yes, about aisles).

    The sad part is that there are tens of thousands of people with solid research skills who are willing to do research, document it and present unbiased information that may be totally against their personal views, but those are the people most likely to give up because of the ones who have little knowledge of the subject but are willing to camp out and delete anything that opposes their personal views.

    Rick Reinckens.
    • Didn't you get the memo?

      You know the Golden rule memo... the one that says he who has the gold makes the rules. Society no longer wants the truth but is blinded by greed and corruption. Eventually it will peak and the fall will be long and hard. Then once again the true thinkers of the world and the scholars will be in control. Be patient and keep to your studies. What you can impart to those who are willing is invaluable for the future of scholarly research and progress. ]:)
      Linux User 147560
      • RE: memo

        That was a nonsense reply to a carefully articulated post. Rick is absolutely right...too many nuts camping out on Wikipedia just for the sense of power it gives them to trash anything they don't approve of, REGARDLESS of their own credentials. It's not about the gold.

  • Microsoft does not publish facts.

    They are a marketing company which pushes FUD and propaganda so potential buyers will not learn the true nature of the beast!
    • Read the articles

      and then tell me who's the one with the FUD, MS or the "Open Source Community".
      • MS is the one with FUD. Remember, they invented the terms and use of FUD.

        Microsoft loves to create the impression that they are the best. They demand they control all press about them. They pay writers to improve their image. They create groups of people to change the public?s opinion of them and call those groups 'Grass Roots' efforts, as if they were regular Joes. People only post good things about Microsoft if they are paid by Microsoft.

        All the proof I need that Microsoft is, yet again, trying to remove the 'truth' about them and instill phony opinions. You know, like all those 'unbiased research papers' that are paid for by Microsoft.

        Trust and Truth are NOT words that you can use in the same sentence as Microsoft. They are polar opposites.
        • HAHAHAHAHA. "The Age"

          Funny. Next you'll bring up a 10 year old nephew's blog on the fundimental flaws in the Mars Rover's soil sample collection and processing techniques...
          John Zern
          • Hey, John - Shilling really is not for you.

            You do a very poor job of 'supporting' your master by making fun of AP newswire reports.

            If 'The Age' site doesn't suit you, here is the link to the direct AP Wire site - Guess you'll figure a way to make fun of that too and toss 'the truth out' just like Microsoft tried incessantly to do.


            What a 'How Dare Anyone Use Products Other Than Those Sold By Microsoft' loser you are!
          • Hey nomorems: you're getting better at proving my point

            That article had a more truthfull headline: [i]Microsoft offers cash for Wikipedia edit[/i] instead of the other one yor purposelly chose: [i]Microsoft 'tried to doctor Wikipedia'[/i]

            The one you fist placed there is worded to sound as though MS tried to pay someone to falsify, or "doctor" the info when both stories said the exact same thing (that they didn't try that)

            In truth, you keep proving my point (and MS's) on why things should be reviewed and changed when inaccuracies are discovered. Look at the statements you made and see for yourself that people DO post things that are slanted towards their particular bias.

            What a 'How Dare Anyone Use Products Sold By Microsoft' loser you are!
            John Zern
          • OH: BTW, here's the hyperlink

            John Zern
          • Thanks for the link

            Thanks for the link to the ap story. The age left out the links to the Wikipedia Articles:


            The first is about the OASIS standard, based on the Open Office
            XML formats. The second is about the Microsoft Office Open standard.
            I do not see any bias in the articles, really. I will admit that
            I am really not that adept at seeing the bias.
            The article on the Microsoft Office Open presents a fairly good view on how convoluted the standard is. The article on the Open Office standard does not provide much in the way of technical
            detail at all!

            While I am a dedicated Linux user, I have had difficulty installing on the older hardware (pentium 2 and such).

            Open source is about relative freedom from restrictions. It ain't
            perfect. And wikipedia is pretty good for a lot of things. But it
            ain't perfect either.

            So give some space. We don't need to keep at the flaming. Sometimes it is better to be a "Loser" anyway!
  • Microsoft did exactly what it wanted.

    By publicly stating that they even considered funding someone to write articles slanted in their favor, they have poisoned ALL of Wikipedia.

    FUD at it's finest.
    • Cardinal, you hit the nail on the head.

      Microsoft has a HUGE problem in trying to repair their image - and they will go to any lengths to do it (except actually become a better company).

      Another HUGE problem are these wacko 'How dare you buy anything but Microsoft products' writers, bloggers, etc. love to lie about issues to make Microsoft look good. Can Wikipedia handle the truth? Microsoft can't handle the truth - that's why they have to pay people to write good things about them and their warez!

      I am sure Wiki will survive - depite Microsofts attempts to crush them only to release 'MS Dictionary Live'. Just like their Encarta product I expect definitions to be based on what Microsoft thinks will entice people to pay for Microsoft products.
    • They never stated that, YOU did

      But see, you fit the problem that MS is bringing up about wikipedia contributers: you would write YOUR version, not the one backed up with facts (that is known as a lie).

      Here is what was said:

      that Microsoft has acknowledged it approached a writer and [u]"offered to pay him for the time it would take to correct what the company was sure were inaccuracies in Wikipedia articles on an open-source document standard and a rival format put forward by Microsoft"[/u]

      but they had agreed that the company [b]would not be allowed to review his writing before submission. Brooker said Microsoft had never previously hired someone to influence a Wikipedia article.[/b]

      So where did MS state that it was paying to have the article slanted in THEIR favor? Looks to me as they were paying someone to correct the bogus info in the article. Sounds like work to me.

      Should one get paid for work?

      Keep on FUDding Reverend_Bill...
      John Zern
      • Should one get paid for work?

        No - they should not be paid to contribute corporate propaganda on an at-large public site.

        Microsoft has no interest in the truth. They just want to shut up those who have real facts and opinions that may convince non-IT type folks to ditch Microsoft.

        Sorry Johnny boy - shilling for Microsoft just doesn't seem to be working for you ( may want to tell your employers (or your stock broker) that this Wiki thing only hurt Microsofts rep even more than it already is!).
        • Once again, you prove my point

          I said I saw nothing wrong in paying someone their time correcting false statements made about someone or something, as is it not a person's right to have FACTUAL information written about them or their product?

          But by saying that, You label me a "shill" for Microsoft.

          Does that not make you a "shill" also, only against Microsoft?

          If you're claiming I would lie to put MS in a positive light, would not a factuall statement be that you would lie to put MS in a negative light?

          With that being the case, I guess I can add you to Wikipedia, stating just that; that you're a lier.

          Would you change that yourself, or just leave it be...?
          John Zern
      • John...

        Is Wikipedia to become a site where it boils down to which company has the most money to pay someone to hit the "Cutn'paste" button as quick as possible after the previous, what the company considers, slanderous post?

        Microsoft said they would be willing to pay for it. Will the next poster there be as ethical as Brooker? Will you know they haven't be paid off by Dell, SCO, IBM, Xerox, GM, Ford, BP, Exxon, or whoever to push the company line?

        Face it...Microsoft created an atmosphere which reflects exactly what they wanted. To destroy whatever credibility the site may have had.

        Pure FUD spewed out by Microsoft. The people responsible there will probably get a raise.