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Wikipedia is No Longer Trustworthy on Matters of Commerce and Politics (Because of Financial Motives and Power Incentives)

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Wikipedia at 4:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 47505702dc17733e78c88f9c25a35362
Trusting Wikipedia
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Wikipedia may in fact face an existential crisis in the future as its reputation and the degree of trust it deserves diminishes; it’s not the fault of people who run Wikipedia as much as it is the fault of people who game Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a wonderful resource which covers a broad range of subjects in many languages. But that does not mean we should blindly idolise Wikipedia.

The video above was made in response to obvious and rather obscene bias in Wikipedia, especially on Microsoft- and EPO-related topics. But it does not focus on these pairs. Instead it deals with the issue in more generalised terms.

I begin by explaining how I was first introduced to wikis and then to Wikipedia. It was nearly 20 years ago. I’ve since set up and maintained a number of wikis. Some of them are still online (about 18 years already!) but aren’t particularly active. Over the years I’ve experimented with a lot of wiki software and I still work with several (front end and back end) on a daily basis.

The issue isn’t the concept of a wiki per se; many wikis are restricted in the sense that only a trusted set of people can edit them. Some are in access-limited intranets or behind VPN (not merely authentication barriers).

“The issue isn’t the concept of a wiki per se; many wikis are restricted in the sense that only a trusted set of people can edit them.”What makes Wikipedia very sensitive is ironically the degree of openness. Over the years we wrote a great number of articles about Wikipedia, at times highlightinf the way Microsoft was sabotaging it. Even the co-founder of Wikipedia openly blasted Microsoft for it.

An associate asked me today (in light of misinformation), “are there any groups following and/or fighting Microsoft misrepresentation of topics inside Wikipedia or the Wikimedia universe in general?”

This is done not just by Microsoft, but Microsoft is among the worst if not the worst.

Wikipedia interference is not limited to the private sector, either. Governments manipulate Wikipedia as well, but staff of Wikipedia mostly turns a blind eye when Western governments do it.

When it comes to non-scientific articles, Wikipedia has become increasingly troubling if not appalling. The so-called “encyclopedia” is used to settle political and commercial scores, not inform the general public. People who have examined Wikipedia thoroughly enough in recent years can probably relate; a lot of the manipulation is done by intentional omission or relegation of facts.

“When it comes to non-scientific articles, Wikipedia has become increasingly troubling if not appalling.”The corporate or political subjects that have a lot of money at stake are almost guaranteed to be closely guarded by key stakeholders who are more interested in power/money than in facts. This means that readers don’t get the full picture at all; they don’t know this either, unless they’re experts in the particular domains they read about. The references are accordingly biased or cherry-picked, so they cannot compensate for bias in the Wikipedia article (and “Talk” section).

The growing level of manipulation is why I basically assume Wikipedia will stagnate. It is in some sense the victim of its “success” or the victim of its own perceived importance. It gets targeted a lot by Public Relations agencies. Wikipedia manipulation has in effect become a product or a service. Social control media too is being targeted, but we think those platforms already stagnate rapidly. More people see them for what they really are. This lowers the perceive value of those platform (prestige, or how lucrative a target they are).

Wikipedia is just another platform. Nation states outside the US/Canada and Europe cannot easily manipulate the platform. It would not stick for long. It would not work because we know who owns and controls Wikipedia and where they live. It’s not an international platform, except in theory (for optics).

The platform’s issues aren’t limited to this one wiki, either. So creating a Wikipedia alternative would not tackle the underlying problem. Just as creating another social control media would be a misguided strategy (the underlying concept is fundamentally flawed and susceptible to manipulation).

What we see in Wikipedia is a platform control and centralisation issue. The same goes for Twitter and Facebook. They promote some certain agenda and bias, if not for money then for some ideological reasons.

“The platform’s issues aren’t limited to this one wiki, either. So creating a Wikipedia alternative would not tackle the underlying problem.”“I have questions about the viability of Wikipedia’s very nature,” our associate explained this morning, “but since it’s there, it has to be dealt with one way or another. There are no non-political subjects these days especially in regards to technology since computers are about control: either people control their computers or their computers control them and there are many monied interests that are attracted to the power that would be concentrated in their hands as fewer systems control more people.”

This is the information mischief dilemma. Can you trust someone else to manage information for you? Can you correct it? Can you rely on other editors (like coders/developers) correcting it for you?

Our associate noted that “the above is mostly just a paraphrase of what RMS has said many times [and] perhaps there is a relevant page from his writings that could be quoted [...] he wrote a lot about who should control the computer [and] that goes back to even his GNU Manifesto days…”

We ought to focus on the underlying problem and maybe the Internet. It’s not really made to be trusted and many learned from experience that a financial incentive exists to weaponise the Internet to spread falsehoods. The West does it, China does it, Russia does it…

Just because there is “inter” in Internet doesn’t mean there’s no blocking, deranking and other forms of filtering going on, on both a regional basis and a personal basis. A lot of surveillance and censorship go on.

“Even if one forked Wikipedia, it would still not tackle the issue of the upstream “project” distributing revisionism, misinformation etc.”Wikipedia (or similar sites) are less about control of the computer/computing. They’re less about code and mostly about control over information and its dissemination. It is a related issue, but not the same issue. For instance, you could download Wikipedia and edit it locally. But pushing the changes ‘upstream’ can be difficult and subjected to obstruction, not because it is false but because it is inconvenient to some monied interests.

Even if one forked Wikipedia, it would still not tackle the issue of the upstream “project” distributing revisionism, misinformation etc.

The bottom line is, treat Wikipedia with care and caution. It tends to be “spot-on” when it comes to purely scientific topics, but the bias in Wikipedia generally gets worse over time. It’s constantly under attack by an industry eager to spread lies and hide bad publicity (such as scandals).

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