Friday, December 16, 2005

The evil in NY

I am emotional right now, after discovering Futureman's post about a lawsuit against wikipedia. I became even more angry when I read the response Futureman got from wikipediaclassaction.org to his letter of concern. So I wrote my own:

I just read about your action against wikipedia on Futureman's website. I am angry at your response to Futureman's concerns, especially when the concerns expressed by futureman must surely represent the vast majority of views held by wikipedia users. Your brash and disrespectful dismissal of those views will surely draw fire on your effort. But what is of concern to me is that there is no shortage of people with narrow and selfish views like yours, who will attract to your cause and potentially inflict serious damage on one of the only concepts in the world that in a way proves that human good-will exists and can be used to create great things!

This must be a joke, or some twisted way to draw attention to your site, and its google adds.

In my experience as a teacher, just about every school I have taught in uses wikipedia intelligently. Teachers and students use it as one of quite a few launching pads into topic investigation and research, using the links, history, discussion and general idea behind articles to begin working with. In most (almost all) cases I have found the content to be comprehensive and vastly useful.

I hope your site is only for attracting money via its google adds, and not for real. I suspect it is not for real, but even as a hoax, you do pose a threat to the conceptual spread of the wikipedia/open source model. The spread of ideas like transparency, trust, involvement, equality, community, a multi lingual Internet, etc, etc. You threaten those ideals, you threaten the hope I have for humanity.

Your action is evil.
But it turns out I may be a sucker! It looks like this site might be a hoax, as a quick check to wikipedia's entry on it turns up a load of interesting information. Ironic isn't it! Its not wikipedia that is a dodgy source of information here, its actually the only thing remotely credible in all this!!

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3 comments:

Leigh Blackall said...

then again, I think I got sucked into a complete sham!

roseg said...

Congratulations, Leigh - I think you're in pretty good company. I seem to remember Danah Boyd and Dave Winer both getting caught this year. (From memory, they were the targets of splogs that mashed up their content and posted it on fake blogs which they fell for and complained about bitterly on their blogs before discovering the culprit/scam - I just tried to find links but couldn't, sorry).

Not exactly the same thing but similar in that even experienced web citizens can still fall for an intelligent trick, eh?

What fascinates me is the way that the "dark side" will always attract people who, under different circumstances, would be really creative and valuable additions to a community, group or society. Sometimes I look at some of these scams and really have to admire them for ingenuity, audacity, imagination and pure pluck. (But then, I sort of like the kids from Slytherin so perhaps it's just me...)

r

Bill Kerr said...

I was angry about this one too and am glad to discover that it is a hoax.

However, there is evidence that Seigenthaler is lobbying for Congress to outlaw anonymous speech on the internet. Perhaps a separate issue but an important one.

See
freedom_of_anonymous_speech
sanger_on_seigenthalers_criticism_of_wikipedia