Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge?


“Learn more” is SOPA and PIPA are just indicators of a much broader problem. We are already seeing big media calling us names. In many jurisdictions around the world, we’re seeing the development of legislation that prioritizes overly-broad copyright enforcement laws, laws promoted by power players, over the preservation of individual civil liberties. We want the Internet to be free and open, everywhere, for everyone.


* Google
* Beeb
* Wikipedia blackout forces students to copy from printed ‘hardcopy websites’

Flaunt the stupidity

This post is about the ridiculous “hide the decline” video. I watched it when it first came out. It wasn’t funny, it was dull. Apparently it has now been pulled from YouTube, but who cares?

But… because the thing is anti-science, the std.anti-science septics on wiki feel inclined to have an article on it. Sigh. There enough real subjects to create articles about without wasting time on vapour. I really ought to point you to the current version, and the current edit war: should this edit be included – viz, is the fact that some guy with a blog thinks the video is funny worth noting? I don’t think so, but I’ve created this post so we’ll see if that fact that some other guy with a blog thinks the video is dull is worth noting. I wonder if you can predict people’s reactions? Hopefully the whole thing will be deleted.

Perhaps I should create “Hide The Incline” instead.

Update: since I’m talking about generic stupidity, you may like to read The Trend from Wootsup by Steven Goddard.

Poor old Monckton

Off in Wootsup land someone called Gudfry is having trouble with the portrayal of Monckton on wikipedia, saying:

I see Connelly and his “tag-team” are at it again. This time it’s about the many disputed entries about Lord Monckton, the prominent anti-AGW campaigner.
Many contributors have argued that they have chosen a picture of him which is unflattering, and at worst, deliberately derogatory – which is agaist wiki rules.
After a temporary removal, there has been an edit war which Connelly’s tag-team have won, insisting that it stays. See “Discussion” page on,_3rd_Viscount_Monckton_of_Brenchley

They’re fascists.

If you like these kind of disputes, this one is quite amusing. The problem, of course, is that the picture makes Lord M look like a bit of a wacko (see endless debate on the talk page). Now you or I might make the obvious rejoinder, but clearly his supporters can’t. The usual folk have been removing the image with some utterly implausible assertions (e.g. [1]). Wiki would be happy to use any other decent pic of him, but he hasn’t made a PD one available. I would have thought that the solution to this problem is to write to his fully-staffed PR dept and get them to OK one, but that doesn’t seem to have happened.

But if you want the piss really being taken out of Lord M, you want Bad Boy Gareth.

Poor old Watts refers.

A child’s garden of wikipedia, part I

“Part I” is very presumptuous. I might never write part II. Ah well, I press onwards in hope.

[2019 update: there is now a part two. But it isn’t very exciting.]

I’m going to take my text from Climategate: the corruption of Wikipedia [now very sensibly disappeared from the Torygraph site (arch); something similar is at (arch)] and see what we can learn about wiki’s workings from the way people misunderstand it. I should warn you that blog is mostly recycled Solomon.

Before I go on (well actually I wrote this *after* I went on, but I came back up here, that is one of the marvels of modern tech) I’ll point out that the LS/JD article is riddled with amateur errors that a moments time from someone competent at wiki could have fixed. This is genuine modern journalism at it’s very worst.

* ”All told, Connolley created or rewrote 5,428 unique Wikipedia articles.” This is either technically true, or wrong, depending on how you interpret “re-wrote”. If you use an edit counter you can discover that I have, to date, edited 5,474 unique articles, so it has gone up by a few since LS wrote (actually I wouldn’t swear that total didn’t include talk space, but never mind). But that raw number is nearly meaningless, because it includes articles such as Aesop, where I reverted vandalism, Berkhamstead Castle, where I added a picture, I removed the S word from the CRA , and… I’m sure you get the picture. I can’t quite make it up to Z, but I did remember the XAP2. If you want to know how many articles where I’ve valiantly kept at bay the forces of wacko-dom, you need something more intelligent than an edit counter or a Delingpole.

* “When Connolley didn’t like the subject of a certain article, he removed it — more than 500 articles of various descriptions disappeared at his hand”. If you’re an admin (as I was for a while, before I got de-sysopped, full story sometime) you get the power to delete articles. However, all such deletions show up and all other admins have the power to recreate deleted articles. So going around deleting articles I didn’t like on climate grounds would not have worked – people would have said “hey, you have a [[WP:COI]] you can’t do that. And indeed, although the edit counter will faithfully tell you “Pages deleted: 510”, you need to look at to see what I actually did. Most of the pages you see there are redlinks – which is to say, they are links to pages that don’t exist, because (surprise) I deleted them. But any admin that disagreed could restore any of them. Most of the pages I deleted were just simple deletions – they were totally uncontroversial and obvious (I was never much of a one for frequenting [[WP:AFD]] where people have long and tedious arguments about whether individual pokemon cards are more notable than Polish politicians. One of my controversial deletes was [[Antisemitic incidents during the 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza conflict]] which I deleted with “edit warring disaster area. where are all the people who voted keep?” but sadly it got re-created (the comment, oh you wiki-virgins, is a reference to the discussion at AFD/DR; don’t lets go there). I’m not at all sure I deleted *any* controversial GW-type pages, but if I did I’m sure the Dark Side will bitch at me and I’ll update this.

* “When he disapproved of the arguments that others were making, he often had them barred — over 2,000 Wikipedia contributors who ran afoul of him found themselves blocked from making further contributions.” – one of the other privs of admin-hood is blocking people. Sadly, however, the COI guidelines stop you blocking people you’re in dispute with (ahem); if you do it, another admin will unblock them (incidentally, you can unblock yourself, but you’re not allowed to; see my block log). So where do the 2,000 (2029, to be precise) come from? Well, I used to do a lot of work at [[WP:AN3]] which is a project-space page where people could be reported for breaking the “3 revert rule” (viz: revert a page more than 3 times in 24 hours and you’re blocked, sonny, usually for 24h in the first instance; [[WP:3RR]] for details). You can see (the last 500) of my block’s at here (I was especially pleased with “2009-09-12T13:49:44 William M. Connolley (talk | contribs) blocked Dak (talk | contribs) (account creation blocked) with an expiry time of 24 hours ‎ (edit warring at Fisting)” and rather hoped that would be my last admin action, but sadly I couldn’t resist, and my last was “Redking7 (talk | contribs) (account creation blocked) with an expiry time of indefinite ‎ (SPA RoC/Taiwan edit warring)”). As you can see from the list, there is a vast amount of edit warring at wiki; as you’ll see, (almost) none of the blocks are for GW (indeed the only one ctrl-f finds for me from that list is “2009-06-07T21:55:28 William M. Connolley (talk | contribs) blocked (talk) (anon. only, account creation blocked, autoblock disabled) with an expiry time of 12 hours ‎ (tripe on Talk:Global warming)”).

* “Acolytes whose writing conformed to Connolley’s global warming views, in contrast, were rewarded with Wikipedia’s blessings” – I’ve not a clue what this means.

* “Connolley has supposedly been defrocked as a Wikipedia administrator… If this is true, it doesn’t seem to have made much difference to his creative input on the Wikipedia’s entries”. Again, it is possible to check. Juliancolton is shown to be an admin. I’m not (I am a humble rollbacker; another once-admin-only priv is a little button that allows you to revert junk edits quickly; since this is no great power moderately trusted edits can have it too, free of charge). But the main error here is confusing admin and editor status, and it is an enormous error. The admin bit is popularly and laughably called the “mop and bucket”; admins get to patrol wiki and wipe out the cling-ons, so to speak. But this has no affect whatsoever on their ability to *edit* pages (except for the minor matter of editing protected pages, but lets not go there either today).

Well, there you go, that is about all you can learn from JD. I’ve not bothered comment here on his misc errors about me – I am all powerful (part 2) is probably your best source for that.

[Teensy update: well there is a bizarre coincidence. I mention Aesop and A, href=”″>some anon wazzock vandalises it -W]