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Wikipedia founder wades into the fake war on fake news

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From Alex Hern at the Guardian:

Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, is launching a new online publication which will aim to fight fake news by pairing professional journalists with an army of volunteer community contributors.

Wikitribune plans to pay for the reporters by raising money from a crowdfunding campaign.

Wales intends to cover general issues, such as US and UK politics, through to specialist science and technology.

Those who donate will become supporters, who in turn will have a say in which subjects and story threads the site focuses on. And Wales intends that the community of readers will fact-check and subedit published articles.More.

The process described is elsewhere called propaganda. Translation:

Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, is launching a new online publication which will aim to [put out information that we want people to accept and believe] by pairing [paid oppo research writers] with an army of [people who support the cause and thus have an influence on its direction].

Wikitribune plans to pay for the [cause’s oppo research writers] by raising money from [the faithful].

Possible new wrinkle:

And Wales intends that the [faithful, best known for zeal rather than expertise] will fact-check and subedit published articles.

What could possibly go wrong with that last bit?  Well, at least it will sound like Wikipedia

(For a small snippet of list of reasons not to trust Wikipedia, go here, also appended below).

This recent obsession with “fake news” seems part of a long-term trend toward reputation management for censorship. Media streams have always been full of fake news. It gets noticed when establishments are losing control because their beliefs and interests diverge widely from those of the readers.

See also:

Larry Sanger, Co-founder of Wikipedia, Agrees That it Does not Follow its Own Neutrality Policy

Part I: What isfake news? Do we believe it?

Part II: Does fake news make a difference in politics?

Part III: What can we do about fake news that would not diminish real news? Critics of ‘fake news’ should go to China — only the government has the right to post fake news.

– “I do my homework via Wikipedia is the new definition of sloth

We’ve got lots of material on the problems with taking Wikipedia seriously here at UD:

How Wikipedia can turn fiction into fact (Sourced enough times, the fiction becomes “troo”)

Wikipedia: The world of heavily edited unfacts

Wikiedia as astroturf

Wikipedia’s declining stats

Wikipedia hacked by elite sources now (The main problem is that the people who use Wikipedia do not care whether it is false or true. “Wikipedia is my library” is the new diagnostic for irresponsible laziness.)


Mathematician complains Wikipedia is promoting “pseudo-science” of multiverse (Then there were the minor revelations that core articles “don’t earn even Wikipedia’s own middle-ranking quality scores” and that some “editors” are paid by outside sources.)

Follow UD News at Twitter!

8 Replies to “Wikipedia founder wades into the fake war on fake news

  1. 1
    LocalMinimum says:

    “Fake news” and “post fact world” really feel like two trendy off-shades of universal, timeless issues of social information and communication employed in the pentimento of a political-media establishment that has squandered all of its credibility in an into-the-morning casino run of an election.

  2. 2
    rvb8 says:

    So, only yours, and EvoNews items are truthful and fact checked? Hmmm, well if you say so. Although your cherry picked quotes, and cut and paste style, don’t exactly scream due diligence.

    You say it will be as trustworthy as wikipedia? That’s actually pretty damn good you know. Although I don’t accept wiki references in my student’s work, I do encourage them to use it as a starting point on most topics; it’s a great tool.

    I thought News was a huge fan of how the internet is allowing the masses to post and argue against the accepted ‘big media’ view?

    Hell, if this paper is half as trustworthy as the encyclopedia, then the brillaintly earnest and trustworthy folk a Fox & Friends, might find their professsionalism further undermined.(Just thinking abut that bstion of brillintly researched materials in the soon to be deceased, ‘O’Reliy Factor’)

    Quality reporting indeed!

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8, I think you urgently need to attend to prior business where your problems start with needing to justify your behaviour towards young Chinese Christians, as discussed here: KF

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    kairosfocus says:

    News, Wikipedia is in major need of reformation, and the march for science seems to be utterly wrong-headed. Especially with black shirts marching, pepper spraying and committing mayhem. Dressing up ideologies in lab coats does not confer any more merits than they had on the basic facts, logic and assumptions. As for some of the major causes that are championed, it seems to me first and foremeost that we should attend tot he Eugenics fiasco as a notable lesson of painful history. Then, we need to consider how science and progress have been abused to promote the ongoing holocaust of over 800+ million unborn children, mounting up at another million per week. Third, we need to understand that no cluster of simulations suffices to substantiate a claim as an empirical fact, so we should note that there is a key gap between the structure of claimed anthropogenic global warming and the actual patterns observed, including of course not only where warming is or isn’t but the overall flat trend sustained for what nigh on 20 years since the late 90’s. Climate is a 33 year moving average of weather and necessarily, moves. the issues on why and how are far more complicated and we would do well not to take our sense of what we know form various publicists. Instead, we would be well advised to balance what we know and don’t, where risks seem to be and ponder the impact of potentially crashing local, regional or even the global economies. I think a far sounder path on energy and development would look at things such as fusion [including the Bussard polywell approach or similar alternatives], pebble bed modular tech for more manageable fission, and t5hings like Thorium based molten salt reactors. Then, we can have a more balanced discussion. As for evolutionary materialistic scientism, that is self referentially incoherent and utterly amoral, which is exactly what contributed to the horror of eugenics, and to much more. KF

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  6. 6
    rvb8 says:


    I don’t need to justify myself to you concerning anything! What a prig. I talk to students like Zeng Bo Wen, Hu Xiao Yun, Du Xiao Rui, and others and talk to them about their recent conversions.

    As I explain that it is now Christ that they must love above their parents, and in one case wife, that this evangelical sect actually takes Genesis at its word, and they must too, and that their lives are now judged, they balk.

    Basically Kairos, they never were Christian, I merely point it out.

    ‘Justiy?‘ myself to you? My god, what an oversized ego.

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:


    just for a note of record, you presented yourself as having a list of questions for young Christians to take to their leaders — their “new-found friends” — in a further context of essentially characterising Protestantism in particular and its leaders as fools and/or frauds propagating a scheme of thought and faith without sound foundations.

    You also made claims about utter lack of foundations for the Christian Faith, in particular denying the historical references in early extrabiblical writers], cf also Charles’ comment regarding your listed claims here at 286.

    In sum, you have made a series of exceedingly strong negative claims that broad-brush indict millions.

    Justifying yourself is therefore NOT an issue of mere priggishness on my part but instead your patent need to back up claims like:

    rvb8 @ 168: Several of my students are Christian, two are Muslim, and I never disabuse them of their faith.

    rvb8 @ 216: A faith that was picked up from half baked, misguided, US and UK evagelists is something I disabuse these new converts of

    rvb8 @ 250: I actually sidetracked the discussion when I explained I happily disabuse Chinese Christian converts of their faith, if I can get in early enough to relieve the damage.

    rvb8 @ 196: There are a few Catholics in my classes, they have come from old Catholic Chinese families, and I never mock Christianity, or attack their beliefs,

    rvb8 @ 196: … Slack jawed yokals, … I loathe these demi-humans. … [Chinese authorties] treat these people with more respect than they deserve.

    rvb8 @ 216: A faith that was picked up from half baked, misguided, US and UK evagelists … I explain that their new faith denies much of modern science including evolution and many times, global warming, the probable commonality of life in the universe, and is often anti-vaccine.

    rvb8 @ 233: It is about as useful as pointing out to a Chrisitian the utter lack of hard evidence for their own faith. …. I can however attack silliness before it takes root,

    rvb8 @ 231: If I can prevent them from becoming evangelical by simple converstions, I do,

    rvb8 @ 233: It is about as useful as pointing out to a Chrisitian the utter lack of hard evidence for their own faith.

    rvb8 @ 168 You insult me. Fine, have at it. Small minded religious types are my bread and butter. I have also reconverted several students and released them from the prison of Chrisitianity. These reconverted are not the Catholics in my class, they are the Born Again types, who only went with the music and group love. ‘Here I stand I can do no other!’
    Have a nice day:)

    and in particular like:

    rvb8April 22, 2017 at 12:41 am (Edit)


    I met two more students, newly won to Jesus. Im meeting them for coffee tomorrow, and a chat; no harassement, or arm pulling, no lies (unlike some), just coffee and a list of questions for their new found friends.

    You and your ilk, are indeed my bread and butter.

    . . . or else stand as making assertions and accusations that you cannot warrant.

    You have plainly laid down a gauntlet.

    We took it up, inviting you to post the list of questions you boasted of in 290 for us. In the next comment, you will see (with onward links to relevant materials):

    kairosfocusApril 22, 2017 at 2:50 am (Edit)

    RVB8, Yes, a list of loaded questions that are manipulative, on track record, and posed by someone in a role of authority with grading power over the students — the implications of which power imbalance don’t seem to jump out at you. (Cf. a primer on typical first level issues I developed, quite some time back, part of a cell group leadership training manual (note basic first level discipleship guide here); with here on being a response to worldview issues that struck me as framing for the reformation of civilisation some years back. And there are endless cases of responsible answers to issues and challenges out there, just such are inaccessible to people under a dictatorship and police state in China.) Notice, above you failed to engage adequately either the worldviews case or the history-evidence one, and in an onward discussion the former recurs. I suggest to you that your bigoted projections on Protestant presumably Evangelical Christians betray an underlying deep-rooted problem. I would suggest to you that before you set out to subvert souls, you pause and ponder the eternally freighted responsibility you are taking up. KF

    PS: Presumably, UD is accessible in China. Why don’t you simultaneously post your list of questions here, and see if we are unable to engage them cogently, letting your students have access to the results — or better yet the live, in-progress process?

    I therefore raised the matter here because you seem to be avoiding addressing the list of questions there.


    PS: I am copying this post in the other thread also.

    PPS: The link there is:

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