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.)

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