Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Wikipidiots

This are very funny and not at all unexpected. Wikipedia is a forum and soapbox for phoneys and cowards, especially leftists with axes to grind and the type of sneaky little nerds that go into political ratfucking.
The "Essjay" case, topic of the link, is classic. He did some 16,000 edits while claiming to be a tenured professor of religious studies in Kentucky who held a PhD in theology and a doctorate in canon law. He also rose to be one of the most senior administrators and arbitrators on Wikipedia, with the power to delete articles and to ban users. He liked to write letters to real professors who dared criticise Wikipedia.
Turns out "essjay" was a 24-year-old Bluegrass Community College dropout. No one seemed to notice that he couldn't use the word "it's" properly. Still, he was able to fish the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of this piece in the New Yorker.
Now, it's evident that Wikipedia guru/cult leader "Jimbo" Wales knew this guy was a liar and a fraud and not only allowed him to maintain the charade, but also gave him a paying job (which is amazing, considering thousands of Wikipedia cultists work day and night for free).
The scam was finally exposed by Wikipedia critic Daniel Brandt, who tipped the New Yorker magazine (what the Wikipedia cultists would normally dismiss with a sneer as "mainstream media"), which retracted the essjay lies. The moral of the story, for reporters, is pretty clear.
We have a creepy little Wikipedia honcho in Ottawa, a second-rate former history student in his mid-20s who, last I heard, had moved back home after attending university and was living in his parents' basement while editing Wikipedia, for free, all day. He did have a job working on the computer system of failed Ottawa mayoralty candidate, leftist Alex Cullen. Some people just live stereotypes.
The most noxious Canadian Wikipidiot is a MacMaster University troll, who, in his cowardly way, calls himself Bucketsofg. He also runs a blog called Bucketsofgrewal, which "analyzed" material relating to former Tory MP Germant Grewal's apparent attempt to shake down the Paul Martin PMO for a cushy job in return for crossing the floor. It was a brief non-event in Canadian history, one that this blogger obsessed on and tried to build a reputation on. But, of course, it really could do him no good because he never had the guts to sign his name.
Now, I have no complaint, or praise for that matter, for the research on Germant Grewal. I don't know enough about the Grewal case to determine whether the negative material posted on the blog was accurate or not. What I do have problem with is the fact that this guy did the work anonymously. Some people at Mac knew who he was and what he was doing, but they shielded him. To me, that's utter cowardice. The same people who would praise him as a hero would denounce anyone in the mainstream media who wrote anonymous negative articles on Jack Layton or David Suzuki.
This guy is a sleaze. He went onto Wikipedia to continue his attacks on Grewal, then went on to write vicious articles about anyone connected with him. Bucketsofgrewal did -- and still does -- his hatchet jobs in secret, anonymously. I think this will come back to haunt MacMaster. I certainly will do my part to ensure that it does. Academics who indulge in character assassination and anonymous dirty dealings in the blogosphere and Wikipedia should be held to account by the academy. I'm not against knock-down debates and even verbal brawls, but there's a big difference between arguing with other people and setting out, anonymously, to destroy people's reputations.
Wikipedia is not an online encyclopedia. It is a cult. Wales makes the preposterous Messianic claim that he's trying to put the collective wisdom of the world into the hands of anyone with Internet access, when, in fact, he's simply publishing the drivel of second-rate grad students and 24-year-old kids who claim to have PhDs.
I have had my own fights with Wikipedia. People have posted crap about me on the Wikipedia entry about me (one that I do not want and that I am, by Wikipedia rules, forbidden to edit. No one can edit a Wikipedia entry on themselves). I fought to protect the reputation of a friend libeled by bucketsofg, with the connivance of other Canadian Wikipedia cultists, and found myself banned for doing so. People (likely sleazy political operatives) have sometimes impersonated me, and many others, to make libelous Wikipedia entries. It is a creepy business, one that appears to be coming unglued very quickly.
None too soon, I say.

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