Mon 18th April 2011, 11:49am
QUOTE(Ego Trippin' (Part Two) @ Sat 16th April 2011, 7:26pm)
Forgive my ignorance, but is vandalism down significantly since the 2005-2008 period when Wikipedia went mainstream? If so, I agree that cherrypicking 2004 and the past year for comparison was quite deceptive.
I'm not sure I agree that it matters, but nevertheless I suspect it is down somewhat - if only because they've made it more difficult for "vandals" to get started. Another thing to consider is that WP's automated responses are far better now than they were in 2006 - at which point they themselves were only getting started with anti-vandal bots, high-volume range-blocking, and so on. These days, the really obvious stuff (page-blanking and/or replacing entire articles with obscenities, etc.) is almost guaranteed to be reverted quickly, which is mostly a good thing. Personally, I'm surprised the number is still that high, assuming the 23 percent figure is close to being accurate, which may not be a safe assumption.
The thing they're trying to do here - and what they've been trying to do for years - is put aside
the fundamental issue, which is that edits to an encyclopedia should always be reviewed by at least someone before they're published, and simply tell people that because some statistic or other hasn't really changed that much "over time," golly, that must mean that all is well. In most cases, such as this one, they rely on the idea that people these days tend to lack critical-thinking ability - and to some extent that can
be relied on. But not everyone lacks that ability, and the overall trend in society is clearly towards tighter control over the internet by governments, law enforcement, etc.
For a long time, I was convinced that Wikipedia would be one of the central focus points
of an effort by various authorities to clamp down on internet "freedoms." At the moment it looks like they're focusing more on Google, which is okay since Google is far more powerful, and therefore more scary (at least potentially). Regardless, the law is coming to the frontier, just like it did in the Wild West days, and it's not going to be quite as much fun for certain people once it gets there. It's essential, from Wikipedia's (and the foundation's) perspective, that they not be seen as part of the overall lawlessness problem, which is why we're seeing so much PR from them now. They have to establish themselves as an institution,
and they have to make "open editing" seem like a perfectly normal and acceptable thing. So it's just as essential, from the perspective of academia, journalism, traditional publishing, and so on, that they fail in that regard.