Sunday, March 6, 2011

11-02-07 Judicial Corruption and Human Rights Violations? Not on Wikipedia! // Corrupción judicial - no en Wikipedia! // 司法腐败- 不是维基百科上!

1) Joseph Zernik wrote:
Date: Mon, 07 Mar 2011 05:11:10 +0200
From: joseph zernik
Subject: Wikipedia? Wikipedic!!!

Hi Jon:

Regarding your accolades of Wikipedia,  I can only add that encyclopedic projects have always been a good reflection of their times and places...

For the French Enlightenment that were the Encyclopedists - Voltaire, Diderot, etc, who sparkle a new era...

For the US here and now, there is Wikipedia, with its anonymous editors, and practices, as detailed below, regarding notability...

For your convenience, I am also adding a link and the full text of the study by CalTech about the Wikipedia encyclopedists, as reported in Wired magazine in 2007...

The subject matter is of interest in itself... talking corruption of US government and the demise of democracy itself...

Adequate Disclosure:  At one point I added some minor note on some subject in Wikipedia, I cannot even recall which one, unrelated to Richard Fine.  It was expediently deleted, with a statement that the contributor was "one of the leaders of the Richard Fine movement"...  I took it as a compliment, although it was news to me that such "movement" existed, or that I was one of its leaders...

[1] 07-08-14 Wired - See Who's Editing Wikipedia - Diebold, The CIA, A Campaign



See Who's Editing Wikipedia - Diebold, the CIA, a Campaign

By John Borland Email 08.14.07

On November 17th, 2005, an anonymous Wikipedia user deleted 15 paragraphs from an article on e-voting machine-vendor Diebold, excising an entire section critical of the company's machines. While anonymous, such changes typically leave behind digital fingerprints offering hints about the contributor, such as the location of the computer used to make the edits.

In this case, the changes came from an IP address reserved for the corporate offices of Diebold itself. And it is far from an isolated case. A new data-mining service launched Monday traces millions of Wikipedia entries to their corporate sources, and for the first time puts comprehensive data behind longstanding suspicions of manipulation, which until now have surfaced only piecemeal in investigations of specific allegations.

Wikipedia Scanner -- the brainchild of Cal Tech computation and neural-systems graduate student Virgil Griffith -- offers users a searchable database that ties millions of anonymous Wikipedia edits to organizations where those edits apparently originated, by cross-referencing the edits with data on who owns the associated block of internet IP addresses.

Inspired by news last year that Congress members' offices had been editing their own entries, Griffith says he got curious, and wanted to know whether big companies and other organizations were doing things in a similarly self-interested vein.

"Everything's better if you do it on a huge scale, and automate it," he says with a grin.

This database is possible thanks to a combination of Wikipedia policies and (mostly) publicly available information.

The online encyclopedia allows anyone to make edits, but keeps detailed logs of all these changes. Users who are logged in are tracked only by their user name, but anonymous changes leave a public record of their IP address.

The organization also allows downloads of the complete Wikipedia, including records of all these changes.

Griffith thus downloaded the entire encyclopedia, isolating the XML-based records of anonymous changes and IP addresses. He then correlated those IP addresses with public net-address lookup services such as ARIN, as well as private domain-name data provided by

The result: A database of 34.4 million edits, performed by 2.6 million organizations or individuals ranging from the CIA to Microsoft to Congressional offices, now linked to the edits they or someone at their organization's net address has made.

Some of this appears to be transparently self-interested, either adding positive, press release-like material to entries, or deleting whole swaths of critical material.

Voting-machine company Diebold provides a good example of the latter, with someone at the company's IP address apparently deleting long paragraphs detailing the security industry's concerns over the integrity of their voting machines, and information about the company's CEO's fund-raising for President Bush.

The text, deleted in November 2005, was quickly restored by another Wikipedia contributor, who advised the anonymous editor, "Please stop removing content from Wikipedia. It is considered vandalism."

A Diebold Election Systems spokesman said he'd look into the matter but could not comment by press time.

Wal-Mart has a series of relatively small changes in 2005 that that burnish the company's image on its own entry while often leaving criticism in, changing a line that its wages are less than other retail stores to a note that it pays nearly double the minimum wage, for example. Another leaves activist criticism on community impact intact, whileciting a "definitive" study showing Wal-Mart raised the total number of jobs in a community.

2) At 04:18 AM 3/7/2011, Jon wrote:

On 03/06/2011 07:05 PM, joseph zernik wrote:

I guess you see the entry of  "Constitution Society" as an achievement... I believe that we first have to establish what the facts on the ground are...
Trust it or not, Wikipedia is a kind of online "Establishment", ranked near the top on any web searches. That is power, and if we want to gain power to do the things we want, we have to play in that arena, even if the odds are against us. It is just like the courts. They may be corrupt, but it is the main arena unless or until we can build an alternative.

Yes, there is bias in Wikipedia. I have done a lot to fight it , with some success. If I had more help we could do a lot more. In Wikipedia, as in everything else, power goes to those who show up and do the work.

I also have a wiki site, but lack the time to monitor it. Could use help for that, too.

-- Jon

Constitution Society     
2900 W Anderson Ln C-200-322 
Austin, TX 78757 512/299-5001
3) Date: Mon, 07 Mar 2011 03:05:07 Joseph Zernik wrote:
From: joseph zernik
Subject: wikipedia? Wikipedic!!!


Funny, if I were you, I would not be part of that scam...

Please Google "Wikipedia" crossed with "Caltech".

Already a few years ago a PhD student in CalTech conducted research, to uncover the identities of the anonymous editors, based on their IP addresses.  There were lots of them in US Government and large corporations...

The editing of Wikipedia looks that way as well... Should we call it "Political"? Or maybe simply "Wikipedic"?

For example:

  •  No matter what, Wikipedia editors repeatedly deleted any mention of the story of Richard Fine, direct or indirect, by me or by others... for "lack of notability". At the same time, the most obscure shopping malls around LA had entries on the site.
  • The very long entry on "Human Rights in the United States" is largely self-congratulatory... Things are not perfect, but close... No matter how much I tried to add at the end, under the "Misc" section, a one line mention of each of the two worst Human Rights atrocities of the past decade in the US, they were deleted. The first was reference by a UN rapporteur report and an article in the Nation, and the second - by a plethora of official, experts, and media reports.  There was no explanation at all for these deletions, not even the claim of "lack of notability":
    • During Hurricane Katrina, the wardens left the prisoner locked, to drown as the water was rising. The number of the dead was never officially disclosed... There was never an official US investigation of the incident as well... Only a UN investigation...
    • The thousands of confirmed Rampart FIPs (Falsely Imprisoned Persons) - victims of the Los Angeles County Court corruption scandal (1998-2000) - almost exclusively blacks and Latinos, have never been released to this date, and US Department of Justice is refusing to do anything about it.
In that respect, I find Judgepedia a bit more honest. They had some resistance, but finally, kept some of my well referenced reports on judicial corruption online... [1] Then again, the editors are named persons, and the foundation, which runs Judgepedia has some credibility to it...

Then again, it is all in the eye of the beholder...  I guess you see the entry of  "Constitution Society" as an achievement... I believe that we first have to establish what the facts on the ground are...


LINKS: (selection)
[1] Superior Court of Los Angeles County, California,_California

[2] Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas, Pennsylvania,_Pennsylvania

[3] Virginia Phillips

[4] Jed Rakoff

[5] Illinois Cook Judicial Circuit Court

[6] James Richman

[7] Supreme Court of the United States

[8] Edith Jones

4) At 02:21 AM 3/7/2011, Jon wrote:

I am a Wikipedia editor, but any new article must pass certain tests, such as notability, usually defined by being recognized by authoritative sources, such as scholarly books, major newspapers, etc. In other words, it has to be citable. I don't see any of these efforts qualifying, although if it becomes a source for a detail of something notable, it could get a footnote.

It took a long time for the Constitution Society to get its own article. It was a close call, but all the cites to it by other WP articles turned the tide, as well as the fact that it is a major online publisher of citable works.

Wikipedia editing is an art unto itself. Best to start by making minor corrections and build your rep as a reliable editor. It works much like a scholarly journal works. Reputation is everything. If you get identified as someone pushing an agenda, your edits may be systematically rejected as suspect.

5) On 03/06/2011 06:10 PM, Janet Phelan wrote:

I just got off the conference call with Bill Windsor and Lawless America. The subject came up that we need a wikipedia entry for the group, which had double the attendance this week from last...1300 this week as opposed to about six hundred last week... I thought possible Dr. Zernik had the capability to put up a wikipedia entry. Could anyone who knows how to do this please get back to me?
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