16 Jan

ArsTechnica – Wikipedia to join reddit in SOPA blackout Wednesday

Seeking to “send Washington a BIG message,” Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has announced that the English version of Wikipedia will go dark on Wednesday to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act, anti-piracy bills now being considered by Congress.

“Student warning!” Wales tweeted on Monday. “Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday!”

He said the blackout, which is expected to last 24 hours, was a decision of the Wikipedia community.

via ArsTechnica – Wikipedia to join reddit in SOPA blackout Wednesday. I’ll also be posting a message to protest and inform people about PIPA and SOPA, though I imagine Wikipedia will have a much larger influence. Stop American Censorship is your one stop information portal to find out more about SOPA and PIPA and how these bills hurt the internet.

18 Aug

Ars Technica – Wikipedia editors voting on plan to “shutter” violent and sexual images

Active Wikimedia editors in good standing are voting on a referendum measure that might put at least some of the media collective’s famous disagreements over images to rest. The referendum asks Wikimedians to decide whether to implement a system for readers to conceal pictures that they would prefer not to view, via preference settings.

The object of this measure is to further what Wikimedia participants call the "principle of least astonishment, or least surprise" for users. But under the referendum proposal, these potentially upsetting pictures would not be deleted. They would simply require further clicking to view, an option that a Wikimedia report calls "shuttering."

Some images, such as those depicting genitals, sexual practices, or mass death and disfigurement, "will inevitably still have the power to disturb some viewers, especially if they are children, or if they are happened upon unintentionally," the referendum page notes. "The point of the opt-in personal image hiding feature is to help alleviate that surprise and dismay, by making the images unavailable for viewing without a second command."

via Ars Technica – Wikipedia editors voting on plan to “shutter” violent and sexual images. Not a bad plan, it’s a reasonable balance between still providing a visual representation of whatever and making it easier for people who don’t want to be “shocked” at the sight of the image.

01 Dec

CNET News – Congressman wants WikiLeaks listed as terrorist org

The incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says WikiLeaks should be officially designated as a terrorist organization.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the panel’s next head, asked the Obama administration today to "determine whether WikiLeaks could be designated a foreign terrorist organization," putting the group in the same company as Al Qaeda and Aum Shinrikyo, the Japanese cult that released deadly sarin gas on the Tokyo subway.

via CNET News – Congressman wants WikiLeaks listed as terrorist org. Perhaps more interesting is what Wikipedia’s Co-Founder had to say.

@wikileaks Speaking as Wikipedia’s co-founder, I consider you enemies of the U.S.–not just the government, but the people.

Sarah Palin of course also had to speak up, but proved she doesn’t have a clue about international law, copyright and secrecy laws.

Inexplicable: I recently won in court to stop my book “America by Heart” from being leaked,but US Govt can’t stop Wikileaks’ treasonous act?

In short everybody has a reaction, overall mine is Wikileaks is a valuable service, in no way is it a terrorist organization. It’s goal does not appear to be sheer destruction of governments or organizations or even chaos of those same instutions. It is an organization driven to do one thing publish information that otherwise might not be exposed to the public.

08 Feb

100,000th Knol Published and No One Cares But Google

Knol is a ridiculous scheme by Google to create a Wikipedia onto it’s own, except one that’s worse. Knol takes the idea that there is actually a single person out there who is an expert on a field and uses them to write an article on it, and through everybody else going, “Hey, great Knol” and makes it the Knol on that subject. Google now has about 100,000 of these published in about 5 months of being open to the public.

Okay, so maybe it isn’t such a crazy idea, except for one little problem. Have you ever found a single person who is THE defintive authority on a subject, no matter how narrow? When was the last person you ever met or heard of someone who really was THE expert in something? Anybody heard of that person?

One better, last time you were on a college campus and heard a professor proclaim that this textbook had absolutelty no errors in it and was to be the authority on a subject (and it wasn’t the professor’s own book)?

Both of these has never happened and never will. One person can not and does not contain all the information to be THE expert in a subject. You can be an expert in a field, for instance a Doctorate of French History, is an expert of French History. Not however, this doctorate is not the only expert nor even the last remaining expert, there are others who are experts, other people will build upon her/his work in the future and become an expert.

The crowds will make mistakes, but at the very least the collective intelligence of dozens or hundreds of people working away on an article to make it better, provides a collective wisdom that Google will never get with it’s experiment.

No thank you, Knol, I will stick with Wikipedia.