Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Larry Sanger = "Mid-importance"

I fully admit that this post is a bit of trolling, but I'm essentially a fan of Larry Sanger's, so no real harm intended, Dr. Sanger. It's more of a swipe at Wikipedia itself.

First, the link.

Ever since May 2007, the Wikipediots have classified the Wikipedia article about the co-founder of the project (and the lead co-founder, at that, at least in my opinion), Larry Sanger, as "rated as Mid-importance on the (WikiProject:Wikipedia) project's importance scale".

Among articles relating to Wikipedia, there are two classes higher than the "Mid-importance" grade. First, there's "High-importance", which is reserved for articles like:

Simple English Wikipedia
Wikipedia Review
...and the truly Highly-important, Wikitext

Then, even higher than High is the "Top-importance" category. That is reserved for the truly lofty topics related to Wikipedia. You know, Jimmy Wales, Mediawiki, and Wikipedia. No others.

Sanger is stuck down in the "Mid-importance" category with things like Cebuanu Wikipedia, Michael Snow (attorney), Wikipedia CD Selection, Enciclopedia Libre Universal en EspaƱol, and Uncyclopedia (this is WikiProject:Wikipedia, after all, which wouldn't be doing its job without some free advertising for a Wikia, Inc. property).

At least Sanger is a notch above the "Low-importance" stuff like Gollum browser, Mzoli's, and Bishnupriya Manipuri Wikipedia (the 47th largest of all Wikipedias).

Monday, December 22, 2008

Hypocrisy 101 - external links "policy"

Angela Beesley is the co-founder of Wikia, Inc.

In September 2008 on the Wikimedia "Meta" site, Beesley added an external link to the commercial website that writes her paycheck. Considering that Beesley is the co-founder of the $14,000,000 venture-capitalized Wikia, one has to assume she is pulling down at least $75,000 per year from that site... so it stands to reason that she benefits materially from building up awareness and traffic for her growing enterprise, such as by spam-linking to it.

Note, there were already over 12,000 outbound links to Wikia, Inc.'s website from the Meta project site! What's another widdle ol' one teeny tiny link going to hurt? No conflict of interest to see here, folks; move along now!

Later though, in December 2008, Beesley took it upon her busy self to remove a couple of external links to a commercial website that generates for its owner about $6 per month.

That site doesn't have 12,144 links to it from Wikimedia Meta, such as Wikia.com does. Rather, it has an insignificant 8 links to it from the Meta project.

So, MyWikiBiz.com used to have 10 outbound links from Wikimedia Meta, but thanks to busy little Angela Beesley, that number has been trimmed to 8.

What do readers think? How hypocritical are these actions by Angela Beesley, all in the plain sight of the world?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Female parts, according to Wikipedia

Recently, if one were to look up Female reproductive system (human) on Wikipedia, the reader would be introduced to the article with the following two sentences:

The female reproductive system contains two main parts: the vagina and clitoris, which act main things that help a woman have an orgasm. This is when a female recieves sexual pleasure by fingering herself or using a dildo.

This was the scientific "truth" for exactly 3.161 days. Judging from the Henrik-o-meter from the month of June (as a surrogate for July traffic), we can assume that the article in question gets about 509 page views per day.

So, we can estimate that this travesty of content was opened approximately 1,600 different times.

And none of those readers fixed it.

I thought we're constantly told by the Wikipediots that Wikipedia is so wonderful because of how self-correcting it is, and how crummy paper encyclopedias are because they can't be quickly corrected the way Wikipedia can.

Well, I doubt 1,600 people have ever opened Encyclopedia Britannica to learn that the female reproductive system is dedicated to "when a female recieves sexual pleasure by fingering herself or using a dildo".

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Wikimedia Foundation Board election 2008

The 2008 Wikimedia Foundation Board voting process utilized a new interface and tallying script developed by Election Committee member Kwan Ting Chan.

The winner of the election was Ting Chen.


In other news, Gregory Kohs, though he placed last among the 15 candidates, was found by nearly 53% of the voting population to be as acceptable as -- or better than -- the ultimate winner, Ting Chen. Given that statistic, it would seem that anyone who has a few enemies who are driven to rank you DEAD LAST will have an inordinate say over the outcome of that candidate's bid, versus the masses who don't bother to rank past their favorite one or two candidates.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bradley Joseph smooths his way to the top of Wikipedia

The featured, front-page article on Wikipedia today is about musician Bradley Joseph.

His musical talents include "hired by Yanni", "lead keyboardist for Sheena Easton", and "included in multiple various-artist compilation albums, most recently the 2008 release of The Weather Channel Presents: Smooth Jazz II".

I can't imagine how many iterations of smooth jazz from the Weather Channel will ultimately be necessary to exhaust the genre, but apparently we're already up to Volume II.

There is some debate on the Wikipedia talk page about whether this article is truly encyclopedic, as it seems awfully self-promotional, and it lacks even one mote of negative criticism.
"Taking a look at the references it appears Joseph doesn't seem to register outside of the musical circles in which he is appreciated, a very unique situation which causes the article bias."

I do have to wonder how it is possible an article of this length and detail did not involve a financially-interested party at some point.

We all know that Wikipedia can be, in many cases, a marketing dynamo for the subjects portrayed within. Prior to today, Bradley Joseph's article was getting approximately 70 views a day. Now that it's on the Main Page, it will be opened today by between 30,000 and 100,000 people, and the intro blurb on the Main Page itself will capture the passing attention of at least 10 to 15 million additional people.

Joseph's music is backed by 15 talented musicians, some playing three or more different instruments, that make up a symphony of sounds ranging from quietly pensive mood music to a rich orchestration of classical depth and breadth. "
—Ken Moore, Naples Daily News

Loyal Wikipedians will tell you that they have a strict policy against exploiting Wikipedia for marketing or self-promotion purposes. Uh huh.

That's all I have for today.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

MyWikiBiz Sets Audacious Goal: 265 Million Pages

MyWikiBiz announces a monumental goal -- that the fledgling site will eventually become a 265-million-page user-generated directory.

West Chester, PA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/22/2008 -- Having acquired the business database once hosted at Centiare.com, MyWikiBiz announces a monumental goal -- that the fledgling site will eventually become a 265-million-page user-generated directory. Established in Pennsylvania in 2006, MyWikiBiz launched a controversial service that authored articles suitable for Wikipedia in exchange for modest payment. The founder of MyWikiBiz rocketed to national exposure with favorable press coverage in the Washington Post, USA Today, Forbes, and a cable television appearance. Wikipedia, though, rejected MyWikiBiz.

So, MyWikiBiz dusted off and created a new Internet home at MyWikiBiz.com for all those people, companies, and organizations that Wikipedia rejects as "non-notable".

Why 265 million?

The United States Census counts nearly 239,000,000 Americans over the age of 15. The Office of Advocacy at the Small Business Administration says there are 24,700,000 businesses (including sole proprietorships) in this country. Finally, LearningToGive.org says there are 1,200,000 non-profit, public-serving organizations (churches, community service providers, etc.) and 400,000 non-profit, member-serving orgs (fraternal and professional associations, trade unions, political committees, etc.) in America.

Add them all up, and you get 265 million.

Wikipedia has decided that only about 1 million of these entities might ever be notable enough for their encyclopedia's pages. All others are regularly (and sometimes rudely) shown the door. MyWikiBiz will welcome these 265 million entities to its pages. As MyWikiBiz founder Gregory Kohs describes, "That's the 'forest'. If Wikipedia's having a problem with a particular 'tree' named ScoreHero.com or the Pittsburgh Bulldogs blocking their view, that's their loss and MyWikiBiz's gain."

New life on MyWikiBiz

Articles in Wikipedia about ScoreHero and the Bulldogs semi-pro baseball team were recently deleted by the Wikipedia community, but their stories take on new life on MyWikiBiz. The site is not intended, nor was it ever intended, to be a neutral encyclopedia. It is currently a 30,000-page directory, similar to the Yellow Pages, Who's Who, or the Wilshire 5000 index, except with the proviso that the subjects of the articles about legal entities are "protected" from abuse and are expected to be authored by their subjects. Says Kohs, "I would be quite surprised to see MyWikiBiz become a comprehensive reference about entities like planets, organic molecules, or Spanish Cardinals of the Catholic Church. However, I would not be surprised to see it become a well-liked directory about entities such as independent record producers, regional pizza franchises, church parishes, logo design firms, webcomics, semi-pro baseball teams, and tax consultants."

Clearly, the opportunity for MyWikiBiz to expand this way far exceeds that of Wikipedia, considering the latter's stringent "notability" standards. But, can MyWikiBiz ever catch the English Wikipedia's two-million-plus page count? "We've already hit 30,000 of them in our year-old effort. Wikipedia only had 19,600 articles in its first year," says Kohs.

About MyWikiBiz

MyWikiBiz is a new directory where you can author your legacy on the Internet. We think you are notable, even if Wikipedia has rejected an article about you or your enterprise as being "non-notable". With MyWikiBiz, you create a beautiful, reader-friendly page that will get picked up by Google, Yahoo!, and MSN Search engines, because it's built on an enhanced version of the same MediaWiki software architecture used by Wikipedia.

Gregory Kohs