<CPOV> Wikipedia as an Alternative United Nations-Like Forum

andrew.famiglietti at lcc.gatech.edu andrew.famiglietti at lcc.gatech.edu
Fri Jun 18 18:31:32 CEST 2010


Interesting. Are you implying that many Wikipedia accounts are not, in fact, representative of actual persons? Within Wikipedia, as I'm sure we're all well aware, the practice of a single individual creating multiple accounts is called "sock puppetry" and is considered a very serious form of fraud. In my research, I've often found it very difficult to establish the extent to which Wikipedia is successful at defending itself from Sock Puppets, since the data on the IP address identities of registered users is only available to those admins with access to the CheckUser tool. Obviously, this data cannot be freely handed out for privacy reasons. I've often thought about trying to talk to the Wikimedia Foundation about the possibility of getting IP data for a proper study of the issue, thought the hassles of IRB clearance, negotiating with them, and my own mediocre skills at quantitative methods have dissuaded me from doing so. However, my time in the community has left me with the impression that they take the matter very seriously, there may be no better way to piss a Wikipedian off than to call him or her a Sock Puppet! Anyway, what I'm getting at is, because this is such an interesting issue so clearly in need of more research, I'm very curious to know what data lead you to believe that identity fraud is rampant on Wikipedia. This is clearly an area where any new evidence could shed a lot of light on a confusing situation. 

- Andy 

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jon Awbrey" <jawbrey at att.net>
To: "Dror Kamir" <dqamir at bezeqint.net>
Cc: cpov at listcultures.org
Sent: Friday, June 18, 2010 8:36:58 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: Re: <CPOV> Wikipedia as an Alternative United Nations-Like Forum


Here's an experiment for everyone to try.

Run through this list of English Wikipedia User Names (EW:UN):


One thousand at a time till you get to the end ...

Then write a story about a prospective UN-Democracy populated by "entities" like that.

That's Chicago!  -- Vote Early Vote Often (VEVO)

Jon Awbrey

Dror Kamir wrote:
> Hi,
> I have once made a comparison between the process of adopting a UN resolution 
> and negotiating terminology or phrasing on Wikipedia (see attached png file). 
> Maybe I even presented this comparison slide in Bangalore. Rereading it, I must 
> admit it is not accurate enough, but the point was to draw the line between two 
> essentially different decision-making systems that were meant to serve different 
> purposes. The UN is supposed to be a kind of international parliament, i.e. it 
> is a political body that reaches politically motivated decisions in a democratic 
> way. Its methods are far from being perfect, but that's idea. Wikipedia, on the 
> other hand, set its goal at providing information, hence democratically deciding 
> upon an article's phrasing is inadequate. Wikipedia, and similar projects, 
> should practice pluralism rather than democracy (the two concepts are similar 
> but not identical).
> Apparently, there is a trend on en-wp to move toward the UN-model. Take a look 
> here: 
> *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/Israeli_settlements
> *The issue is a political mind field. I have been following the contributions of 
> the editor who opened this discussion, and it is quite obvious that he is 
> politically motivated. It is therefore unsurprising that he pied-piped the rest 
> of the debaters into a UN-like discussion. He presented a statement and called a 
> vote. The voters in favor are mostly people who frequently cooperate with him. 
> Interestingly enough, the claim that this method of debating does not serve the 
> purpose of Wikipedia (whether the initiator of the discussion is right or wrong) 
> is left quite faint, not endorsed or even argued with by anyone.
> Dror K
> PS - Many people get tired of the ME conflict. I can't blame them, but it is 
> easier to talk about one's own toothache than about the dental problems of 
> people on another part of the world. If anyone wants to respond using a 
> different example from another geopolitical conflict or from a different field 
> altogether, please do.


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Andrew Famiglietti 
Brittain Fellow 
School of Literature, Communication, and Culture 
Georgia Institute of Technology

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