Claims of anti-government bias

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Claims of anti-government bias

Robert Brockway-3
Morning.  The Australian foreign minister, Mr Alexander Downer, has been
quoted as stating that Wikipedia is "anti-government".  He also seems to
be quite misinformed about how Wikipedia works.  Perhaps the Foundation
should contact Mr Downer's office to correct these misunderstandings.

Reference:

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22300575-2,00.html

Cheers,

Rob

--
"With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine..."
  -- RFC 1925 "The Twelve Networking Truths"

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Re: Claims of anti-government bias

David Gerard-2
On 24/08/07, Robert Brockway <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Morning.  The Australian foreign minister, Mr Alexander Downer, has been
> quoted as stating that Wikipedia is "anti-government".  He also seems to
> be quite misinformed about how Wikipedia works.  Perhaps the Foundation
> should contact Mr Downer's office to correct these misunderstandings.
> Reference:
> http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22300575-2,00.html


Transcript:

http://www.foreignminister.gov.au/transcripts/2007/070824_media_conference.html

It's fairly clear he was floundering and didn't have a clue.
(Springing stuff on Alexander Downer and watching him flounder brings
to mind proverbs about fish, barrels and shooting.) It's not quite the
ringing condemnation of the headline.

There's some discussion on the wikimediaau-l list about finding
reasonably reliable Australian volunteer contacts for Wikipedia and
Wikimedia, though I'm not sure if someone's specifically volunteered
to contact his office.


- d.

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Re: Claims of anti-government bias

geni
On 8/24/07, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 24/08/07, Robert Brockway <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > Morning.  The Australian foreign minister, Mr Alexander Downer, has been
> > quoted as stating that Wikipedia is "anti-government".  He also seems to
> > be quite misinformed about how Wikipedia works.  Perhaps the Foundation
> > should contact Mr Downer's office to correct these misunderstandings.
> > Reference:
> > http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22300575-2,00.html
>
>
> Transcript:
>
> http://www.foreignminister.gov.au/transcripts/2007/070824_media_conference.html
>
> It's fairly clear he was floundering and didn't have a clue.
> (Springing stuff on Alexander Downer and watching him flounder brings
> to mind proverbs about fish, barrels and shooting.) It's not quite the
> ringing condemnation of the headline.
>

It looks like a not very web savvy person answering the questions
fairly legitimately if slightly overplaying some of what goes on
behind the scenes.

A few errors but nothing serious. Wikipedians tent to react badly to
almost any authority which could well qualify as "a bit
anti-government".

--
geni

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Re: Claims of anti-government bias

Any File
In reply to this post by Robert Brockway-3
On Fri, 24 Aug 2007 David Gerard wrote:
> On 24/08/07, Robert Brockway <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > Morning.  The Australian foreign minister, Mr Alexander Downer, has been
> > quoted as stating that Wikipedia is "anti-government".

> It's fairly clear he was floundering and didn't have a clue.

In my opinion the real problem is the question made by the journalist.
It is not understandable and definitively incorrect. I would have
replied saying that the question was not understandable, but
politicians need to be more polite and diplomatic  (although he said
that there was some problems in the question, even if in a polite way.

I can not do anything else than agree with his point that if anybody
could edit Wikipedia, than why reclaim if a  person inside a
governmental agency has done it.

Of course there is the problem of self-promotion, but this is a
problem that can occur in any other fields.

There is then the problem if it is acceptable that people are paid
with citizen money to edit on wikipedia (but this is a problem that is
completely outside wikipedia).

I would not consider very serious his expression "a bit
anti-government.". First of all we would need to understand what he
means with this. Perhaps he is used that statements are written as
written by government, and that somebody could change the  government
words is strange to him.


But one point he rose is rather interesting: "But I know they have
editorial control"

While at the beginning of Wikipedia, if I have understood correctly,
it was thought that the errors would be correct by the next editors,
it was later created an organized system of checking. Could it be
considered an editorial control, or at least an "internal" control?
And how this relate to the thought at the beginning that everybody
should be free to write?


AnyFile

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Re: Claims of anti-government bias

David Gerard-2
On 25/08/07, Any File <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Fri, 24 Aug 2007 David Gerard wrote:
> > On 24/08/07, Robert Brockway <[hidden email]> wrote:

> > > Morning.  The Australian foreign minister, Mr Alexander Downer, has been
> > > quoted as stating that Wikipedia is "anti-government".

> > It's fairly clear he was floundering and didn't have a clue.

> In my opinion the real problem is the question made by the journalist.
> It is not understandable and definitively incorrect. I would have
> replied saying that the question was not understandable, but
> politicians need to be more polite and diplomatic  (although he said
> that there was some problems in the question, even if in a polite way.


Alexander Downer is well-known for being good when he's been briefed,
but for not being good talking unprepared; his response was in line
with this. You can be quite sure that if he were asked the same
question today he'd do a lot better.

I'm not sure if any Australian Wikimedians have been in touch with his
office yet, I hope they have.


-d.

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Re: Claims of anti-government bias

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen
In reply to this post by Any File
On 8/25/07, Any File <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>
>
>
> But one point he rose is rather interesting: "But I know they have
> editorial control"

This is not merely interesting, but legally significant.

> While at the beginning of Wikipedia, if I have understood correctly,
> it was thought that the errors would be correct by the next editors,
> it was later created an organized system of checking. Could it be
> considered an editorial control, or at least an "internal" control?
> And how this relate to the thought at the beginning that everybody
> should be free to write?

If there is anything about this that merits clarification by our
people, it is this. There would be serious legal repercussions
if a court of law held that there was an organ of the foundation
or some other body that held formal editorial content over
the wikipedia corpus (if you will forgive the endmootoftrollsism).

The GFDL will eternally guard that there is no possibility of
editorial usurpation in the absolute (not that I am specifically
a fan of the GFDL).

--
Jussi-Ville Heiskanen, ~ [[User:Cimon Avaro]]

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