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“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Editors

Wiki, Losing Contributors

with one comment

Saw this and thought it worth a read:

“Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that is written entirely by volunteers and allows anyone to edit its entries, is losing contributors, its founder complained Thursday.

Speaking with The Associated Press on the sidelines of the website’s annual conference, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said the nonprofit company that runs the site is scrambling to simplify editing procedures in an attempt to retain volunteers.

“We are not replenishing our ranks,” said Wales. “It is not a crisis, but I consider it to be important.”

Administrators of the Internet’s fifth most visited website are working to simplify the way users can contribute and edit material. “A lot of it is convoluted,” Wales said. “A lot of editorial guidelines … are impenetrable to new users.”

Wikipedia has more than 3 million entries but has been marred by subjective entries and pranks. Even so, Wikipedia cites studies that compare the website’s accuracy favorably to more conventional encyclopedias, while other studies give it lower marks.

Despite Wikipedia’s wide-reaching popularity, Wales said the typical profile of a contributor is “a 26-year-old geeky male” who moves on to other ventures, gets married and leaves the website. Other contributors leave because, 10 years after the website was launched, there are fewer new entries to add, he said. “

The comments at Slashdot are probably nearer the truth.

Written by modernityblog

06/08/2011 at 00:51

Peter Kosminsky’s The Promise And Wikipedia’s Censorship.

with 16 comments

I don’t think I did Zkharya’s post on Engage sufficient justice, after reviewing the links it is fairly clear that Wikipedia editors show bias. It takes forever to wade through the talk sessions and contributions, but that’s the way it looks to me.

Not only bias, Peter Kosminsky sucks up to one of them, James Heald, with almost glee:

“The Promise

Hi James

Just wanted to thank you, (though I know this isn’t why you do it), for the really stunning job you have done on the “Development” and “Character” sections of this page. Beautifully written, very accurate and wonderfully well referenced, (if you don’t mind me saying so). Thank you for all the hard work. Really impressive.

I have some French national press cuttings, if that would be helpful.

Best wishes

Peter Kosminsky (talk) 23:10, 25 March 2011 (UTC)”

The other Wikipedia editor, Nick Cooper, seems to be using internal rules or his interpretation of them to remove contributions that he doesn’t like.

But these Wikipedia editors are, in themselves, inconsequential. Their particular biases and desire to muffle criticism of The Promise won’t be successful.

Below are links to Professor David Cesarani’s article and Howard Jacobson chat with Jonathan Freedland on this awful TV series.

An extract from The Promise: an exercise in British self-exculpation by Professor Cesarani:

“The series hinges on the story of a sergeant in the 6th Airborne Division, a veteran of Arnhem who saw the liberation of Belsen concentration camp, who arrives in Palestine in September 1945 with his unit. In the first episode a British intelligence officer explains to the new troops that Jews are flooding into Palestine in fulfilment of “a promise made by God”. This influx is troubling the Arabs who have lived in Palestine “since time immemorial”. The job of the British, he announces, is to keep the two sides apart. The paratroopers are like the “meat in a sandwich”.

But, hold on a minute. It was the British who promised Palestine to the Jews as a Jewish national home in 1917 and the British who flooded Palestine with troops to protect a vital piece of imperial real estate in 1945. Zionist aspirations, which the British had fostered, and Palestinian Arab opposition to them, were a problem only in so far as they complicated British planning for the cold war.

As the series unfolds, we see British soldiers torn between compassion for the Jews and sympathy for the Palestinian Arabs. Eventually, the Jews alienate them thanks to their relentless terrorist campaign. Kosminsky depicts the blowing up of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem and the hanging of two British sergeants by the underground army of the rightwing Zionists. In one scene he shows three off-duty tommies bleeding to death after an ambush, while Jews in surrounding cafes callously sip tea and eat cream cakes.

The sergeant, through whose eyes we see the debacle unfold, also witnesses the massacre of Palestinian Arabs at the village of Deir Yassin in April 1948. By this time his allegiances are with the Arab population. On the eve of the British evacuation from Haifa he pleads with his superiors to use the army’s firepower to prevent the Jewish forces from overwhelming and driving out the Arab inhabitants. He protests that Britain can’t just walk away after “we’ve been here for 30 years keeping them apart”.

This is the central conceit, and deceit, of Kosminsky’s epic. The British were in Palestine for their own interests and when it no longer suited them they left. To conceal this fact he has to perpetrate a massive historical distortion. Although The Promise is insufferably didactic, no one mentions the Balfour declaration. Yet it was the British foreign secretary, AJ Balfour, who informed the English Zionist Federation in November 1917 that “His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object”. This was the only promise that mattered because it had the force of international law. It was subsequently incorporated into the mandate that the League of Nations gave Britain to authorise its possession of Palestine. In 1922 parliament voted to accept the mandate and all that went with it. “

The MP3 of Howard Jacobson in conversation with Jonathan Freedland at Jewish Book Week 2011.

Zkharya highlights the key bits:

“In a filmed conversation with Howard Jacobson during Jewish Book Week 2011 (see link), Jonathan Freedland, Guardian editor, journalist, author and BBC presenter, first of all says Kominsky panders to antisemitic tropes, such as that of wealthy Jews (00.52.50-58). He then brackets The Promise with works such as Caryl Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children, which he and Jacobson consider antisemitic (00.55.58-00.56.00). In an extended discussion with Howard Jacobson (01.13.28-01.14.18), Freedland makes three fundamental criticisms of The Promise:

Jacobson: ..how many you would think educated journalists still talk about Israel as though it’s a consequence of the Holocaust. Which was The Promise, wasn’t it?”

Freedland: The premise of The Promise, so to speak (it lost me first of all at the girl on Business Class), but also these very long, lingering pictures, archive footage from Belsen, I felt three things about that.

One, you don’t have the right to use those pictures, you haven’t earned the right to use those pictures artistically.

Second, I just know looking at that that you’re making a down payment on what you want to say attacking Jews later on in this series. And you’re doing that as your insurance policy, to say, well, look, I was sympathetic on that.

Third, and it was actually explicitly said by a character, a brigadier, briefing the British troops in Palestine -you knew they were saying this was the premise of all Zionism-, the Arabs were here minding their own business for 2000 years, and suddenly, after the Holocaust, Jews arrive…

Jacobson: We drop in out of the clear blue sky, bang, we’ll have that! “

[My emphasis.]

The video on vimeo, Howard Jacobson in conversation with Jonathan Freedland by Danny Bermant.

An extract from Howard Jacobson: Ludicrous, brainwashed prejudice:

“Myself, I wouldn’t bet heavily on there being good times ahead for Jews. Anti-Zionists can assure me all they like that their position entails no harm to Jews – only witness how many Jews are themselves anti-Zionist, they say – I no longer believe them. Individually, it is of course possible to care little for Israel and to care a great deal for Jews. But in the movement of events individuals lose their voice. What carries the day is consensus, and consensus is of necessity unsubtle. By brute consensus, now, Israel is the proof that Jews did not adequately learn the lesson of the Holocaust.

Forget Holocaust denial. Holocaust denial is old hat. The new strategy – it showed its hand in Caryl Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children, and surfaced again in Channel 4′s recent series The Promise – is to depict the Holocaust in all its horror in order that Jews can be charged (“You, of all people”) with failing to live up to it. By this logic the Holocaust becomes an educational experience from which Jews were ethically obliged to graduate summa cum laude, Israel being the proof that they didn’t. “Jews know more than anyone that killing civilians is wrong,” resounds an unmistakably authorial voice in The Promise. Thus are Jews doubly damned: to the Holocaust itself and to the moral wasteland of having found no humanising redemption in its horrors.

It matters not a jot to me that the writer/director of The Promise is a Jew. Jews succumbing to the age-old view of them and reviling what’s Jewish in themselves has a long history. Peter Kosminsky would have it that his series is about Israel, not Jews, but in The Promise Israel becomes paradigmatic of the Jews’ refusal to be improved by affliction.”

So remember when you read The Promise’s entry on Wikipedia that you are only getting part of the story and the criticism of this flawed TV series has been deliberately blunted by Wikipedia’s editors.

Censorship Or Stupidity, Wikipedia And The Promise.

with 2 comments

Zkharya has a post on Engage concerning Wikipedia and the TV series, The Promise.

Anyone familiar with Zkharya will know he is a serious fellow, highly educated and exceedingly well read on these topics.

The gist of the post at Engage is that he tried to improve the quality of an article on The Promise and his helpful additions were removed.

Further, he was warned that he was committing vandalism.

You can read the history of the entry’s here and the talk.

Now anyone familiar with Wikipedia and the exodus of contributors will recognise Zkharya’s criticisms. These have been going on for years, that basically a small coterie of Wikipedia editors patrol and enforce their own diktats on articles.

Should someone find a particularly egregious entry and correct it then their work may be disposed of, unless it pleases those Wikipedia honchos, who don’t like admitting they’re wrong or that they don’t know something terribly well.

I think Zkharya and other Wikipedia contributors need to remember Lord Acton’s quote, updated for the 21st century:

“Power corrupts, absolute virtual power corrupts absolutely, particularly on the Internet.”

Readers might remember how previously Bob had similar issues with Wikipedia on its CounterPunch entry.

Written by modernityblog

04/05/2011 at 17:10

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