ModernityBlog

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

Archive for April 15th, 2010

The 14 Words Trial.

with 3 comments

To think that your local milkman could be a neo-Nazi terrorist is alarming, but to realise that his father recruited him into a weird, Hitler loving, neo-Nazi group is even worse, but that’s according to The Times is what’s happened:

“A teenage former milkman helped his father to run a white supremacist movement that plotted to overthrow the Government, a court was told yesterday.

Nicky Davison, 19, was accused of co-founding the “Aryan Strike Force”, an online far-Right movement that aimed to bring “total victory” by toppling a Government they claimed had been “taken over by the Jews”.

Mr Davison’s father, Ian, 41, a DJ, has already admitted six charges in June last year, including terrorism and producing a chemical weapon. He was discovered in possession of ricin, which can prove fatal if even an amount equivalent to less than half a grain of sand is inhaled or injected.

“The Aryan Strike Force was in essence a website to which people interested in its aims subscribed,” Andrew Edis, for the prosecution, told Newcastle Crown Court.

“But its purpose was to form a group that would be ready to act. It was set up to advance the aims of white supremacy in these islands and fight what they call ‘Zog’, which means Zionist Occupied Government.

“They are strongly against the Government because their theory is that it has been taken over by the Jews and therefore must be resisted by white supremacists.” “

Update 1: The slackbastard’s take on things.

Update 2: The JC has this:

“Andrew Edis, prosecuting, told the court that the website was set up to form a group that would be ready to act and fight what they called “ZOG”, which stood for Zionist Occupied Government.

Mr Edis said: “They are strongly against the government because their theory is that it has been taken over by the Jews and therefore must be resisted by white supremacists.”

Davison and his father were not simply “keyboard warriors” but were more interested in action.

The court was shown videos from the website which included pictures of the fall of the British Empire and footage from the September 11 Twin Towers attacks, which it claimed was one of the atrocities of Islam.

Another video showed neo-Nazis at a Wolf-Pack training camp in Cumbria, dressed in balaclavas, carrying Nazi flags and making Heil Hitler salutes.”

Update 3: Edmund Standing has a typically well-informed post on these neo-Nazis.

Also look out for his post on the Nazi saluting BNP candidate.

Written by modernityblog

15/04/2010 at 20:02

Edwin On Wiki.

with 4 comments

I am indebted to Adam Holland for pointing me towards Edwin Black’s essay on Wikipedia:

“By way of background, Wikipedia’s 2.3 million-plus unvetted entries are contributed by anonymous users known only by colorful and sometimes bizarre and shadowy pseudonyms, often in a sort of “anything goes” perpetual intellectual wrestling match. In the 2008–2009 period, an estimated 132 million edits were logged and viewed by 342 million unique visitors worldwide. A pillar of Wikipedia doublespeak establishes this rule: “Wikipedia has no firm rules.” But actually, there are rules—and many of them. Original research is forbidden. For example, the world’s leading experts on the Dead Sea Scrolls, sea turtles or methanol could not contribute their knowledge based on their peer-reviewed findings. But anyone with an ax to grind on either topic could.”

Update 1: Thanks to Bob for pointing out this book review from LRB (not my favourite publication!):

“Part of the reason the astonishing growth of Wikipedia took even its founders by surprise was that this wasn’t their first attempt to set up an online encyclopedia. Wikipedia was an offshoot of something called Nupedia, which Wales had established in 2000 with the aim of using online volunteers to produce a new work of reference that would be free to use. The mistake Wales and his Nupedia collaborators made was to assume that any encyclopedia has to go through a formal editing process if it’s going to be reliable. Editors were appointed whose job was to decide on appropriate topics, open them up to online editing and then approve final versions once an agreed standard had been met. The editing process had seven stages from ‘assignment’ to ‘mark-up’, and was a slow, frustrating and ultimately fruitless business. By the end of the first year about two dozen articles had been completed, while the drafts of a few hundred more were still being fretted over. It looked like the vast additional resources and manpower that the internet had made available for checking reference books was going to overwhelm the capacities of anyone trying to process the information.

Hence the Wikipedia solution, stumbled on more by chance than by design: don’t try to process the information. It is generally assumed that what is distinctive about Wikipedia is that it is open to anyone to contribute, but that was true of Nupedia too. Wikipedia is different in that it doesn’t try to frame the creation of new entries with commissioned beginnings and fixed endpoints. It is open to anyone to initiate an entry on Wikipedia, and no entry is ever formally closed, since it is also open to anyone to keep editing and altering whatever is already there. Wikipedia still uses a large volunteer army of editors and ‘janitors’ to oversee the whole process, looking out for flagrant abuses and sounding the alarm when disputes get out of hand. But it is not the job of any editor to decide what counts as an entry. If there is any doubt about whether something is too trivial to take up space even in so limitless a space as Wikipedia it is put to the vote of others users (and any vote can always be overturned by another vote further down the line); otherwise, if you don’t like an entry it is up to you to change it. The editors are there to try to ensure this is done in as non-abusive a way as possible. But it is not up to anyone to call time on anything.”

Written by modernityblog

15/04/2010 at 14:10