Saturday, 2 April 2011

Fun with facts via Wikipedia

As a little hobby I sometimes engage in editing notorious online encyclopedia Wikipedia.  Notorious of course because great swathes of the websites entries are riddled with errors.   Edit wars are also a regular occurrence, disputes over the facts waged by bored nerds that go on forever.  Bloody edit wars have included "Did Daffy Duck have any ducklings?", "was the lead character in Grand Theft Auto 4 Croatian, Russian or from an unspecified East European Country?", and should the anus article have a picture of an actual human "chocolate starfish".

Less known is the secret editing by people trying to gerrymander the facts, my first example may seem strangely mundane, however... In June 2007 a unknown user named "fcukrain" ( I kid you not) made swathing changes to the Penzance article including extremely un-encyclopedic language and this sentence,

"Since 1933 several disasters have occured mainly with planning issues in the 1960s. They began with the distruction [sic] of artist Norman Garsten's studio in 1960 to make way for a dismal carpark". 

As this is extremely unusual information indeed the Village Idiot has come to the conclusion that firstly the individual must have intimate knowledge of Norman Garsten's property and a serious problem with the Penzance  Council Car Park next to it.  Would it be a coincidence that a member of one of our local authorities fits this description very closely indeed.  I would name this person but I am still keeping my head down after foolishly posting on facebook that I was looking for volunteers to punch him in the face, ask me if you are really interested!

Now this is very minor of course more serious is the continued whitewashing of biographical entries including our own local MP Andrew George.  For months now a single user has been removing all the content relating to Andrew's involvement with MP's expenses scandal .As we all know Andrew was in fact exonerated of all the major charges against him and not for one second would I suggest that he is ordering these changes.  From experience Andrew would rather not have to deal with computers at all anyway, he doesn't like them and has less than fond memories of one local branch of  the local Lib Dem's "accidentally" posting a picture of Bart Simpson's bare arse on its site, resulting in the webmaster being expelled from the party and a massive internet scandal, I thought it was funny at least.

Someone however is changing Andrew's entry without explanation, my advice is that all you need to do is say he was let off without deleting the whole episode like some sinister big brotheresque lunatic, wiping history clean is not acceptable.  

The most dodgy of all are the complete rewritings of historical facts one of the worst being for some reason anything to do with Communist Yugoslavia which all read like promo's for the former Yugoslav communist party and make Hitlers revisions of history look like mild edits. 

OK, I am off to wikipedia to write an article about myself in which I omit dodgy facts about my life such as, I don't see one of my children, I drink too much, I am bald and I once watched an episode of Ant and Dec's push the button.

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