Feeds

Wikipedia: battleground of the new millennium

US forces, lefties, wiki timewasters in unholy scuffle

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Wikipedia, the famed hive mind reference database written by anyone who feels like having a go, has suffered a few military-related hiccups in recent days.

Firstly, the page on the US Army went through an editing conflict. It normally starts off conventionally enough, with something along the lines of "the United States Army is one of the armed forces of the United States and has primary responsibility for land-based military operations".

But this came to the attention of one of Wikipedia's community researchers, who altered it. It seems fairly likely that the Wikipedian in question was a serving or former US Marine, possibly one who had only recently grasped the use of a keyboard (perhaps untypical in this respect: jarheads have exhibited substantial technical sophistication in the past.)

A mere 13 minutes later, someone added a citation request (screenshot here). Other wikipedians over the next few minutes disagreed over where the citation request should go, but evinced no doubt that some compelling evidence would be found supporting the thesis that the US Army has primary responsibility for sucking butt (El Reg's informant was among this group). Then another seeker after pure web knowledge, possibly also a jarhead, corrected the first researcher's spelling somewhat.

Finally, after nearly an hour, a spoilsport stepped in among the squabbling graffiti artists and changed the page back to something more conventional.

Wikipedia may be a real encyclopaedia, albeit one often covered in schoolboy scribbles, but its instant edit feature seems bound to bring it down in chaos eventually. There is evidently a large online community of people willing to spend immense amounts of time as self-appointed guardians of wiki rectitude, but they could soon be overwhelmed by the those willing to spend even more immense amounts of time using the project as a scatological bulletin board. Whoever wins, it doesn't seem like the most time-efficient way of having an encyclopaedia.

El Reg has recently received another military-related complaint regarding the hive mind database. In this case the beef comes from George Kenney, a self-described "anti war" podcaster, who says he's had all links to his site from Wikipedia deleted as spam by this admin – apparently a USAF master sergeant, though of course one must be wary about Wikipedians' claimed qualifications.

George feels that the Wikipedian sarge has "a right-wing zealot's political axe to grind", largely on the basis of him being in the US military. That seems a little sweeping (at least one radical-leftist ex US special forces master-sergeant springs to mind, and indeed Mr Kenney links to a site where he writes). Nonetheless, it could be George is right and he's the victim of right wing zealotry within Wikipedia.

Or it could be that George Kenney is just another wild-eyed internet zealot himself. His site, otherwise a fairly ordinary green/left-leaning politics one, links directly to 9/11 conspiracy theorists. George describes his links column as "groups, services, and products I like".

El Reg's considered, impartial advice is not to trust anything you read on the internet. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Not a loyal follower of @BritishMonarchy? You missed The QUEEN*'s first Tweet
Her Maj opens 'Information Age' at the Science Museum
Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future
We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
FedEx helps deliver THOUSANDS of spam messages DIRECT to its Blighty customers
Don't worry Wilson, I'll do all the paddling. You just hang on
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
Adorkable overshare of words like photobomb in this year's dictionaries
And hipsters are finally defined as self-loathing. Sort of
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.