Wikipedia Search or Wiki Trash?
Students, teachers, parents, all once in a life time will get to look at Wikipedia’s search engine and will get to check some information displayed out there. And of course, as it calls itself an “encyclopaedia, we all tend to believe and trust the content displayed in it. Sometimes, when an article has been written in dictionaries and other proper encyclopedias, it is a trusted source of information, however, when the subject is scarce, Wiki admins simply edit the information according to their desires and wishes, without totally any historical background nor any historical research prior to deleting and/or adding information they believe -and I do say “believe”, trustful. This could be acceptable if these persons working behind the scene had some kind of background in terms of specific subject discussed in such or such article, but the truth is that if they do have surely a favorite subject, admins are but “volunteers” without any background to be checked nor the knowledge or ability to judge being assessed by instructors or other people of expertise.
What is a Wikipedian?
According to Wikipedia’s FAQ a Wikipedian is simply an Administrator, a System Operator (SYSOP) “who can access some of the few restricted Wikipedia software functions: deleting articles and uploaded files, protecting and unprotecting pages, and blocking and unblocking users or IP addresses.”
In other words, these Administrators have full control over the content displayed in it.
How are these people chosen and how do they get access to editing and censuring-alike tools?
This is quite easy and it does not require anything but an account and some time to show you can edit some elements of the content that are pleasant to other wikipedian whom have become system administrators via the same procedure. Here is the short guidelines used and displayed in the FAQ section: “make useful edits over a period of time. In this way, you prove to the community that you are here in good faith. Read Wikipedia:Guide to requests for adminship. If you feel you meet the standards set out there, you can add your name to Wikipedia:Requests for adminship, in accordance with the nomination process. If the community agrees that you’re what they want in an admin, then, voilà. Be sure to read administrators’ reading list, Wikipedia:Administrators, deletion policy, protection policy, and blocking policy, and use your new “powers” with caution.”
The French version is a bit different as it says “Il n’y a pas de consensus sur les critères pour qu’un contributeur soit éligible. Ainsi, tous les contributeurs enregistrés peuvent accéder au statut d’administrateur. Le cumul des rôles d’administrateur et d’arbitre est autorisé” ==> “There are no concensus, no general agreement, regarding the skills and criteria a contributor needs to become an admin. Accumulation of the roles as an admin and as a judge is authorized.” Then admins vote for other admins accordingly.
Who are these SYSOP?
They are protected by their status and usually use a user name and not a real name (except for a few). From my experience, those using their real name tend to participate to Wikipedia in a positive manner while the others devote themselves to a small own privileged dictatorship of the content and information they have chosen to take interest in.
As of today, July 2018 there are 168 active administrators and about 140 suspended administrators in the French database. Nothing can force a suspended admin, not to change new IP address and a new username to reapply for a system administrator position within Wikipedia at a later date.
Lets take a look at a French Admin lambda which recently has used of arbitrary blocking privileges and other censuring tools due to a disagreement with a user, author’s own copyrights, and intellectual property:
ANONYMOUS IDIOTS: I am an anonymous idiot who writes tissues of lies.
PRIVATE POLICE: I participate to a sort of private police which believes itself to be CIA
PATROLMEN: I am a member of the Recent Changes (RC) Patrol”
So here it is! A French admin simply describes himself as being part of a group of French Wikipedians, “anonymous idiots” and “believing themselves to be CIA” while “writing tissues of lies.”
In other word, those editing, blocking, deleting, censuring and adding information on Wikipedia.fr are aware and describe their participation as a “tissue of lies” written by “idiots” while having some kind of “CIA privileges“: is it really what Wikipedia intended to?
I have then decided to check a bit further about this French Admin and see more about how it looks like behind the wall. First thing I did then was to checked his work on Wikipedia and here is the list:
“Voici les quelques pages que j’ai créées. “Here are a few pages I have created”
Tortues Ninja (homonymie) ; (“Ninja Turtles“)
Liste des distinctions de Violetta ; (“Violetta TV Show“)
Saison 2 (2004) de MythBusters ; (“MythBusters Season 2“)
Saison 1 (2003) de MythBusters ; (“MythBusters Season 1“)
Get the Party Started (et de facto suppression des liens rouges contenus dans 36 pages) ;
Liste des slogans de CBS ;
Saison 7 de 24 heures chrono ; (“24 Season 7“)
The Tillman Story.” (Link)
I was shocked to see that the Wikipedia community had left this SYSOP expert in “Ninja Turtles” and “TV Shows” interfere in an article dealing with onomastic and anthronymy. I contacted Wikipedia US which forwarded my email to Wikipedia France and faced a nice person but whom did not do anything about this matter.
I then decided to see how this Admin spends his time on Wikipedia and horribly found out that he was blocking one person a day -in agreement with the community of French Wikipedians as he had the goodness to ask prior to do so:
How do they share tasks according to their knowledge and level of expertise?
Knowing this I really wonder how Wikipedia decides of who will be in charge of such or such topic according to their skills and professional abilities. The answer is, I am afraid, that every admin participates to a topic he/she wants for any reason possible: racial profiling, bias, the taste for arguing, the feeling of being CIA…
Find here the exact exhaustive list of the use of blocking powers by this SYSOP Lambda: (link)
And here, a list of all the pages deleted by this very same Mr Sebk: (link)
Wikipedia France compare to Wikipedia US
It is obvious that the French are far behind the Americans in terms of definition, rules and ethical behaviour and work expected by SYSOPs. Indeed, the US page has a detailed explanation regarding duties of admins as you can see form the link, whereas the French one as a limited explanation being separated in two main concepts: “What he can do” and “What he/she should not do”
Wikipedia French Admins, Intellectual Property and Denial of obvious Copyrights
WikiGestapo of the word and WikiNazis of the Information
After further investigation through the hidden pages of Wikipedia France, I found thousands of non-appropriate language, lack of neutrality, amalgams, racial profiling and denial of one’s right. Among them, here are a two examples of other admins and users -Correcteur21 and Jean-Jacques Georges, dialogue on the same page the SYSOP Sebk participated and whose Wikipedia community agreed on using this kind of language:
“(…) un nom de famille dans wikipedia, et pourquoi pas mon chat?” (“A family name in Wikipedia, and why not my cat?”)
“La je vais faire un delit de sale gueule mais je n’aime vraiment pas la page” (“I am going to be totally bias and racial profiling this article, but I really don’t like its nasty face.”)
All that seemed a bit harsh and not very tolerant and went further into the depth of Wikipedia’s machine in order to check the vocabulary in use to describe the roles of these admins as SYSOP.
French vocabulary in use by Wikipedia France for the different “Modals”/groups, roles and duties Wikipedians belong to –all fetched from Wikipedia’s admins own pages:
Dresseur (Wikipedia Tamer),
Patrouilleur (Patrol Person),
patrouilleur occasionnel (Occasional Patrol Person),
Patrouilleur LiveRC (Live RC Patrol Person),
Police privee (Private Police),
Bureaucrate de wikipedia (Wikipedia Brureaucrat),
Modificateur de filtre anti-erreur (Anti-error filter modifying Agent),
Masqueur de modifications (Article Modification Hiddr),
WikiGnoll (A contributor in charge of modifying someone whole article),
WikiOgre (A contributor in charge of altering articles),
WikiGnome (A contributor “working in the shadows to correct broken links and find the authors “who said that”),
wiki « nolife (Wiki No Life: the stage in between WikiGnoll and WikiGnome),
WikiTroll (Wikipedia’s trouble makers),
Counter Vandalism Unit.
Some of these admins also add some personal description of Wikipedian’s groups and “Models” they belong to:
“Inutile Je suis totalement inutile à l’évolution de l’humanité. (Useless. I am totaly useless to the humanity evolution).
Rogntudju ! Je traque et extermine les points d’exclamation dans les articles !!! (Rongtudju! I hunt down and exterminate exclamation mark !!!)
Crétin anonyme Je suis un crétin anonyme qui rédige des tissus de mensonges. (I am an anonymous idiot who writes tissues of lies.)
All your base are belong to us.”
I found WikiWording being quite a phantasmagorical and repressive vocabulary, which does not sound neutral at all for being part of an encyclopedia and which seems closer to the vocabulary in used by gamers and role-players than the scientist and literate communities.
Wikipedia France: Wikipedia’s trashcan
Here is a PDF example of the work done by these French administrators and Wikipedians on a daily basis as of July 2015: (pdf)
When Ignorance takes over Common Sense
I have used Wikipedia’s tool (https://fr.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Sp%C3%A9cial%3AJournal&type=delete&user=) to check the amount of pages admins deleted since they started. Here are the first 10 admins out of the 168 French admins actually working on Wikipedia Search (France):
Sebk= As today, July 4th 2015, 271 pages has been deleted by this Admin since June 20, 2015 (6,594 pages a year)
ANÆlfgar= As today, July 4th 2015, 500 pages has been deleted by this Admin since November 28, 2014 (803 pages a year)
Akeron= As today, July 4th 2015, 500 pages has been deleted by this Admin since April 5, 2015 (2,005 pages a year)
Alchemica = As today, July 4th 2015, 500 pages has been deleted by this Admin since February 3, 2013 (207 pages a year)
Alexander Doria = As today, July 4th 2015, 112 pages has been deleted by this Admin since October 19, 2012 (184 pages a year)
Anthere = As today, July 4th 2015, 386 pages has been deleted by this Admin since January 9, 2015 (1,031 pages a year)
Arkanosis= As today, July 4th 2015, 500 pages has been deleted by this Admin since December 23, 2012 (198 pages a year)
Ash_Crow= As today, July 4th 2015, 500 pages has been deleted by this Admin since October 3, 2007 (65 pages a year)
Axou= As today, July 4th 2015, 500 pages has been deleted by this Admin since August 9, 2012 (172 pages a year)
Azurfrog= As today, July 4th 2015, 500 pages has been deleted by this Admin since Mars 25, 2015 (1,789 pages a year)
As mentioned, there are actually 168 French Administrators on Wikipedia Search France whom will delete about 1,305 French pages per year each (half being discussion pages and a bit less of half being articles). On average then, these Wikipedians with privileges will have deleted a total of 219,206 French pages by the end of this year and about half of it being articles (219,206 French articles deleted in 2015).
Soon after this French Wikuefaction there will be no more French Wikipedia Search content available.
Wanna guess how many pages French users write and add into WikiDatabase every year? Well, according to one of Wikipedia Search’s own tool (http://stats.wikimedia.org/FR/ChartsWikipediaFR.htm#2) there are bout 330 new French pages added every day in 2015. Thus, 120,450 pages for 2015. No need to have a PhD in Mathematics to see the dilemma: 120,450 French pages added in 2015 versus 219,206 French pages -about 110,000 articles, deleted the very same year: so why on earth should French people participate to the Wikipedia’s Project then?
In another hand there is a bunch of competent French administrators too as, of course, not everyone is to put in the same basket. I have met and got to chat with some really interesting French admins on Wiki; people who do an excellent work and whom are erudite. Yet, it seems we hear more from the other kind: those who block, censure and delete endlessly in total impunity. FR.Wikipedia is far from being gifted with these very few scarce and talented persons behind the wall and Wikipedia France would gain greatly from acquiring such quality admins in an open source which is yet to be improved in order to reached the definition itself of what is an “encyclopedia“.
Education and Wikipedia as an encyclopedia
As a parent, as a teacher, as researcher, as an author and as a user, I deplore the quality of what has Wikipedia France become and I would highly recommend to check twice before getting into Wikipedia, as it is obvious the information is ruled by a commission in majority made of volunteers whose skills and abilities have yet to be revealed in France. Hopefully the time skilled admins be screened will come so this open source could deliver at last a useful universal content and information for today’s and tomorrow’s future generations.