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29.12.09

Research isn’t that important if you write in an encyclopædia these days 

Here’s a very good example for why I don’t think Wikipedia can be trusted. Below is a screen shot of a page at Wikimedia Commons, which I assume is where you can submit pictures for Wikipedia. I applaud those who give up their copyright on images (and have done so myself from time to time), but it might help if they were in the right place.
   Here are some pictures on a page about the Hyundai Sonata Y1:



Problem: not a single one of these cars is the Hyundai Sonata Y1. (Here’s what it actually looks like.)
   On the Y2 page, two out of twelve people got it right, which is roughly how the population works, anyway: for every two smart people, there are ten thickos.
   Granted, Hyundai itself has not helped things by calling the third-generation model, even in Korea, the Sonata II, which I suspect is how this error propagated. That, and people wanting to contribute to an encyclopædia but who refuse to do any research. It’s a dangerous mix.
   Just because a bunch of people believe in erring doesn’t make it true. Which summarizes my attitude toward Wikipedia. And Rogernomics.
   Incidentally, I recognize there are some positive aspects to Wikipedia’s existence—these were covered in the comments to the earlier post. I agree it is a landmark in the growth of the internet. Maybe one of the commenters is right about the science articles having fewer disputes (or, it shows the relatively good training of scientists and their willingness to settle things in a civilized fashion, rather than any merit on Wikipedia’s part).
   And without MediaWiki, there would be no Autocade. (In fact, if Wikipedia were accurate, I would never have started Autocade. It’s partly because of errors like the above that I did.)
   However, it remains the only volunteer site to my memory where a senior admin has gone out of her way to send me email abuse privately (while exposing that you don’t need to be particularly smart to be an admin there). After the Wikipedia defenders came to the site’s rescue in June, along comes one of their own to undo their diplomacy—and then some.

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18.12.09

Twitter hacked by ‘Iranian Cyber Army’ 

Twitter hacked

As of 6 a.m. GMT today, a group calling itself the ‘Iranian Cyber Army’ announced it had hacked Twitter. Users arriving at the site were treated to a page proclaiming that the site had been hacked in an apparent protest against the US.
   The hackers, giving the email address of iranian.cyber.army@gmail.com, are not too clear in the English, which was poorly translated:

U.S.A Think They Controlling And Managing Internet By Their Access , But They Don't , We Control And Manage Internet By Our Power , So Do Not Try To Stimulation Iranian Peoples To ..............

NOW WHICH COUNTRY IN EMBARGO LIST? IRAN?USA?

WE PUSH THEM IN EMBARGO LIST ;)

Take Care.


   We are not too sure who the villains are supposed to be here, reading the above—the US or Iran. Obviously they are against Iranians being stimulated. And that the last line must have been translated from ‘Have a nice day.’

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13.12.09

Descents into the mainstream 

Spice Girls in Roberto Cavalli
Photographed by Jonathan Hayward

Those celebrities do those grand farewell tours, only to come back a while later and do another one.
   I wonder if my farewell post at my Vox blog will be like that. The comments make very interesting reading as Pete and I dissect the site and give it a post mortem.
   This was a very interesting and poignant observation from Pete, whom I met when 20Six was still a cool, vibrant UK community (back in 2006):

In many ways I wish blogging never went mainstream, it was the worst thing that happened for it because it’s left a lot of people who loved it feeling like fish out of water and there are lots who don’t really do it now. (I note there are some who do, but generally.)
   I’m relieved someone else has said this as I had started to wonder if maybe I was just fading out and the community was still thriving in other places and with other people. It just feels like back then we all did it because we wanted too, in the main there was no agenda or anything it was just genuine desire to use this method of communication.


   I responded (some links not in original):

Every medium suffers this fate: newspapers were once respectable before Rupert Murdoch; email was a nice medium before spammers began harvesting addresses. Blogs were, by and large, civil places to exchange opinions before that descended into anonymous name-calling in comments. Now I see in New Zealand a florist has allegedly manipulated Google Maps to harm her competitors—what motivates someone to purposely destroy data that has been freely and publicly compiled for the common good?
   I still believe there is room for huge online communities, including some form of modern chat room (as we had discussed before). The world has moved on and maybe some are afraid of potential abuse, something we bloggers did not have to contend with back in the early 2000s. The sharing during the Clinton era seems to have evaporated, and we humans have been the undoing of that.
   I can understand why sites such as A Small World are so exclusive: they don’t want to see the same decline. There are harsh penalties for “friending” people you do not know, including lifetime bans. Snobbery, sometimes, can be our friend—something I never thought I would catch myself saying. Maybe that is the next stage, and Yappey itself is so far the sort of forum where we can exchange ideas quite freely without an agenda.


   It begs the question: what next for the online world? Oh, it’s not Facebook. I am talking about a site that respects its users.

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