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Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Wikipedia Censorship Story

I almost never link to Wikipedia (but I allow Wikipedia links in the comment section). Every time I link to a Wikipedia page, I'm implicitly endorsing the entire site's content. Since Wikipedia is highly intralinked, and many sites link to Wikipedia, this effectively boosts the PageRank of *ALL* of Wikipedia's articles.

Similarly, if Wikipedia links to a website, that can *DRAMATICALLY* boost that site's PageRank. For this reason, Wikipedia's censors *RELIGIOUSLY* cull non-conforming links.

I conducted an experiment. On a drug page, I posted a link critical of that drug. The users I identified as drug PR agents culled the link. After an edit war, I imposed my Wikipedia boycott; I'll look up information on Wikipedia, but I refuse to contribute. From a different IP address, without logging in, I posted a link *PRAISING* that same drug. One of the drug PR agents sent me a PM saying "You should be a registered user; you'd be a great site admin!"

On Wikipedia, the "revert vandalism" bots are also usable as "auto-censorship bots". There's a fundamental flaw with Wikipedia's engine. "Edit wars" and censorship are a symptom of a defective engine design, and not an inherent problem that any popular website has. Wikipedia's secret backers *LOVE* the fact that Wikipedia gives the appearance of openness, while controversial topics are effectively censored.


Monkt said...

What was the name of the article?

Sage said...

External links from Wikipedia articles are marked nofollow, so they no longer contribute to PageRank. It has been this way since January 2007.

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