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Wikipedia in political web warfare

As I had reason to opine yesterday, the weapon of the modern politician is apathy & indifference. Armed as these people invariably are, gone are the days of the refrain: “And the best man won!” to be replaced by an expansive, seemingly empty landscape, littered with the fallen, occupied only by the last man standing. Given a chance, democracy on the web won’t be a given, it’ll be an censored expletive…

Digg Democracy cometh

Democracy of a fashion has descended upon the the ‘Net, albeit democracy in a round-about fashion. Empowering thee & me with the might to make soar or sink one kind of content or another on the web:

“Maybe there’s something that sits somewhere between what we consider censorship, but still allow people to just say whatever pops into their head?

What if I told you that such a thing already exists?

It’s possible that Digg may well have started something, by way of introducing a certain democracy to the web which has an interesting way of solving the problem of web censorship that could potentially placate both parties.

On the one hand, if someone’s just talking crap, they get marked down and their comments are greyed out and collapsed down so that they’re only revealed by actually clicking a disclosure button. But uniquely, their comments remain.

Sure, there’s room for abuse here, too. But it’s a better system of regulation than the non-system of regulation that exists right now.”

But while we busy ourselves with: “10 things wrong with owning a French poodle”, or: “Guy impales scrotum for a joke!!!! (Pics)”, the real content is being ‘cleansed’ for a less than good cause.

More recently, a new front opened in the realm of publicly-available knowledge, as the crown atop the head of Google search darlin’ Wikipedia has slipped:

“The credibility of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia has taken another dive after a newly developed software program exposed how the CIA, corporations like Diebold and others routinely edit entries to bury criticism and manipulate the truth.”

Assuming there’s an ounce of truth in this story, but it is story that’s found its way onto my radar a number of time recently.

Here’s where our content gets messed around with the powers-that-be. None of which helps when the accuracy of Wikipedia had been called into question many times previously.

The underlying theme here is one of accountability through open debate and editorial access for all.

With the web and Wikipedia specifically becoming the theatre of political warfare and intrigue, certain mentionable players are being removed, such as “the Wiki page for Dylan Avery” a major web player, by all accounts.

The chances are, he won’t be gone for long, and that’s the beauty of something like Wikipedia; for all of the inherent weaknesses it’s exposed to in terms of politically-motivated groups or individuals removing or revising content, Wikipedia is maintained by people who’re objective and strident enough to want to preserve credibility and a sense of balanced fairness.

To these people, I salute you!

The web is the new library and those who’re intent on setting the agenda for everyone else don’t get to burn books these days.

They’re just trying to re-write the past, present and the future faster than we can download it…

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.