There’s a War Going On Over Kamala Harris’s Wikipedia Page, with Unflattering Elements Vanishing

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    • #332820
      Joe Shlabotnik
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 808

      Presidential vetting operations have entire teams of investigators, but for the public, when the pick is announced, the most common source for information about the person chosen is Wikipedia. And there, a war has broken out over how to talk about Harris’s career.

      At least one highly dedicated Wikipedia user has been scrubbing controversial aspects of Harris’s “tough-on-crime” record from her Wikipedia page, her decision not to prosecute Steve Mnuchin for mortgage fraud-related crimes, her strong support of prosecutors in Orange County who engaged in rampant misconduct, and other tidbits — such as her previous assertion that “it is not progressive to be soft on crime” — that could prove unflattering to Harris as the public first gets to know her on the national stage. The edits, according to the page history, have elicited strong pushback from Wikipedia’s volunteer editor brigade, and have drawn the page into controversy, though it’s a fight the pro-Harris editor is currently winning.

      In 2016, The Atlantic published an article about Wikipedia edits and how a burst of activity could foreshadow Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential pick, noting that Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine’s page had seen significantly more edits than any other candidate’s in the weeks leading up to the announcement. The article also cited a 2008 Washington Post report about Sarah Palin’s Wikipedia page seeing more than 65 edits in the hours leading up to John McCain’s announcement.

      Last month, a Reddit user remembered this Atlantic piece and wrote a Jupyter script to see which 2020 vice presidential contender had the most edits in a span of three weeks: Harris had 408, Stacey Abrams had 66, Sen. Elizabeth Warren had 22, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar had four. Another Redditor pointed out that a majority of Harris’s edits were coming from a single person.

      More at: https://theintercept.com/2020/07/02/kamala-harris-wikipedia/

      ~ All good things are Wild and Free ~

    • #332829
      elias39
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 4,796

      Now here’s an interesting thing. I just went to Harris’s Wiki page and got this alert/scold.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:64.223.168.114

      Never have I seen that. I’ve never ‘edited’ a Wiki entry. Wouldn’t know how. But this tells me Something’s going on over there! Could be the war of Wiki is heating up!  Nobody’s gonna be able to edit Kamal’s page I guess. Check it out! I’d like to know if this alert happens to anyone else.

    • #332833
      Babel 17
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 3,448

      @elias39

      And I’ll guess that because they are transparent about how editing works, people get to look up and see such warnings.

    • #332838
      elias39
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 4,796

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamala_Harris

      I go to Wiki a lot because it’s quick, generally factual, etc. and there are tons of things I don’t know. As a young man I always  had a 20-volume encyclopedia near at hand.

      And so it seems the fix is in – somehow, to some end – for Kamala. It will be interesting to see if this goes the way of previous nominees???

    • #332840
      elias39
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 4,796

      @babel17  Thanks. Makes sense and soothes my paranoia.

    • #332844
      Ohio Barbarian
      Moderator
      • Total Posts: 14,814

      It damned well should be questioned. I remember reading Harris’ Wikipedia article back during the primary, before the political destroyer named Tulsi Gabbard torpedoed the Obama-class cruiser Kamala Harris amidships and sank that campaign in three minutes. Tbhen, it had all sorts of details on how Harris opposed releasing nonviolent offenders early to reduce overcrowding because that would hurt the for-profit prison industry, as well as her refusal to go after banksters like Mnuchin.

      Now, all of that is gone. It’s like DU took it over. Really. Check it out. And other editors are pissed. All that discussion is on the Talk Page, and whoever this political hack for Harris is sounds they could have come from that place. @satan If you can spare the time, please see if anything looks familiar.

      I’m sure Harris is Obama’s choice, and that Biden will probably pick her. The Intercept is right–they’re scrubbing the Wikipedia article and turning it into a propaganda piece.

      It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

      Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I'll show you a crook.--Harry Truman

    • #332846
      Babel 17
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 3,448

      @elias39

      P.S. Now that I looked down the page it appears that the web page address includes the IP address of the editor that was warned.

      This is the discussion page for an IP user, identified by the user’s IP address. Many IP addresses change periodically, and are often shared by several users. If you are an IP user, you may create an account or log in to avoid future confusion with other IP users. Registering also hides your IP address.

    • #332847
      NV Wino
      Moderator
      • Total Posts: 5,270

      or up for election.

      “As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore.” Barbara Lee
      “Politicians and pro athletes: The only people who still get paid when they lose.” William Rivers Pitt

    • #332855
      Babel 17
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 3,448

      @ohiobarbarian

      Only for hot topics of the day, ones where facts were in dispute, and very controversial. I still have the one for Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s tech guru, Imran Awan.

      The page for Harris could be extra problematic in regards her patron who she was sleeping with. He was an extraordinary player, famous for going to a party with both his wife and mistress holding onto his arms. How do you not mention that relationship?

      Stephen Colbert deliberately earned a lifetime ban from editing, way back when, when he comedically demonstrated how he was adding in nonsense. I forget the details.

    • #332860
      elias39
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 4,796

      about that crooked bastard Imran. Gone back home to the other side of the planet I guess…or last I heard. Kind of a precursor to Russiagate.  DWS I’m sure helped him get ‘back home’.

    • #332865
      mrdmk
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 1,892

      Wikipedia was once advertise as a encyclopedia that everyone could add to and edit with citations.

      It used to be my goto for a quick and dirty history lessons and other topics. No more, too much propaganda, relevant information scattered across too many pages and outright omissions.

      Phillip Cross and other so-called editors at Wikipedia either do not know what they are doing or are some institutions inserting propaganda.

      It just sucks.

       

      If you cannot dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit WC Fields

    • #332870
      Gryneos
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 957

      Yes, I’ve learned that Wikipedia is really only useful for entertainment (movies, actors, musicians, etc) and hard science. Everything is is biased, written in a manner of opinion, and hardly encyclopedia-worthy.

      Even on the topics I like, I still wonder at the grammar skills of some of the editors. Run-on sentences, re-use of the same words multiple times in one sentence, starting the next few sentences with the same word, and so on. That’s a minor annoyance, but would think that there would be some kind of protocols to help editors write better.

      Who are you? | What do you want? | Why are you here? | Where are you going? | Do you have anything worth living for? | Who do you serve and who do you trust?

    • #332872
      Gryneos
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 957

      though I haven’t done more than find this link, but the Internet Archive has copies of Harris’ wiki page going back to 2005, if y’all want to have a look at them:

      Saved 645 times between December 15, 2005 and July 2, 2020.
      https://web.archive.org/web/*/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamala_Harris

      Who are you? | What do you want? | Why are you here? | Where are you going? | Do you have anything worth living for? | Who do you serve and who do you trust?

    • #332875
      elias39
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 4,796

      about Harris and her Willie Brown days. Yo know, when Kamala screwed her way up the pole.

      Oh sorry if it’s too soon!!

    • #332886
      Punxsutawney
      Moderator
      • Total Posts: 1,713

      To politics, history, or economics. Yeah, the paragarium theorem or the chemical structure of Benzene, or the geography of the Tierra del Fuego, have at it.

      There are whole outfits on the right whose job it is is to rewrite the facts on history, or economics. And apparently, on the Democratic side as well. Notice I don’t call them the left.

      In America, “Liberty” means “Free to Die in Service of Capital” - Amfortas the hippie

    • #332959
      Hobbit709
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 1,827

      I don't waste my time teaching pigs to sing.

    • #332965
      Ohio Barbarian
      Moderator
      • Total Posts: 14,814

      @elias39 I’d forgotten about that. She got her political start on her back. I bet the Republicans haven’t forgotten about it, though. Fox News will have all sorts of fun with her if she’s the VP pick.

      It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

      Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I'll show you a crook.--Harry Truman

    • #333072
      Cold Mountain Trail
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 8,919

      “hardly encyclopedia-worthy”

      — encyclopedias also had/have povs and can’t include everything, etc.

      read some old encyclopedias (& not even that old), its easier to see when you stand a bit apart from the prevailing mindset.  they don’t even have to be very old to make it visible

    • #333185
      Babel 17
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 3,448

      Incredibly Biased

      This article is hideously biased and requires an extensive rewrite. It reads like a campaign ad. There is zero criticism, just lauding. CompactSpacez (talk) 21:16, 2 July 2020 (UTC)

      Why do people keep using the words “heels up”?

      It got noticed

      The Intercept had an article on what’s going on here. Arglebargle79 (talk) 21:25, 2 July 2020 (UTC)

      I noticed an admin, Drmies, posted a little while back on Bnguyen1114’s talk page. I haven’t been following this page, but it appears there’s been at least some scrutiny and reversions. Drmies, can you help catch us up about what’s been going on here? Is this a case of the media trying to pretend there’s conflict when it’s actually being handled fine, or is there some potential cleanup that needs to be done? {{u|Sdkb}}talk 21:32, 2 July 2020 (UTC)

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Kamala_Harris#It_got_noticed

      lol again at this:

      PrimaPrime The NYT also has a political leaning, but BOTH are considered by WP as reliable sources.TJD2 (talk) 22:27, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
      Unlike the NYT, the Intercept did not support the Iraq War or any other, similarly fraudulent international crime based on fake and biased information from politicians. — Peleio Aquiles (talk) 23:13, 2 July 2020 (UTC)

      This page is for discussing potential improvements to the article, not your opinions on the Iraq War. PrimaPrime (talk) 23:32, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
      The willful blindness required to still consider the NYT a reliable source makes me fearful for the future. Torriende (talk) 15:32, 3 July 2020 (UTC)

      https://theintercept.com/2020/07/02/kamala-harris-wikipedia/

    • #333212
      Joe Shlabotnik
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 808

      @babel17 I read that last night. Busted.

      ~ All good things are Wild and Free ~

    • #333222
      Jim Lane
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 462

      @gryneos

      Wikipedia is an extremely transparent project.  If you go to the Harris bio — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamala_Harris — and click on the “View history” link along the top, you’ll see all the past versions.  You can compare any two versions to see what edits were made.  You’ll also note that most editors follow Wikipedia policy by including an edit summary, i.e., a short explanation of the change and/or the reason for it, which is displayed in the history.

      The principal exception to the availability of past versions is if someone makes an edit that improperly uses copyrighted material.  Wikipedia takes copyright very seriously.  An admin will delete the pilfered “copyvio” material.  Of course, to carry through on that, the offending prior version must also be removed from the history.  Otherwise, Wikipedia would still be making its site available for the propagation of copyright violations.

    • #333225
      Jim Lane
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 462

      @elias39

      I just looked at the article, did a Ctrl+F search for “Brown”, and, after getting past some references to Jerry Brown, found this:

      In 1994, California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown (with whom Harris was in a relationship)<sup id=”cite_ref-latimes-brown-harris_23-0″ class=”reference”>[23]</sup> appointed Harris to the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and later the California Medical Assistance Commission.<sup id=”cite_ref-24″ class=”reference”>[24]</sup>

      There are also references to Brown’s later efforts on her behalf.

    • #333233
      PolecatHollerer
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 1,118

      Fascinating.

       

      If you give a man enough rope, it will be six inches too short. This is not the nature of rope- it is the nature of man.

    • #333234
      Jim Lane
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 462

      @nvwino

      Protection isn’t automatically triggered for anyone running in an election, nor should it be.  The vast majority of the time, even in a heated campaign, Wikipedia’s normal mechanism — editors correcting garbage — is sufficient.

      If, however, an article is subjected to a barrage of vandalism or other improper edits, then an admin can place the article on “protected” status.  Then, only admins can edit the article.  Anyone else who wants to make an edit has to post on the article’s Talk page, giving the proposed edit and an explanation.  Other editors can weigh in with support, opposition, or proposed amendments.  Ideally, consensus will be reached, and an admin will edit the article.  An admin may also make the edit immediately if it’s clearly acceptable.

      Being an admin isn’t as exclusive as on a site like JPR or DU.  The English Wikipedia currently has 1,137 administrators.

      Although this system worked, over the years there developed a view that it was sometimes unnecessarily cumbersome.  The rules were changed to create a new “semi-protected” status.  The rule for most articles is that you don’t have to be a registered Wikipedian to make an edit.  You can just go edit the article and the edit history will display your IP address.  A lot of the vandalism came from people who were doing exactly that, or registering an account and immediately abusing it.  Accordingly, for an article in semi-protected status, edits can be made only by accounts that were registered more than a few days earlier.  Of course, anyone can still post a proposed edit on the Talk page.  Admins prefer to use semi-protected rather than protected, if semi-protection will solve the problem (as it often does).

      The Harris bio is currently semi-protected.  If you go there and don’t log into Wikipedia with an account that you registered more than a few days ago, then, instead of an edit button, you’ll see a “View source” link.  You’ll see what you would see if you were editing (e.g., footnotes shown with the full citation), but you won’t be able to edit.

      One advantage of semi-protection is that, if someone persists in making bad edits after having been warned, the account can be blocked for 24 hours by an admin.  Then that account can’t edit any articles, and if the editor logs back in as an anonymous IP, he or she can’t edit the semi-protected article.  If the 24-hour block doesn’t get the point across, longer blocks can be imposed, culminating if necessary in a lifetime ban.

      There can also be subject-matter blocks.  If an ardent baseball fan who’s also an ardent Trumpite persists in deleting anything unfavorable to Trump, that account might be blocked from editing articles relating to U.S. politics, but the editor can continue providing information about baseball.

      This summary leaves out a lot of detail about the protection policies.  You can go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Protection_policy if you want the full story.  Let me know if you find anything interesting; I’ve made thousands of edits to Wikipedia and I’ve never read that page in full.

    • #333241
      Jim Lane
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 462

      @polecathollerer

      I, in turn, find it fascinating that you thought my participation worth commenting on.

      Thus we have helped each other relieve the tedium of a long weekend.  We can both be grateful that Al Gore gave us the Internet.

    • #333242
      Gryneos
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 957

      Okay, but I supplied the link anyway. I find the Internet Archive easier to navigate than the Wikipedia talk pages. So, both methods are available to all who want to use them.

      Who are you? | What do you want? | Why are you here? | Where are you going? | Do you have anything worth living for? | Who do you serve and who do you trust?

    • #333244
      Jim Lane
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 462

      @gryneos

      I understand; there’s no harm in having two different paths to the same information.  I use Wikipedia a lot more than I use the Internet Archive, so I’m more familiar with the Wikipedia system.

      This exchange prompted me to wonder about something that hadn’t occurred to me before: What does the Internet Archive do about copyright violations?  Suppose someone posts a big chunk of copyrighted text to Wikipedia or to JPR or to any other site where there are admins to deal with such violations.  An admin removes the offending material.  In the meantime, however, the Internet Archive’s web crawler has visited the site and taken a snapshot.  Would the copyrighted material be available through the Wayback Machine’s archived version of the page with the violation?  Would the copyright owner have to become aware of the infringement and send a DMCA takedown notice?

    • #333268
      Gryneos
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 957

      I don’t know their policy on copyright violations. Have a look through the history of Harris’ page on the link provided and find out. Maybe look through it and see. I’m not that interested in this fight with Harris’ page, only that it is endemic of how contentious subjects devolve on the wiki talk pages.

      As stated, I really only “trust” wikipedia for hard science and entertainment info. I see opinionated writing styles in everything else, especially anything of a potentially contentious nature, such as politics. Just because one links to, say, the New York Times, doesn’t mean that the writer at the NYT doesn’t have an agenda and gets facts wrong, or isn’t going to be heavy-handed in pushing their opinion as fact. We see that all of the time in the main news outlets. Independent news media wouldn’t have become so popular if the primary media hadn’t been allowed to merge so much.

      Who are you? | What do you want? | Why are you here? | Where are you going? | Do you have anything worth living for? | Who do you serve and who do you trust?

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