Censure & Wikipedia

Censure & Wikipedia: Concluding comments

We would like to wrap up this category with some observations about the blockings and speculate about their repercussion on the future of Wikipedia.

The reason for the blocking is: “Because it (the links) appears to be mainly intended or used for publicity and/or promotional purposes”

We believe there is a double standard in the decision. Most of the Wikipedia entries on pop culture are all about self-promotion. The “industry” and fans that make up entries on media idols and super heroes have become self enclosed ideological ghettos, subservient to the media industry. Until recently external links were allowed for critical analysis; no longer.

Most of the editors involved in our blocking have fancy names. Unfortunately anonymity tends to rime with immunity and eventually turns into unaccountability. We have tried to reach the people responsible to discuss the issue. We have encountered an obscure Kafkaesque system and no response.

Wikipedia is slowly becoming clannish, secretive and arbitrary. Editors have become an unaccountable officialdom that is enforcing policies that are contrary to the non-linear linking of the Net.

Linking made Wikipedia a dominant presence on the Web. And now it is Wikipedia that is caught up in an uncontrolled search for self-promotion. Its growing popularity made it a brand name equal to the biggest corporations on the Net. But Wikipedia is not a corporation and was not meant to be one.

Over the years Wikipedia became mainstream and a convenient platform of information. Convenience has its advantages but it also fosters laziness that hinders curiosity and innovation. See: “Linking to Wikipedia is lazy and a disservice to someone else who deserves the link”, by Alister Cameron.

The overwhelming predominance of popular culture has progressively transformed Wikipedia into a narcissistic platform of self-adulation that rejects any form of criticism.

In the past we applauded the fact that we could find a feature on Michael Jackson and a solid column on René Girard. This promoted a culture of tolerance and inclusiveness. What we object to is that the mental framework that inspired the creation pop culture articles is discouraging criticism and eventually academic linking and postings.

At the time Kurt Shaped Box removed all our links I had begun a project to include an entry on Implicit Religion on Wikipedia. I began the process by calling Professor Guy Ménard in Montreal to find out if he thought Edward I. Bailey, the author of Implicit Religion: An Introduction, would have any objections. Guy Ménard, had worked with the author and translated his book in French. He was pleased with the idea and recommended that I contact Bailey directly.

The blockings came as shock. As a result I lost interests in contributing to Wikipedia.

Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff may be right when they wrote in The Web is Dead: Long Live the Internet: “Monopolies are actually even more likely in highly networked markets like the online world.”

Mega organizations and monopolies eventually collapse under their own weight of corruption, incompetence or arrogance. History shows that in overstretched institutions the aggregate value of the parts that make up the system tend to be worth more broken up than if they stayed part the whole.

Wikipedia officialdom has driven a wedge between itself and the contributors who made it what is today. It is our view that the source of these contribution will eventually dry up. The best contributors in humanities and science will ultimately shun Wikipedia. The good articles will be copied and moved to a scientific friendly format that encourages criticism and the advancement of knowledge.

Censure & Wikipedia: the last trial

On 7/24 we linked the article The Da Vinci Code and Mary Magdelene as an external link to the subject of Mary Magdalene using a different username. The external link was removed for the following reason:

“The link you added to Mary Magdalene  was a blog post, which is discouraged under our external links policies.  Please do not add links to blogs in the future; they will be removed. carl bunderson (talk) (contributions) 03:58,  24 July 2010 (UTC)”

User:  Carl.bunderson
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“Hello, my name is Carl Rocco Bunderson. I am a seminarian for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Denver, studying at Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary. I did one year of graduate work, and I have my BA in economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. I was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church on 7 April 2007. You may contact me at my user talk page.”

My reply:
Hi! The link that was added is a valid and informative essay on “Mary Magdalene” and contributes to the ongoing debate on the subject. The link just happens to be posted on a Word Press format. It is not a blog type entry. I doubt if the editor bothered to read the linked essay. Wikipedia editors must recognize the growing use of the WP platform and update their policies and adapt to this new reality otherwise Wikipedia will devolve. Respectfully,  18:29, 24 July 2010 (UTC)”

Censure & Wikipedia: The second occurence

On 13 July 2010 I decided to try and link my essays to Wikipedia again on the subjects listed below using a different user name. Links to Batman, Iron Man, Spider-Man and Superman were avoided because these Wikipedia entries were what appeared to be under the control of the media and movie industries and the devout fans and editors that acted as their agents. The links we added were immediatly blocked again for basically the same reasons.

Simone de Beauvoir (?External links)
Zuni mythology (?External links)
Washington Monument (?External links)
Book of Job (?External links)
Mary Magdalene (?External links)
Book of Job (?External links)

“Your account has been blocked indefinitely from editing Wikipedia because it appears to be mainly intended or used for publicity and/or promotional purposes. Please read the following carefully…

Please stop adding advertising or inappropriate external links to Wikipedia. It is considered spamming, and Wikipedia is not a vehicle for advertising. Thanks.Information.svg Welcome to Wikipedia. If you are affiliated with some of the people, places or things you have written about on Wikipedia, you may have a conflict of interest. In keeping with Wikipedia’s neutral point of view policy, edits where there is a conflict of interest, or where such a conflict might reasonably be inferred, are strongly discouraged. If you have a conflict of interest, you should avoid or exercise great caution when:

1. editing or creating articles related to you, your organization, or its competitors, as well as projects and products they are involved with;
2. participating in deletion discussions about articles related to your organization or its competitors; and
3. linking to the Wikipedia article or website of your organization in other articles (see Wikipedia:Spam).

Please familiarize yourself with relevant policies and guidelines, especially those pertaining to neutral point of  view, verifiability of information, and autobiographies. For information on how to contribute to Wikipedia when you have a conflict of interest, please see our frequently asked questions for organizations. Thank you. –Fama Clamosa (talk) 02:19, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
by User:Fama Clamosa
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“Whatever my hearers might do, I myself always learned sometimes by lecturing. And to those who have experience of  what a heart-breaking business teaching is  — how much the can’t-learns and won’t-learns and don’t-learns predominate over the do-learns — (sic) will understand the comfort of that reflection.” —Thomas Henry Huxley (1896)”

Censure & Wikipedia: “Blocked Indefinitely”

This is the third posting on the subject. We would like to share with our readers the reason(s) given for the blocking of links we added on Wikipedia on the subjects outlined below. These blocks were executed by an anonymous and ominous editor named Kurt Shaped Box.

Links to:
The Book of Job, Iron Man, Lady Di, Spider-Man, The Da Vinci Code and Mary Magdalene, Batman, Superman, Zuni Mythology, Mircea Eliade, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Simone de Beauvoir.

We believe that the subjects outlined above would benefit from our contributions. We will let the reader and posterity decide on the merits of our presumption.

The reason given for the blocking is:

“This user is currently blocked. The latest block log entry is provided below for reference:

09:19, 1 May 2010 Kurt Shaped Box (talk | contribs) blocked Netage (talk | contribs) (account creation blocked) with an expiry time of indefinite ({{Spamusername}})

Your account has been blocked indefinitely from editing Wikipedia because it appears to be mainly intended or used for publicity and/or promotional purposes. Please read the following carefully.”

We find the reason(s) for the blocking disingenuous. Especially in view that Wikipedia is overwhelmed by entries relating to popular culture: Subjects that are, to say the least, idol-atrous in their quest for publicity and media self-promotion.

There are many possibilities why the bulk of the links were blocked. One of them is that the editor does not understand the subtleties between promotion of knowledge and narcissistic self-promotion. Another reason may be that the editor did not bother to read our entries and made a wrong assessment about its content. Or that he read the entries but made an arbitrary decision against the best interest of the expansion of knowledge and the future of Wikipedia.

Censure & Wikipedia: The first occurrence

We are currently blocked from adding netage.org links on Wikipedia on subjects like “Book of Job”, “Superman “, “The Da Vinci Code” and “Mary Magdalene”, just to mention a few.

We would like the reader to decide if these links contribute to the understanding of the subject matter. And if this censure does not contradict the open source nature of Wikipedia. Our concern is not about netage.org but about the future of Wikipedia.

It appears that Wikipedia is being overwhelmed by entries related to popular culture. As it happens  some of our links contain a critical analysis of popular culture, especially about the “media” as a speudo-religious medium.

We will be posting the episodes of the blocks and the different the reasons that Wikipedia editors have used to justify such bans. The entry below is the first attempt made to block an external link to “Spider-Man”. The ban was subsequently remove:

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“Netage.com links (sic)

I rolled back your link on the Spider-Man page becuase it appears to be either self-promotional and/or just another essay on Spider-Man, rather than a site about Spider-Man (and I suspect that’s why the Batman link was rolled back). Check out Wikipedia:External links for more information on what to link here. — Ipstenu (talk|contribs) 16:08, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Hi, I rolled back your link again. Please talk to me on my talk page if you want to discuss this, but one non-notable essay on a topic doesn’t really lend for it to be linked. — Ipstenu (talk|contribs) 18:34, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Regarding your email

I believe in the Wikipedia community, so I’m replying here. This way, other editors who come looking this up will know what the heck went on.

Emailing me off the site, without mentioning your websites, made me take about 30 minutes to figure out you had written an email to me about edits from a month ago. Let me address the most serious concern I had with your edits: Self-Promotion. The rules are simple, you shouldn’t ever add your own site to a page. You’re reading too much into that if you’re taking it as a censure. Check out WP: Conflict of Interest for details.

Regarding why I removed your sites, which you call idealism in your email to me, links to pages that are essays on certain superheroes do not add anything helpful to article. An external link should (per Wikipedia:External links which I linked to before) be a link that adds merit to the page. This does not mean I think your essay was bad, I rather liked it, and I took a moment now to re-read it. The issue is that your site falls clearly under Links normally to be avoided. That is ‘Links to blogs and personal web pages, except those written by a recognized authority.’ and ‘Sites that are only indirectly related to the article’s subject: the link should be directly related to the subject of the article. A general site that has information about a variety of subjects should usually not be linked to from an article on a more specific subject. Similarly, a website on a specific subject should usually not be linked from an article about a general subject. If a section of a general website is devoted to the subject of the article, and meets the other criteria for linking, then that part of the site could be deep-linked.’

Frankly, your site does indeed make valid criticism. On a religious site. That has little to do with superheros, and it’s notable. The goal of your website (from here) espouses that “The web site proposes articles about how traditional forms of religious expressions have shifted into alternative forms of spirituality.” Which is great. But having two articles on superheros does not a notable site make. Having two, little read articles (if a google link-back search is any indication) makes it less notable.

If you had a Batman site, that contained the history of Batman, the movies, the TV shows, etc, and these essays, then your site would be perfect to add to the Batman page. That’s what we’re looking for. Everything else? Not really needed. I honestly don’t know where on Wikipedia your site would fit best, probably somewhere in the religion sections there’s a spot for this sort of site, but it’s not superheroes. Otherwise, we’d be adding every Tom, Dick and Harry site in the known world with one article on Batman, and before you know it, we’d be a link farm. And no one wants that.

If this is still vexing you, or you still don’t understand why, I suggest bringing this up in the proper forum- The talk page of Talk:Batman or Talk:Spider-Man would be a good start. There’s also the Comics Project, where people are wise about the ways of comics. I hope I’ve helped you understand why I deleted your link. — Ipstenu (talk • contribs) 23:50, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
[edit] My reply to Ipstenu

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My reply:
“I apologize for sending you an email and for not going through the proper channels. I am new at this and I am not very familiar with Wikipedia’s protocol. I am also sorry for not including my web page link in my email, I am so into self-promoting myself that if forgot to include it.

By reading your reply I can see that you have completely missed the point of my email. That’s why I have decide to post it here. I have also posted your reply that I consider rather impulsive and kind of harsh.

“To the editors;

I had linked several of my articles on subjects like Superman, Spider-Man and Batman. I am writing to challenge the censure of my links by Ipstenu and other editors. My links were removed on the grounds that they are not “about” but “on” the subject of these super-heroes, whatever that means. I am also accused of self-promotion. This is non-sense because these super-heroes are the epitome of self-promotion by the media.

My articles make a legitimate and valid criticism of these mythical heroes. I am sorry that Ipstenu’s idealism is being shattered by my discourse. And I plead on behalf of the reader, young and old, who will benefit from a valid criticism of our post-modern mythology.

I would like to stress that I have dedicated my life to study of religion and spirituality. I thrive to apply a critical analysis on the subject of mythology and ideology. My goal is to promote intellectual criticism for the benefit of the reader. From an open-source perspective, of which Wikipedia should be the embodiment.

I would like to remind you that the etymological meaning of encyclopedia is; a general education that include all branches of knowledge. The French Encyclopédistes were part of an intellectual group that promoted the advancement of science and secular thought. They advocated tolerance, supported rationality and open-mindedness. They were responsible for the Enlightenment.

Their primary goal was to make knowledge accessible to everybody. By emphasizing the importance of linking the different branches of knowledge. To show that knowledge comes from the scientific study made by “individuals”. Not from the doctrines or dogmas of provided by the Church in Rome. They applied themselves to bypass ─déjouer─ any “censure” from the Church or the State.

Wikipedia must object to any form of censure and defend its role as a bottom-up provider of education. It should promote any valid contributions to the understanding of a shifting world view ushered by the Internet. As you know, linking is the essence of the Internet. It is because of this linking that the unprecedented development of the Internet was made possible.

To conclude, I would like to add that I contributed in my writings the idea that these super-heroes are mythical American icons. An idea that is commonly accepted today. I would like to emphasize the importance of any linking contributions like mine to the advancement of knowledge and to critical thinking for the benefit of a healthy public debate.

Respectfully, Michael A. Rizzotti BA in Theology, Loyola MA in Religious Studies, UQAM Author of: God, Myth, and Metaphor (I can provide you a copy of my diplomas upon request)”

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“Ipstenu’s email reply:

You’d be best served bringing this up on the talk pages. Seriously, emailing me to bitch that I deleted a site that was in clear violation of the wiki rules (self-promotion) is rather against the idea of a community.

In that regard, I have replied here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ User_talk:Netage

I will not be replying to further emails on the matter.

As you can see from my reply months ago, I did direct you to talk pages (including my own). If you still need help figuring out how talk pages work, put {{helpme}} on this page and someone who is good at that can help you out 🙂 You have yet to address my assertions that this is a personal website, or a case of self-promotion as defined by Wikipedia’s standards. I strongly urge you to take up your case on the individual talk pages for the articles in question, as I linked to above. — Ipstenu (talk • contribs) 20:47, 10 July 2007 (UTC) “

Censure & Wikipedia

I have been banned from editing pages on Wikipedia by  an editor who does not believe in open source or Wikipedia:

“You are currently unable to edit pages on Wikipedia.

You can still read pages, but you cannot edit or create them.

Editing from Netage has been disabled by Kurt Shaped Box for the following reason(s):

Your account has been blocked indefinitely from editing Wikipedia because it appears to be mainly intended or used for publicity and/or promotional purposes.”