Jimmy "Wikipedia" Wales just launched an anti-fake-news wiki: Wikitribune

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/04/25/wikiwikiwiki.html


So what was this?



The biggest challenge with any project like this is in reaching the people who most need to see it. People in general are less likely to fact check any news that they want to hear. I’m certainly guilty of that. And of course our biggest political problem is the emergence of a right-wing cult that thinks anything that doesn’t 100% confirm their world view is liberal propaganda.


I’m curious to see more details.

So far work at Wikipedia has turned up some decent ideas for solving it’s problems – sock puppets, vandals, biased/interested editors, questionable sources, fiefdoms, and people who just plainly do not understand what they’re writing about – but virtually none were ever implemented because it was thought to negatively impact public interest in editing.

(For example, joke vandalism should fall off instantly if users are allowed to edit a draft, but a draft which will not be released to the live site until a pre-determined time or approved by an empowered editor. There’s no reason to insert a joke no one visiting the live site will ever see. It’s a simple and common-sense measure. They even tried a a watered-down version on the German version of Wikipedia. And yet little ever came of it in the long-run because somehow it was seen as contrary to the principle of openness.)

Now that we’re talking about hard news, there will be an even larger portion of the community which is inherently adversarial to the projects goals. If nothing else, you can cripple an article just by changing authoritative statements to use weasel words. I hope that when pushed comes to shove, community defers to accuracy, or else there’s no point.


Get paid on the 1st, will send cash.


Yeah, I predict this will just get lumped with sites like Snopes and Fact Check.


So… they’re recreating public media?

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I’ve got nothing to say about the new venture, I’m just amused by the idea of people walking around calling him Wikipedia Wales like he’s some kind of gunslinger or kid detective.


Is anyone else troubled by that venn diagram?
There isn’t supposed to be a hole in the center!


Jimmy Wales’ Wikipedia Detective Agency!

Dot: “What are you, some kind of private investigator?”

Jimmy: “Actually, I’m a Wikipedia detective.”

Dot: “What’s that? Some kinda Web 2.0 thing?”

Jimmy: “I believe that the details to every case have already been uploaded to Wikipedia; it’s just my job to follow the hyperlinks and connect the dots.”

Dot: “Does that even work?”

Jimmy: “All the time! …sometimes. Err, occasionally. Well, actually, just once. But I learn so much along the way!”

Jimmy: “…And I work for donations!”


Agreed. White background seems to imply that Wikitribune is not community, nor journalism, nor facts.


This site just screams for the ‘Mother of All Security Firewalls’.

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AFAIK, the whole point of this adventure is to use the reporters to create news, with editing and direction from the community - i.e., collaborative journalism with topics-by-vote. like @RickMycroft above noted, this isn’t Wikinews - I don’t think public editors are able to post articles - they’ll just be able to edit drafts. exactly as you mention.

I like this, if only because nothing like this quite exists currently. Unlike snopes or the like, this should produce genuinely researched articles by journalists that will 1) be crosslinked easily to other sites (hey, like Boing Boing), and, 2) qualify as a valid reference for Wikipedia itself, which should help invalidate poor references there.

The big question is, will they generate enough revenue to keep their infrastructure paid for and journalists employed?

I’m in for $25/mo, we’ll see how it goes.


A lot of questionable “news” is planted in the corporate media by anon government sources, which are not verifiable. Wikipedia launders this into statements of fact. Will WikiTRIBUNE be any different?

This is the same Jimmy Wales who guarantees his preferred spin on history by decreeing:

Wikipedia articles on history and religion draw from a religion’s sacred texts as well as from modern archaeological, historical, and scientific sources.

In practice this means that Bible stories are presented as actual history (since there are no other sources for these events).

We’ll have to wait and see, but it seems like the whole point is verifiable facts, so…

Well, but lets remember that the community sets the standards for notability, NOT JW or even the Wikimedia foundation. We’ll have to see how much independence the community will have in setting policy for this new initiative. I’m going to bet very little when it comes to selecting valid sources (because that’s the point of the journalists), but we’ll see.

It’s new territory, described as wiki concepts with professional journalists. That, to me, doesn’t read as “copy all of Wikipedia’s policies here and start over”.


My first thought was somewhat like that. The ones who need to be told this stuff will simply wave it away.

(If anyone’s wondering, the next thought—the one that solves that problem—hasn’t come along yet, at least not at my end of things.)

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Why, oh, why do they keep on using the dreaded three-cogs-in-a-triangle diagram as an illustration of something that works…



anyone who worked with Lego gears as a kid learned pretty quickly why this is a terrible choice. :slight_smile:


I can’t wait to see the WikiTribuTan for the site.

Hmm, a fair point…

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