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In recent months, there has been a controversy surrounding the Wikipedia GamerGate entry on the controversy concerning conflicts of interest. Several Wikipedia editors have demonstrated conflicts of interest over the article with concerns to their affiliations to the topic and comments they have posted on other websites. Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, has stepped in on the subject several times, on Twitter, reddit and Wikipedia talk pages, notably in his comments that Wikipedia editor, Tarc and other “point of view warriors” should voluntarily step down from editing the page.

However, most recently Wikipedia admin, The Wordsmith, has asked Ryulong, a controversial and prevalent editor of the article to once again step down, due to a perceived conflict of interest and concerns over a “paid-editing scandal”. After Ryulong went to the subreddit GamerGhazi, a known anti-GamerGate page, and invited readers to ask him anything, Wales came to comment on the thread that:

“If you’ve become part of the wider Internet drama (for example, by starting an AMA about yourself) surrounding Gamergate, then you likely should step away from the article. ”

Following the question and answer thread, Ryulong declared that he would in fact step down, as he could understand how entering into this discussion with a related subreddit, could be perceived as a conflict of interest. The same day, a user of the reddit page, asked fellow users for funds in order to help the Wikipedia editor pay a friend back a debt he borrowed in order to cancel a mobile phone contract, and extra money in order to help her ship possessions from Japan back to the States. It appears that within an hour of  the posting to the now deleted GamerGhazi thread, a helpful stranger, under the pseudonym Fishfox Nuro, had funded his entire $350 GoFundMe project. It is unclear whether this Fishfox Nuro is related to Twitter user @FishFox_Nuro, who retweets several anti-GamerGate sentiments, and describes themself in their bio as an “SJW Lunatic”, a term sometimes used by GamerGaters to mock those who oppose the movement.

Despite the promotion of his funding project on the subreddit, and his apparent payment from an anti-GamerGater, Ryulong decided to return to editing the contentious article. It is clear that both the answering of questions on a GamerGate related subreddit, and receiving funds from a campaign posted to the same subreddit, could be perceived as a conflict of interest, and TechRaptor applauds Wikipedia admins for attempting to step in and return the article to neutrality.

What are your thoughts? Is there a conflict of interest? Please comment below.


Georgina Young

Contributor

British girl, currently in Japan. Surviving on a diet of retro games. Worshiping the god that is the Sega Megadrive. I like Nintendo.



  • Brian Hall

    Georgina, I would like to thank you for being one of the based and honest voices of reason in this whole malarkey.

  • DoombotBL

    Ryulong goddamn get a life.

  • Topgeartony

    Ryulong is as bent as they come. He needs to get dropped.

  • Parrikle

    Wikipedia has clear policies on editing with a paid conflict of interest. In particular, they do not prohibit people who are being paid from editing the articles, but require full disclosure when they do so. They are also very strongly encouraged to make suggestions on the discussion page, rather than editing the article directly. In Ryulong’s case, his edits since receiving funds through GoFundMe have been within Wikipedia’s guidelines, as he has not directly edited the article.

    Answering questions on a subreddit would not be counted as a conflict of interest.

  • Neutrality? Really? Pfft, as if. Just comparing these wiki pages about GG proves the exact opposite. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamergate_controversy (“Official” version)
    http://wiki.gamergate.me/index.php?title=GamerGate (“Not Official” version)

    This is why I never bother with “en.wikipedia.org” pages, they are biased and uninformative jumble of nonsense. It’s only when the wiki is “not official” that you can get more informative information.

    fyi: by “un-official” I mean the wiki is not moderated by Ryulong or such.

  • big guy

    what kinds of edits has ryulong done in the after the AMA? there is no citation for that.

  • George on the Go

    He ha claimed he made edit in the paid editing scandal link. I don’t know the specific ones

  • TheCybercoco

    As I understand it, the AMA can be construed as evidence of POV editing. That is against Wikipedia policy. I think that is why the AMA is brought up into question.

  • Red Lagoon

    They can do whatever, I’m not going to donate to them ever again!

  • handsomejack47

    How the hell is Ryulong still allowed to edit anything on Wikipedia?

  • Parrikle

    Oddly, Wikipedia doesn’t prohibit POV editing, it just requires that articles have a neutral point of view. Sometimes that is reached through having people with different points of view hash it out over the article. In the case of GamerGate there are editors with a clear pro-GG bias, along with editors with an anti-GG bias.

    I’ve never felt that getting two extremes to slug it out is a good method of producing articles, but I guess it is a method of doing it. If Wikipedia was to kick off all the anti-GG editors, they’d also have to get rid of all the pro-GG ones. And then they would need to start asking how truly neutral the neutral ones are. I can’t see it ending with many people left.

  • elwood p. dowd

    In the case of GamerGate there are editors with a clear pro-GG bias,

    =====

    Really? Which editors would those be? And have any of their edits or additions actually made it into the entry? I’m personally not seeing anyone with a Pro (or even Neutral) take on GG getting anywhere near the entry, though I’d certainly not mind being proven wrong.

  • Fenrir007

    It seems Ryulong is no longer doing it for free. That he would still try to go back to editing it couldn’t be a clearer sight he is compromised.

  • ScewMadd

    He’s taken money at this stage, and does AMAs at the most vitriolic and staunch anti-GG holdout there is. How does he reconcile this in his mind with the idea that he’s neutral?

  • elwood p. dowd

    What I saw on KiA seemed to indicate he was posting only on the “talk” page? IOW, something that violated the spirit of his “stepping back,” if not the letter. Though I’m afraid I’m not the least bit fluent in Wikispeak, and could very well be misinterpreting something here.

  • destroy_all_monsters

    The simple fact they allow paid editing at all makes them a hopelessly biased source that should never be supported. An alternative that forces ethics and automatically dismisses those like ryulong is necessary.

    I don’t see how anyone can consider anything on wikipedia as anything other than tainted.

  • Parrikle

    That’s your call. 🙂 The problem has been how do you completely prevent people from being paid in a system that allows anonymous editing? The current approach has been to acknowledge that some paid editing will always happen, but add limits and insist on transparency while blocking anyone who doesn’t disclose.

    There is an ongoing discussion on Wikipedia about blocking paid editing completely, but to be honest I suspect that such a move would be unenforceable. Prohibition doesn’t tend to work, but regulation might.

  • Throwingrocks

    I’d like to get worked up over this, but… it’s Wikipedia. Do I really need to say more? It’s a fun place to read through things that might be true, could be true, have an element of truth in them, but ultimately are not reliable in any serious way. The only real use for Wikipedia is to find the references used for topics to help you cut down the time it takes to research a subject. That’s it. That’s all.

  • Parrikle

    I’m not really inclined to point fingers – the current Arbitration Committee Case on Wikipedia has named a number of people who have been active as pro-GG on Reddit, 8chan and The Escapist discussions. The point isn;t really to highlight pro and ant GG editors, but simply to say that in an open environment Wikipedia can’t ban either party simply for having a stance. It doesn’t mean that it is always balanced or fair – just that having a point of view doesn’t exclude any side from taking part.

  • Erodred

    I hope these poeple get deadmin
    this is ridiculous

  • elwood p. dowd

    I’m not really inclined to point fingers –

    ====

    I wouldn’t ask you to. 🙂

    ====

    the current Arbitration Committee Case on Wikipedia has named a number of people who have been active as pro-GG on Reddit, 8chan and The Escapist discussions.

    ====

    I’m glad to hear it. Candidly skeptical, but glad to hear it. As in, I’m gobsmacked that somebody from 8chan who self-identifies to TPTB in Wiki-land as such would be allowed within, oh, a parsec or so of the GG wiki entry.

    I’m certainly pro-GG, but 8Chan is a bit too…well, why don’t I just say a bit too exuberant for my tastes and leave it at that?

  • Lemon

    the only thing I dislike about this article is the “gater” reference. we are all gamers

  • Code : Verde

    Rule Gymnastics. Self instated exile can end whenever you feel like. Then you can say” But I did walk away from the article… For a day. Which is completely long enough! :P”

  • Cwbintennessee Michael Winton

    It’s obvious that RyuLong can’t be trusted
    He has ties with A man in black whom was also barred from Wikipedia editing over Pokemon edit warring on there
    A man in black edited on Wiki in 2009 n was banned after an arbitration hearing deemed him unsuitable to admin
    He also loves to shitpost propaganda along with Butts in the Gamergate hashtag 24/7 .

  • Code : Verde

    I stand by motto of always questioning and never instantly trusting anyone with a Encyclopaedia Dramatica page that has citations.

    If ED has dirt on you, for multiple years. I have to see if either someone has a hate boner for you or if you’re really insane.

    Sadly, it tends to be both. Rarely is it one or the other.

  • Morningstar

    It is rather telling that wikis more dedicated to a particular subject like fanwikis are more informative then the general Jack-Of-All-Trades Wikipedia

  • Javier Vega

    Its a shame that a Okinawan accepted a bribes that from a SJW Furrie.

  • DynastyStar

    Of course its bias, I do hope that Wikipedia acts on this again.

  • Freakydemon

    That’s why you don’t use wikipedia for anything political. Or at least not political articles that matter today, you’ll probably get a decent neutral explanation of the ‘Copperheads’ movement today, but not so much on Ukraine for example.

  • It is clear as daylight that Ryulong has a conflict of interest and is quite obviously trying to alter the content of the wikipedia because of bias and monetary involvement. Perhaps he has the right to edit according to wikipedias rules, but the fact that they allow someone with such obvious bias to edit a subject he is now directly linked in is unreasonable and -very- disconcerting.

  • destroy_all_monsters

    It’s not even limited to paid editing – when people are being given college credits to make wiki an even more feminist source it’s time to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Without a more centralized method of control and clear rules that oust those who refuse to deal exclusively with the facts there is no reason to use them.

    If anything this shows how utterly unworkable and useless wikis are without strong management.

  • To be fair, I think the top brass at Wikimedia are sincere about maintaining impartiality and keeping out of controversy (unlike certain other Foundations we could mention). But that evaporates pretty quickly as you go down the chain of command, and Jimmy Wales can’t be everywhere.

    The safest thing is not to treat WP as authoratitive and especially never trust any article about a controversial person or event.

  • Livnthedream

    Funny thing is, our favorite moderate Anti dev Raph Koster did a breakdown that touched on all of these issues just weeks before GamerGate even started. Watch the first ~5min of his presentation: http://www.raphkoster.com/gaming2/presentations/wikipedia-is-a-game/ (First Livestream link).

  • Edward Royce

    I was hoping to never see that name again. Ralph Koster. ugh. The Man who implemented Karma in UO and thereby made it impossible for friends to protect one another. bleh.

  • Edward Royce

    I only use it for the lists of tv show episodes to figure out which precise one I want to watch. Otherwise it is fairly useless.

  • Ebola-Chan✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ

    I do not edit the article because I would be biased. I expect others to feel the same if they respect the integrity of Wikipedia. It is clear that Ryulong is not one of those people and instead wants to tell their lies as they please.

  • Ebola-Chan✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ

    Yup, the fan wikis always have the most information. Wikipedia doesn’t ever have enough information because they seek smaller articles and they don’t seem to care what fans would actually want.

  • SevTheBear

    And this is an example on why you don’t trust Wiki 100%

  • Pandora Orosco

    8chan is not that bad, you can just hang around the /gg/ board and never go anywhere else. To me personally /gg/ is the best place to find info since anons there are the first ones to find it and then you can join in discussing. The discussions are almost always civil and I barely see any h8 that the antis say 8chan is full of lol. Twitter is not good for long discussion and I never used reddit in my life and not interested in doing it now.

  • Adam Armstrong

    Wow. That Wikipedia article is some biased bullshit. From the very first paragraph.

  • Reptile

    Or get names of musics from a show/movie.

  • ArsCortica

    As much as I respect Wikipedia as a free source of information, it has gone down a rather sad path of cliqueism and nepotism. That people like Ryulong still are at it despite of continued disruptive behavior and their previous history (and boy, does Ryulong have one) is symptomatic, but imho not the core issue.

  • Damn I knew Wikipedia had issue with this article, but never realized how bad it was. Hope they can restore the neutrality of the page to continue the discussion for both sides and the moderates around this issue.

  • TheCybercoco

    POV editing may, or may not, have some kind of enforced sanction for the biggest offenders, as it is directly counteractive to one of the most important Wikipedia policies: NPOV. Whether action is taken against someone who is POV editing or not, it is still highly frowned upon.

    I have a tendency to feel that the GG page should not exist just yet, as it is too heated an issue at this point. It’s best to put together these controversial articles after the fact when heads are cooler. The only people right now to remotely have a chance at putting up a neutral article are outsiders with no stake in it. But I’m seeing more and more how the issues here can spill over into other areas. For example, the fight for ethics in video games journalism can have some strong connotations of the state of news media entirely. There have been plenty of examples just surrounding the reporting of GG that indicate something seriously wrong with main stream media news. And other outlets, just as the tabletop board game and comic book, are also looking at GG and seeing how it relates to them. GG is uncovering a bigger issue than it initially intended to tackle in regards to journalism. Then there is the harassment issues that get brought up a lot and how people relate to that. It’s hard for GG not to impact someone in some way unless they are just plain careless of anything. So I’m not sure how the state of the current situation can facilitate anything productive in that article unless constant edit wars and bickering is the goal.

  • TheCybercoco

    To “restore the neutrality of the page” might prove impossible considering that it was never neutral to begin with. I’ll settle for a redirection towards neutrality, though. 😉