Thursday, September 27, 2007


The title sounds like cheap sci-fi about an attack of killer Internet sites. Believe it or not, some people on Wikipedia actually fear such an attack from any site that badmouths a WP editor. They're pushing through a BADSITES proposal to prohibit anyone on Wikipedia from linking to a site that criticizes, or as the proposal calls it, "cyber-stalks" any WP editor.

Sounds Orwellian, and it is. But the proposal, renamed in a appropriately Orwellian fashion as MALICIOUSSITES, is on the verge of passing ArbCom, the supreme tribunal and poobah central of Wikipedia. The proposal currently has five votes from the august ArbCom panel and only needs two more. My guess is that this blog may someday land on the blacklist of forbidden MALICIOUSSITES.

BADSITES/MALICIOUSSITES has already been used to rip out many links on Wikipedia to sites run by left-wing moviemaker Michael Moore, sci-fi editor Theresa Hayden, and Hollywood producer Don Murphy. Each of these sites made the mistake of saying something not nice about a Wikipedia editor on one or two of its zillions of pages. The BADSITES/MALICIOUSSITES crowd then gleefully ripped out links to many pages on those sites, almost all of which had nothing to do with WP, much less criticized any WP editors.

This childish censorship will only get worse once ArbCom gives it the seal of high poobah approval. Sooner or later the story will get into the mainstream media, who love to trash a free competitor like Wikipedia. The headlines will be flattering: Wikipedia censors websites critical of itself. WP god-king Jimbo Wales will then step in after catching hell from the media and rescind the idiotic policy.

Stupid, silly, embarrassing...and highly entertaining.

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