Banazîr the Jedi Hobbit (banazir) wrote,
Banazîr the Jedi Hobbit

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iTalkBB and other Wikipedia controversies

I use the Voice over IP (VoIP) service iTalkBB, a Vonage competitor run by a Chinese company. A while back, I created a Wikipedia page for the company that has remained at stub quality, because I haven't had time to flesh it out further.

To make a long story short, there's a section that lists criticisms of the company, which has caught some flak for poor customer service. If you aren't a Chinese speaker, itcan be very difficult to get anything done. I put the section in for objectivity's sake, because that's almost all that is written about iTalkBB on English language sites, but shills for the company keep blanking the section. Every 2-4 weeks, I have to restore the section, or another editor does. Do people really think they can censor things this way?

ETA, 16:50 CST Sat 15 Nov 2008: This past summer, the page got deleted by an "Articles for Deletion" (AfD) call for votes that happened while I was busy with project work and not watching. Here is the page on the archive of deleted Wikipedia pages, Deletionpedia.

Apparently, Wikipedians are our own the worst enemy when it comes to dissemination of information. More precisely, deletionists are a shill's best friend on Wikipedia. Nothing consigns an article to oblivion quicker than mob consensus on lack of notability. In all fairness, it works the other way, too: nothing makes something encyclopedic in the popular view than furor or controversy.

It's self-fulfilling: take the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons for example. They would never have been protested against so little that they would fail a test of notability, even if the most extreme of the incendiary comments, digging in of heels, and sensationalistic coverage had not occurred. In any case, you can see from the history of that page that Muslim editors who just wanted the pictures gone could never achieve their goals by just blanking the page. Those who hoped the controversy would die down were also thwarted by the same editors.

As for iTalkBB, service has gotten a lot better, though it's still not great in my opinion. If you could see the history page for the original iTalkBB article, you can see that the people trying to suppress the information there felt that that was a more expedient course than fixing the problem. What gives?


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