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Dear Wikipedia, no I don't plan on donating

Among other problems with it, Wikipedia's bias problem is a men's rights issue.
During the last few years the men's issues community has seen Wikipedia articles on gender issues targeted by feminists to create a biased source that can be used as backup for feminism's claims about everything from various gender issues themselves to the men's rights community and specific men's advocates. Feminist-leaning editors have banded together to shut other editors out of writing and influencing the choice of content.

The same thing has occurred with #gamergate, with Wikipedia's coverage of the topic including information that is demonstrably false and excluding information in order to support an inaccurate, negative portrayal of #gamergate's consumer revolt.

The bias stretches across topics of all kinds, wherever the site's biased editors find it politically prudent to limit the information presented in order to frame an article in their own political bias. Public figures, historical events, organizations, and even abstract concepts have been subjected to this treatment, making the site worthless as a source of information unless the reader is trying to support a similar bias. Even then, its credibility undercut by its own editors, Wikipedia's value as a source has been destroyed.

In the past, I've written to ask what can be done about the site's political bias problem. Administrators showed no interest in addressing it. Now they're having a donation drive. I thought it would be appropriate to let the staff involved with collecting donations know why I can't see participating in it as a wise choice. Given that the admins' previous response was "well this is just how we do things," I do not expect my one letter to have much impact. However, I'd bet that if their donations drop and they hear from a lot of consumers that rampant political bias on the site is why, they may have to take a second look at the problem.

My email, sent to donate@wikimedia.org, Wikipedia's contact address for issues with donating to the site:

My issue with donating to your site is not a technical one. It's a consumer complaint.
For years I've been researching and writing for various blogs and other publications. I have learned during that time that it is easy to find backup for anything a writer with a political bias wants to insert into an article. It's easy to ignore available information in order to frame an article to promote a political outlook. This is a thing that writers for political blogs often do. It's expected, and it's why readers should question what they read in those publications.
It should not, however, be a thing that writers for publications presented as reference material do. For reference material to be of any value, a reader should be able to trust that its presentation of information is complete, untainted by bias, and factual. It should present confirmed information without prejudice and allow readers to do their own evaluation of its meaning and importance.
Unfortunately your site does not do that.
Editors with a political bias have largely taken over the portions of Wikipedia which can be either categorized as or even remotely related to politics or the social sciences. Not only have they inserted bias into the writing on these topics, they have crowded out other editors in order to avoid being subject to any oversight on their work. When biased writing on the site is questioned, these biased editors treat that as harassment or sabotage of their work, and use Wikipedia's popular-opinion-weighted vetting process to censor dissenting editors.
This behavior calls the entire site's credibility and usefulness into question. I cannot use any Wikipedia articles as original reference material for any of my writing, as I cannot be certain without checking their work myself whether I'd be citing factual information, or quoting an ideologue's biased opinion. Instead, if I use the site at all, it's to search through your editors' sources as a starting point for online searches to see if I can get more complete information than your editors are willing to present. I might as well be doing the research for their articles myself.

I discourage my kids from using the site as an academic source except, again, as a starting point if they're having trouble figuring out what to search when doing their own research.
I don't see any sense in supporting such roughshod, useless work. It would would be a terrible waste of money; if I am going to pay someone to do my research for me it would be wiser and more productive to buy access to a more established encyclopedia site.

I am terribly disappointed to see this happen to Wikipedia. It is with that disappointment and much regret that I inform you that as long as your site's administrators tolerate the biased editing and censorship of dissent, I'm afraid I simply cannot be one of your donors.

A request for Twitter

In the last few months I've seen some discussion on the exploitation of vulnerable aspects of twitter's rules by social justice warriors to silence political dissent by using bots to mass block or mass report so dissenters' accounts would be suspended. On October 29, I emailed press@twitter.com with questions, explaining my intent behind the request. I wanted to be up-front about the fact that this was for an article to ensure that their reply would consist of information they wanted known. 
Recent trends in some groups' tweets have included referencing the option included in the "block or report" menu to report another user for content that is "Generally offensive, disrespectful or in disagreement with my opinion." Some users are touting that option as a means to silence political dissent. This sounded unlike a social site policy, and led me to look further into the reporting options.

Further investigation has only led to more questions, including questions about other options for reporting. The help bubble for that option says "Twitter does not screen content and does not remove potentially offensive content unless such content is in violation of the Twitter Rules and Terms of Service," so I have read those.
Some of the twitter rules have wording which could be subject to broad interpretation and potential abuse. I'm writing to request clarification, as I am considering an article. My current focus is communication, harassment, censorship, and how twitter's rules affect engagement between users in relation to political and other potentially controversial discussions. Any information I receive in response to these questions will contribute to that article.

For instance, listed under "targeted abuse" are
  • if the sole purpose of your account is to send abusive messages to others;
and
  • if the reported behavior is one-sided or includes threats
What factors determine if the sole purpose of an account is to send abusive messages to others?

Is disagreement with others' opinion considered an abusive message, and if so does that mean engaging in debate by replying to publicly made statements of opinion with counterarguments is now considered abuse?
If not, what is the specific reason for including "in disagreement with my opinion" in the harassment reporting options?

I am assuming that tweets without @user mentions are not considered "targeted" because they do not involve intentional contact and users can block feed they do not want to see. Is this correct?

Does "targeted abuse" include @user mentions without abusive language, but which contain a dissenting counterargument to something the user has said? (eg. I disagree with @twitteruser's stated opinion in LinkToPublication because reason #politicalorsocialconcept or @twitteruser I disagree with what you said.) If so, is that a blanket rule or does the behavior have to be repeated or continue after the user engaging in it has received some variation of "stop talking to me" before it is considered to be in violation?

Does the tone of a tweet change whether it is considered abusive, and if so what is the criteria for that? ("I disagree with what you said" vs a similar line containing expletives vs a line containing slurs or the suggestion that the user deserves to suffer violence because of his opinion.)

Under the Spam heading are the following criteria:

  • If you have followed and/or unfollowed large amounts of users in a short time period, particularly by automated means (aggressive following or follower churn);
When a political or social movement forms on twitter, users often follow each other so that posts about their specific pet issue will show up in their feed. Is it a goal of twitter to prevent this, or does following require automated means in order to be considered a violation?
  • If your updates consist mainly of links, and not personal updates;
Many users post links to news stories, videos, and memes related to hashtags created for issues and concepts that have meaning to them. Very often these are, to the user, personal updates because they are new information about the issue or concept. Will users whose personal updates usually include links to information be considered spammers?
  • If a large number of people are blocking you;
  • If a large number of spam complaints have been filed against you;
This looks like it could be used by ideological groups to silence popular or very vocal users whose updates contain statements of opinion to which they are opposed, by banding together to all block and/or report the same person, thereby putting him or her in violation. What is twitter's administration doing to counter potential abuse of these rules?
  • If you post multiple unrelated updates to a topic using #, trending or popular topic, or promoted trend;
There are Twitter users currently interpreting this to mean that dissenting views to a hashtag's political outlook and criticism of the belief or assertion behind a hashtag can be considered spam if it is posted to the hashtag. For example, posting an opposing viewpoint with a political hashtag can offend the readers of the hashtag, but it's a discussion attempt. Is it considered spam even if it is not belligerent or threatening?
  • Randomly or aggressively following, favoriting or Retweeting Tweets;
This line is hard to interpret. Can you please give a more detailed explanation of what it means? How does twitter determine when following, favoriting, and retweeting are random or aggressive, and when doing those things is acceptable?

Finally, do you have a policy in place to deal with habitual, vexatious false flagging (users repeatedly reporting content which does not violate rules or terms of service in an attempt to silence speech they disapprove or people they dislike)? This is a behavior I've seen on other social networking sites where administrators have written and posted broadly interpretable policy without stipulating that false exploitation of it would also lead to discipline. What is Twitter doing to prevent users from banding together to engage in this type of harassment, and how do you differentiate between a user engaging in this and a user who spots or experiences and reports a lot of genuine violations?


If you provide me with a statement on the overall goal of Twitter's rules and guidelines as they relate to discussion on the site, I will include that in the article.


If you have any questions for me, please let me know, and I'll be happy to clarify anything that has not come across clearly. Thank you in advance for taking the time to address these questions. I hope to produce an article that will bring about better understanding of Twitter's rules and their relationship to the many discussions among users of the site.
To date I have not heard back. I cannot be sure if this is simply due to their staff for handling press requests being small and unable to keep up, or if they are avoiding answering the question. Even if it is the latter, it could be because, now that they realize there are holes in their policy they want to fix them before replying. It could also be due to a desire to leave those holes in place without having to answer for them. The only way to know would be to hear back from twitter, and that is out of my control.