Wiki war games…

Jim Duffy went to do some research for an article on wikipedia, and discovered the Northern Ireland war over words in full flow:

Wikipedia’s big “thing” is what it calls ‘NPOV’ (Neutral Point of View). So everyone edits everyone else’s work to try to agree an NPOV balance. That was till the Fighting Northern Irish came along. Forget analysis. The northerners fight over words. One republican nut went and changed every reference he could find in its 800,000 articles from ‘Northern Ireland’ to ‘Six Counties’. While everyone else on the planet was changing it back again, along came a loyalist nut and changed it to ‘Ulster’.

  • Pete Baker

    I don’t doubt that there were problems.. but the articles I checked didn’t have the kind of discrepencies that Jim Duffy mentioned.. presumably because other Wiki-authors re-asserted the NPOV.

    However, in response to an entirely different problem Wikipedia seems to be introducing other restrictions

    No new articles by unregistered editors.. but anonymous edits can still take place.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Pete, I wonder why Robert Kennedy’s assistant saw the accusation on Wikipedia, but could not bring himself to edit it or mark it as disputed. Instead he just allowed it to sit there for months – why ?

    Wikipedia isn’t too bad on Northern Ireland, at least in the places I’ve seen. Apart from the odd tell-tale reference to “Long Kesh” rather than “the Maze”, and the suggestion in the article about Bobby Sands that the hunger strikes indirectly led to the Good Friday Agreement (I strongly doubt that anyone in the republican community envisaged regionalized power sharing at the time of Sands’ death) it’s generally pretty much okay. If you’ve got problems with an article you can at least flag it as disputed. The symbol that gets inserted in an article is strangely relevant, as you may see if you visit Gerry Adams’ page on the Wiki.

    There are worse examples, eg the page describing the September 11th attacks in the US, where nutters are constantly trying to insert their alternative conspiracy theories in place of the widely accepted/documented facts.

  • harpo

    ‘In an opinion piece for the USA Today, where Mr Seigenthaler was the founding editorial director, the 78-year-old journalist claimed that only one sentence in his Wikipedia biography was correct – the fact that he was Robert Kennedy’s administrative assistant in the early 1960s.

    He went on to describe Wikipedia as a “flawed and irresponsible research tool”.’

    “flawed and irresponsible research tool”

    They’re the best sort, aren’t they?

    This is all very sad. Having been beaten for another generation or two, republicans are back to what they do best – being petty. Everyone else in the world knows what ‘Northern Ireland’ means, but those crazy zany IRs just can’t drop it, can they? Pathetic.

    Whatever happened to the parity of esteem business and starting a process of persuasion of unionists to accept a united Ireland? I guess those things are taking second place to petty attempts by moronic republicans to change reality to suit their fantasy world view, where the Irish Republic of 1916/1919 exists and there is no border.

    It’s the same old, same old. They keep unionism alive through this nonsense. If they had any sense they would stop such silly measures and unionists might eventually agree to a UI since no one had tried to annoy them for a few years. But no – IRs have to keep up the pettiness and keep unionism on its toes. Well done IRs. Another great victory for Irish unity. This is why IRism is over 100 years old and still isn’t any closer to victory.

  • Pete Baker

    It’s difficult to assess that, Comrade.. perhaps he thought he’d be drawing attention to it by correcting it in that manner.. rather than complaining directly?

    But the registration of editors seems a reasonable idea for such a project.. even to the extent that you must affirm who you are, as an editor, before changing someone else’s text.

    You may assume that I’d be in favour of such restrictions on wikipedia.. and you may also assume that I’d favour similar restrictions [on commenting] elsewhere *ahem*

  • aonghus

    I think NPOV is a myth on any subject which goes to the core of a persons identity – those subjects will always be contentious, and NPOV will come to mean “what most of the participants believe to be true”.

    But Wikipedia have found a good solution to this in the flagging of pages, and in the separate discussion pages.

    The original Wiki at which started as a great resource for software engineering has had its surface wrecked by a handful of (in my opinion of course) idiots, but a lot of the good stuff is still there.

  • That was a very poor piece in the SI (nothing new there). The author of that article is a well known Irish wikipedian about whom a book could be written about his own little edit wars on Wikipedia (see above). While he has contributed a mass of quality articles, Jim Duffy aka Jtdirl ( is at times a hard “nut” himself who doggedly tries to push his own POV on Wikipedia despite the objections of other, equally qualified, contributors.

  • “And then they wonder why we are all so fed-up with them!
    Jim Duffy”

    That damning line pretty much sums it up for me! And then they wonder why we are all so fed-up with the Sindo!

  • TheGeneral

    There is a wiki on the website which is growing and aims to become the primary source of Irish political information, both north and south of the border. Some of you may feel like contributing to it.

    see here:

  • Jimbob

    I find this part amusing:

    “I only went to the website to research an article about Wikipedia and take a break from reading about nutty Northern Ireland”

    I have to agree with post number 6 here.

    Jim Duffy did not only go to research for his article – Jim Duffy / jtdirl / FearEIREANN is a wiki addicted “nut”!

    Firsty let me say that Mr. Duffy has contributed to many articles – mostly excellent. He is also an administrator on wikipedia. He does, however, have a reputation in wiki circles for severely losing is temper with anyone who dares to disagree with his holier than thou and often southern biased “NPOV” views. He often will not listen to an alternative opinion, will use the term “vandal” to denounce any others with an alternative opinion, and uses his administrator powers to often push his own POV. See, for example, his longwinded section on nomenclature in the Northern Ireland article.

    Moving away from Mr. Duffy, I am agreed that the NI articles are currently not too bad, however, this is true with many articles on wikipedia until you dig a little deeper. This is actually dangerous as many people upon first glance think the same, are then lulled into a false sense of security and then trust the entire article as fact. Read a little further and you will often find many very subtly biased edits. Subtle is the key word here – look at the edit histories and they become more apparent.

    There have been many debates (only some however!) here on Slugger from which the outcomes could have been useful in wikipedia. I would encourage [some of the more sensible and non-zealous] regulars here to contribute more to wikipedia. Please read the “NPOV” guidelines first: .

  • G.M.C.

    In the most sense that’s, of course, very normal.

    Over in England, people accept much more, this in periods of animal fashioning more prevalent and less prevalent, knowing to be quiet because there may be so many people and so many views (“and anyway that’s what socialists do”!, “socialists” as a result being more economic, perhaps sometimes wisely). The acceptance principle in the short run usually seems much better, but in the long run, actually very unhealthy, if not also very harmful, where harm is produced.

    I find those of Scotland are wise to both ways (where did whiggism’s enlightenedness come from), but unfortunately this sometimes or even frequently ends up promoting a culture akin to the holding up of the English down south, but with less regard. Who knows perhaps these things have been more psychic than we would imagine, characters being partly defined on an approximate basis of islands?

    We SHOULD speak out more, and we should listen more. We don’t ever have to say anything, though there may be much we have ourselves to say or worth saying. Perhaps we don’t even realise this at times.

    I have posted this comment in years before now. I keep finding posts and replies which are not new which crop up NOW on Slugger O’Toole. I don’t mind at all regurgitating old items as often it is good to say these things.

    I don’t have a clue if repliers generally are adding their saved comments (and why not?) in response to some repeating news items. Personally, I am only remembering I have posted my comments before as I type. It is making things a bit more than familiar as well sometimes or more often, with repeats on radio as we wait for government and also on T.V. in all manners – shows, designs, adverts etc. I have been assured, whatever happens, broadcast repeats will lessen dramatically in the new year (this was assured last year too, though this turned out to be premature advice), and I hope this may be an example we can enjoy in furtherance on this news site too.

    I seem to remember that some people responded that, in part, as politics hasn’t developed any for years, and we are without local government which sit here actually in our province, it may be a good idea to remind of posts made, before legislation is made in these parts. Less these human’s offerings just die away in the empty space of some years before government returns within these parts.

  • Jimbo Wales who partly owns Wikipedia also partly owns Bomis, a well known pornography enterprise.

    IMO, the NPOV refutations on Wikipedia are a lipservice, a joke, they a shell game of bate ans switch, are virtual labrynth and backed-up to over a 1000 articles; there is no accountability for Wikipedia admin that are editing [[Pedophilia]] and [[child sexual abuse]] and [[child pornography]], they are strictly reverting edits to POV of the ‘child love movement’, esssentially the admin Wikipedos are the cyber vigilantes themselves that are defacing wikipedia- wikipedia let them take over and they have taken over all child-sex related subjects.

    I learned about this issue from an opinion piece on an anti-predator watchdog group website

    Please take note that Wikipedia is not censored for the protection of minors, and that is just one reason why parents and teachers should consider blocking the website. This news link contains the original published article. (see also )
    Perhaps Jimbo feels that it is a child’s right to be exposed to porn or any and all media that claims neutrality and still allows pedophilic propaganda to remain posted for months?