Seems that all this facebook and printed media talk about a military junta in Thailand is tommyrot. We looked in the Wikipedia and found that Thailand has a coalition government headed by the Pheu Thai Party.
Admittedly, there was a note saying “this article is out of date” (dated June 2014). The point is that there have been thousands of people discussing Thai politics in the social media during the last 18 months, but none of them have bothered, or been able, to make a simple correction to this Wikipedia article. Wikipedia is supposed to be open to everybody, that is, anybody can add to or change the Wikipedia. You do not even need to use your own name, you can sign on anonymously to make an “edit”. The reality is somewhat different. In the vast majority of cases where members of the public try to make an “edit”, they find their contribution rapidly deleted by some anonymous Administrator. If fact it is now probably easier to get something published in the New York Times, than it is to make a lasting edit in the Wikipedia. So, nobody bothers anymore.
There has been a lot of speculation about who these anonymous Administrators are. These are some of the more common theories:
1. Disbarred lawyers
The theory that Wikipedia Administrators are all disbarred lawyers stems from the fact that Wikipedia has thousands of rules. If you try to find out why one of your Wikipedia edits has been removed the usual explanation is that it violates some Wikipedia rule, and that you should “learn the rules” before making an edit. Wikipedia has so many rules and if you were to print them all out you would have something bigger than a 20th century phone book. You could get a law degree in less time than it would take to understand the Wikipedia rules. It seems then, that only lawyers could make up and master all these rules. Wikipedia Administrators have plenty of time on their hands, they are vindictive and generally unpleasant, just what you would expect from a disbarred lawyer.
2. Secret cult
The theory that the Administrators are members of of a secret cult has three points in its favour. The first point, is that almost all the Administrators are anonymous when, if they are acting honestly, there is no need to be. The second point, is that, although Administrators never agree with outsiders trying to make an edit, they never disagree with each other. The third point, is that nobody in his right mind would make a donation to Wikipedia, so where does their money come from? The cult theorist sees the Wikipedia Administrators as being like a medieval religious order selling dispensations to the rich and powerful “give us some money and will make sure nobody says anything nasty about your product/party/government”.
3. Retired intelligence operatives
This theory attempts to answer the question “where do old spies go to die?” the official explanation is that they go to Maryland and spend all day mowing the lawn and playing golf. However, if you have spent your life in the business of deceit, disinformation and torture, playing golf is apt to seem a little bland. So, why not infiltrate the Wikipedia? Start by correcting some punctuation mistakes (everything counts as an edit) and with a bit of patience you will make your way up to being an Administrator. Then you can do what you are good at, that is, planting disinformation. Plus you can get a few extra dollars from the the company and remain part of the gang, its the ideal retirement job. Ever wondered why the Wikipedia account of the World Trade Center disaster reads like a White House press release? That's because it is a White House press release.
4. Professional intelligence operatives
The other theory is that Wikipedia was not infiltrated, because it was an intelligence operation from the start and it is fully staff by professional intelligence operatives. This theory hangs on the fact that there is absolutely no reason for a person making an edit to an encyclopedia to be anonymous. So, why has Wikipedia always defended the right to anonymous edits. The fact of the matter is that a person making an edit is not anonymous at all, although he might think he is. The Wikipedia can always track an editor's IP address. Try making an edit when you go to the Wikipedia page using the anonymous TOR browser, you will find it can not be done. The Editors are not hidden from the Administrators but the Administrators are hidden from the Editors. The “professional theorist” sees the Wikipedia as a huge entrapment machine. It encourages editors, who think they are anonymous, to express deviant opinions. These opinions are stored in a secret computer under the editor's IP address before being deleted from the wikipedia main page.
5. Failed writers
The atrocious literary style (or lack of it) of Wikipedia articles has led some people to believe that it must be written by failed writers. According to this theory, there are thousands of people who have had their books repeated turned down by publishers, and they have all migrated to Wikipedia to established themselves as Administrators . The style of Wikipedia articles is so boring that have been cases of students using them for date rape. Get a girl back to your room and ask her to read a couple of Wikipedia pages. You will find that her eyes glaze over and she goes into a sort of coma. Apparently, it works better than Rohypnol.
6. Freelance shills
This theory contends that there is nothing sinister about Wikipedia at all. Just like all anonymous sites it has been taken over by freelance shills (Internet shills are people who are paid to plant, disparage or remove copy from the web). The shill business has been growing at a fantastic rate. Time was when Internet recruiters like Upwork and Freelancer were mainly looking for people to ghost dissertations for illiterate students at Harvard, now jobs for shills far outnumber jobs for ghosters. Some bulletin boards, like Reddit, are now populated almost entirely by shills. Obviously the people who hire shills are not very impressed when the planted copy they paid for is only read by other shills. The shill markets is very competitive so putting “Wikipedia Administrator” on your shill resume is going to count a lot more than “10,000 shill posts on Reddit”.
It is unlikely that the Wikipedia will disappear overnight. This is a pity, because it acts as an impediment to something more honest taking its place. It will probably just fade away. The administrators, whoever they are, are indisputably boring; and you can not survive long on the world wide web if you are boring. In twenty years time someone will ask “Do you remember the Wikipedia?” and get the reply “Oh yes, wasn't that something on Netscape?”
21 April 2016