Is it better to think of the problem as paid editing or organized advocacy
for persuasion at the expense of accuracy regarding all costs and benefits?

Burger King is a commercial enterprise which makes money by mass production
of beef products, which require more water and produce more greenhouse gas
per calorie at retail marked-up prices than more frugal and healthy
alternatives, but their Wikipedia-focused PR budget is tiny compared to
producers of other products which similarly do not have a good cost-benefit
ratio in terms of money or productive years of life.

Some of the strongest such abusers of organized advocacy don't spend a lot
of money on Wikipedia editors, but they do promote a narrative that
anti-science types are suppressing information about them because of
Luddite unreasonableness, which causes the many editors who want to defend
science and their poorly-perceived conceptions of modernity to come to
their defense. But, like Burger King, they often sell products which cost
more than their benefits.

Examples beyond beef include: fossil fuels, nuclear power, neonicotinoid
pesticides, and tax cuts for the wealthy. Luckily, lab grown beef is likely
to soon provide suitable replacements for those who want to eat beef
without the environmental, ethical, and some of the health externalities.
But will it go the way of the texturized vegetable protein of the 1970s? I
recently discussed the solution to the fossil fuels problem on this list.
(Sorry I got the name of the King of Saudi Arabia with whom FDR met wrong,
but I highly recommend the "history teachers edit" of the BBC "Bitter Lake"
documentary on YouTube for those who don't want to watch the whole thing.)
Nuclear simply can't compete in the marketplace against renewables.
Advocacy organizations are telling the story about the true costs of
various pesticides, and those are making their way into MEDRS sources.

But I have no idea if Wikipedia is strong enough to overcome the
self-organizing advocacy for greater income inequality, which is a very
serious health issue as per unopposed MEDRS sources, but the fake news
narrative is being pushed: (full MEDRS-grade, with no substantial
opposition in other secondary sources.)

My opinion is that when issues like these impact the Mission, including the
extent that we can effectively educate, the Foundation should get involved
and do everything they can to set things right. But are these appropriate
issues for Legal, or Communications?

Would it help if the Communications team did a blog series on solutions
from the last U.S. presidential election prior to 9/11, when Buchanan was
Trump's opponent on the far right, taxes were set to be increased on the
rich by deficit hawks including Trump, and single payer was Trump's
preferred health care plan? Trump has recently signaled a return to his
1999 roots, by demoting Bannon, demanding a superior health care plan
instead of backsliding, and

Yes, these are political issues, but they are about issues which directly
impact the ability to execute the mission, and are only incidentally about
particular candidates. But they are also extremely crucial to restoring our
a civil society from the distopia of the use of state power against the
rights of individuals, and the abuse of the encyclopedia with organized
advocacy for persuasion over accuracy, in persuit of extralegal profits.

On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 11:36 AM Risker <> wrote:

> I'm just a bit agog at the idea that this article became "advertising" when
> Burger King made the connection using Google Home.  Since its very first
> edit, it has been an advertisement for this product.  It may not have been
> intended that way, but that is the reality.  Now it's almost 4200 words
> long - probably the longest writing on this single product anywhere outside
> of the Burger King home offices - and we're pretending that it isn't an ad.
> I know it is terribly disillusioning, but an awful lot of our articles are
> advertisements. There have always been LOTS of paid editors on English
> Wikipedia. It has never meant that the editor was editing primarily in a
> promotional manner - in many cases they were facilitating the ability for
> others to include promotional materials, and I've spotted what in
> retrospect were obvious paid edits going back to 2001. There are people who
> I've identified as likely paid editors who were instrumental in our early
> discussions about notability.  There were people who "worked with" external
> organizations to get access to their commercial repositories of images and
> information - with huge financial benefits to the owners of those
> repositories; sometimes this was innocent, with the editors trying to gain
> access to hard-to-find material, but the end result was the same.
> The article is an advertisement. It was one from its first edit (which
> included product prices) and it is one today.  It's good copy, but it's
> still an ad.  I'll guarantee this isn't the first or last time that a paid
> editor made significant changes to the article.  And it's just like
> thousands and thousands of other articles that turn consumer products into
> "encyclopedic content".  A 300-word discussion of Burger King's most
> notable product would be appropriate in the main article, or even in a
> daughter article about Burger King's products.  But as it stands, we have
> literally hundreds of thousands of words about various Burger King
> products: lists, articles about individual products, summaries, advertising
> campaigns, etc.  These are all advertisements. Don't blame Burger King for
> leveraging exactly what we're doing ourselves.
> Risker/Anne
> On 14 April 2017 at 12:39, Gabriel Thullen <> wrote:
> > This advertising campaign is particularly interesting, it appears that
> this
> > is the first time we can talk about an exploit (as is said in computer
> > security). It has been done once so it can be done again.
> >
> > What worries me here is that an advertising campaign like this one,
> mixing
> > TV advertising and content editing on Wikipedia is not a last minute
> thing,
> > done on the spur of the moment. IMHA, the agency responsible for these
> ads
> > must have experienced wikipedians working for them. These guys know how
> the
> > community usually reacts. There is a lot of money involved and they know
> > that they will have to get it right the first time the ads are aired.
> >
> > This looks like a bait and trick, and we were all fooled by it (by we, I
> > mean the wikipedia community of editors). The bait was the minor
> > grammatical errors in the new introductory sentence. An experienced
> editor
> > got tricked into correcting these missing spaces and such, and the text
> > itself gets a "stamp of approval", and the edit done by a new account
> will
> > no longer show up as the last modification done to the article.
> >
> > These paid edits were made on April 4, the article started to be
> vandalized
> > one week later, on April 11. But it looks like the campaign did not
> create
> > the expected buzz because Google reacted quickly (just under 3 hours) and
> > Google Home stopped reading out the Whopper article at the end of the
> > advert.
> >
> > The damage has been done. claims to have done such a
> > modification on Wikipedia, to quote them "as did we, in a test
> yesterday".
> > We will probably see more of this.
> >
> > Gabe
> >
> >
> > On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 5:39 PM, Dariusz Jemielniak <>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 5:23 AM, Gnangarra <>
> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > but they didnt spam, nor did they introduce any false hoods, or
> > remove
> > > > > controversial content, they just put a description of the Whopper
> for
> > > the
> > > > > opening sentence.
> > >
> > >
> > > I agree with James on this one. They "described" their product in a
> very
> > > flattering way, unnecessarily introducing marketing jargon ("known as
> > > America's favorite", "00% beef with no preservatives", "no fillers",
> > "daily
> > > sliced" etc.). It is spam and in the future, near rather than far, we
> > need
> > > to start seriously thinking how we can combat such content
> > > attacks/hijacking. There are some similarities to our work with
> > > anti-harassment, but I hope we'll be able to develop a more dedicated
> > > approach to this problem, that the Burger King manifestation is only a
> > > single example of.
> > >
> > > dj
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