Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Wikipedia and Valleywag

Wow, Jimmy Wales messed up bad. He does need to quit, or be fired.

It's pretty bad. Getting straight-up payed to rewrite history.

I'm a huge Wikipedia fan, and we know it's not perfect, but this dude's been going bonkers. Not to burn him too much - the question is, would have Wikipedia existed without him, and would it have gotten as far as it has without him?

And further, are any of Wales' payola schemes any worse than things that Encyclopædia Britannica does every day, just hidden from public oversight completely? Probably not.

But the question then becomes, if Wales has been involved in payola and bribery and extortion, who else at Wikipedia has been involved?

Hey - I edit Wikipedia. Best gimme some cash, else I'm gonna mess up your Wiki, yo!


And seriously, what's up with that weird-ass 'æ' character in Encyclopædia? Is that new? They didn't have that when I was in grade school.

And we really have to rely on Valleywag to get this info? Shit, man. In a way, Valleywag really is a terrorist organization - they're not quite on the level of Scientology yet, but could they get there? Probably. Will they go there? Maybe.

Do I feel threatened when I write this post? Not too much, but there are reasons for that. I don't have a lot to lose - financially or otherwise, and I'm pretty open about all sorts of things, on this blog and others. I have no big-wig position to protect, no marriages or anything like that. Still, would it be fair for Valleywag to go after me and print everything that every tipster sent to them? Whether something is true or not is largely irrelevant. Would I want it to happen?


And that's pretty scary. Imagine - if a veritable nobody in Silicon Valley - me - would not be happy about getting Valleywagged, what does that mean for people who actually do have things they'd like to keep on the low - like their fetish for Hershey Sundae Pies, maybe? Are they entitled to that privacy? Are they - we - entitled to any privacy at all?

If Valleywag decides to attack you - could you handle it? There's nothing that Scientology could do that Valleywag couldn't. Is everyone 'fair game'? They could hire private investigators to trail you. They could harass you and your family. They could do whatever they wanted to, and what could you do in return? Not a lot. You're left with very few options - either take it, or lose it - buy yourself a gun and go for the people at the top - the people giving the orders. The Church of Scientology does it. Paparazzi do it. Valleywag does it to a certain extent, so far - are they getting more aggressive? Will you be next?

Valleywag has already attained a level of inhumanity that puts it right up there with health care companies and other major corporations. You know how environmental firms go after environmental activists? Well, that's what Valleywag does, and can do. I don't know this to be fact, but I suspect there are plenty of people who would love to be critical of Scientology and Valleywag, but just won't do it - they're scared. And they have good reason to be scared. Valleywag operates using the same 'Fair Game' policy that the Church of Scientology uses.

I'll admit, it's not easy for me to feel sorry for folks like TechCrunch's Mike Arrington - someone whose writing exudes a lack of compassion that even Newt Gingrich could be proud of - but that still doesn't make Valleywag's attacks right or moral or ok.

On the other hand, there does seem to be a need for some truth telling in any power center. We used to have Uncov, but they went away, and now we're left with Valleywag. They add value sometimes - but they're pretty evil, too.

Maybe it's not that big a deal. Maybe only the tech titans get Valleywagged? Like any other gossip rag, the news hits, people jabber, and then someone else is getting crucified tomorrow. Life goes on. Probably easy for us to say - those of us who haven't get been Valleywagged.

Man - the more I think about it - the more I think that analogy works. Scary.

Are you next on Valleywag's hit list?

...removed the FBI ref. I actually am scared of them.

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