Wikipedia Bans Hundreds of Accounts Over Alleged Paid Editing

Wikipedia's latest scandal involves the site's administrators banning hundreds of accounts over what they are calling an "extortion ring" involving more than 200 articles which were promotional in nature. Wikipedia alleges that the operators of this "extortion" ring were taking money from individuals and businesses on a subscription basis in order to maintain positive and informative articles on the subjects. This service was alleged to have cost about $30 a month which is far below the typical "yellow page" listing rate, though the charge is getting the venture cast as an "extortion and protection" racket (archived).

Wikipedia is no stranger to scandal (archived) having in the past featured episodes including community drop out Ryan Jordan successfully roleplaying as a religious studies professor to great acclaim among fellow Wikipedians and founder Jimmy Wales repeatedly intervening in the Wikiprocess to benefit acquaintances in return for money and affection. Other people have questioned the accuracy and quality of text produced by the Wikiprocess and distributed through the Wikimedium. Specific instances of bias in framing on Wikipedia have been documented suggesting there may be political or policy directed motives for their hypocrisy.

This generally fits with the typical Silicon Valley modus operandi of self promoting platforms like Wikipedia as being useful things, which appear to work until the wrong people do the right thing and the platform's administrators very publicly express rage at people cutting into their racket. Because it is alright for Jimmy Wales to remove passages of text for $5000 per incident, but enterprising kids can't get $30 for letting small businesses use Wikipedia like the yellow pages.

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