Wikipedia – Lack of Free Speech – Why Can’t I Control My Own Article?

Posted by under Rants, on 12 October 2011 @ 11:00pm.
No Free Speech
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OK here’s the story… My website, BetaArchive, has recently had a Wikipedia page set up for it by some members. I thought this was a great idea at first since lots of other sites out there have their own Wikipedia page (not quite sure why I bothered linking it…). With that I set about adding some nice useful content to it. After a couple of hours work I was happy with the result. I sent the link to the page to a few friends who found what I had wrote there some-what interesting, since it’s not the sort of information that was readily available elsewhere.

A few days went by and then suddenly I got a message saying that my username had been suspended because it represents a company rather than an individual. What?! Since when could you not represent a company? Well under Wikipedia rules, forever it seems. I never bother reading rules as common sense is usually enough. It seems stupid that I cannot represent my own company (or website in this case). I had to register under a real name or an alias. But what if I wanted to remain anonymous but have an account to make my changes on? It seems you can’t. Relentlessly, I accepted this fact and simply started editing without an account.

A few more days later and I get another notification that some things have been changed on the page. “Oooh!”, I thought, “someone has added more information”. I log onto the page and see that information has not been added, but it has in fact been removed. My first call of action was the history tab to see what has been changed. Various bits of information had been removed. The confusing part was that it was removed by a Wikipedia moderator. What gives them the right to change an article on a site they know nothing about? They had removed various pieces of information that without it, make the article read as unreliable and factually incorrect. This is against mine and others free speech.

Suffice to say I was quite annoyed at finding this out, so I reverted the page back to it’s previous state. 2 minutes later, the page had been reverted again to exclude the information I just put  back. Outraged, I removed all of the content and replaced it with a message stating I did not want this article on Wikipedia any more. Given that I own the site the article is about, I should have every possible right to remove it, yes? No. At least that’s how the moderators saw it, so a few minutes later the article was again reverted back to the original article, minus the important parts the moderator removed.

Seriously pissed off now I simply kept reverting it back to my message. I did this 6 times in the space of about 10 minutes, and each time it was reverted by a moderator. Eventually, my IP was banned and I was no longer able to edit the page. To me this screams “NO FREE SPEECH HERE”. I own the website this article is about, I should be able to control whether or not the facts or opinions shown on this page stay or go, and I should also be able to to choose to remove the page should I choose. However it seems this is completely against Wikipedia’s methods and ethics. You can request a removal but there is no guarantee at all that it will ever be removed, as it has to go through a “public vote”. What’s more now I am banned I can’t actually edit the article to include such a removal request.

My ban expires in a few days. Perhaps then I will go on and request the removal in the method they explain you should use. I am by no means happy about having to do it this way. I find it unrealistic that they have this much control over a page about someone else’s website/company, etc. Wikipedia was supposed to be unbiased and allow free speech. However it seems in the politic controlled society we live in now (and the dicks at the other end of a computer with the super powers we call “moderation”) it seems this is no longer true.

Please leave your thoughts and opinions on this one.