Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The disinformation highway

The disinformation highway

Is the internet a haven for chancers, spoofers and liars, as a new book claims? Or is it a truly democratic work-in-progress? Damian Corless reports

Tuesday July 31 2007

Last month I got a phone call from my bank. They'd spotted an "irregular" transaction on my credit card and they wanted to check if I'd splurged €4,500 on a diamond from an online jewellery store.

I assured them I hadn't and they told me not to worry, as the bank (meaning their customers) would absorb the cost of the internet fraud.

Last week the sinister side of the internet resurfaced again when a new form of extortion reached Ireland from cyberspace.

A number of people reported to gardai that they'd received emails from a man claiming to be a “sniper” demanding their money or their life.

The “assassin” claimed that he'd been hired to kill the recipient of the email.

However, having tailed the intended victim, he'd satisfied himself that they didn't deserve to die, and he'd call off the hit in return for a large pay-off.

The scam sounds so preposterous as to be comical, but the capacity to inflict terror on a gullible recipient is clear.

A host of related episodes are gathered in The Cult Of The Amateur, a new book by English author Andrew Keen which makes a sweeping attack on the culture of the internet.

Keen, who is based in California, hits the usual soft targets from pornography to online poker, but his main thrust is that the web is dumbing itself down by replacing the authorative knowledge of experts with the flawed “wisdom of the crowd”.

He selects as a prime culprit the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, which relies upon volunteer editors and contributors. Wikipedia gets far more traffic than the website run by Encyclopedia Britannica, which relies upon experts and scholars.

The problem is that the interactive format employed by Wikipedia opens it to postings that are inaccurate, unverified and even downright fraudulent. It recently emerged that a contributor using the name Essjay, who had edited thousands of Wikipedia articles and had been given the authority to arbitrate disputes between writers, was a 24-year-old chancer named Ryan Jordan, and not the eminent professor he claimed to be.

So, on balance, is the internet to be embraced warts and all, or treated with the greatest suspicion?


Any information gleaned from the internet must be treated with suspicion. Wikipedia is simply the best-known knowledge bank but it's open to abuse, distortion, disinformation and the input of idiots.

The distinguished White House aide, John Seigenthaler, was infamously slandered in a malicious Wikipedia biography which named him as a Kremlin spy and implicated him in the murders of both JFK and Bobby Kennedy. In The Cult Of The Amateur, Andrew Keen points out that the most popular search engine, Google, answers “search queries not with what is most true or most reliable, but merely what is most popular”.

Search results can be manipulated by “Google bombing” which “involves simply linking a large number of sites to a certain page to raise the ranking of any given site in Google's search results”. The Irish have proved very adept at warping the web.

In 1999 Time magazine conducted an internet poll to find the Person Of The Century. A lobby group from Ireland got to work with the result that footballer Ronnie O'Brien, a former supermarket shelf-stacker from Bray, shot to the top of the ratings, overtaking such luminaries as Albert Einstein and Martin Luther King.

When the magazine bumped O'Brien off the list, he was swiftly replaced by Dustin The Turkey who polled over 1,000 votes more than Adolf Hitler.

The same distorting effect came into play in 2002 when a version of A Nation Once Again by the Wolfe Tones beat John Lennon's Imagine when it was named “the world's most popular song” in an online poll run by the BBC World Service.

Back in 1968, when the internet was in its infancy and still in the hands of the US military, Senator Ted Kennedy heard that a local Massachusetts company had won the contract for an ”interface message processor”.

He sent off a telegram congratulating the firm for their ecumenical spirit in developing their “interfaith message processor”.

Four decades on, ecumenical is possibly the last word we'd use about an invention which has become synonymous with Islamofacist beheadings and bomb-making sites, Christian fundamentalist intolerance and hatred, Nazi memorabilia stores, child porn exchanges, and mindless idiots filming themselves doing mindlessly idiotic things for posting on YouTube.

It is the rise of YouTube, MySpace, Wikipedia and the other do-it-yourself newcomers that remain the cause of perhaps the most concern, as they steal ad revenue away from the conventional media which pays journalists, scholars and researchers to ensure that the information they impart is based on fact, and is more than the hodge-podge of half-baked opinions, prejudices and half-grasped factoids that increasingly pass for knowledge on the web.

Be careful out there.


Andrew Keen rails against a future where knowledge has become a debased currency and where we will “live to see the bulk of our music coming from amateur garage bands, our movies and television from glorified YouTubes, and our news made up of hyperactive celebrity gossip, served up as mere dressing for advertising”.

This is what happens, he insists, “when ignorance meets egoism meets bad taste meets mob rule”.

Well I've got news for Andrew Keen. That world is already here without switching on your computer. Turn on your TV or radio and you'll find that Bruce Springsteen's prediction of 20 years ago has come to pass where there's “57 channels and nothing on”.

Keen argues that “what the web revolution is really delivering is superficial observations of the world around us rather than deep analysis, shrill opinion rather than considered judgement”.

He's absolutely correct. The information we download from the web is not to be taken as Gospel truth. It's worth remembering that the four Gospels were carefully selected by the early Church from a raft of conflicting stories in order to convey a certain slant. Nothing much has changed.

The internet is a wondrous resource which has revolutionised how we work, how we communicate, how we shop and how we tap into ideas which were previously closed off to us because of distance, culture or censorship.

The internet is a work in progress and it is challenging existing standards, in numerous ways barely imaginable 15 or 20 years ago. At its worst, it is indeed a place “where ignorance meets egoism meets bad taste meets mob rule”.

It's also the miracle of the age, the uncorked genie that can't be put back. It's a great boon, but handle with care.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Wikipedia - Can Teenagers Write An Encyclopedia?

Wikipedia - Can Teenagers Write An Encyclopedia?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/22/2007
The vast majority of Wikipedia contributors and editors are under the age of 25. Many of the administrators (senior editors) are in their teens. This has been established by a survey conducted in 2003 and in various interviews with Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of the enterprise.

The truth is that teenagers cannot do the referencing and research that are the prerequisite to serious scholarship - unless you stretch these words to an absurd limit. Research is not about hoarding facts. It is about identifying and applying context and about possessing a synoptic view of ostensibly unrelated data.

Moreover, teenagers can't tell hype from fact and fad from fixture. They lack the perspectives that life and learning -structured, frontal, hierarchical learning - bring with them.

Knowledge is not another democratic institution. It is hierarchical for good reason and the hierarchy is built on merit and the merit is founded on learning.

It is not surprising that the Wikipedia emerged in the USA whose "culture" consists of truncated attention spans, snippets and soundbites, shortcuts and cliff notes. The Wikipedia is a pernicious counter-cultural phenomenon. It does not elevate or celebrate knowledge. The Wikipedia degrades knowledge by commoditizing it and by removing the filters and the barriers to entry that have proven so essential hitherto.

Wikipdians boast that the articles in their "encyclopedia" are replete with citations and references. But citations from which sources and references to which works and authors? Absent the relevant credentials and education, how can an editor tell the difference between information and disinformation, fact and hearsay, truth and confabulation?

Knowledge is not comprised of lists of facts, "facts", factoids, and rumors, the bread and butter of the Wikipedia. Real facts have to be verified, classified, and arranged within a historical and cultural context. Wikipedia articles read like laundry lists of information gleaned from secondary sources and invariably lack context and deep, true understanding of their subject matter.

A recent (late 2006) study by Heather Hopkins from Hitwise demonstrates the existence of a pernicious feedback loop between Google, Wikipedia, MySpace, and Blogspot. Wikipedia gets 54% of its traffic from Google search results. The majority of Wikipedia visitors then proceed to MySpace or Blogspot, both of which use Google as their search service and serve Google-generated advertisements.

Google has changed its search algorithm in late 2005-early 2006. I have been monitoring 154 keywords on Google since 1999. Of these, the number one (#1) search result in 128 keywords is now a Wikipedia article. More than a quarter (38 out of 128) of these "articles" are what the Wikipedia calls "stubs" (one or two sentences to be expanded by Wikipedians in the future). Between 7 and 10 of the articles that made it to the much-coveted number one spot are ... empty pages, placeholders, yet to be written! (These results were obtained in early 2007).

This is Google's policy now: Wikipedia articles regardless of their length or quality or even mere existence are placed by Google's algorithm high up in the search results. Google even makes a Wikipedia search engine available to Webmasters for their Websites. The relationship between Google and Wikipedia is clearly intimate and mutually-reinforcing.

Google's new algorithm, codenamed Big Daddy, still calculates the popularity of Websites by counting incoming links. An incoming link is a link to a given Website placed on an unrelated page somewhere on the Web. The more numerous such links - the higher the placement in Google's search results pages. To avoid spamming and link farms, Google now rates the quality of "good and bad Internet neighborhoods". Not all incoming links are treated equally. Some Internet properties are shunned. Links from such "bad" Websites actually contribute negatively to the overall score.

The top results in all 154 keywords I have been diligently monitoring since 1999 have changed dramatically since April 2006. The only common thread in all these upheavals is one: the more incoming links from MySpace, Digg, Tehnorati and similar Internet properties a Website has - the higher it is placed in the search results.

In other words: if Website A has 700 incoming links from 700 different Websites and website B has 700 incoming links, all of them from various pages on MySpace, Website B is ranked (much) higher in the search results. This holds true even when both Websites A and B sport the same PageRank. This holds true even if the bulk of Website A's incoming links come from "good properties" in "good Internet neighborhoods". Incoming links from MySpace trump every other category of incoming links.

An unsettling pattern emerges:

Wikipedia, the "encyclopedia" whose "editors" are mostly unqualified teenagers and young adults is touted by Google as an authoritative source of information. In search results, it is placed well ahead of sources of veritable information such as universities, government institutions, the home pages of recognized experts, the online full-text content of peer-reviewed professional and scholarly publications, real encyclopedias (such as the Encarta), and so on.

MySpace whose 110 million users are predominantly prepubescent and adolescents now dictates what Websites will occupy the first search results in Google's search results pages. It is very easy to spam MySpace. It is considered by some experts to be a vast storehouse of link farms masquerading as "social networks".

Google has vested, though unofficial and unannounced and, therefore, undisclosed interests in both Wikipedia and MySpace. Wikipedia visitors end up on various properties whose search and ad placement technologies are Google's and Wikipedia would have shriveled into insignificance had it not been to Google's relentless promotion of its content.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Wikipedia disrespects experts says co-founder

Wikipedia disrespects experts says co-founder

16.07.2007 - Larry Sanger, who founded Wikipedia in 2001 with Jimmy Wales only to leave shortly afterwards, said that even as far back as 2001 the Wikipedia community “had no respect for experts”.

Sanger said he told Jimmy Wales that unless he did something about the fact that no special role was provided for experts to reign in the various abusive elements like vandalism of articles, he was going to distance himself from the project permanently.

Years later Sanger went on to launch his own collaborative, community-based online encyclopedia called Citizendium.

As far back as 2001 Sanger noted that complaints were beginning to pour into the online community encyclopedia about the authenticity of contributions and edits.

The difference, he says, is that Citizendium has expert editors that nominate articles for approval and constables that essentially police the site, and make sure it runs well.

He hopes that Citizendium will become a credible competitor to Wikipedia but with the same expert reliability as a traditional print encyclopedia.

“Wikipedia, to put it plainly, lacks the sort of credibility and reliability that traditionally edited resources have.

“Experts are needed in the approval process, not necessarily in the process of creating the content. They are needed to make an efficient judgment that the article captures what is known about a subject, “ he said.

Although Wikipedia is not for profit and is now very anti-advertising, Sanger pointed out that before the dotcom crash, Wikipedia did have advertising income, but following the drying up of money from that source it then became what it is today.

Sanger believes that such portals can be monetised while maintaining a professional presence as a resource tool. He is currently in the process of looking at ways to incorporate advertising in a non-intrusive way into Citizendium.

Apart from advertising, Sanger and co-founder Wales also disagree about who actually founded Wikipedia in the first place. Wales has previously claimed to be the sole founder of the online collaborative encyclopedia.

Maybe he should check his facts on Wikipedia which says that both men were identified as co-founders in 2001.

By Marie Boran

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Wikipedia censors want to kill Fudzilla

Wikipedia censors want to kill Fudzilla
To be banished to join the Everywhere Girl
By Nick Farrell: Tuesday 10 July 2007, 15:54
THE CENSORS at Wikipedia apparently continue their witchhunt against the INQUIRER, even pursuing our writers long after they have left us.

You might remember that long-term INQ hack Fuad Abazovic had gone off to form an online magazine called Fudzilla based in Midge Ure's favourite hang out, Vienna.

The magazine has done quite well for its first few months, with Fudo getting a fair number of hits and a bit of advertising on his site. And so one of his fans in the Far East stuck up a fairly dull entry in Wikipedia.

But then Wikipedia assassins started to grind their axes.

First, they replaced a lot of the text with some fairly nasty bile that they had clearly been storing up since the days when Fudo wrote for us.

And now the whole entry is up for deletion, the main reason being, it seems, because the Wiki experts "think" Fudo put the entry up for advertising purposes. No evidence is offered, but that must certainly be what Fudo did, if the Wikipedia experts "think" he must have done.

The fonts of all knowledge "think" that means they can now claim his magazine does not exist.

Fudo tells us he didn't write the entry but points out that the person nominating his magazine for Wiki-deletion is "an adamant Dailytech reader" who seems to have been a bit upset by the Rydermark series of stories wot he penned. Fudo has had a few problems with some Daily Tech readers who he told to get a life.
Obviously these readers took up Wikipedia censorship as a hobby and have ignored his sage advice completely.

Of course if "Dailytech reader's" logic was applied throughout Wikipedia then no magazines or newspapers would have an entry, other than Dailytech of course. Neither would Wikipedia allow entries relating to companies such as Microsoft and Intel which could also be seen as advertising.

Logic seems to escape the Wikipedia experts particularly when they have a grudge on. An encyclopaedia written by the people is all very well so long as the people aren't a lynch mob grinding axes.

More here.

See Also
I got whacked by Wikipedia twice
Wikipedia deletes Vole as Microsoft term
Wikipedia "broken beyond repair", co-founder says
Everywhere Girl: You're deleted

Friday, June 29, 2007

What Do You Know? - Another Bogus Wikipedia Flack

What Do You Know? - Another Bogus Wikipedia Flack
Posted by Ken Hardin on June 29, 2007 at 12:02 pm

First off, let me clarify that this a blog, not an “encyclopedia.” What follows is simply anecdote and speculation, not deeply researched or certifiably true information.

OK, that said …

I chuckled to myself this morning when Ann All, an editor with us here at IT Business Edge, suggested that there might be something fishy about this statement from a Wikipedia poster about a really creepy incident/coincidence.

The poster, whose IP-based identity was confirmed in this Wikinews article, posted that the wife of pro wrestler Chris Benoit was dead, about a half-day before the grisly and highly publicized details of a double murder/suicide came to full public light. The poster’s explanation — he had just heard some rumors on the ‘Net and decided to put them up at an “encyclopedia.” Quote:
That night I found out that what I posted, ended up actually happening, a 1 in 10,000 chance of happening, or so I thought. I was beyond wrong for posting wrongful information, and I am sorry to everyone for this. I just want everyone to know it was stupid of me, and I will never do anything like this again. I just posted something that was at that time a piece of wrong unsourced information that is typical on Wikipedia, as it is done all the time.

Ann’s comment to me, via IM:
“… the quote sounds like it was made up, as it so obviously encapsulates what is scary about Wikipedia.”
Really, I have little to add there. I’m NOT saying that the quote WAS made up. But it provides a perfect snapshot of what a growing number of folks agree is the downside to Wikipedia. It does seem to me that at least Wikipedia could take it upon itself to ensure that the poster’s IP address be blocked from the site. That seems at odds with the general culture of the site; hence perpetual grumblings from folks like me.

I actually use Wikipedia from time to time — this week, it was the second step (Google being the first, of course) in my research of the Pligg open source CMS. But I certainly don’t trust it as a terminus of info. Stuff like this fracas only serves to make me more distrustful of what can be a useful, overview resource.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Wikipedia banned from UCSC class

Wikipedia banned from UCSC class
By ROGER SIDEMAN/MediaNews Group
Article Launched: 06/17/2007 08:17:11 AM PDT

SANTA CRUZ - UC Santa Cruz professor Dan Wirls adopted a policy banning students in his American government class from citing Wikipedia in research papers.
It's not that the collaborative online encyclopedia is bad or wrong - though inaccurate information is always a risk, says Wirls and other UCSC faculty who are noticing a growing number of students using Wikipedia. The main gripe from Wirls, chairman of the politics department, is that students "are entering college with almost no research skills beyond their rudimentary use of the Internet.

"They do not know how to use a library," he said.

For students who often start their research with Google, a Wikipedia entry will be the first item to pop up on just about any search of a concept, event or major figure.

And Wirls worries about students looking no further, explaining that reliance on the site has become, for some, a lazy man's substitute for more rigorous forms of research and investigation.

"You have to understand that we're dealing with a few students who will take the easiest way out," he said. "I've had students quoting Marx from the online entry instead of the course text."

Wirls' frustrations are by no means unique. Faculty across a wide range of departments at UCSC, and across the country, have either banned Wikipedia in citations, or at least warn students not to use the site as a primary source. Most say they don't object to its easily accessible online nature, but rather its freewheeling nature, which allows articles to be edited by nearly anyone with access to the Web.
In February, the history department at Middlebury College in Vermont banned the use of Wikipedia in citations, the first department at any college to do so. And many professors from around the country have posted caveats about its use atop their course syllabi.

Without the warnings, papers can start to look very similar.

In UCSC professor Noriko Aso's class on Japanese popular culture, the Web site seems, at times, to have become more influential in research papers than the assigned books or other course materials.

Since the point of going to college is to engage with the readings, Aso said, the number of papers with generic answers pulled straight off the Web site "is counterproductive, if not problematic."

Wikipedia officials agree, in part, and don't consider the bans to be all that negative.

"Wikipedia is the ideal place to start your research and get a global picture of a topic. However, it is not an authoritative source," said Sandra Ordonez, a Wikipedia spokeswoman. "We recommend that students check the facts they find in Wikipedia against other sources. It's usually not advisable, particularly at the university level, to cite an encyclopedia."

Because of the nature of Wikipedia, vandalism and unintentional errors can be added to articles, she said.

Since taking some heat for publishing inaccurate information, the online encyclopedia has tightened its rules, requiring users to register before they can create an article and limiting who can modify certain entries to a select group of experts.

"I think students are being blamed for laziness when the course readings or the lectures may just be hard to understand," said Sefira Fialkoff, a sophomore majoring in economics.

Although some UCSC professors have barred Wikipedia in citations, they have not banned it altogether, saying a total ban would be impractical. The site is simply too handy to expect students never to consult it, they say.

Since students today face an ocean of information, much of it poor quality, UCSC politics professor Ronnie Lipschutz said a better approach would be to teach students to "triangulate" a source like Wikipedia with other sources to determine whether a given entry can be trusted.

Another professor, Quentin Williams of the earth sciences department, agreed.

"I just tell students to use it with a very critical eye," he said, "and not to confuse it with primary sources where an author's name, credibility and, possibly, paycheck are up front and on the line."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"Sopranos" Fans Whack Creator's Wiki Entry

"Sopranos" Fans Whack Creator's Wiki Entry
Posted Jun 12th 2007 1:55PM by TMZ Staff
Filed under: TV, Wacky and Weird

We all know that a lot of "Sopranos" fans thought that the series ended on a terrible note -- but taking a hit out on creator David Chase's Wikipedia entry? Oh marone!

TMZ was checking out Chase's Wiki page this morning, and noticed that the first line read, "David Chase ... is a homosexual American television writer." Now we're all for the gays, but the sexual-orientation thing seemed odd, since Chase has been married to the same woman for over twenty years.

Well, it turns out that the entry was "vandalized" by some Wiki thugs, which then caused the Wikipedia folks to clamp down immediately, disallowing any changes to the page. Wikipedia didn't comment on the changes in Chase's entry, but it won't be available again for editing until next Monday.

Yesterday, in an interview with a New Jersey paper, Chase said that he wasn't trying to "[mess] with" fans, just trying to entertain them with the provocative ending, which concluded the series in nearly ten seconds of black screen.

Angry Fans Trash Sopranos Creator's Wikipedia Page

Angry Fans Trash Sopranos Creator's Wikipedia Page
Posted June 12th, 2007 by cjs in News

Wikipedia has revoked public editing privileges to the wiki page for Sopranos creator David Chase due to vandalism by individuals unhappy with the conclusion to the popular HBO television drama.

2Snaps readers, ever on the pulse of the entertainment community, tipped us to the developing situation over at Wikipedia. Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia which functions as an open forum where users can freely create or edit entires, closed down their entry for David Chase to prevent further inappropriate edits to it's content.

Various reports (many unconfirmed) suggested that the content of Chase's entry was edited to include a myriad of insults to the television writer, including suggestions that Chase was gay, suffered from mental retardation, and other things you wouldn't say in front of your mother.

The folks at TMZ captured Google search results displaying a portion of the vandalized text (shown below).

Wikipedia is keeping the David Chase entry closed until June 18th, which means disgruntled Sopranos fans will have to wait a week before they can vandalize the entry again.

Read more about the flop finale in our earlier feature, Audience Gets Whacked in Sopranos Finale.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Privacy? I Pay The Bills, I Want The Grades

Privacy? I Pay The Bills, I Want The Grades
By Ann Baldelli
Published on 6/10/2007

It's prudent to be leery of information from Wikipedia, the free, online encyclopedia, because contributors from around the world write this resource collaboratively.

Anyone can edit or add to an article, so users must always be careful and realize the source might not be factual. But anyone who is computer savvy will also tell you that Wikipedia is a great place to get a quick understanding of many issues. Say, something like the subject of privacy.

Here's Wikipedia's take on privacy: “Privacy has no definite boundaries and it has different meanings for different people. It is the ability of an individual or group to keep their lives and personal affairs out of public view, or to control the flow of information about themselves.”

It goes on to say, “the right against unsanctioned invasion of privacy by the government, corporations or individuals is part of many countries' laws, and in some cases, constitutions.”

Privacy is an implied but not a guaranteed right in the U.S. Constitution. We expect our right of privacy, but we don't always value it. And quite frankly, sometimes we overstep the boundaries.

But lately, I've been wondering if this whole question of privacy isn't getting totally out of control. Here's the latest rub for me.

My firstborn is heading off to college, and I've recently learned that the institution he'll be attending — like all schools that accept federal funds — is bound by the regulations of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) not to release information pertaining to his academic record to me without first obtaining the express permission of said son in writing.

In other words, he has to sign a waiver for his grades to be sent home to me.

It should have been clear that my perceived rights were changing when his tuition bill arrived in our mailbox addressed to him. He's not paying the bill.

When I called the college about his proposed student loan, I was told he needed to make the call, not me.

According to FERPA, which is also known as the Buckley Amendment, college students, regardless of age, are considered responsible adults and are allowed to determine who will receive information about them. Under the law, parents who want to receive a copy of their student's academic or financial records can do so only if their student signs a release.

Certainly there are many students who pay their own tuition and have every right to have their grades and bills sent directly to them. But it seems screwy to me that a person, or a parent, who is paying a college bill, is denied access to financial information and grades, simply because their child is no longer in high school.

In most cases, students sign the waiver to allow their parents to receive their grades, and in extreme cases, parents could stop paying the tuition if the student didn't agree to sign.

It just seems an odd interpretation of privacy for young adults who in many cases are still dependent on their parents, financially, and otherwise. And a bit, contradictory, too.

We're just back from a parent/student orientation at my son's chosen school, and it was made abundantly clear that overindulgence of alcohol and/or drugs will not be tolerated there. In fact, the head of security and judicial affairs told the assembled parents that if their student is transported to the hospital for drug or alcohol abuse, we'll get a call.

Apparently the college is not subject to the hospital privacy laws.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Wikipedia, Web 2.0 create oceans of mediocrity

Wikipedia, Web 2.0 create oceans of mediocrity

"Dictatorship of Idiots" triumphs over experience

By INQUIRER staff: Sunday 03 June 2007, 10:46

VAST ARRAYS OF typewriter wielding monkeys are failing to produce masterpieces and instead are destroying culture, talent, experience and expertise, according to the author of a book called Cult of the Amateur.

Andrew Keen, interviewed in The Sunday Times, said that sites like Wikipedia are promoting a "dictatorship of idiots" over a "dictatorship of experts", with the whole project displaying clear signs of totalitarianism.

He told the newspaper that many bogs and so called news sites are fronts for PR spinners and others who conceal their real agendas.

He said that sites like Citizendium offer more hope than Wikipedia. The so-called "democratisation" of the web undermines truth while boggers do not have the resources or the skills to launch real investigations as great newspapers have done in the past.