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When did Stanley Dunham move to Seattle with Obama: 1961 or 1962? (University of Washington, Wikipedia) - 01/19/11

[UPDATE BELOW]

The political establishment has spent countless man-hours trying to claim that we know for a fact that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. Yet, even seemingly simple aspects of his past history are shrouded in mystery. For example: when exactly did Obama's mother Stanley Ann Dunham moved from Hawaii back to Seattle to attend the University of Washington?

WorldNetDaily uncovered a college transcript from UW (emailed from UW and attached):

The transcript clearly documents that Dunham was enrolled at the University of Washington for two classes that began on Aug. 19, 1961: Anthropology 100, "Introduction to the Study of Man" and Political Science 201, "Modern Government." ...The transcript also shows Dunham was enrolled at the University of Washington as a "nonresident citizen"...

WND says those were night courses and indicate that Stanley was in Seattle in August of 1961; Obama supporters respond with the claim that those were in fact extension or correspondence courses which don't necessarily indicate that Stanley Dunham was present in Seattle in August 1961 (when Obama would have been just a few weeks old). Those supporters claim they could be UW courses offered in Hawaii (for examples, see the Wikipedia page at [7]).

Yet, a friend of Dunham describes a visit to Seattle in August 1961 [1].

Another account has a neighbor describing babysitting for Barack Obama in Seattle in the January to March of 1962 timeframe [2] [3]. Note that [3] references Stanley Obama attending night classes; whether that backs up claims that she was in Seattle in August 1961 isn't clear.

Another account says Stanley Dunham had returned to Seattle "by 1962" [4]

Yet another account says "[Stanley & Barack Obama's] stay was fairly short -- about a year -- and in 1962 they returned to Hawaii" [5] which would tend to place the arrival date near the very beginning of 1962 or the end of 1961.

Not only is Stanley Dunham's arrival date shrouded in mystery, but so too is whether she and Obama Sr. ever lived together either before or after her stay in Seattle [6].

On a sidenote, Wikipedia has responded to WND's UW transcript by blanking their discussion page for the Ann Dunham article, effectively hiding the controversy from public view [7].

Now, the above doesn't mean that Obama was born somewhere other than Hawaii. It's just further evidence that those who claim that we know all there is to know are lying and, in the case of Wikipedia, are actively trying to silence debate.

See the Obama citizenship page for extensive past coverage of this issue, including many examples of reporters and politicians lying about the basic facts of this matter.

UPDATE: From this:

As Obama tells the story [in Dreams from My Father], Obama Sr. had children with at least four different women, two of them American, two African. Ruth Nidesand, a white American, had two children by Obama Sr., Mark and David, the latter of whom died young in a motorcycle accident.

When Obama Sr. died in 1982, lawyers contacted anyone who might have claim to the estate. "Unlike my mum," Obama tells his half-sister Auma in "Dreams," "Ruth has all the documents needed to prove who Mark's father was."

Ruth obviously could produce a marriage license and a birth certificate for her son Mark. Although Obama alludes to finding his own "birth certificate" in "Dreams," Ann Dunham apparently could not produce one that tied him to Obama Sr., this despite a potential payoff if she did.

"Unlike my mum... Ruth has all the documents needed to prove who Mark's father was"?

And, there's this unverified bit:

In an online forum dated March 14, 2009, Ann's high-school classmate Joelle Hannum comments innocently, "I can remember the rumors about [Ann] and another classmate who were involved with and married African-American men, and believe me in those days it was looked at with a LOT of negativity." As another friend had earlier testified, Ann never dated "the crew-cut white boys."

A thorough investigator, Hardy called Joelle Hannum to follow up. He immediately wrote down what she told him: "By request of President Obama, we [she and her classmates] have decided not to give out any more information. I have to hang up now. Goodbye."

She might have hung up on him, or she might not have. And, even if she did, she might have just made up the part about Obama. However, I've run into something similar: several months ago, the Dean of the University of Hawaii Law School hung-up on me when I simply tried to ask him basic, completely fact-based questions about this matter.

---------------------
[1] On youtube.com/watch?v=advfrQEeIBY (cached), Susan Blake, former Mercer Island councilwoman and a high school friend of Stanley says:

"one afternoon in 1961 when Barry was just a few weeks old... she... we were sitting at my mom's house, late August afternoon..." Blake says she "changed Barry's diaper and showed her [i.e., Stanley] how to do it."

[2] "Babysitting Barack Obama on Seattle's Capitol Hill"
by Charlette LeFevre and Philip Lipson - Special to the SGN
Courtesy of the Seattle Museum of the Mysteries
sgn.org/sgnnews37_06/page3.cfm

[Mary Toutonghi] recalls as best she can the dates she babysat Barack as her daughter was 18 months old and was born in July of 1959 and that would have placed the months of babysitting Barack in January and February of 1962.

[3] redoubtreporter.blogspot.com/2009/01/
obama-baby-sitter-awaits-new-era.html
By Jenny Neyman
Redoubt Reporter ("a community newspaper for the Central Kenai Peninsula, published weekly in Soldotna")

[Mary Toutonghi] used to baby-sit President Obama when she was neighbors with his mother.

Toutonghi was living in Seattle at the time, in the early 1960s. Her husband was going to school at Seattle University, and she was a stay-at-home mom with their 18-month-old daughter.

They lived in a three-story house that had been converted into three inexpensive apartments. Toutonghi and her family lived in the basement apartment, and Ann Dunham — Obama’s mother — lived in the apartment directly upstairs.

Dunham attended night classes a few days a week at the University of Washington, and needed someone to take care of her son.

[4] seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/
2004334057_obama08m.html
Obama's mother known here as "uncommon"
By Jonathan Martin [not the one from Politico]

By 1962, Dunham had returned to Seattle as a single mother, enrolling in the UW for spring quarter and living in an apartment on Capitol Hill. But friends said she got overwhelmed and returned to her family in Hawaii, and formally divorced Obama Sr. in 1964.

[5] "This essay was updated on February 7, 2009. By Phil Dougherty, January 22, 2009"
historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=pf_output.cfm&file_id=8897 (cached)
Has a picture captioned "Anna Obama residence listed in Seattle Reverse Directory, 1961-1962" showing Joseph Toutonghi as a neighbor

Soon after Barack was born, Dunham and her new son moved to Seattle. They lived in Apartment 2 of the Villa Ria Apartments at 516 13th Avenue E on Capitol Hill, and she enrolled at the University of Washington. But their stay was fairly short -- about a year -- and in 1962 they returned to Hawaii. By this time the senior Barack Obama had left Hawaii to continue his education at Harvard, with eventual plans to return to his native Kenya with his family. Dunham felt otherwise and filed for divorce in 1964.

That page lists as sources:

Amanda Ripley, “The Story of Barack Obama’s Mother,” TIME, April 9, 2008, website accessed January 1, 2009 (http://www.time.com/); Tim Jones, “Barack Obama: Mother Not Just A Girl From Kansas,” Chicagotribune.com, March 27, 2007, website accessed January 1, 2009 (http://www.chicagotribune.com/); Jonathan Martin, “Obama’s Mother Known Here As ‘Uncommon,’” The Seattle Times, April 8, 2008, website accessed January 1, 2009 (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/); Patti Payne, “Obama’s Mother Went To Mercer Island High School; Rossi Recalls WSJ,” Puget Sound Business Journal, January 11, 2008, website accessed January 1, 2009 (http://masshightech.bizjornals.com/seattle); Charlotte LeFevre, “Barack Obama: From Capitol Hill to Capitol Hill,” CapitolHillTimes.com, January 9, 2009, website accessed January 10, 2009 (http://www.capitolhilltimes.com/); Phil Dougherty interview of Maxine Box, February 5, 2009, Seattle, Washington; Phil Dougherty interview of Susan Blake, January 18, 2009, Seattle Washington; Phil Dougherty interview of Tony Nugent, January 13, 2009, Seattle, Washington; Phil Dougherty interview of Iona Stenhouse, January 13, 2009, Seattle, Washington; Tony Nugent emails to Phil Dougherty, January 19, January 23, January 31, and February 2, 2009, in possession of Phil Dougherty, Sammamish, Washington.

[6] From the same WND article:

Stuart Lau, registrar at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, confirmed to WND that Dunham attended the fall term 1960 and did not resume studies at that university until the spring term 1963.

Lau also confirmed to WND that Barack Obama Sr. attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa from the fall term 1959 through the spring term 1962.

This confirms the conclusion that Ann Dunham and Barack Obama Sr. never lived together as man and wife after the birth of Barack Obama Jr.

[7] On January 2, 2011, user Viriditas edited the Talk page for Ann_Dunham with this note: "archive old talk; move probation tag to top". The December 4, 2010 version of that page had a long section entitled "Article Should Include Evidence of Dunham's University Attendance in Washington State in 1961" linking to the WND article. Viriditas makes various excuses for not mentioning the WND article, including "the WND cannot be trusted".

State Dep't doesn't have passport records for Stanley Dunham before 1968; conflicting marriage information - 08/02/10

From this:

Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request, the State Department has released passport records of Stanley Ann Dunham, President Obama's mother – but records for the years surrounding Obama's 1961 birth are missing.

The State Department claims a 1980s General Services Administration directive resulted in the destruction of many passport applications and other "non-vital" passport records, including Dunham's 1965 passport application and any other passports she may have applied for or held prior to 1965.

Destroyed, then, would also be any records shedding light on whether Dunham did or did not travel out of the country around the time of Barack Obama's birth...

There's much more at the link, including a heretofore unknown name for Barack Obama which was used in relation to his stay in Indonesia: "Saebarkah". Not knowing Indonesian languages leaves me at a disadvantage, but that sounds like some sort of title ("sae") plus a possible more Indonesian version of "Barack". Although that could just be a coincidence and it might be a proper name in Indonesia.

And, for those who claim that everything about Obama's past is "settled science", there's this example of what we're told not necessarily being the truth:

In the released documents Dunham listed both March 15, 1965, in Molokai, Hawaii, and March 5, 1964, in Maui, Hawaii, as the dates and places of her marriage.

Your job: find those who definitively state that she was married in 1965 and ask them to reconcile it with the above. For instance, Wikipedia currently states "[t]hey married March 15, 1965" and links to this.

WorldNetDaily shows why nothing in Wikipedia can be trusted - 12/31/09

WorldNetDaily offers some of the vandalism of their Wikipedia entry and of their editor Joseph Farah here. It includes lots of smears and lies, and it shows yet again how nothing you read in Wikipedia can be trusted.

Wikipedia used to spread AGW propaganda? (global warming) - 12/19/09

Wikipedia is little more than a propaganda source that allows interested, mostly left-leaning but certainly establishment-supporting parties to spread disinformation. And, it seems like one of those involved in Climategate may have been using Wikipedia to present biased coverage of global warming.

Another reason parents might want to ban Wikipedia from schools and libraries - 07/14/09

I'm of two minds about this. On the one hand, Wikipedia is little more than a disinformation source that presents a biased, mostly leftwing Beltway establishment view of U.S. politics. And, due to its innumerable inaccuracies it's already been banned from some schools and libraries or at least forbidden as a reference. On the other hand, exposing it to sunlight is the best desiccant.

However, parents of young children might think different due to the following issue.

Barack Obama gave differing accounts of which hospital he was born in (Wikipedia and Snopes too) (+Bill Press) - 07/08/09

Those who make the definitive claim that Barack Obama was born in Honolulu should know which hospital he was born in, right? How can you know for a fact that he was born there without knowing which hospital it was? Yet, not only have Snopes and Wikipedia given differing accounts of which hospital he was born in, but so has Obama himself.

Wikipedia helps NYT hide truth about David Rohde kidnapping; "Reliable Sources" - 06/29/09

Late last year, David Rohde of the New York Times was kidnapped in Afghanistan and, in order not to increase his worth to his captors, the NYT worked with other news organizations to keep the news secret.

WikiQuote's bogus, circular smear of Rush Limbaugh (Jack Huberman; James Earl Ray quote) - 06/17/09

Wikiquote - affiliated with Wikipedia - is using as a source for an almost assuredly bogus and highly inflammatory Rush Limbaugh quote a book that was published 10 months after the unattributed quote was added to the same Wikiquote page.

The 06:01, 20 July 2005 revision of en.wikiquote.org/w/index.php?title=Rush_Limbaugh (by someone using the IP address 69.64.213.146, more at [1]) was the first appearance in the entry of this supposed Rush quote:

You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honor? James Earl Ray [the confessed assassin of Martin Luther King]. We miss you, James. Godspeed.

No source was provided, but a "source" would be forthcoming just 10 months later. The book "101 People Who Are Really Screwing America" by Jack Huberman (published by The Nation on May 23, 2006) contains that quote and is used on the current version of the Wikiquote page as the source.

In other words, an unattributed quote that appeared out of nowhere was then published in a book ten months later. Now, the only source of the quote that Wikiquote provides is... the very same book.

Note that the date of the supposed quote was first given as 2/21/03. Just three minutes later, the same IP address changed the date to 4/23/98. Note also that the quote is currently in a "Disputed" section, but the same IP address was at least until recently still actively editing that entry and has moved it out into the main part of the page at least twice. In fact, the 00:22, 10 December 2008 edit by that same IP address includes this note:

The book claims Limbaugh as a primary source for over thirty quotes. Therefore, the book uses a primary source. Vidiot, please review defs of "primary" and "secondary."

Circularity!

See this for more on how the bogus quote was spread. Among those using the bogus quote were Rachel Maddow (link). Others are listed here.

The book page containing the quote is here. Amazon's page on the book, listing the publication date, is here. The copyright date is listed inside the book as 2006. And, in a June 3, 2006 entry on the Huffington Post, the author himself referred to it as his "just-published book" (huffingtonpost.com/jack-huberman/whos-screwing-america-bat_b_22140.html).

In the book, Huberman lists several quotes, saying that many of them "come from just the short period that Media Matters monitored", providing as a footnote May 2, 2004's "Meet the New Rush, Same as the Old Rush" (mediamatters.org/research/200405020008). The Ray quote doesn't appear on that page, and no other source or specific date is provided in that section of Huberman's book.

6/20/09 UPDATE: I haven't received a reply to either email I sent to The Nation asking about this. Maybe if enough people asked them they might respond: nationbooks.org/p/contact_us

10/13/09 UPDATE: The update above was mistakenly given as a "2/20/09 UPDATE"; that was a typo and the update was actually posted on 6/20/09. I never heard back from The Nation.

10/15/09 UPDATE: See also this post discussing why this matters and related issues, and note also that the Huffington Post has issued a non-correction correction.

[1] The IP address might now be banned at Wikiquote. It might be a dynamic address, but that doesn't seem likely. A person using the name "michelleknows" used the same IP to post three messages at a forum; her user page is at forums.s2smagazine.com/member.php?s=e9403090394eaf26f99ec5bc853bfad7&u=13499
"Melissa & Rob" posted a message using that IP address to disc.yourwebapps.com/discussion.cgi?disc=222664;article=6520;title=Ludwig%27s%20Doodles%20Chat however, they might have been using that IP address as a proxy server; the originating IP is different.

Wikipedia misleads, smears about Obama citizenship "conspiracy theory" - 03/09/09

Wikipedia has a page called "Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories" (en.wikipedia .org/wiki/Barack_Obama_citizenship_conspiracy_theories) that smears those who have questions about where Obama was born and whether he's eligible to be president as fringe conspiracy theorists. And, as will be shown below, that page has been grossly misleading visitors about this issue for almost two and a half months: since around Christmas, anyone who's relied on the article has been misled.

WorldNetDaily, Newsbusters criticize Wikipedia while helping it - 03/08/09

WorldNetDaily informs us that "Wikipedia scrubs Obama eligibility/Mention of citizenship issues deleted in minutes, 'offending' users banned" (wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=91114). They're right about that, but at the same time as criticizing Wikipedia they also help that site by linking to it. The best way to deal with WP is to stop linking to it and encourage others to do the same. If WP loses enough links their entries might fall in the search results. By linking to them directly, WND is giving them a little "search engine juice", helping WP (to a small extent) maintain their search engine results position. And, that's not what you want to do.

If you need to link to WP, don't do it in the form of a regular, HTML link. If you must use such a link, at the least put a nofollow tag on the link. Better yet is to put it in plain text format, even adding a space. For instance:

en.wikipedia .org/wiki/Obama

I haven't tested it, but I'd imagine that a link in that format won't pass any "juice".

Also, NewsBusters joins in and stupidly (not a rare designation for that site) gives WP no less than six links including to valuable terms like Associated Press, Trinity United Church of Christ, and Jeremiah Wright: newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2009/03/08/wikipedia-scrubs-ayers-wright-obamas-page

As for the actual story, tell me about it. Back on January 16 I posted about how I'd changed my Wikipedia username. The reason for that was because after I'd posted a criticism of FactCheck on the Barack Obama talk page - not the entry itself, just the talk page - I found my old WP username blocked, my talk page post was deleted, and a disclaimer was posted on both my old and new user pages. More on that later.

Citizen journalists: how to increase the effectiveness of your criticism - 01/25/09

This post will look at three rightwing blog postings and describe how they could have been more effective. I keep seeing people make these same mistakes and - to be frank - to a certain extent I don't want them to do things the better way since that's more competition for me. On the other hand, another mistake they and similar people make is to not read this site, so it all evens out.

ZXY4931 is my new Wikipedia username - 01/16/09

I've used the Wikipedia username "LonewackoDotCom" since 2005 or before, and no one's raised any issues with that name.

Obama "Energy Czar" Carol Browner's membership in Socialist panel scrubbed from website, Wikipedia - 01/10/09

Up until the past few days, the website of Socialist International - the main, worldwide socialist organization - listed Carol Browner - Barack Obama's choice to be Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change aka "Energy Czar" - as a member of their Commission for a Sustainable World Society (CSWS) group. Now, however, her membership in that group has been scrubbed from their website. Don't worry, though: I saved off a copy and screengrab here.

The scrubbing continued at Wikipedia, where the news that she was a member of that panel was deleted by someone using an IP address belonging to The New Republic; see this.

Here's her biography as listed by the SI:
Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency under President Bill Clinton. Leading the EPA from 1993 to 2001, she was the longest-serving Administrator in the agency’s history. Browner currently serves on the board of several non-profit organisations, including as chair of the National Audubon Society, one of the nation’s oldest environmental organisations, and as a member of the Board of the Directors of the Center for American Progress, the Alliance for Climate Protection and the League of Conservation Voters.
More here, and from this:
Browner's CSWS is similarly open about the economic costs it is willing to impose, across national borders to achieve its environmental utopia. On Sept. 5-6, 2008, the commission noted that the costs of its proposals would "rang[e] in the hundreds of billions of dollars over the next two decades," and it called for a "redesign of the international rules on intellectual property." That is international bureaucratese for compelling an inventor to surrender property rights in order to "share" technologies with less-developed countries.

At the Congress of the Socialist International held last June 30-July2, the CSWS officially resolved that "market solutions alone are insufficient and will not provide the financial support and resources necessary to achieve the required combination of deep emission reduction, adaptation to already changing climate conditions, energy security and equitable and environmentally sound economic development." Again, that's bureaucratese. It means that international taxes should be imposed to provide the "resources necessary" to impose what the CSWS repeatedly refers to as a 'regime" against "global warming."

By appointing Browner to a White House post, Obama has at the least implicitly endorsed an utterly radical socialist agenda for his administration's environmental policy. The incoming chief executive thus strengthens critics who contend environmental policies aren't really about protecting endangered species or preserving virgin lands, but rather expanding government power and limiting individual freedom.

Obama strategist David Axelrod owns "astroturfing" company (ASK Public Strategies) - 09/11/08

Via [1] comes this article from Business Week about Barack Obama chief strategist David Axelrod:

From the same River North address, Axelrod operates a second business, ASK Public Strategies, that discreetly plots strategy and advertising campaigns for corporate clients to tilt public opinion their way... On behalf of ComEd and Comcast, the firm helped set up front organizations that were listed as sponsors of public-issue ads. Industry insiders call such practices "Astroturfing," a reference to manufacturing grassroots support...

Oddly enough, some months ago I noted a very strange blog comment in support of Obama, which seemed to me like something that had been typed out by a worker in India. I haven't seen too many comments using odd locutions like that since, but any comment thread at the Washington Post, Politico, and a host of other sites is filled with pointless comments promoting Obama.

And, of course, there's Digg. See this case for an example of an inaccurate smear that was transmitted by several blogs and by Digg. A look at one of those popular Digg posts will show an avalanche of similar pro-Obama comments, and with anti-Obama (or at least pro-truth) comments dugg down so most people will need to click a link first to see them. Could Axelrod's firm be engaging in astroturfing using sockpuppets in order to promote Axelrod's most famous client? Now, come on. Does anyone think someone linked to the Chicago machine would stoop that low?

To help out, I added the following line to the start of his Wikipedia page; let's see how long it stays there:

He operates [[ASK Public Strategies]], a company that allegedly engages in "[[astroturfing]]" [http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/mar2008/db20080314_121054.htm].

9/29/08 15:55 PST UPDATE: At this exact moment, someone else has provided a full section on ASK at his WP page, what will happen to it is anyone's guess: en.wikipedia.
org/wiki/David_Axelrod_(political_consultant)#ASK_Public_Strategies

[1] jimtreacher.com/archives/001554.html

Eve Fairbanks misleads about Wikipedia (+Kevin Drum) - 04/15/08

If two "liberals" tell you that Wikipedia isn't biased towards the "liberal" side of things, doesn't that prove that it is biased, especially when the two "liberals" aren't exactly known for thinking things through?

OK, it's not proof, but it is a strong indicator, as Kevin Drum [1] approvingly directs our attention to the post from Eve Fairbanks [2] of the New Republic (also home to Jim Kirchik and Jason Zengerle). She discusses a subscriber-only National Review article (link) called "Liberal Web" which discusses liberal bias at WP, and says:

while I hadn't perceived anti-conservative bias on Wikipedia's political pages, I wanted to see if [John J. Miller] had picked up on something I didn't.

She then uses the fact that Miller only came up with two points to buttress her claim that there's no such bias. Obviously, she's engaging in a logical fallacy: just because Miller doesn't present more examples doesn't mean that there are no more examples and doesn't mean that better examples can't be found. And, in fact, many more can be found as I know from editing various WP pages from about 2004 to about 2007 when I basically gave up due to things such as perfectly reasonable, fact-based edits being constantly rolled back [3]. In fact, I even created a site with a few examples at wikipediabias.com; note that there are many more that need to be added. Not all of the bias is of the "liberal" variety, such as that to be found at the Snopes entry.

And, it's perfectly understandable why there would be such bias due to the demographics of the web, which skews not just "liberal" and libertarian but also younger than the general population. Younger folks have more time to engage in editing wars, and those on the left side of things tend to be more activist than those on the right.

Related:
Wikipedia deletes, locks North American Union article
Google to just let Wikipedia control search results from now on
Liberals: Wikipedia not biased, Conservapedia a joke
AVWatch: will facts stick in Villaraigosa's Wikipedia entry?
How not to criticize Wikipedia
AVWatch: let's see how long facts stay in Villaraigosa's Wikipedia entry
Bloggers: stop linking to Wikipedia
"Wikipedia Celebrates 750 Years Of American Independence"
Wikipedia's continual low credibility

[1] washingtonmonthly. com/archives/individual/2008_04/013529.php
[2] blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_plank/archive/
2008/04/15/george-will-s-not-bitter.aspx
[3] I made a recent edit to the Bill Richardson entry, which was rolled back. I'm not going to get into a fight over it, but others might consider doing so: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Bill_Richardson#controversies

AVWatch: will facts stick in Villaraigosa's Wikipedia entry? - 02/08/07

As a test designed to show how unreliable Wikipedia is, I added some long-missing facts to the WP entry for Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Then, someone else came along and junked the paragraph I added up a bit.

How not to criticize Wikipedia - 02/05/07

Dave Pierre offers "'Lib-pedia'? Anti-Conservative Bias Rampant At Wikipedia" (newsbusters . org/node/10615). He's definitely right about that, but I don't think he fully groks that the only way to correct that bias is for conservatives to be more tenacious than those on the other side who currently spend a lot of time making sure WP's articles match their ideology.

Lacking that, the only thing to do is to point out to anyone who relies on WP or who advocates relying on WP that it's completely unreliable.

Bloggers: stop linking to Wikipedia - 01/22/07

Based on a "directive" from Jimmy Wales [1], the English version of Wikipedia has started using the "nofollow" tag on all external links (the foreign language versions had been doing that for a while). That tag tells search engines to not pass any "search engine juice" (e.g., PageRank) from the WP page to the linked page. While sites that have links in WP will continue to receive visitors from those links, they will (supposedly) not receive search engine-related benefits (they might, however, be spidered by some engines). Certainly, some search engines may special-case WP (including having assumed that external links weren't trustworthy already), and some mirror sites (like answers.com) may or may not follow WP's lead. However, it's the thought that counts, and this is an example of WP giving a big FU to those who contribute to their site.

The rip-off nature of this change is described here:

What happens as a consequence, in my opinion, is that Wikipedia gets valuable backlinks from all over the web, in huge quantity, and of huge importance – normal links, not "nofollow" links; this is what makes Wikipedia rank so well – but as of now, they're not giving any of this back... Wikipedia has become a website that takes from the communities but doesn't give back, skewing web etiquette as well as tools that work on this etiquette (like search engines, which analyze the web's link structure).

That page also describes what I suggest that everyone does in response:

I predict some people will now, in return, stop linking to Wikipedia, or "nofollow" their links to Wikipedia (following the argument that if they don't trust their own system, we shouldn't either, and also following social etiquette – returning a disfavor, so to speak).

This site has been doing that for quite a while, and will do things like link to answers.com if we need WP's content for some odd reason.

Note also that WP's guidelines strongly discourage using blogs as a source [2]. So, if you're a blogger who has a real news story you might have trouble getting your link to stick, and even if you do it will be nofollowed. And, as described here, that might result in WP ranking higher for something than the site with the original news.

This move may lead a small number of people to commit acts of vandalism against WP as a form of revenge, such as by attempting to stuff pages with spammy words. It might also lead to some people spamming not for (the apparently non-existent) "link juice" but for simple traffic. For instance, so far this month their Playstation 3 page supposedly got 40,000 views per day; a well-placed link there could result in hundreds or thousands of click-throughs.

And, it would be interesting to find out which links in Wikipedia don't have that tag; for instance, their links to the wikimediafoundation .org from their main page don't have nofollow.

On a technical note, this tag only seems to be added after a page is edited, perhaps due to caching. I originally thought I found a case of a link without the tag [3], but upon saving the section (without any changes), it had obtained that tag.

[1] Wrap these lines and remove the space before ".org":
en.wikipedia .org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Spam
#External_links_in_articles_are_now_.22nofollow.22_per_Jimbo_Wales

[2] Remove the space before ".org": en.wikipedia .org/wiki/WP:V#SELF

[3] The link to cdc.gov here (remove the space before ".org"):
en.wikipedia .org/wiki/Hazards_of_outdoor_activities#External_links

(Note: Placing links in that format is not necessarily suggested, that's just the method used in this instance.)

"Wikipedia Celebrates 750 Years Of American Independence" - 07/31/06

From this fine news source:
Wikipedia, the online, reader-edited encyclopedia, honored the 750th anniversary of American independence on July 25 with a special featured section on its main page Tuesday...

Wikipedia's continual low credibility - 04/04/05

I provide yet another reason to distrust Wikipedia in this post at BoreAmerica.

Previous coverage of Wikipedia starts here.

Wikipedia Watch: You'd think she was Mother Teresa - 01/11/05

Can Wikipedia be trusted? Here's their article (en . wikipedia . org / wiki / Haunani-Kay_Trask) on Hawaiian separatist and University of Hawaii professor Haunani Kay Trask.