Should Jess Wade be forced to testify before Congress?

Dedicated to one of the WMF's "finest persons"
Post Reply
User avatar
ChaosMeRee
Sucker
Posts: 225
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2023 11:59 pm
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 154 times

Should Jess Wade be forced to testify before Congress?

Post by ChaosMeRee » Sun Jan 14, 2024 3:06 pm

The absolute goof Jess made over New Year's, posting a biography that claimed British surgeon Valerie Lund was made a CBE in the 2024 honors, rather than the Damehood she actually got, reminded me of just how much of a monumentally shit editor she really is.

You can only truly understand the magnitude of such an "error" when you realize the context. Wade was writing biographies for 2024 honors recipients. She had already got the claim correct lower down in the biography (where most readers and Google's "knowledge" panels certainly rarely venture).

And Jess Wade of ALL PEOPLE would have been aware of the shame Wikipedia and the overwhelmingly male Wikipedians should feel for not having crested a biography for Lund in the last sixteen years, given she was actually awarded the CBE in 2008. The PEAK years of Wikipedia.

So it got me thinking. Wikipedia of course can only do what it does because of Section 230. The stupidity of editors is not the Foundation's fault, and they cannot be held liable for anything at all unless they know about it. Immunity, baby!

And, y'know, we're not idiots. For a website that has millions of editors, it can kind of make sense that a service provider as opposed to a publisher should be able to at least make the case it is unfeasible to monitor all of them in real time. Better to rely on an army of volunteers. Sure

And here we get to the reason I have always found the Wikipedia "editor" Jess Wade fascinating, as a Wikipedia critic. I don't fancy her or hate her or want to wear her skin as a suit, to take just some of the many childish insults that the chuckleheads of Wikipediocracy (and GenderDesk) have lobbed at me over the years.

A good lawyer would find it easy to show Jess Wade has never been an ordinary editor in the eyes of the Foundation. She's been quite the poster girl. Someone others should emulate.

She obviously isn't paid to speak on their behalf, but I would think it is fair to say she has at least received payment or benefits in kind for appearances and such like. I can't be sure, and that is only because Wikipedia bans anyone who dares ask Jess Wade this kind of question on Wikipedia. You can ask her using other channels, if you like the sound of silence.

So it would be inconceivable that anyone connected to the Foundation wouldn't have realized Jess Wade makes this kind of mistake as a matter of routine. It is beyond easy to find typos in her work. It says a lot about the care she likely doesn't put into the more important matters. It well explains how Wade's errors can be as insane as writing one biography for two people, just because they had the same name and were both scientists. Wow.

And what can we conclude from that? Their choice to ignore it is deliberate. That makes them culpable, does it not? That proves they aren't ignoring what Wade does and failing to take steps to stop it happening because they don't know. That proves they are making a choice.

They are choosing not only to not interfere directly. They are also choosing not to nudge/persuade/ask Wikipedia volunteers to take action to correct the problem. They can't direct them, because of Section 230. But they can ask. It would be as simple as asking Jess Wade to slow down and take more care, and if she refuses, (or is incapable, perhaps because she is dyslexic for example), make sure her biographies can only be posted in draft space, to be approved by a competent editor who at least knows the importance of proof reading.

They choose to let Wade be shit, because to act on what they know (but haven't been informed of officially), would expose them to liability.

And so it does become rather obvious that Section 230 is not a recognition of pragmatic reality, but a license for Silicon Valley to punk the world.

This should interest Congress, no? And I am talking about Wikipedia specifically. It is only Wikipedia that is trying to market themselves as a trusted source of information. That's not Facebook's business mode.

Jess Wade should be forced to testify before Congress, to explain these curiosities in the volunteer liability model.

Her answers would condemn Wikipedia thoroughly. Responsible regulation would be the inevitable result.

Post Reply