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The public and not so public face of Wikipedia

Posted: Fri May 31, 2019 1:14 am
by CrowsNest
A couple of recent blog posts from the WMF have put forward rather grand descriptions of what they think Wikipedia actually is. ... in-turkey/

This one flat out claims it to be a place where the world's citizens can come together to discuss and edit its encyclopedia, and that this is a fundamental human right. ... wikipedia/

This one likens their website to public allusion no doubt to their supposedly open nature, and again carrying this implicit assertion that everyone has a right to use it.

There is of course another side to the question, What is Wikipedia? The small print. I'm not talking about the small print whose disclaimer makes it damn obvious Wikipedia is not, never could be and never will be an encyclopedia. I'm talking about the small print that really defines what the rights of its users actually are. Legal guarantees that would give some concrete backing to these claims it is somehow public property, a public forum, use of which (to post to and even edit, not just read) is a fundamental human right.

As lawyers acting for Wikipedia in court have recently made full use of (because after all, why have small print if you can't hide behind it?), buried in its Terms of Use is this lovely line......
We reserve the right to suspend or end the services at any time, with or without cause, and with or without notice.
Now, I don't know about you, but I have never in my life heard of any kind of basic human right, or conception of public property, that can be denied for no reason at all.

This alone shows Wikipedia for what it is. A private entity.