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31 minutes ago, Alflives said:

Biden government asks Taliban to not attack US Embassy.  Holy crap!  Is Biden handing Afghanistan to the Taliban?

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/12/us/politics/taliban-afghanistan-us-embassy.html

Makes you wonder what happens if theTaliban does attack the US Embassy and kidnaps, wounds or kills American staff.

 

Does the whole cycle start over again?

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5 minutes ago, bishopshodan said:

Me too.

Having the all time champ would make so much sense, the show he dominated becomes his to control.

The fact that he ended up losing on what was actually a pretty easy Final Jeopardy question just shows how amazing his run was. I watch religiously and probably 30% of the time, I see the FJ answer and wonder why I didn't get it, since it's so damn obvious. Sometimes the answers just come to you right away and sometimes you draw a blank.

 

The current champion (Matt Amodio) is kind of a cross between Jennings and James Holzhauer....really knowledgeable in a lot of areas like KJ and not afraid to bet big on the double jeopardy questions, like JH. That being said, he has this infuriating habit of using "What" when referring to people and it's super annoying.....

 

Like, if the response would be, "This person was the lead singer for Queen"....his answer would be "What's Freddie Mercury?" Who TF talks like that? :wacko:

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12 minutes ago, UnkNuk said:

Makes you wonder what happens if theTaliban does attack the US Embassy and kidnaps, wounds or kills American staff.

 

Does the whole cycle start over again?

I’m wondering why (how) the White House trusts the Taliban, and will negotiate with them?  

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1 minute ago, Alflives said:

I’m wondering why (how) the White House trusts the Taliban, and will negotiate with them?  

I'm wondering if they can ship over Y'all Qaeda. Vanilla ISIS and QAnon to battle it out in the name of freedumb. 

They could take their trucks, their flags, their automatic weapons and their crazy ideas. I would think they would rather enjoy it.

 

There, problem(s) fixed. 

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53 minutes ago, UnkNuk said:

Makes you wonder what happens if theTaliban does attack the US Embassy and kidnaps, wounds or kills American staff.

 

Does the whole cycle start over again?

Probably not with the same style of deployment.  More likely surgical drone strikes to take out specific leaders in the organization, and carpet bombing of known Taliban hideouts is my guess.

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15 hours ago, Boudrias said:

I don't follow your logic? That is like saying the human condition is solely based on the era they happen to live. Even the study of geo politics can clearly tell us that physical reality impacts how populations react. 

People are product of the society and time that they live in.

Looking to events from Middle Ages through 2021 perspective doesn’t make sense imo.

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, UnkNuk said:

https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/12/politics/us-citizens-afghanistan/index.html

 

US Embassy in Kabul again urges Americans to leave Afghanistan ‘immediately’

 

The US Embassy in Kabul again urged American citizens to leave Afghanistan “immediately” amid rapid Taliban gains in the country.

 

It is the second such security alert in less than a week urging the immediate departure of US citizens.

 

“The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to leave Afghanistan immediately using available commercial flight options,” the embassy said Thursday, noting that Americans who cannot afford to purchase airline tickets should contact the embassy “for information regarding a repatriation loan.”

 

The embassy issued its alert as the Taliban continued its assault, seizing major cities and capitols, dealing blow after blow to the Afghan government, its army and the US and its allies who trained Afghan forces.

The UK has sent 600 troops and helicopters to get UK nationals and Afghan interpreters out of the country asap

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19 hours ago, Alflives said:

Could the UN (blue helmets) have helped after the US left?  Wishful thinking?  

Don't know Alf.

 

The Taliban's strength is their belief system.  

 

Hard to overcome a fanatical enemy with out using extreme measures.

 

 

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18 hours ago, Boudrias said:

IMHO people should consider what 10% inflation would mean to how they live. 10% in contrast to the 20% we experienced in 1979-80. I suggest the vast majority will not fair well. As virtually all political parties continue to promise more with no regard to affordability the inevitable collapse grows near. 

Even more importantly than inflation is interest rates.

People over here in Aus have mortgages ranging from 500k to 1 million in Sydney and Melbourne.

With a 1 in front of the interest rates household budgets are still stretched.

Back in the late 80's interest rates were 17-18 percent.

Combine that with government debt.

Sooner or later this house of cards will come tumbling down.

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3 hours ago, Ilunga said:

Even more importantly than inflation is interest rates.

People over here in Aus have mortgages ranging from 500k to 1 million in Sydney and Melbourne.

With a 1 in front of the interest rates household budgets are still stretched.

Back in the late 80's interest rates were 17-18 percent.

Combine that with government debt.

Sooner or later this house of cards will come tumbling down.

USA department released a 7.8% increase in the cost of living. Location of stat escapes me. Between geo political pressures and the ongoing pressure of a global aging demographic I agree with you that the house of cards will collapse. Current debt increases are simply hollowing out the value held within North America. There is no voice here that gets any national stage to discuss or warn people of the implications. Any actuary should be able to tell people of the implications of institutions, both government and private, they repeatedly use ROI rates of +8%. These are the types of numbers needed to make their forecasts work. The fact that they cannot meet those numbers should scare the hell out of all citizens. 

 

We are about to enter another federal election in Canada and I would bet that this situation will not be addressed during the campaign. To me this is a national security issue that is no dif than the encroachment of a foreign power into our territory. Factions within Canada and the USA, both right and left, will love this outcome. It will led to instability and extremism.  

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12 hours ago, Boudrias said:

USA department released a 7.8% increase in the cost of living. Location of stat escapes me. Between geo political pressures and the ongoing pressure of a global aging demographic I agree with you that the house of cards will collapse. Current debt increases are simply hollowing out the value held within North America. There is no voice here that gets any national stage to discuss or warn people of the implications. Any actuary should be able to tell people of the implications of institutions, both government and private, they repeatedly use ROI rates of +8%. These are the types of numbers needed to make their forecasts work. The fact that they cannot meet those numbers should scare the hell out of all citizens. 

 

We are about to enter another federal election in Canada and I would bet that this situation will not be addressed during the campaign. To me this is a national security issue that is no dif than the encroachment of a foreign power into our territory. Factions within Canada and the USA, both right and left, will love this outcome. It will led to instability and extremism.  

Mushrooms mate 

 

Feed them $#@# and keep them in the dark.

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8 hours ago, bishopshodan said:

Heard about this a few months ago.

The areas mentioned and shown on the map are lower socioeconomic populated by more than a few bogans.

 

https://www.9news.com.au/national/outbreaks-of-syphilis-rapidly-spreading-through-melbourne-suburbs/5ecf03a9-d3e1-4bc1-a913-d999f5edca83

 

 

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Florida 911 calls released after woman killed by toddler while on Zoom call: 'There's blood everywhere'

Sun, August 15, 2021, 5:11 PM
 
 

911 calls released by police reveal the harrowing moments after a toddler shot her 21-year-old mother in the head during a Zoom call with her horrified colleagues.

 

Shamaya Lynn died Wednesday from the fatal gunshot to the head after her toddler found a loaded handgun left unsecured in the family’s Altamonte Springs, Florida apartment and shot her, police said.

 

A participant of the Zoom call dialed 911, telling a dispatcher she had seen a toddler in the background and heard a noise before Lynn fell backward and never returned to the call.

 

"One of the girls just passed out. She’s bleeding. She has her camera on," a coworker tells the dispatcher while trying to get more information from other colleagues.

 

"She just fell back and her nose was bleeding … I don't know if something hit, she hit the desk, I don't know. All I heard -- we heard a loud kaboom, and she then leaned back and we just saw blood from her face," Lynn’s colleague says. "The baby's back there crying, she's not answering or anything. We're calling her name, she's not talking or responding."

 

In another 911 call, the woman’s boyfriend – who was not identified – can be heard pleading with the dispatcher to send help.

 

"I literally just got home. And I come in the room and my girlfriend, she was working on the computer, she's just laid back. There's blood everywhere!" he says. "Come on, come on, come on! Come on now, hurry, please hurry! Please! I don't know what happened, I just went in the house. I just came through the door!"

 

Responding paramedics attempted to render aid but she was declared dead, police said.

 

No charges have been filed and the investigation is ongoing. The Altamonte Springs Police Department says it is working closely with the Seminole County State Attorney’s Office.

 

Police are urging gun owners to exercise basic safety precautions with firearms.

 

"Our message to the public is gun safety. Locking and securing your firearms," MPO Robert Ruiz Jr, with the Altamonte Springs Police, told Fox News in a statement. "Keeping them out of reach of curious children. Having a safe is ideal but if you don’t have one, gun locks are another way to secure them."

 

Ruiz said that the Altamonte Springs Police Department offers anyone who stops by the department a free gun lock. He also urged gun owners to keep codes and keys in a hidden area and to keep firearms separate from ammunition.

 

"There are so many precautions that could be taken to avoid something as tragic as this story," Ruiz said.

 

*********************

 

If it wasn't for that live Zoom call the boyfriend would probably get the electric chair.

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7 minutes ago, nuckin_futz said:

Florida 911 calls released after woman killed by toddler while on Zoom call: 'There's blood everywhere'

Sun, August 15, 2021, 5:11 PM
 
 

911 calls released by police reveal the harrowing moments after a toddler shot her 21-year-old mother in the head during a Zoom call with her horrified colleagues.

 

Shamaya Lynn died Wednesday from the fatal gunshot to the head after her toddler found a loaded handgun left unsecured in the family’s Altamonte Springs, Florida apartment and shot her, police said.

 

A participant of the Zoom call dialed 911, telling a dispatcher she had seen a toddler in the background and heard a noise before Lynn fell backward and never returned to the call.

 

"One of the girls just passed out. She’s bleeding. She has her camera on," a coworker tells the dispatcher while trying to get more information from other colleagues.

 

"She just fell back and her nose was bleeding … I don't know if something hit, she hit the desk, I don't know. All I heard -- we heard a loud kaboom, and she then leaned back and we just saw blood from her face," Lynn’s colleague says. "The baby's back there crying, she's not answering or anything. We're calling her name, she's not talking or responding."

 

In another 911 call, the woman’s boyfriend – who was not identified – can be heard pleading with the dispatcher to send help.

 

"I literally just got home. And I come in the room and my girlfriend, she was working on the computer, she's just laid back. There's blood everywhere!" he says. "Come on, come on, come on! Come on now, hurry, please hurry! Please! I don't know what happened, I just went in the house. I just came through the door!"

 

Responding paramedics attempted to render aid but she was declared dead, police said.

 

No charges have been filed and the investigation is ongoing. The Altamonte Springs Police Department says it is working closely with the Seminole County State Attorney’s Office.

 

Police are urging gun owners to exercise basic safety precautions with firearms.

 

"Our message to the public is gun safety. Locking and securing your firearms," MPO Robert Ruiz Jr, with the Altamonte Springs Police, told Fox News in a statement. "Keeping them out of reach of curious children. Having a safe is ideal but if you don’t have one, gun locks are another way to secure them."

 

Ruiz said that the Altamonte Springs Police Department offers anyone who stops by the department a free gun lock. He also urged gun owners to keep codes and keys in a hidden area and to keep firearms separate from ammunition.

 

"There are so many precautions that could be taken to avoid something as tragic as this story," Ruiz said.

 

*********************

 

If it wasn't for that live Zoom call the boyfriend would probably get the electric chair.

you're probably right 

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15 hours ago, nuckin_futz said:

Florida 911 calls released after woman killed by toddler while on Zoom call: 'There's blood everywhere'

Sun, August 15, 2021, 5:11 PM
 
 

911 calls released by police reveal the harrowing moments after a toddler shot her 21-year-old mother in the head during a Zoom call with her horrified colleagues.

 

Shamaya Lynn died Wednesday from the fatal gunshot to the head after her toddler found a loaded handgun left unsecured in the family’s Altamonte Springs, Florida apartment and shot her, police said.

 

A participant of the Zoom call dialed 911, telling a dispatcher she had seen a toddler in the background and heard a noise before Lynn fell backward and never returned to the call.

 

"One of the girls just passed out. She’s bleeding. She has her camera on," a coworker tells the dispatcher while trying to get more information from other colleagues.

 

"She just fell back and her nose was bleeding … I don't know if something hit, she hit the desk, I don't know. All I heard -- we heard a loud kaboom, and she then leaned back and we just saw blood from her face," Lynn’s colleague says. "The baby's back there crying, she's not answering or anything. We're calling her name, she's not talking or responding."

 

In another 911 call, the woman’s boyfriend – who was not identified – can be heard pleading with the dispatcher to send help.

 

"I literally just got home. And I come in the room and my girlfriend, she was working on the computer, she's just laid back. There's blood everywhere!" he says. "Come on, come on, come on! Come on now, hurry, please hurry! Please! I don't know what happened, I just went in the house. I just came through the door!"

 

Responding paramedics attempted to render aid but she was declared dead, police said.

 

No charges have been filed and the investigation is ongoing. The Altamonte Springs Police Department says it is working closely with the Seminole County State Attorney’s Office.

 

Police are urging gun owners to exercise basic safety precautions with firearms.

 

"Our message to the public is gun safety. Locking and securing your firearms," MPO Robert Ruiz Jr, with the Altamonte Springs Police, told Fox News in a statement. "Keeping them out of reach of curious children. Having a safe is ideal but if you don’t have one, gun locks are another way to secure them."

 

Ruiz said that the Altamonte Springs Police Department offers anyone who stops by the department a free gun lock. He also urged gun owners to keep codes and keys in a hidden area and to keep firearms separate from ammunition.

 

"There are so many precautions that could be taken to avoid something as tragic as this story," Ruiz said.

 

*********************

 

If it wasn't for that live Zoom call the boyfriend would probably get the electric chair.

Imagine that after oh so many years of people owning guns and stories like these, they still have to put out statements that say "Yea keep away from curious children you bloody morons"

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The Norwegian sovereign fund announced a quarterly gain of $150 billion. Value of that fund is currently $1.4 Trillion. This fund was financed by North Sea oil that Norway exploited in a very calculated effort to secure their long term welfare. 
 

The fact that Canada has not replicated the same effort that the Norwegians have managed is a serious failure for Canada. Canada should be producing 5-6 million barrels of oil daily. Canadian crude has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world. It could be displacing other world crude oil with questionable environmental impacts. As a country Canada is continually subject to manipulation by global powers who impose their interests on us. Currently it is the USA and China. I will give the Liberal government credit for Trans Mountain pipeline but it is not enough and it is 10 years late. Not defending Keystone XL more vigorously was a slap to our sovereignty and defied the precepts of continental energy security laid out in NAFTA. The fact that Biden called on OPEC to produce more oil is a glaring example of how the Americans use Canada. 
 

At what point will Canadians realize that our sovereignty is threatened daily, our well being is less than what it should be. Charting a independent path takes political resolve which is in short supply in this country. I highly doubt the issue of threats to our national security is even debated during this election campaign. 

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On 8/18/2021 at 9:09 AM, Boudrias said:

The Norwegian sovereign fund announced a quarterly gain of $150 billion. Value of that fund is currently $1.4 Trillion. This fund was financed by North Sea oil that Norway exploited in a very calculated effort to secure their long term welfare. 
 

The fact that Canada has not replicated the same effort that the Norwegians have managed is a serious failure for Canada. Canada should be producing 5-6 million barrels of oil daily. Canadian crude has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world. It could be displacing other world crude oil with questionable environmental impacts. As a country Canada is continually subject to manipulation by global powers who impose their interests on us. Currently it is the USA and China. I will give the Liberal government credit for Trans Mountain pipeline but it is not enough and it is 10 years late. Not defending Keystone XL more vigorously was a slap to our sovereignty and defied the precepts of continental energy security laid out in NAFTA. The fact that Biden called on OPEC to produce more oil is a glaring example of how the Americans use Canada. 
 

At what point will Canadians realize that our sovereignty is threatened daily, our well being is less than what it should be. Charting a independent path takes political resolve which is in short supply in this country. I highly doubt the issue of threats to our national security is even debated during this election campaign. 

I see the CEO of the Norg Sovereign Fund warning of global inflation on the horizon. Canada hit 3.7% YoY the other day.

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I know Wikipedia gets a bad rap amongst a lot of net users, and sometimes it's well-deserved.  

 

The following article:

Spoiler
Quote

Canadian Nobel scientist's deletion from Wikipedia points to wider bias, study finds

Physicist Donna Strickland's case wasn't unique: A new study suggests why women's profiles get erased

Manjula Selvarajah · CBC News · Posted: Aug 19, 2021 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: 9 hours ago
 
donna-strickland-lab-university-of-water
Nobel-winning physicist Donna Strickland is shown in a lab at the University of Waterloo on Oct. 2, 2018. When Strickland won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018, she didn't have an entry on Wikipedia. (University of Waterloo)
 

Wikipedia — the world's largest online encyclopedia — celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. One of the biggest collaborative efforts in human history, thousands of volunteers around the world create and edit the content on its pages.

 

And those editors even have camps with competing philosophies: the deletionists who have high standards for content versus the inclusionists who take a broader view to what makes it in.

 

But all is not well in the Wikipedia world.

 

A new study by American sociologist Francesca Tripodi shows that its volunteer editors nominate women's pages on Wikipedia for deletion at a higher rate than men's pages.

 

It found that women make up only 19 per cent of all profiles, but account for a quarter of page-deletion recommendations.

 

Tripodi uncovered the discrepancy by analyzing logs from Wikipedia's "articles for deletion" process from the start of 2017 until the end of February 2020. It's the process by which volunteers can examine articles under scrutiny, add to discussions about the merits of an article, and determine whether an article should be kept, deleted or merged into an already-existing page.

 

LISTEN | Hear a radio version of this column:

 
Generic_CBC_Radio_One_640.jpg
Columnists from CBC Radio5:29New study points to a gender bias problem on Wikipedia

When Canadian scientist Donna Strickland won the Nobel Prize, she didn’t have a Wikipedia page. Turns out her page had been deleted by editors years ago, despite having a notable body of work. A new study says Wikipedia suffers from a problem of deletionism when it comes to women’s biographies. CBC’s Manjula Selvarajah takes a look. 5:29

 

The case of the Canadian Nobel prizewinner

A well-known example is what happened to Canadian scientist Donna Strickland, who couldn't be found on Wikipedia immediately after she won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018 (although she does have a Wikipedia page now.) 

 

"People started realizing, 'Oh my goodness, here is this extremely remarkable Nobel Prize winner who doesn't have a Wikipedia page. How is that possible?'" Tripodi recalled.

 

"But then [they] realized, 'Oh dear, it's even worse than we thought.' Because she did have a Wikipedia page. But it was nominated for deletion and then deleted." 

 

There is some contention over why Strickland's page was deleted.

Why it happens

Some critics say it was gender bias, while others say it was a problem with notability, a gauge editors use to determine if a topic deserves a Wiki page. Wikipedia editors must be able to verify facts about any Wiki entry against published reliable sources, from publications to the press.

 

Interpretations of what is notable lead to gender inequality on the platform, said Tripodi, who is an assistant professor and a senior researcher at the Centre for Information Technology and Public Life at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

 

"So there's already this first layer of difficulty when it comes to adding women, because there's just less material out there in the world that is required in order to establish notability on Wikipedia," she said.

 
eu-turkey-wikipedia.jpg
A blackout landing page is displayed on a laptop screen inside the offices of the Wikipedia Foundation in San Francisco in this 2012 file photo. (Eric Risberg/The Associated Press)

 

Another issue is that most of Wikipedia's editors are men.

 

According to a Wikimedia report in 2018, 90 per cent of contributors to its projects are men.

Strickland's case wasn't an anomaly, said Tripodi. "What I discovered is even women who are meeting these notoriously difficult hurdles of notability are still twice as likely to be considered non-notable and nominated for deletion."

Efforts to fix gender imbalance face hurdles

Over the years, women have tried to fix the gender imbalance on Wikipedia, running edit-a-thons to change that ratio.

 

Tripodi said these efforts to add notable women to the website have moved the needle — but have also run into roadblocks.

 

"They're welcoming new people who've never edited Wikipedia, and they're editing at these events," she said. "But then after all of that's done, after these pages are finally added, they have to double back and do even more work to make sure that the article doesn't get deleted after being added."

 

Virginia Balcom is the executive director of Simon Fraser University's business accelerator Venture Labs. Her team partnered with a local women's organization to run a virtual edit-a-thon around International Women's Day this year.

 

She and the team are proud of the Canadian entrepreneurs and scientists they added to Wikipedia during the event, including Stephanie Simmons, founder and chief quantum officer for Photonic Inc., and Teara Fraser, founder and CEO of Iskwew Air. 

 

But they did worry that the submitted profiles would be reviewed by editors for notability, then downgraded and not published, she said.

 

 
wikipedia-edit-a-thon.jpg
Volunteers participate in an 'edit-a-thon' at Ingenium in Ottawa in 2019, adding more women scientists to Wikipedia to mark the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. (Ingenium)

 

Balcom recalled a frustrating debate by editors over the page of a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship at Simon Fraser University and whether or not she was notable.

 

"But the good news was that in the end, they decided there was enough third-party reliable support and her profile is also now published," Balcom said. "Women are often not the ones covered in media … and therefore they don't have the notability requirements that some of the editors in Wikipedia are leaning on." 

 

Tripodi heard the same story from other edit-a-thon groups, saying women editors spoke to her about the additional labour they have to put in to get the profiles they create of prominent women to stay on the site.

 

Steps toward change?

 

The Wikimedia Foundation, which funds Wikipedia, acknowledges that articles on the online encyclopedia are not representative of the impact that women have had throughout history, saying that mirrors the world's gender biases.

 

In a statement to CBC News, the foundation said research like Tripodi's is "critical to understanding the scope of the issue so we can collectively find ways to address it."

 

For example, the foundation launched a campaign this past March during Women's History Month, called Project Rewrite, to raise awareness about and address the lack of source material about women.

 

Women editors have increased 30 per cent in the past year, thanks to volunteer-led initiatives, it added.

 

It matters whether Wikipedia and its editors get this right, said Tripodi, because Wikipedia is "the go-to for what we know or what we want to know."

 

"And so when women go absent from those spaces, we are erased from that historical memory," she said. "Both now … and in the future."

 

With files from Emily Chung

 

 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/science/wikipedia-bias-1.6129073

 

...reminded me of this article:

 

Spoiler
Quote

Wikipedia wars: How Hongkongers and mainland Chinese are battling to set the narrative

The closure of Apple Daily has heightened Hong Kong's Wikipedia "edit wars." And now there are threats that keyboard warriors might face real-life consequences.
Selina-2-Copy-96x96.jpgby SELINA CHENG09:55, 11 JULY 2021
Print

As Hongkongers reckon with the closure of one of the city’s mainstream news outlets, drastic political changes and a sweeping national security law, the city’s keyboard warriors on Wikipedia are also coming under pressure.

 

Battles between competing editors of the crowd-sourced encyclopaedia’s articles about Hong Kong political events have been a daily occurrence since the beginning of the 2019 anti-extradition bill protests.

wikipedia yuen long 721 july 21 A Wikipedia article on the July 21, 2019 Yuen Long MTR attacks. Photo: Selina Cheng/HKFP.

Now there are threats that the keyboard warriors may soon face real-life consequences: their mainland counterparts have threatened to report Hongkongers who are working to preserve information and narratives on Wikipedia to the city’s national security police hotline.

 

The website now hosts over one million articles in its Chinese edition alone. Entries can be written and edited by any internet user as long as these are supported by reliable news sources, although no original research is allowed.

 

But since Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper and its massive internet news archive disappeared in June after its top executives were arrested under the security law, Wikipedia volunteers in Hong Kong say they face increasing problems finding a diverse range of reliable media sources to cite.

 

Meanwhile, their mainland counterparts are pushing for the use of Chinese state media as reliable news sources to channel their version of events.

 

Hong Kong users also fear that it will become harder for them to get elected as administrators on Wikipedia – a role which gives them power to adjudicate on editing decisions and invoke the website’s guiding rules and principles – because the Chinese version of the website is dominated by mainland users.

 

 

A Chinese Wikipedia article about the Yuen Long MTR mob attack in July 2019 had recorded a whopping 1,912 edits as of July 8, with 473 media sources cited in footnotes.

 

Its “talk page” features impassioned debates over the editing and sourcing. “I support using ‘terrorist attack’ [to name the event], it is not a minority viewpoint but is used by local media, reporters and scholars,” a user wrote, citing nine media sources to support the argument.

 

Another user under the handle “Wo Ping Zi Soeng” brushed off these sources, saying they were opinionated. Those news reports, he said, were all from Apple Daily, which he suggested was unreliable. The pro-democracy newspaper is considered biased by supporters of the pro-establishment camp. The debate lasted for well over a month.

‘Reliable sources’

Some media sources cited by the Chinese edition of Wikipedia are categorised on a Reliable Sources Noticeboard, or RSN. The RSN places media outlets in five categories: level 1 websites are considered blacklisted and prohibited from citation, while level 5 websites are generally considered “very reliable.”

 

Categorisations are the result of long discussions, ending in consensus, among the editors. Apple Daily, for example, is split into two categories: its political news reports are labelled “semi-reliable” as they “may involve opinion,” while editors agree that its reports on non-political issues are “reliable.”

 

The reliability of Chinese state media including the Global Times is labelled “no consensus” as editors could not reach a conclusion.

For writers and editors, the reliability of media sources determines whether their work can survive an edit war.

 

In response to an enquiry from HKFP, one user “Wo Ping Zi Soeng” said in an email that Apple Daily’s political reporting carries “clear standpoints” and is labelled as “level 3” sources with no consensus over its reliability, “therefore it is recommended to replace it with more reliable sources such as Ming Pao, iCable news,” he said. He also believes the closure of the paper does not affect Wikipedia citations, as there are other news outlets available.

 

“Editorials and opinion articles are not able to support facts as reliable sources on Wikipedia,” he said.

 

One English Wikipedia article described the death of a cleaner hit on the head as Hong Kong protesters and opponents hurled bricks and other objects at each other in 2019.

 

A veteran Hong Kong editor, Deryck Chan, said writers who were more sympathetic to the protests described the incident as the unfortunate death of a man caught in the crossfire, while those with pro-establishment views wrote that the man was killed by a brick hurled by pro-democracy protesters.

 

Chan is an administrator for the website’s English and Cantonese editions and is now based in the UK.

 

Pro-establishment editors were able to cite sources, particularly through state-run CGTN, TVB and even the SCMP which suggested that the brick was thrown by pro-democracy protesters, Chan said.

 

Narratives, information or images widely accepted “on the ground” in Hong Kong may instead be “taken as highly suspect under Wikipedia rules,” Chan said, as these may be published on social media by citizen journalists but remain disputed by established Chinese-owned or pro-government media.

 

“Wikipedia was built on the premise of being a tertiary source, which means one of the central tenets of Wikipedia’s governance is ‘verifiability, but not truth’,” Chan said.

 

yuen long july 21 china extradition Photo: Screenshot.

 

“If governments and corporates are sufficiently powerful that they can dictate what goes into mainstream reliable sources, then they indirectly dictate tertiary sources like Wikipedia in terms of what they can and cannot say,” he said.

 

Yet it is inevitable that some biases become embedded in Wikipedia articles, said a veteran Wikipedia administrator who asked to be identified only as AT. “It’s a daily battle where users find media sources of one political stance to support their views,” he said.

 

The Wikipedia article on the Yuen Long attack, for example, may be read as sympathetic to pro-democracy camps because it cited Apple Daily heavily, he said, “but Apple Daily reported more on it with more details.”

 

The key to writing a good Wikipedia article on a contentious issue, AT said, is to present controversies as they are by citing a wide range of perspectives, rather than attempting to draw conclusions from them.

One news source trumps the next

The closure of a major pro-democracy newspaper creates new challenges for Wikipedia editors in itself. “There will be fewer sources with opposing viewpoints. Or those sources are less detailed than Apple Daily was on certain issues,” said AT, who spoke with HKFP under his Wikipedia user handle. “But these are not problems that could be solved on Wikipedia.”

 

As Apple Daily closed last month, some users attempted to purge Wikipedia of news outlets deemed pro-democracy. One user named “Walter Grassroot” started removing Apple Daily news links in articles en masse, hours before the newspaper’s official shutdown on June 23.

 

“I’d like to ask why you removed Apple Daily links from several entries,” one user wrote. Walter Grassroot replied that the removals were a result of an unintentional glitch. “I will be more cautious later, thank you for your reminder.”

 

At the time of writing, Walter Grassroot’s Wikipedia profile indicated that he was from China’s Shanxi province, educated in the US and was now living in Jiangsu.

 

Apple Daily last edition June 23, 2021 Mong Kok Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

 

“Many people will think that this person did it out of a political motive,” AT said.

 

In his user history, Walter Grassroot left a comment supportive of another user MINQI, who appeared sympathetic to pro-China viewpoints, saying: “People supporting Taiwan, Hong Kong, Manchu and Falun Gong independence exist because of financial support in the background” and they must set up a foundation for efficient “large scale clean-ups” of articles in the future.

 

Another pro-democracy local news outlet currently marked as “reliable,” Stand News, also faces being bumped to a lower category. User MINQI argued that the digital news outlet is “pro-democracy,” while another said: “[I] don’t agree that the Stand News’ news reports are a reliable source. According to Global Times, Stand News published severely biased reports that attacked Hong Kong police.”

 

Apple Daily last edition June 23, 2021 Mong Kok Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

 

A feature article published by the news outlet about Wikipedia also became the subject of the debate. Users said their online comments were quoted out of context and the article was “seriously inaccurate.”

 

Information supported by a less “reliable” news source could be replaced if another one from a higher reliability category could be used instead. In the war to set narratives using news sources that may have political biases, whether pro-Hong Kong or pro-China, the question of which news outlet gets a seal of “reliability” becomes a key battleground.

 

“The reliance on external reliable sources is confining Wikipedia into a range of narratives, where someone with overwhelming governmental or commercial power can bend the narratives without violating any of Wikipedia’s rules,” Chan said.

 

wikipedia's rsn list of contested media A list of media sources categorised by reliability on Wikipedia. Photo: Selina Cheng/HKFP.

 

Wikipedia is governed by a set of principles – such as a neutral point of view and verifiability — and complex rules to ensure that its information remains largely reliable and is free from manipulation.

 

Which argument prevails in debates on content depends ultimately on administrators’ adjudication over whether users have followed Wikipedia’s rules, or have cited relevant and reliable sources. Then – ideally – the administrators – reach a consensus through discussion.

 

“It’s like a court case,” said another Wikipedia editor using the pseudonym Ken. The majority doesn’t always win.

Elected administrators

Administrators – who are elected, experienced users – may give advice, close discussions, decide whether to remove an article, offer assistance, ban users who violate rules, or place articles under electronic protection to prevent editing wars and vandalism.

 

They are elected by Wikipedia members from each language edition but must secure over 80 per cent support. Elections may happen whenever valid nominations are received. Administrators who are inactive for long periods can be removed but are difficult to dismiss.

 

The Chinese edition of Wikipedia currently has a total of 76 administrators, 17 of whom are from Hong Kong, 20 from Taiwan, and 38 from mainland China. One is from Macau.

 

AT and Ken both said although these gatekeepers of Wikipedia debates have been doing a fair job, it has become harder for Hong Kong or Taiwan users to get elected from a pool of voters dominated by users from the mainland, especially those not sympathetic to Chinese establishment narratives.

 

The election of a Taiwanese user “Peacearth” – based in the US – last December became an indication of those challenges.

 

Deryck Chan speaking at a Wikipedia event in 2015. Deryck Chan speaking at a Wikipedia event in 2015. Photo: Krislcc via Wikipedia by CC 4.0

 

“It’s hard to say whether there were political motivations [in the voting], but there must be geographical reasons,” AT said. The polls showed the majority of those who voted against the user were from the mainland, and the candidate ended up two per cent short of the required number of votes of confidence.

 

The election was extended for a week after administrators observed suspected canvassing from outside of Wikipedia, with a large number of voters casting their ballots just before the polls were scheduled to close. Elections rarely see over 100 votes, AT said, but this candidate had a total of 157 votes.

 

One user who voted against Peacearth left a comment: “Their butt is not in the right place, not to be trusted.” “Then where should their butt be placed?” one user replied. “Perhaps in front of the Communist Party,” another said.

 

Another user who also voted against the candidate, wrote: “At this point in time, under such international situation… it’s hard to support this candidate,” without further elaboration.

 

Four of the six administrators elected since 2019 were from the mainland. Only two Hong Kong users were elected out of six candidates from the city during this period, AT noted. One of the two had clear views supporting the Chinese government, while the other never expressed political views.

 

“You get factions forming along existing social-linguistics lines,” said Chan, the administrator for the English and Cantonese editions.

 

The bar to enter the race is high. Users are required to have 3,000 edits in their track record and will have to contribute significant personal time as a volunteer. The number of Hong Kong users who qualify is limited. If the users are pro-Chinese Communist Party, AT said, “the headwinds [to be faced in getting elected] are relatively weaker.”

 

A spokesperson from Wikimedia Foundation — which owns the Wikipedia websites — told HKFP its volunteers typically evaluate sources to determine their reliability, and its consensus-based model allows volunteers to collaborate, making it “difficult for a single group or authority to control” its content.

 

“We defend the editorial independence of Wikipedia volunteers to determine what content should be included on Wikipedia,” the spokesperson said.

NSL hotline

Online factions and edit wars, however, may be giving rise to real life consequences. Screenshots that surfaced on Wednesday showed users on the Chinese QQ messaging app for mainland Wikipedia editors discussing reporting their Hong Kong peers to the city’s national security police hotline.

 

wikipedia-hong-kong-nsl-report-hotline-1 A QQ chat group for Chinese Wikipedia users discussed reporting Hong Kong users to the Hong Kong national security police. Photo: Telegram screenshot, compiled by HKFP.

 

“We should report those from the Hong Kong user group,” a QQ user under the handle “Walter Grassroot” wrote after another user posted an image of the hotline’s details. “Nice idea,” another replied. HKFP was unable to independently corroborate whether the users sharing the same handle on QQ and on Wikipedia were controlled by the same individual.

 

In response, users from the officially recognised Wikimedia Community User Group Hong Kong said in a public Telegram chat that they had contacted the Wikimedia Foundations’ Trust and Safety team at Wikipedia headquarters.

 

Walter Grassroot of Wikipedia declined a request for interview in an email to HKFP and denied having knowledge of messages about reporting Hong Kong users to the national security hotline.

 

“What’s the national security hotline about? What was reported on QQ? Did anyone send pornographic images? Sorry, I apologise for not understanding what’s going on,” he said, without acknowledging questions about allegations that he removed Apple Daily news links.

 

“I like Hong Kong very much and visited several times every year before the pandemic… but I don’t know much about the situation with Hong Kong’s Wikipedia.”

 

A current and a former board member from the Wikipedia Hong Kong user group affiliated with the Wikimedia Foundation told HKFP that after they received evidence proving that the QQ discussion was authentic, they convened an urgent meeting with members and provided them with guidelines to prevent doxxing.

 

The two users — Arthur Cheung, known under the Wikipedia handle “Dasze”, and William Chan known as user “1233” — said they were gravely concerned that a user involved in the QQ discussion had multiple levels of administrative privileges on Wikipedia, and may be able to use such access to trace the real identities of Hong Kong users, although the user does not have direct access to users’ IPs or personal data: “Our user group acted instantly and accordingly as this will greatly threaten the physical safety of Hong Kong-based editors,” they told HKFP. “We value the safety of our members as top priority.”

 

“Such an act also violates the fundamental values of collaboration and trust which allow us to construct, contribute and collaborate within Wikipedia,” their statement read. “We feel extremely shocked and concerned that the one who shall be the defender of the Wikipedia Community was involved in such an atrocious discussion and act against the values of the Wikimedia Movement.”

 

A Wikimedia Foundation statement released last July – after the national security law was enacted in Hong Kong – stated that the foundation would not provide any data in response to requests from Hong Kong authorities “unless we were certain of the request’s legal validity after a thorough analysis of this new law, and also a full assessment of applicable law, human rights standards, and the rights of our community members.”

 

“We only disclose nonpublic user information if we believe that there is a credible and imminent threat to life or limb that the data would help prevent, or if we are required to under applicable and enforceable law in our jurisdiction,” the statement read.

 

In response to HKFP’s enquiries, a Wikimedia Foundation spokesperson said its Legal as well as Trust and Safety teams “consistently support [volunteers] in ensuring their safety and security for their contributions to Wikipedia, with a particular focus on our volunteers in Hong Kong at this time. The Foundation has been closely monitoring the situation in Hong Kong and has been in touch directly with volunteers.”

 

However, details cannot be made public in order to protect the privacy and safety of the volunteers, they said, adding that it retains “very little” data about Wikipedia users, and only for a short time.

 

Correction 17:10: A previous version of this story misstated that there are six million Wikipedia articles in Chinese. It should be over one million.

Update 23.7.21: This story has been updated with Wikimedia Foundation’s comments.

 

 

https://hongkongfp.com/2021/07/11/wikipedia-wars-how-hongkongers-and-mainland-chinese-are-battling-to-set-the-narrative/

 

...and its follow-up article:

Spoiler
Quote

Hong Kong Wikipedia editors take precautions amid fears mainland peers may report users to national security police

"That is not a hypothetical issue": A Hong Kong Wikipedia Community user group director says there are risks that mainland users may be able to triangulate personal data using administrative privileges.
Selina-2-Copy-96x96.jpgby SELINA CHENG18:10, 14 JULY 2021
Print

A group of Hong Kong Wikipedia editors have convened an urgent meeting and shared guidelines to prevent doxxing, after users from mainland China allegedly threatened to report the group to the city’s national security police. Representatives from the group told HKFP they are hoping to seek assistance from the Wikimedia Foundation after a meeting.

 

wikipedia-hong-kong-nsl-report-hotline Members in a Wikimedians in Mainland China QQ Chat group discussed reporting their Hong Kong colleagues to the city’s national security police hotline. Photo: Screenshot via Telegram.

 

HKFP reported on Sunday how key pages on the crowd-sourced encyclopaedia had become “edit war” battlegrounds between pro-democracy and pro-establishment contributors. Each side is seeking to establish their version of controversial current events using approved “reliable” news sources — from pro-democracy or Chinese state-owned media outlets — to support content in the website’s articles.

 

Screenshots allegedly taken from a QQ chat group of mainland Wikipedia editors showed that a user under the handle “Walter Grassroot” threatened to report members of the Wikimedia Community User Group Hong Kong (WMHKG) to the Hong Kong national security police hotline. The group of around 30 avid Wikipedia users is affiliated with the Wikimedia Foundation.

 

 
A Wikipedia article on the July 21, 2019 Yuen Long MTR attacks. A Wikipedia article on the July 21, 2019 Yuen Long MTR attacks. Photo: Selina Cheng/HKFP.

 

“We should report those from the Hong Kong user group,” a QQ user under the handle “Walter Grassroot” wrote after another user posted an image of the national security hotline’s details. “Nice idea,” another replied.

 

A user under the same handle – “Walter Grassroot” – on Wikipedia, who is active in the mainland Wikipedia community, declined a request for interview in an email to HKFP, and denied having knowledge of messages about reporting Hong Kong users to the national security hotline.

 

Whilst HKFP was unable to independently corroborate whether the users sharing the same handle on QQ and on Wikipedia were controlled by the same individual, a current and a former board member of the Hong Kong group said they received evidence proving that the QQ discussion was authentic. They subsequently convened an urgent meeting with members and provided them with guidelines to prevent the malicious publishing of private or identifying data.

Safety concerns

Two Wikipedia users representing the group — current director Arthur Cheung, known under the Wikipedia handle “Dasze”, and ex-director William Chan known as user “1233” — said the group acted “instantly” after they became aware of the threat last Thursday, as it “greatly threatens the physical safety” of users in Hong Kong, including those who are not members of the user group.

 

wikipedia yuen long mtr attack (Copy)
A Wikipedia article on the Yuen Long MTR mob attack in July 2019. Photo: Selina Cheng/HKFP.

 

Under the national security law enacted in Hong Kong last July, acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign collusion are punishable by life imprisonment. The law allows no presumption of bail while the prosecution can request a trial without jury.

 

The user group said it was unable to give details about how it is protecting the group but said the safety of its members was a top priority: “We feel extremely shocked and concerned that the one who shall be the defender of the Wikipedia Community was involved in such an atrocious discussion and act against the values of the Wikimedia Movement,” a statement by the group read. ” Such an act also violates the fundamental values of collaboration and trust which allow us to construct, contribute and collaborate within Wikipedia.”

 

One member of the Wikimedians of Mainland China (WMC) user group who was involved in the chat about reporting Hong Kong users has top-level editor positions on Wikipedia, including Administrator, Bureaucrat and Oversight status. However, they did not express explicit support or disapproval to the proposition in the chat, the Hong Kong users said.

 

Cheung and Chan said they are concerned that the user may be able to triangulate real identities of Hong Kong users using such high level permissions, although the person in question would not have direct access to personal data, such as users’ IP addresses. Such access was revoked from the Chinese edition by the Foundation in 2018 after data was leaked, they said.

 

computer keyboard File photo: Pixabay.

 

The group is concerned that WMC users “may have enough information to track personal, sensitive information of some of the personnel who they deem as so-called ‘violating’ the national security law by promoting free knowledge and also the exchange of free information,” Chan said.

 

The duo said their concerns are related to events that occurred in the past, although they declined to disclose the details publicly. “That is not a hypothetical issue,” Cheung said.

Policy of ‘no legal threats’

Editorial activities on Wikipedia rely heavily on a set of complex guiding principles and policies. Violations or repeat offences may lead to users being warned or even banned by administrators, who are users elected from the community.

 

One of the policies is the prohibition of the use of legal threats: “Legal threats should be reported to Administrators’ noticeboard/Incidents or elsewhere to an administrator. Users who post legal threats on Wikipedia are typically blocked from editing while the threats are outstanding.”

 

Wikimedia Foundation has not responded to HKFP’s media enquiry sent last week.

 

As a crowd-sourced website, any internet user can edit content on Wikipedia articles. As all edits are logged, IP addresses of unregistered users will be displayed, while those of registered users will be masked.

 

As a policy, Wikipedia typically blocks the use of VPNs in order to prevent banned users from resuming activities under a proxy identity. However, if users face a risk of being reported to the authorities, of surveillance, or of being doxxed, they may apply for “IP blocking exemptions” from elected Wikipedia administrators that will allow them permission to use the circumvention software.

VPN privileges

An administrator and long-time editor of Wikipedia’s Cantonese and English editions Deryck Chan said he encourages Hong Kong users to use a unique identity on Wikipedia and apply for VPN exemptions.

 

Deryck Chan speaking at a Wikipedia event in 2015. Deryck Chan speaking at a Wikipedia event in 2015. Photo: Krislcc via Wikipedia by CC 4.0

 

“In recent years, there is significant understanding [of] the enforcement of this policy… there are many valuable Wikipedia editors who are physically in places with oppressive governments, and the best way to let them participate in the editing and the debate is to allow them to use VPNs behind their user names,” he said.

 

“There is a different level of risk for people like me who edit using [my] real name, because I’ve done so for the last 15 years and – until 2020 – there is no reason why that should be dangerous at all,” Chan said. “Anyone I personally trust from Hong Kong who are editing on the Cantonese or English editions, I would give them that permission when they ask for it.”

 

In response to HKFP’s enquiries, a Wikimedia Foundation spokesperson said it has been in touch directly with its volunteers in Hong Kong.

 

“The Legal and Trust & Safety teams at the Wikimedia Foundation consistently support our volunteers in ensuring their safety and security for their contributions to Wikipedia,” their spokesperson told HKFP in an email.

 

“The Foundation has been closely monitoring the situation in Hong Kong,” they said, adding that details cannot be made public in order to protect the privacy and safety of its volunteers, and that it retains “very little” data about Wikipedia users, and only for a short time.

 

Update 23.7.21: This story has been updated with Wikimedia Foundation’s comments.

 

 

https://hongkongfp.com/2021/07/14/hong-kong-wikipedia-editors-take-precautions-amid-fears-mainland-peers-may-report-users-to-national-security-police/

 

It's really too bad that people who are tasked with keeping things factual and objective have to put personal interest, national pride, sexual bias, or any number of other ideologies ahead of facts and objectivity, instead choosing to alter facts, delete information, and otherwise distort knowledge and the truth.  :sadno:

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On 8/12/2021 at 6:33 PM, UnkNuk said:

Makes you wonder what happens if theTaliban does attack the US Embassy and kidnaps, wounds or kills American staff.

 

Does the whole cycle start over again?

Go to the Canadian embassy and film a sci-fi film if that happens.

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