Rant: Wikipedia needs to get out more

I discovered recently I’ve been blocked from editing Wikipedia since July last year.  The discovery came about when I tried to log on to complain about my articles on Magforum being ripped off. Apparently, my entries appear ‘to be mainly intended or used for publicity and/or promotional purposes’. What I thought I’d been doing was correcting some of the garbage about magazines that was up there (do they deliberately get the dates wrong so they can track their ‘facts’?) or adding a link to unique content on Magforum.com (it turns out this creates a tag: ‘possible conflict of interest’ because I had Magforum as my user name).

There are 48 pages that quote Magforum, but I didn’t create any of them and I’ve contributed to about a dozen of them. However, I stopped doing so about 18 months ago. Why? Because I got fed up of Wikipedia basing its pages on Magforum and ending up higher in Google searches. For example, I’ve written 1200 words onNot Private Eye with half-a-dozen page scans; Wikipedia created its page based on mine with 87 words. It has since expanded to 300 words and now I barely scrape above it on a Google search; in fact, it’s had 341 visits in the past 30 days compared with my 113. (By 2016 it had pushed me down to No 2 on a Google search.) The entries always have a link to my articles, but who reads to the bottom of a web page? – 1 in 100 according to my stats because just 3 people have come to Magforum.com from the Wikipedia Not Private Eye entry.

Another example:

– Wikipedia on Minx magazine: ‘Minx was a UK magazine aimed at “young, assertive, rather scary young women”. It was published by EMAP between October 1996 and July 2000 before being shut down. At the time of its closure, its circulation was 120,000 copies a month.’

The Magforum entry for Minx (to which the above gives an external link): ‘Emap Elan, London. Monthly. October 1996 – July 2000. Minx, which had been known as ‘Project Beryl’, was described by Elan’s managing director, Sue Hawken, as ‘the next step up from More!‘ It was backed by£1.5 million spent on TV and radio advertising. The editor was Toni Rodgers and the first issue – ‘For girls with a lust for life’- cost £1. The target circulation was 170,000-180,000 and 50,000 copies were given away in welcome packs to women at colleges. It was described as a cross between National Magazine’s Company and Loaded, that aimed to sell to ‘young, assertive, rather scary young women’. Emap closed Minx in 2000, despite sales of 120,000 a month.’

I could go on…

There are 48 Wikipedia pages that reference Magforum.com, from’1914 in art’; to Janet Street-Porter (I added the reference to Sell-Out); to bar codes; to MUD1 (the bit about Simon Dally and the skip); to Razzle; to Acorn User (I was editor of the thing!).

My first reaction was to appeal against what had been done, but boy do they make it difficult. I gave up.  The more I think about it, the more it’s clear to me that whoever/whatever did the blocking has: a) gone power mad; b) doesn’t look at what it’s doing; c) needs to get out more. Certainly not worth spending my time on.

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