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Showing posts with label Wikipedia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wikipedia. Show all posts

Sunday 27 May 2012

When idiots attack

The Wikipedia article for the Ripoff Report is one of those battlegrounds that combines edits from fans of the site, scammers who have been exposed by the site who are trying to settle scores, some people with genuine grievances and concerns about the way the site operates and neutral parties just trying to keep the whole thing together.

Usually, the edits are quite small. But then someone replaced the article with this edit with following text containing a number of obviously false allegations:

Ripoff Report is a privately owned and operated for-profit website founded by consumer advocate Ed Magedson. Who is a fraud star and he is also a Child molester. He used to live in Tampa, Florida, people say he is hiding now in Arizona but actually he lives out side of the USA. FBI is looking for him as well. He claims that he is the consumer advocate. In reality he is actually a communist and he does now not want to Free market to spread out. He is a real scammer and extortionist! People be care full!! The Ripoff Report has been online since December 1998 and is operated by Xcentric Ventures, LLC is a fradulent company which is based in Tempe, Arizona.[1] Ed Magedson is the site's current Editor-in-Chief.

If we want to grow Free Economy and grow America we must stop this fraudulent monster. He caused a serious damage too many good people. All he cares about his own money! He must be brought to justice!

At the same token Google, Yahoo and Bing are supporting him! He must be black listed in all search engines!

Almost all the old text from the article was deleted, and the highlighted section above added. What the heck is a "Fraud star" anyway? So who wrote this illiterate drivel? Well, Wikipedia helpfully records the editor's IP address of, which is..

NetRange74.92.194.40 -
ParentCBC-ATLANTA-6 (NET-74-92-192-0-1)
Net TypeReassigned
Origin AS
CustomerNations Warranty Group (C01796119)
Registration Date2007-11-20
Last Updated2007-11-20

NameNations Warranty Group
Street2820 Lassiter RdC ,
Postal Code30062
Registration Date2007-11-20
Last Updated2011-03-19

Googling for "nations warranty" marietta is pretty revealing and it leads us to this SEC complaint from 2008 which says:

The Commission alleges that since approximately January 2008, Mikula, a recidivist securities law violator, and Craddock, acting individually or through Nations Warranty or JW&P Consulting, have used misrepresentations and omissions of material fact to offer and sell approximately $2.8 million of securities issued by Nations Warranty in unregistered transactions to approximately 120 investors.

The Complaint alleges that Mikula, operating through his wholly-owned entity JW&P Consulting, and Craddock used material misrepresentations and omissions of material facts to offer and sell short-term promissory notes issued by Nations Warranty. The notes were sold with terms of either 100 or 220 days, and promised rates of return of 4% or 5% per month, respectively. Among the misrepresentations and omissions, the defendants described Nations Warranty to investors as a profitable company when, in fact, Nations Warranty has incurred a net loss of at least $1.2 million during 2008. Defendants also claimed the Nations Warranty notes were "guaranteed" when, in fact, they were not.

Furthermore, Defendants represented that JW&P Consulting had evaluated the risks of investing in Nations Warranty notes and had found the risks acceptable. However, Defendants failed to disclose that JW&P Consulting was nothing more than Mikula himself and that Mikula had been enjoined in a Commission action in July 2007 for operating a Ponzi scheme.

As a result of this fraud, the company was liquidated. Presumably whoever posted the Wikipedia edits confuses free market economics with fraud.

Here's the odd thing.. the SEC actions took place in 2008, so why start griping four years later? There's only a single entry that I can find on Ripoff Report here, and that dates from other three years ago. Not really very current, is it? Or perhaps Nations Warranty have popped up again under a new name?

Wednesday 18 January 2012

How to access Wikipedia during the blackout

Wikipedia is blacked out because of a protest about SOPA. But what happens if you really, really need Wikipedia?

The good news is that you can still access it on your smartphone, or by accessing the mobile site directly. You can also temporarily by disabling Javascript in your browser when visiting the site (specifically blocking scripts from bits.wikimedia.org). Using Firefox + NoScript is an easy way to do this.

The Wikimedia foundation have a technical description of how the blackout is implemented here.

Added: the stylesheet itself appears to be at http://bits.wikimedia.org/en.wikipedia.org/load.php?debug=false&lang=en&modules=site&only=styles&skin=vector&*  so blocking that temporarily might help.

If you are managing a large number of users who need access, you can block access to bits.wikimedia.org/en.wikipedia.org/ which will allow access to content but screws up the layout.