[ros-dev] Wikipedia article changes, censorship
raptoremperor at yahoo.com
Sun Jan 17 03:08:20 CET 2010
If you guys don't know me by know, my name is Joshua Bailey, though you may recognize me better as RaptorEmperor on the forums. I infrequently do software testing for the ReactOS project, and I've also just
started teaching myself how to do debugging work. If I knew C, better understood the Windows architecture, and felt more comfortable in my abilities as a programmer I would probably join in development outright.
I'm a pretty frequent visitor to the forums, but I don't generally post anything to the ros-dev mailing list because I'd rather not distract the developers with my random questions about GDI support or whatever else
crosses my mind and leave this mailing list open to more important matters.
For as long as I have been involved with the ReactOS project I've also been a Wikipedia editor. I check on the ReactOS article on Wikipedia periodically to see if there are any points in the article to which I can add
relevant information so readers are better informed (and hopefully more interested) in the ReactOS project. A few weeks ago I added a reference to Arwinss in the paragraph of the article detailing the relationship
between ReactOS and other projects, more specifically Wine. Tonight I checked the article, and I noticed that the reference to Arwinss was removed by LoneRifle, with the attached comment "Current and future
development: Remove information about arwinss on request of the Dev team".
I initially linked my reference to Arwinss in the Wikipedia article to the Arwinss wiki page, and another user by the name of XRideBMX changed the reference to Newsletter #62, which was the first announcement on
the main page about Arwinss. Both of these sources are publicly available from the ReactOS website. There's nothing dubious about their accuracy or point of view. Considering this, and the outright statement on
the article's revision history, I'm left to conclude that the only reason that my edit was removed was censorship on the part of the ReactOS development team.
The reason I find this disturbing is that Wikipedia standards dictate a non-point-of-view policy. By having underlings edit the article to best reflect the preferred viewpoints of the developers, the integrity of the article is
compromised. If my edits were removed for a more legitimate reason, for example, because someone didn't feel they were relevant, I could argue the point with them personally. But as a source of free information,
without intent of bias, seeing the developers complicit in censorship on Wikipedia makes me feel extremely uncomfortable about ReactOS. I'm sure Dick Cheney and the CIA don't appreciate their dirty laundry
(waterboarding, etc.) being plastered in a public encyclopedia, but flags would be immediately raised if the waterboarding article was changed with the article history stating "Remove information about CIA
waterboarding on the request of George Tenet". Seeing this kind of behavior coming from free and open-source project, and the flagrant nature of it, is extremely disturbing to me.
I'm formally asking you, the development team, why my comments were
deemed necessary for removal. Since I was the one who made the edit, and considering the concerns I have listed, I deserve some
explanation. As far as I can tell, mentioning Arwinss in a public encyclopedia, using publicly available sources, does no harm to the project. What about the existence of Arwinss was deemed too secret for a
Wikipedia page? How can Arwinss be considered public enough for the ReactOS front page, but not enough for a Wikipedia page? What legitimate reason is there for removing the reference to Arwinss in
Wikipedia? Outside of a sloppy attempt at censorship?
I have been very excited about the ReactOS project since I first discovered it around 2005, and with Arwinss on the radar I'm more excited to see what is going to come out of the project than I have been in a long
time. However, if the development team is not comfortable enough to trust that people can make their own opinions about ReactOS without censoring irrelevant details on a Wikipedia page, maybe I should consider
whether or not ReactOS really adheres to the principles of openness and freedom that I do. As much as I like ReactOS, the I hold the values of open-source first.
I apologize if my formatting appears to be poor, because I don't send emails to mailing lists from this email account that often.
I would greatly appreciate a response. If there is a misunderstanding here I would very much like to resolve it, to clear up my current reservations about the ReactOS project. If not, I reserve my right to revert the
changes to the article.
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