wikipedia irresponsibility / wikipedia's greatest weakness - an open letter to wikipedia, subject: inflation article | behaviour and intelligence news at
latest changes & additions at link to short briefings documents link to document abstracts link to list of useful data tables quotations at, with source document where relevant economics and money zone at - government swindles and how to transfer money on the net latest news headlines at abelard's news and comment zone socialism, sociology, supporting documents described France zone at - another France Energy - beyond fossil fuels visit abelard's gallery about abelard and

back to abelard's front page

site map

news and comment
behaviour and intelligence

article archives at abelard's news and comment zone topic archives: behaviour and intelligence

for previously archived news article pages, visit the news archive page (click on the button above)

New translation, the Magna Carta

This page helpful?
Share it ! Like it !

wikipedia irresponsibility

Context: One of abelard’s yaks noted that Wikipedia failed to provide information about the consequences of loud music on hearing, or links to such information, on a slew of pages concerning rock music, heavy rock, heavy metal, goth rock, punk rock, grunge rock and so on.

That yak added an external link to the loud music and hearing damage page at

As an orderly, systematic and efficient being, as yaks are, of course the yak swiftly added the useful external link to several relevant pages. This almost as swiftly, prompted the Wiki-spam-policebots to block the yak for 24 hours for “violating Wikipedia policy against vandalism and spam”.

Further, Wikipedia commented, “Please do not add commercial links or links to your own private websites to Wikipedia. Wikipedia is not a vehicle for advertising or a mere collection of external links”, and gave the suggestion that, “If you feel the link should be added to the article, then please discuss it on the article's talk page rather than re-adding it”.

Here is the response from

I do not have time to engage in discussion on your article talk pages. I am too busy producing content. I primarily produce copyright content for my own website.

The articles on Wikipedia to which I added a link, a link to a page on loud music and hearing damage, make little mention of the consequences to hearing of loud music. In my view, this is irresponsible when producing articles that are clearly going to be accessed primarily by naive young people. As far as I can see, the best way to correct problems with your articles is to give external links to relevant, clear and readable text.

My site is overwhelmingly educational rather than commercial. What I am doing by adding external links to Wikipedia is not spamming, but correcting weaknesses in your pages.

Nor am I prepared (as you seem to imply that I should) to do the work required to write articles and then to donate them, for free, to Wikipedia. My copyright articles are freely available on my web-site and are not there subject to the real vandalism, mis-information and muddle so pervasive on Wikipedia.

the web address for the article above is

wikipedia’s greatest weakness - an open letter to wikipedia, subject: inflation article

The situation is that most writers on inflation do not understand inflation, including those contributing to the inflation page at Wikipedia.

This page is steadily expanded and overloaded with inaccurate, posturing waffle.

A few weeks back, someone who does understand more came in, removed the whole article and replaced it with two or three cogent paragraphs. Within a few days, the article expanded again to its normal state of waffle and inaccuracy.

The external links you give are mostly repetious, so-called inflation calculators, but in fact are CPI/RPI calculators. The CPI/RPI is a deliberately distorted government measure and therefore these links have nothing to do with the heart of inflation.

The article that I link, Inflation - the mechanics of inflation: the great government swindle and how it works, has a clear description of inflation and how it actually works in practice.

I have no intention of joining the melée of writers who are constantly, competively writing out each others’ misunderstandings with their own misunderstandings.

When the short article did replace the acres of verbiage, I did correct and clarify one, or maybe two, short sentences where the expression was inaccurate. The inaccurate, unclear expression was immediately reinstalled and, within a few days, the whole morass was back in place and once more growing wildly.

In view of this situation, which occurs widely across Wikipedia, I thought it better to quietly refer people to my far more precise and clear document at, and otherwise leave the Wikipedia document alone. By doing this, anyone persistent enough could find an uncluttered and clear explanation - a thing which is not even in most of the textbooks that I have read of the ones you quote. Your article is full of unnecessarily long words and all manner of references to things that have nothing to do with inflation. The article is confusing and misleading to any person who wishes to understand how inflation actually works.

Wikipedia is full of similar articles that are merely battlegrounds for political argument, rather than sources of information and clear data. I realise that is in the nature of the beast. Appending a discrete link to my article seems to me the best way to deal with such problems.

Note: Your article, at the moment, refers to ‘neo-Keynesianism’. In general, neo-Keynesians do not understand money, whereas Keynes clearly did. But Keynes, one of the great minds of the last century, is not quoted in the Wikipedia inflation article.

Kevin Dowd understands much of the cartelised monetary markets. He is not mentioned.

Milton Friedman, building on Hayek’s understanding, has a pretty firm grasp of inflation. Yet Friedman, a relevant economist and Nobel Prize winner, is not mentioned in your article.

Alan Greenspan has a firm grasp of monetary processes, all your article has is a shallow aside using his name.

The Cato Institute has useful papers on inflation. You make no mention of this.

I have scanned at least twenty student textbooks, not one of them is clear and comprehensive regarding inflation. The best of them I know is by Mankiw. Naturally, it is not mentioned or referenced in your article.

The media, and unfortunately even the universities, are full of half-baked ‘theoretical’ nonsense. My article is concerned with how inflation works in the real world, not fuddled placebos served up by those who do not understand the differences - or similarities - between a monetary note, such as a dollar or a pound, and a box of cornflakes.

I do not spam. I will discuss your problems with any person who can follow, but I will not be drawn into arguments with ego-driven dopes for whom a subject like this is too complex, too difficult, or even too straightforward.

the web address for the article above is

jokes from behind the iron curtain with their history - the auroran sunset

“The first jokes about the Russian revolution surfaced immediately after October 1917. In one, an old woman visits Moscow zoo and sees a camel for the first time. "Look what the Bolsheviks have done to that horse!" she exclaims. As the system became harsher, a distinctive communist sense of humour emerged - pithy, dark and surreal - but so did the legal machinery for repressing it. Historian Roy Medvedev looked through the files of Stalin's political prisoners and concluded that 200,000 people were imprisoned for telling jokes, such as this: Three prisoners in the gulag get to talking about why they are there. "I am here because I always got to work five minutes late, and they charged me with sabotage," says the first. "I am here because I kept getting to work five minutes early, and they charged me with spying," says the second. "I am here because I got to work on time every day," says the third, "and they charged me with owning a western watch."”

“Yet there is an obvious problem with the idea that communist jokes represented an act of revolt: it wasn't just opponents of the regime who told them. Stalin himself cracked them, including this one about a visit from a Georgian delegation: They come, they talk to Stalin, and then they go, heading off down the Kremlin's corridors. Stalin starts looking for his pipe. He can't find it. He calls in Beria, the dreaded head of his secret police. "Go after the delegation, and find out which one took my pipe," he says. Beria scuttles off down the corridor. Five minutes later Stalin finds his pipe under a pile of papers. He calls Beria - "Look, I've found my pipe." "It's too late," Beria says, "half the delegation admitted they took your pipe, and the other half died during questioning."”

“Stalin's laughter underlines the cynicism of the Soviet enterprise. But after his death the joke trials petered out. One of Khrushchev's first acts was to release all those imprisoned for minor political crimes, which included telling jokes.”

“When was the first Russian election? The time that God put Eve in front of Adam and said, "Go ahead, choose your wife." [...] "Did you hear the one about the sheep who tried to leave the USSR? They were stopped at the border by a guard...." "Why do you wish to leave Russia?" the guard asked. "It's the secret police," replied the sheep. "Stalin has ordered them to arrest all the elephants." "But you aren't elephants." "Try telling that to the secret police." [...] A man is queuing for food in Moscow. Finally he's had enough. He turns round to his friend and says "That's it. I'm going to kill that Gorbachev," and marches off. Two hours later he comes back. "Well," says the friend, "did you do it?" "No," replies the other, "there was an even longer queue over there."”

Many more jokes about communism in the article.

the web address for the article above is

what it takes to get to the top - floyd landis, winner of 2006 tour de france

Floyd Landis has won this year’s Tour de France [2006].

From an instructive 5-page article:

"Landis grew up in Farmersville, Pa., a crossroads of perhaps 200 souls, set in the wide, sweeping countryside that is home to some of the nation's largest congregations of the Amish and Mennonites. The roads are dotted with horse-drawn buggies and folks out walking in old-fashioned dress, with the women in devotional caps and aprons.

The Mennonite way emphasizes plainness and self-denial. One doesn't call attention to oneself; individuality is frowned upon. The community is central; any Mennonite whose barn burns down knows his neighbors will pitch in to raise a new one."

Print version - all on one page.

the web address for the article above is

on action and omission
page 1 page 2

“[...] When a man hits and injures another, his intentions are clear. When a man fails to catch another who is injured by a fall, his intentions for the omitted action are unclear. This simple and highly general learning account is reasonable, with supporting evidence showing up in the animal kingdom in the context of deception: Animals of a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes are far more likely to deceive through acts of omission rather than acts of commission. Rhesus monkeys, for example, give characteristic calls when they find food, announcing their discovery to close group affiliates, often kin. But sometimes, they omit these calls, attempting to silently steal away with the spoils of the day. If they succeed, score! If they are caught red-handed by their group mates, they are beaten.”

[Following section reorganised]

“First, the effects of demographic and cultural variables on the pattern of moral judgments are insignificant.

“Second, there is a dissociation between judgment and justification, such that people rarely produce coherent justifications for their moral verdicts of right and wrong.

“And third, there are three principles that appear to unconsciously guide people’s judgments when consequences are held constant:
  • People judge intended harms as worse than foreseeable harms,
  • harms resulting from action as worse than harms resulting from omission,
  • and harms involving physical contact as worse than those involving no contact [...]”

marker at

page 3

“These judgments appear to be immune to educational and religious background. Controlling for age, people with only a high school education are no different from those with advanced degrees when it comes to judging the permissibility of harming another in certain contexts. Similarly, people with strong religious backgrounds are no different from atheists and agnostics.”

“ [...] What starts out looking like a rational position, backed by religious and legal doctrine or cultural norms, ends up as inconsistent, irrational wishy-washiness. [...] ”

marker at

If you want to try one of their rather trivial tests you may do so here.

The test result stats description contains an error - I’ll leave you to work it out, as pre-warning may effect your approach.

marker at

From another item at the same site that would be better labelled: ‘on collectivism and individualism’

This item suggests five categories involved in human moral judgements:

  • “harm/suffering,
  • reciprocity/fairness,
  • in-group/out-group,
  • hierarchy/duty, and
  • purity/sanctity.

Cultures vary in the degree to which they care about -and build upon- these five foundations, but the variation is not random.

“If you are a nation of billiard balls, you want a morality that protects individuals from harm, but otherwise leaves them as free as possible. You want to build only on the first two foundations, which gives you the standard American/Enlightenment morality that focuses on harm/suffering/victimization and on fairness/rights/justice.

“But if your society is a hive, you won’t be quite so concerned that every individual is getting his or her fair share; you’d be more concerned about the integrity of the hive itself, and the last three foundations are all about that: being very aware of who your "team" is and treating its members better than others; knowing and respecting the hierarchical divisions of labor that let your hive function efficiently and compete with other hives; [...]”

the web address for the article above is

on childishness

Children so often tell the truth when adults lie. Being ‘childish’ is not a favourite thing for ‘grown-ups’ who have so much self-importance and ‘dignity’ to protect.

I’m all in favour of childish. It helps me pitch my correspondence at an appropriate level for self-involved and arrogant correspondents. It is also a good way of dealing with pomposity.

Calling things ‘childish’ is the adult hypocrite’s way of inhibiting the expression of matters that they would rather avoid.
It is the beginning of political correctness.

I shall continue to embrace and cultivate childishness.
‘Childish’ is good.

the web address for the article above is

friendly city list: “it’s the way i was raised”

“The routine in New York was similar to the one followed elsewhere: Two reporters -- one woman and one man -- fanned out across the city, homing in on neighborhoods where street life and retail shops thrive. They performed three experiments: "door tests" (would anyone hold one open for them?); "document drops" (who would help them retrieve a pile of "accidentally" dropped papers?); and "service tests" (which salesclerks would thank them for a purchase?). For consistency, the New York tests were conducted at Starbucks coffee shops [1], by now almost as common in the Big Apple as streetlights. In all, 60 tests (20 of each type) were done.”

marker at

“By far, the most common reason people cited for being willing to go out of their way to help others was their upbringing. "It's the way I was raised," said one young woman who held a door open despite struggling with her umbrella on a frigid, sleety day in Brooklyn.” [Quoted from]

Friendliest cities: rudest - last in list
New York USA 80% Prague Czech Republic 60 Bangkok Thailand 45
Zurich Switzerland 77 Vienna Austria 60 Hong Kong 45
Toronto Canada 70 Buenos Aires Argentina 57 Ljubljana Slovenia 45
Berlin Germany 68 Johannesburg South Africa 57 Jakarta Indonesia 43
São Paulo Brazil 68 Lisbon Portugal 57 Taipei Taiwan 43
Zagreb Croatia 68 London United Kingdom 57 Moscow Russia 42
Auckland New Zealand 67 Paris France 57 Singapore 42
Warsaw Poland 67 Amsterdam Netherlands 52 Seoul South Korea 40
Mexico City Mexico 65 Helsinki Finland 48 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 37
Stockholm Sweden 63 Manila Philippines 48 Bucharest Romania 35
Budapest Hungary 60 Milan Italy 47 Mumbai India 32
Madrid Spain 60 Sydney Australia 47    

end note

  1. This is more likely to distort figures, as doubtless Starbucks has a standard training manual for their shop staff.

the web address for the article above is

profiting by pursuading children to get fat

“But the most insidious purpose of marketing is to persuade children to eat foods made "just for them" - not what adults are eating. Some campaigns aim to convince children that they know more about what they are "supposed to" eat than their parents do. Marketers explicitly attempt to undermine family decisions about food choices by convincing children that they, not adults, should control those choices.4 Indeed, children now routinely report that they, and not their parents, decide what to eat.

“The IOM conducted its study under a considerable handicap. Companies would not provide proprietary information, because the IOM is required to make public all documents it uses. The report reveals why companies insist on keeping such research private. It lists numerous firms that conduct marketing research focused even on preschool children, using methods - photography, ethnography, focus groups - in an Orwellian-sounding fashion to elucidate the psychological underpinnings of children's food choices, "kid archetypes," the "psyche of mothers as the family gatekeeper," and "parent-child dyads of information." As the IOM documents, this enterprise is breathtaking in its comprehensive and unabashed effort to provide a research basis for exploiting the suggestibility of young children. Although marketers justify appeals to children as "training" in consumer culture, as free speech, and as good for business, they are not selling just any consumer product: they are selling junk foods to children who would be better off not eating them.

“American children spend nearly $30 billion of their own money annually on such foods, and companies design products to tap this market. Since 1994, U.S. companies have introduced about 600 new children's food products; half of them have been candies or chewing gums, and another fourth are other types of sweets or salty snacks. Only one fourth are more healthful items, such as baby foods, bread products, and bottled waters. Companies support sales of "kids' foods," with marketing budgets totalling an estimated $10 billion annually.1,3 Kellogg spent $22.2 million just on media advertising to promote 139.8 million dollars' worth of Cheez-It crackers in 2004, but these figures are dwarfed by McDonald's $528.8 million expenditure to support $24.4 billion in sales."”

related material
children and television violence

the web address for the article above is

fossil media watch: more rank dishonesty at the new york times - the auroran sunset

The New York Times produced a 890-word editorial attack on GM that the author himself - Friedman - apparently acknowledges as over the top.

GM’s vice president wrote a letter in response and tried to get it published in the NYT. He failed.

The NYT came back with excuse after excuse for not publishing.

  • First GM’s letter was too long - though considerably shorter than the original attack, and similar in length to the positive letters published the day after the attack.

  • Then GM’s invitation to the author to visit Detroit and check his ‘facts’ was deemed unacceptable.

  • Apparently the final straw was that the NYT does not regard as acceptable calling the original attack “rubbish”:

    “The Times suggested "rubbish" be changed first to, "We beg to differ." We [GM] objected. The Times then suggested it be changed to, "Not so." We stood our ground. In the end, the Times refused to let us call the[ir] column "rubbish."

    “Why? "It's not the tone we use in Letters," wrote Mary Drohan, a letters editor.”

Finally GM gave up.

Instead GM have published the response letters [the original and a shorter compromise version], along with their correspondence with the NYT, on their official blog.

Read the whole account. Read the letters.

You can’t read Friedman’s original attack, unless you want to pay for it, because it is subscription only.

The NYT seem to believe there are enough idiots to make this subscription scheme profitable. The NYT’s loss figures suggest that they are once more deluding themselves.

Well actually, the New York Times’ mad ‘business’ scheme gets worse. This looks like Friedman’s article. It may have been cut slightly as it does not match the word length given by the GM blog.

As you can see, some of Friedman’s complaints against GM are not unreasonable, despite the over-the-top and probably defamatory tone. You can also see from the GM letter of response that GM does not fully deal with these reasonable complaints.

However, the rights or wrongs in this factual dispute between Friedman and GM are not relevant in the slightest to the behaviour of the New York Times in censoring criticism with bullying and plainly dishonest games (see the letters between GM and the NYT editors).

The fossil media’s victims are no longer without recourse from these standard dishonest, bullying and censorship games... Nor need the readers pay the NYT for lies and slop, when they can get much higher quality writing in the blogosphere for free.

Poor fossil media.

the web address for the article above is

“o lord, make my enemies ridiculous” - bliar flies the flag!

Boris Johnson on Oldnewold forced aboard yet another bandwagon.

“Imagine what would have happened, even three years ago, if you and I had crept into the car park and slapped a St George bumper sticker on the rump of Tessa's ministerial limo. Imagine her horror when she came upon it.

“Her hands would have flown to her mouth; she would have given a little gasp, and then with feverish fingernails she would have tried to detach this appalling mark of the Little Englanders, and its horrible associations: pitbulls with studded collars and five-bellied owners with buzzcuts and beer bottles thudding on the bonces of foreign football fans; long, hot weed-gardened terraces in Essex with satellite dishes on the walls and nothing on the shelves inside save a few back numbers of The Spectator, and possibly the odd well-thumbed polemic by Roger Scruton or Simon Heffer.

“ "Ugh!" she would have exclaimed, and if she had been unable to peel it off, she would have amended it with her red nail varnish until it resembled something more politically correct, such as the flag of communist China.”

marker at

“O lord, make my enemies ridiculous.”
Voltaire, in letter to Etienne-Noel Damilaville, 1767

related material
Barcelona and St George

the web address for the article above is

another step to the transparent anarchic society

Next coming to a town near you....

“Texas Governor Rick Perry has just announced a plan to leverage the eyeballs of millions of voyeuristic web surfers into a de facto army of unpaid border guards, by allowing the general public to watch live streams from video cameras trained on the Mexican border and call a toll-free number to report illegal crossings.”

How long before the reaction and they start shooting out the cameras?

“They are the black knights of the road; balaclava-wearing highway hitmen out to burn, bomb, decapitate and dismember. But drivers need not fear, for it is speed cameras that this growing band of rebels are after. Up and down the country, the tools used to keep roads safe are being ripped down, blown up and even shot apart as part of a campaign orchestrated by a gang of web-surfing outlaws. They threaten to become the most popular gang of criminals since Robin Hood and his Merry Men stalked the countryside.

“More than 700 cameras across the nation have already been taken out and insiders warn that operations are about to be stepped up. Communicating through internet chat rooms, the activists move under cover of darkness, targeting devices they claim have taken a particularly heavy toll on drivers’ licences and wallets.”

And now from Captain Gatso’s site....

“I can confirm that a militant organisation known as MOTORISTS AGAINST DETECTION (MAD) have this week started a direct action anti speed camera campaign, kicking off with the UK’s most profitable speed camera located at the bottom of the M11 motorway near WOODFORD, ESSEX which is reputed to earn up to £840,000 per week, moving in to take out of action a further 29 speed cameras along the whole 27 mile length of the A406 NORTH CIRCULAR ROAD from CHISWICK in the west to BECKTON in the east side of LONDON.” [...]

“We are not criminals, just drivers going about our daily business and we are essentially law abiding citizens. However everytime a person gets behind the wheel or rides a motorcycle they can become a criminal in respect of absolute motoring laws administered by the non-discretionary nature of speed camera systems! We totally agree with existing road traffic laws and speed cameras sited within built up and urban areas and we APPLAUD them. In fact we feel there should be more of them in towns and cities, but we are tired of having speed cameras sited on major trunk roads and motorways where there are never any children playing. They are unnecessary and achieve very little in bringing down the numbers of casualties and deaths on the UK’s roads. This is supported by TRL, DETR and HOME OFFICE figures, however they add large amounts of ill-gotten gains to police and council coffers, further alienating the voting motoring public.

“We have spoken to numerous police officers and emergency service personnel countrywide and they agree that the majority of speed cameras are sited for revenue, not safety, and in a lot of cases they just impede general progress.”

This site is a bit of a mess. You may have to click the link at the bottom of the page and then click the left side button labelled ‘gatso’. There are large numbers of ‘educational’ photos and commentary designed to argue that the cameras are deliberately placed and hidden primarily for revenue purposes rather than for safety purposes. So you can go judge for yourself.

the web address for the article above is

long, shallow but interesting polemic against polygamy

“No sooner had the taboo on discussion of polygamy been broken than a furor ensued. "Antiracism" groups called the comments "sickening and irresponsible." "These accusations shame the nation," said the powerful MRAP (French Movement against Racism and for Friendship Among Peoples). MRAP threatened to bring legal action against the historian Hélène Carrère d'Encausse, permanent secretary of the prestigious French Academy, for her suggestion that large families with little parental supervision crammed into small apartments had played a role in the disturbances. (Hate-speech lawsuits are a favorite device of the French left for shutting down public debate.)” [...]

“Bala relies heavily on the work of Alean Al-Krenawi, an Israeli professor of clinical social work who's conducted numerous studies of polygamy among the Bedouin Arabs of Israel's Negev desert. Al-Krenawi makes a powerful case that, among the Bedouin, senior wives and their children suffer when junior wives enter polygamous families. First marriages among the Bedouin are parentally arranged alliances, often between cousins or other relatives. Second marriages are self-arranged, and more likely to reflect the husband's choice. So it's particularly difficult for a senior wife when a new wife comes on board. Senior wives have high incidences of depression and anxiety, and their children do poorly in school. In general, Al-Krenawi's data show Bedouin wives and children in polygamous families to be worse off than those in monogamous families.

“Yet it's tough to generalize from Al-Krenawi's findings. There are plenty of societies where co-wives are friendly (if also jealous), happily collaborating on chores and child-rearing. In some cultures, senior wives help choose junior wives, and welcome them for the household help they bring. Recent studies by Al-Krenawi and others show that the negative effects of Bedouin polygamy on children disappear by adolescence, as older children and extended family members step in as surrogate parents. Bala downplays all this.” [...]

“Now, in 2006, Turley is calling for the abolition of marriage as a legal status and its replacement by a system of infinitely flexible "civil union" contracts...”

The article ludicrously suggests that polyamory would undermine marriage!

US Marriage Divorce statistics approximation (in percent)
First Marriage 45% to 50% marriages end in divorce
Second Marriage 60% to 67% marriages end in divorce
Third Marriage 70% to 73% marriages end in divorce

Keep in mind ever increasing numbers don't marry... Though that group unsurprisingly tends to a higher break up rate than 1st marriages.

It is interesting that the writer should be fearful of the breakdown of marriage if everyone isn't forced into that mould. And yet seems to believe he is arguing for a free society. Like so many fundies he has pre-arranged his conclusions before examining the arguments!

“Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who would want to live in an institution?”
-- Groucho Marx

the web address for the article above is

trust me - i’m a bookseller

The corruption in the fossil book trade:

“That W H Smith’s "book of the week" title, which attracts you as if it had won a prize, has been bought and paid for. The publisher handed over £50,000. Waterstone’s Book of the Week accolade is £10,000, less for ecstatic mini-reviews. Borders charges for "fiction buyer’s favourite". Smaller sums buy other levels of prominence; only some local staff "picks" are related to actual content. It is not uncommon for a catalogue to recommend a title warmly before the compiler has even seen it. A pre-Christmas push costs £200,000 and a big campaign double that. One publisher told a newspaper: "We’ve got to play by the rules because we need them." It is considered suicidal not to join in.

“ Even though this deal was exposed five years ago by The Sunday Times, it is not well understood by browsers. One said: "I’m shocked . . . you trust bookshops." Another: "I thought book of the week meant it had, like, sold a lot." In your dreams, reader....”

the web address for the article above is