Winston Smith has been just transferred to Wikipedia


Winston Smith’s greatest pleasure in life was in his work. Most of it was tedious, but included in it there were also delicate pieces of forgery…

… and that assignment was one of those pieces! In standard English, it may have been rendered as:

“The reporting of Big Brother’s Order for the Day in ‘The Times’ of December 3rd 1983 is extremely unsatisfactory and makes references to non-existent persons. Rewrite it in full and submit your draft to higher authority before filing.”

Winston Smith has been just transferred to Wikipedia /img/winston-smith-assigned-to-wikipedia.jpg

This, in Orwell’s 1984, where “This day-to-day falsification of the past, carried out by the Ministry of Truth, is as necessary to the stability of the regime as the work of repression and espionage carried out by the Ministry of Love.

Meanwhile, in Germany…

A German court just forced the Wikipedia Foundation to remove part of a Wikipedia article’s “history.” In and by itself, not a really worrying or big deal, as the Foundation post explains. Still, excuse me for having a bit of creeps. Quoting from that post:

  • without an article history, newcomers will have no idea what information does not belong in the article, and run the risk of repeating the defamation if new sources can be found to support it
  • but that German court ruled that even the article history must be deleted

which, potentially if not concretely, seems a bit too close to Winston’s assignments for my comfort.

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