back to article YouTube plan to use Wikipedia against crackpots hits snag

In Austin, Texas, on Tuesday, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki told the audience at the South by Southwest Interactive conference that the social video site plans to defuse conspiracy theory content by pairing it with corrective information culled from Wikipedia – a site editable by more or less anyone. However, she neglected to …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Dr Scrum Master

    PooTube had ad revenue?

    You mean to say that there are people out there who actually tolerate in-video ads, and that generates revenue?

    1. JeffyPoooh

      Re: PooTube had ad revenue?

      Any Google advertisement revenue to the small time content creator endlessly approaches $100 asymptotically, slowly getting closer and closer but never quite reaching the point where a cheque is actually printed and mailed. There's probably billions and billions of dollars sitting in Accounts (Never Quite Actually) Payable, each account very close to $99.96.

      For laughs and to stimulate the economy, the US government should pass legislation (or a ruling) to force Google to issue cheques proactively at least once every six months, for any balance over $5.

      I just want to see the look on Google's face when that happens.

      There'd be a lot of money suddenly on the move again. Cayman Islands might rebound a foot or two higher out of the sea, due to the reduced mass of wealth thus removed.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: proactively at least once every six months, for any balance over $5.

        Most eBook publishers will payout much lower balances than that, either via IBAN (Amazon) or PayPal (Smashwords).

        If even Borg Amazon can do it, no excuse for Google.

      2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

        Re: PooTube had ad revenue?

        I'd class myself as a "small time content creator" - uploading a video roughly once per week, and about 1200 subscribers. I can't say I've had any problems with Google not paying up. Ad revenue creeps steadily towards the threshold, and I get a payment straight into my back account.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: PooTube had ad revenue?

          > I'd class myself as a "small time content creator"

          Me too! I write inane posts¹ as Anonymous Coward here at Das Register.

          Where is my cheque?

          ¹ For proof, see here.

  3. gerdesj Silver badge

    Partnership requirement to read?

    "In this case, neither Wikipedia nor the Wikimedia Foundation are part of a formal partnership with YouTube"

    I'm not in a formal partnership with WP either. Do I need one to read it?

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Partnership requirement to read?

      If you were planning to cause a significant long-term increase in their bandwidth bill, and to leech off their good name for your own commercial purposes, it would be at least polite to discuss the matter with them first.

      I can see three things coming of this, none of them good. First, a whole new lot of nutjobs will start adding bullshit to Wikipedia. (Of course this already happens, but it will increase by a couple of orders of magnitude.) Second - as a result of that - Wikipedia will lock down a lot of articles, and it will become substantially harder to update. And third, Wikipedia will update its terms and conditions specifically to prevent other people from pulling this kind of crap again.

      This is why we can't have nice things.

      1. ratfox

        Re: Partnership requirement to read?

        Is it really a significant increase, whether in bandwidth, or in number of nutjobs?

        I mean, Wikipedia isn't exactly a small site that nobody visits. And it's already been the target of conspiracy nutjobs for many years. I doubt that there's going to be a sudden increase in traffic from people who had never heard of the site before.

        I think it might be the first time a website would complain about Google relying on them and sending them users :-D

        1. Mage Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: Partnership requirement to read?

          Maybe Google should fund Snopes.

          Anyone can organise a team to feed nonsense on to Wikipedia. It can be hard to correct errors in non-controversial articles if there is long term / senior "editor" that feels it's their pet page.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Partnership requirement to read?

            Surely you mean "it is hard to correct errors since there is always some idiot that feels it's their pet page."

        2. Just Enough

          Re: Partnership requirement to read?

          You only have to spend a small amount of time looking at Youtube comments to see there are plenty of nutjobs who live there and probably don't go elsewhere for their intake of nuttery. Anything that encourages these nutjobs across to Wikipedia to spread their particular brand of trolling is a concern. But then, equally, it's good that maybe they get a chance to step outside their nutjob bubble. Maybe they might learn something that resembles the real world.

          But not particularly nice that Youtube didn't even mention this to Wikipedia first though.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Partnership requirement to read?

      No, you just need to give them money. As much money as they feel they need. All to be spent on Wikimedia Foundation 'expenses' i.e. hiring pointless people to sit around and tell each other how wonderful they are and come up with money-wasting ideas dedicated to everything imaginable apart from improving the accuracy and usability of wikipedia.

  4. Teiwaz Silver badge

    What was the intention here?

    Refer any channel, video or even totally bizarre, grossly racist religious nutbar comment post on video to a relevant wikiipedia entry???

    Excellent, cue vast increase in wikipedia entries on said conspiracy theories.

    Why not set up their own 'Conspedia' with video to lead them all out of youtube 'Pied Piper of Hamelin' style?

  5. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge


    Not clear quite how craigslist parasites on the back of the unpaid web labour of others - rather the contrary

  6. tfewster


    "Unless you're Jimmy Wales, it's not polite to treat Wikipedia like an endlessly renewable resource with infinite free labor."

  7. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    Correcting Wikipedia

    ...We want you to read @Wikipedia with a critical eye. Check citations! Edit and correct inaccurate information!...

    It's certainly not enough to do that.

    Activists are all over the Wiki, puffing their own favourite cause. They present one-sided articles, where all the information may be 'correct' and the citations are valid - but come from their friends in other supporting organisations.

    To have any hope of getting anywhere near 'the truth', you need an academic, with no particular axe to grind in that field, to go through all the relevent facts and documentation and write a piece based on that research. Which is what people like Britannica do. Which is why you have to buy those encyclopedias...

    The Wiki is good for telling you how an IP packet is built. Don't expect it to give you a balanced view of the history of Armenia, Climate Change, or Renewable Energy....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Correcting Wikipedia

      AC for obv reasons

      Other half is an academic.

      OH briefly tried editing wikipedia articles in their specialist area (OH, like many academics is world experts on some niche areas of their subject and in more "general" of their specialism stil has published work / world class reputation )

      OH soon gave up editing wikipedia articles (and edits made were not major rewrites, just correcting gross factual errors) because wiki editors kept putting back the erroneous text.

      WIki editors were not experts in that area as some errors were so bad I could spot them (you absorb some knowledge of your partners research arae over the years as you tend to be "go to" initial reader of journal / book draft articles to check balance of readability (book articles should be more accessible to lay-person, journal ones more specialist and require far more underlying base knowledge of the area so less repeating the basics needed) )

      Solution was OH just tells students to non trust wikipedia at all in terms of OH subject specialism, and to only rely on references given during the courses as any lazy cheating of using wikipedia will backfire on them badly

      Still, as miscellaneous accurate data not on wikipedia does mean OH got to produce a few book chapters covering those araes (instead of freely providing the data on wikipedia)

      This was in (relatively) early days of wikipedia, it may have improved now, but once people get a bad experience at editing they don't (often) go back.

      1. Wade Burchette Silver badge

        Re: Correcting Wikipedia

        "This was in (relatively) early days of wikipedia, it may have improved now."

        Nope. If anything, it worse than ever before.

      2. Just Enough

        Re: Correcting Wikipedia

        Did OH cite what they were changing?

        OH needs to understand that anyone can say they're an expert on the internet. This is why Wikipedia relies on sources being cited.

        And student everywhere should know that Wikipedia can only be a starting point for research. Check the cites! Determine how much trust to place on the sources.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why is this a problem?

    Last I checked, Wikipedia was licensing their articles under a creative commons by-attribution share-alike license. Assuming Google provide attribution, which I'm sure they will, why exactly is anyone having a problem with a company doing exactly what the terms of a license permit it to do? Or linking to another site on the internet? Which is, like, the entire premise of the web.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why is this a problem?

      Common courtesy. Wikipedia is a not-for-profit resource. Having a site as large as Youtube scraping content from it is going to add a cost to the operation of Wikipedia. The license you mention covers the right to re-use the content in your own work. The hosting of that content is done at the good will of Wikipedia (and it's donators).

      At the very worst, if Wikipedia decide this is too much, they'll implement some kind of block, wasting Google's effort to implement it.

      I was writing an Android app almost 10 years ago to pull an ad-blocking hosts file for rooted devices. Before I wrote a line of code, I emailed the guy maintaining the list to say I expected to add ~5000 downloads to his bandwidth a week and would he mind? I offered to use a custom user agent in the client so he could identify my traffic and ask me to implement some caching on my side if it got too much. He replied the same day to suggest it'd be fine, appreciated the user agent suggestion and I got on with developing,

      I then proceeded happily knowing I wasn't inconveniencing anyone or going to have my data source pulled out from under me. The app never hit the play store, but the point stands, that e-mail convo happened inside of a day.

      Common courtesy is not hard but it is something that is getting lost in our new digital world.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why is this a problem?

        Having a site as large as Youtube scraping content from it is going to add a cost to the operation of Wikipedia.

        I don't understand what you mean by scraping. If you mean that YouTube will crawl Wikipedia, they don't need to do that. Google, which owns YouTube, is already constantly crawling Wikipedia to index its content. If you mean that YouTube is going to link to Wikipedia, I'm pretty sure that traffic from Google results linking to Wikipedia are orders of magnitude bigger than what would come from YouTube.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Common courtesy

        how much is "common courtesy"?, i.e. since when is it a factor in running a business, aka "making money"? Particularly as (it seems to me), business, in general, has become more and more aggressive, rapacious, merciless. Yes, ideally, a business would weight "courtesy" as a non-countable factor, which might, in fact, provide more, or less specific profits in the future - and apply it. But increasingly, this long-term approach is lost to the WE WANT PROFIT NOW SO FUCK YOU ALL approach. Every little helps (to improve your margins) and free content is a juicy, tempting morsel, so google are trying to nibble (and fuck courtesy, they think).

        Google would LOVE people to read wikipedia articles - next to "relevant" google ads. Since they apparently can't buy wiki foundation outright, they're trying to find another way to cash in on those millions of wiki-views, which they see as potential milions of google ad clicks. I'm not defending them, just pointing that "courtesy" is kind of dead (or just a part of a photo-shoot with genuine exec smiles and hand-shakes).

        1. MonkeyCee

          Re: Common courtesy

          "how much is "common courtesy"?, i.e. since when is it a factor in running a business, aka "making money"?"

          In my limited experience, it's when it coincides with common sense.

          The most common of these would be: don't fuck your suppliers. If you are reliant on 1-2 major suppliers, then you generally don't go and compete against them.

          If you're going to scrape someones content, either they've said to the world "that's cool, here's our API" or you ask them.

          Or if you're big enough, you just do it, and wait for the lawyers and lobbyists to sort it out.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why is this a problem?

        > Common courtesy. Wikipedia is a not-for-profit resource.

        Wikipedia is not the property of the Wankypedia Foundation either, even though they may pay for hosting.

        Personally, I would love it if Google put their hands up and said "Yep, you're right. You know what, we'll just host it ourselves. You can close down now."

        Yes, I know that opens a whole other can of worms, but anyway.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We were not given advance notice of this announcement

    WHAT?! When I had a conversation with a (lrelatively low-level) wiki-foundation-body not that long ago, the message from them, to me, ref. my (for my non-commercial usage content), was: "we want EVERYTHING, and NO usage-type restrictions". When I explained to him, that this would undermine our whole operation, as we draw resources from consenting owners", the reply was, more or less... "we want EVERYTHING, and NO usage-type retrictions". So I politely told him to fuck off. So... with this latest it appears that there's one set of rules for "taking", and another for "giving" (not)? It would be ironic if google slurped the whole wikipedia data and made it available under their own banner, quoting wikipedia rules of "free and unrestricted access".

  10. streaky


    Google made its fortune by capturing the labor that went into building the web

    I realise google bashing is fun for many and often reasonable, but lets at least try to keep it sensible - unless 'reg is trying to be the Breitbart of tech in which case carry on..

  11. ForthIsNotDead

    Storm in a teacup.

    It's not made clear in the article, but I imagine all YouTube is planning to do is *link* to appropriate articles on Wikipedia where a relevant article exists. So, when you upload your latest "Breaking: Flat-earther proves Apollo moon-landings are a hoax" video, YouTube will tack on a couple of links to Wikipedia, one being a link to Earth and the other being a link to the Apollo Moon landings..

    I would have thought that Wikipedia would be grateful for the traffic, to be honest.

  12. lesession

    Oh the ironies

    "It's not polite to treat Wikipedia like an endlessly renewable resource with infinite free labor."

    Says a spokesdroid for the organisation that is built on people giving their expertise/fanaticism for free then regularly asks for money to support the 'Foundation'.

    I'd put my response but that also wouldn't be polite.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aren't we overlabouring the point?

    " it won't be the first time Google has benefited from work done without compensation. Google made its fortune by capturing the labor that went into building the web, in the form of links between pages, in its PageRank algorithm"

    By the same token, my car dealer is benefiting from all the work done to bring civilisation to the point where you can move around in a wheeled, motorised, self-propelled conveyance. Cheeky bastard, eh?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The foundation urged companies ... "to give back in the spirit of sustainability."

    No doubt they are inviting those companies to compensate independent editors that maintain and expand Wackypedia's content (emphasis on complete editorial independence).

    Aren't they?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This Is Going to Be Fun in Five Years

    Remember when televised rebuttals to political speeches were deemed insufficient by the opposition, and that televised "pre-buttals" before the speech were likewise deemed necessary, so as to ensure "balance"?

    Can't wait for the twenty minute lecture from YouTube before being allowed to watch a two-minute snippet of a politically incorrect comedy routine, followed by another twenty minute lecture on why what I just watched was super-bad.

    Sure I tried closing the browser after my video ended. All the close window button in Chrome did was restart the lecture.

  16. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Alternaive facts

    Maybe YouTube could build their encyclopaedia and call it Wojcickipedia?

  17. jelabarre59 Silver badge


    But I can see part of where Wikipedia is coming from. If Google's usage of Wikipedia content is going to increase server load, bandwidth usage, etc, then at least Google could say "oh, and here's some money/resources/hardware to make up for any extra trouble we cause you". Like the guy who shows up at your house, eats your pizza, and then doesn't pitch in on the tab.

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