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[Note: after this post, Ryan Jordan has resigned. Not that this post caused him to quit, but that you should know.]

Say it ain’t so!

It may well be, at least if you don’t already consider the personal income tax to be a huge fraud.

A man was contesting his tax liability, claiming offset losses for gambling mostly with video poker. The Tax Court issued a decision that you cannot be a professional gambler playing video poker. That is sort of interesting. The decision managed to cite to www.wikipedia.org eight times.

Wikipedia is based on people all over the world contributing and eventually the truth will surface. The site is supposed to be self-correcting with the masses all adding to articles and fixing them when they discover errors. This is not bad in theory much like communism works in theory. The Wikipedia process depends on enough people telling the truth.

The New Yorker had an article about Wikipedia and was referred to Essjay, an anonymous contributor and moderator of the site who identified himself as “‘a tenured professor of religion at a private university’ with ‘a Ph.D. in theology and a degree in canon law.’” After the article was published, it was discovered that “Essjay” is actually Ryan Jordan, twenty-four years old, with no advanced degrees and has never taught.

Ryan Jordan was hired by Wikia, a company affiliated with Wikipedia as a “community manager” and held several responsible positions within the Wikipedia community.

When this fraud was discovered, the owner of Wikipedia immediately fired Ryan Jordan and apologized to the internet community for his oversight because the credibility of Wikipedia rests on the honesty of the moderators and the contributors — JUST KIDDING!! Here’s the real response according to the New Yorker: “Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikia and of Wikipedia, said of Essjay’s invented persona, “I regard it as a pseudonym and I don’t really have a problem with it.”

He doesn’t really have a problem with it? That shouldn’t be too surprising if you consider that Jimmy Wales has already re-written his own Wikipedia biography. According to Wired News, Jimmy Wales had already made substantive changes to his online biography re-writing his own history and deleting references to Larry Sanger as a co-founder of the website. According to the article, Mr. Wales acknowledged that you shouldn’t edit articles about yourself and that the Wikipedia guidelines at the time (12/19/2005) cautioned about fixing articles about yourself. The current guidelines curiously omit this suggestion.

So Wikipedia.org has some very serious credibility issues. The founder of the website has decided on different standards for himself vs. others. It would not have been too difficult for him to ask other editors to make the changes for him which is also underhanded but at least in line with the guidelines for the site.

Now the Federal Government through the Tax Court has used Wikipedia to bolster a tax bill for an additional $3,068.

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June 2017
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