I was working on a project today for a client. It involved creating a website using the MediaWiki software as a foundation. The objective was to create a site that looked like Wikipedia. Its purpose was to support a book in the spirit of Issac Asimov’s “Encyclopedia Galactica” from the Foundation Series. Part of the project involved finding new “skins” / “themes” for the site to make it look a bit more modern. I remembered a web site that I ran across that bragged about providing a modern interface for Wikipedia. And it is / was just that. Is / was is where it gets complicated.
It was a fantastic concept. Beautiful, modern, and very cool. It was everything they promised. But today it’s polluted with advertising. Ask your self a question; “What if someone wanted to steal the contents of Wikipedia and display ads at the expense of all the hard working people that contribute to Wikipedia?” The answer is WikiWand.
It started off as a good idea and then collapsed into a pile of crap. Very sad. The idea is still very noble, but the path the creators of WikiWand took is not a ritghous path. Perhaps they can fix the error of their ways one day. Hopefully they’ll see the light (Blues Brothers reference here, look it up).
As proof that I’m right and Google seems to be looking out for wikipedia, try searching for WikiWand without using the term “WikiWand”. Try searching for: Wikipedia, alternate or alternative interface, different front end (frontend), interface, theme, skin, whatever. You won’t find WikiWand. And that frustrated me until I found out what WikiWand had become. I really don’t think Google’s automated algorithm could do this. I really think the burial of WikiWand in the search results required manual intervention. And in this case, good riddance to big brother (AKA Google).
After I wrote this article I added some truthful information to Wikiwand’s article on Wikipedia. A day later it was deleted. What’s up? I wrote truthful information that was documented and it was deleted. Again, what’s up? Here’s what I wrote;
As of 2019 Wikiwand includes copious amounts of advertising on their site. The site essentially hijacks Wikipedia content and pollutes it with advertisements.
And here’s my proof: Step one, go to www.Wikiwand.com. Click the magnifying glass and search for anything. What do you see? Copious amounts of advertisements? Is the content taken from Wikipedia? Go to www.Wikipedia.org, search for the same thing and compare. If they’re the same, then Wikiwand.com is taking content from Wikipedia.org.
This is proof that anyone can establish for themselves that Wikiwand.com is a leach, “stealing” freely available content from Wikipedia and profiting from that. They claim they’re donating money to Wikipedia, but it’s just a claim. There is no proof.
It makes me very upset that a commercial entity can take content from Wikipedia, profit from it, claim they’re giving something back (when there is no proof they are), and nobody seems to care. WTF?!?!?!