I was fired from a university in Poland in 2015. A Wikipedia page with my name was created one day before delivery of the letter terminating my employment. I received an email from someone informing about the Wikipedia page. I objected to it but the page was created. To mask the fact that this action was directed against me, a whole set of Wikipedia pages, nearly one hundred of them, were created for all faculty members of the Department of Physics of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. The information was basically a copy of the most mundane information from departmental web pages. It was an obvious violation of Wikipedia rules. Part of campaign of harassment and stalking, which was here not only institutionalised but also wikipedialised. Yet, when I let member of the Wikipedia board know about it, he ignored the problem.
Wikipedia is a social medium. Any sufficiently strong group can control large parts of it. Control of entries written in less popular languages is illusory. Branches of Wikipedia in different languages reflect power structures within those languages. Wikipedia is just another tool to shape historical and political narratives.
There is no mention of the invasion of Poland in 1939 in the @Wikipedia ‘Soviet Border Troops’ entry. Nothing about killings and terror. Note the vague language: ‘the Border Troops assisted the pacification of the newly acquired Soviet territory adjoining the state border.’ pic.twitter.com/dL6mWK8HLA
The Belarussian ‘opposition’ tv channel Nexta uses the Telegram app provided by a group of Russians from Sankt Petersburg/Leningrad. Telegram is advertised as a safer, encrypted method of communication. They operate their company from Dubai now. Russia is gradually expanding their control of the Internet. Those signing up to use Telegram voluntarily submit their personal details and their communications to the Russian state.
@Nexta_tv’s last post on Twitter was in January 2021. Nexta’s Twitter accounts direct users to their Telegram accounts instead. You need to sign up to Telegram to view Nexta. This kind of members-only strictly controlled environment is typical of the Communist modus operandi, in which control of content and access to it is key. In other words, it is a strict surveillance.
Nexta’s founder, Stsiapan Putsila is a member of the Belarussian privileged class and is a son of a tv sports presenter. I couldn’t find Putsila’s Twitter account. He probably doesn’t have one.
The material posted by Belarus ‘opposition’ on freely available media is mostly of theatrical nature. I don’t see any substance in it. I am coming from a family of prisoners of Communist concentration camps and I know a few things about state terror and how to distinguish authentic repression from a fake one.
Western media and analysts go hysterical about a bit of shouting and pushing. This is a result of a century of cognitive neglect. Bits of reality which do not fit their preferred mode of thinking are thrown out the window.
Yesterday, I posted a similar comment under The Times article but it was later removed by the paper. You can read it here:
The Nexta channel is run on Telegram, service operated by a Russian team from Dubai, as the company’s website explains:
“The Telegram development team is based in Dubai. Most of the developers behind Telegram originally come from St. Petersburg”, i.e. Leningrad.
Pavel Durov, Telegram’s chief, has an account on Twitter but remains mostly silent since January 2021. Similarly, Nexta stopped posting on Twitter in January 2021.
This story has Russian and Belarussian state written all over it. The so-called ‘opposition’ is fake. Gullible westerners will believe anything and will not ask any questions.
Nexta’s founder Stsiapan Putsila was born into Belarussian privileged class, Financial Times February 25 2021:
“[Putsila’s] father had been a sports presenter since the 1990s who was the only one who broadcast in the Belarusian language”
Putsila doesn’t seem to have a Twitter account.
Looking at the material posted by the Belarussian ‘opposition’ I haven’t noticed anything significant. Plenty of theatricals but no substance.
The Russian state is gradually wresting control over large portions of the Internet from western companies and governments. If you believe that Telegram has nothing to do with the Russian state, you are a complete fool. Those signing up for Telegram should be aware that they are giving their personal data and the contents of their communication to the Russian state.
Autor artykułu reprezentuje entuzjastyczne podejście do Wikipedii.
Cytat z artykułu:
Dariusz Jemielniak (autor pierwszej etnografii Wikipedii, Common Knowledge?, w 2014 r.) podkreśla stronę zabawową całego przedsięwzięcia. To chyba jedyny powód, dla którego naukowcy jej unikają. “Kiedy jesteś żołnierzem, niekoniecznie spędzasz wolny czas grając w paintball z kolegami.”
Na swojej stronie internetowej Jemielniak z dumą cytuje słowa pochwały, które otrzymał od Zygmunta Baumana, zmarłego socjologa, byłego oficera politycznego (politruka) w armii komunistycznej i członka Polskiej Partii Komunistycznej i komunistycznego wywiadu wojskowego. Bauman sam używał tekstów Wikipedii, nie podając źródła, co zostało opisane w artykule “Problematic elements…”, PW Walsh i D Lehmann (2015). W tym kontekście porównanie naukowców do żołnierzy nie jest takie dziwne.
Pewnego dnia w 2015 roku ktoś, kogo nie znałem, przysłał mi e-mail z informacją, że właśnie powstała strona Wikipedii z moim imieniem i nazwiskiem. Wyraziłem sprzeciw. Pomimo to strona została utworzona. Było to 28 października 2015 roku. Następnego dnia otrzymałem pismo kończące moje zatrudnienie na Wydziale Fizyki Uniwersytetu Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu.
Jak się okazało, strony Wikipedii wszystkich tzw. samodzielnych pracowników naukowych na Wydziale Fizyki zostały utworzone w tym samym czasie. Było to niezwykłe z co najmniej kilku powodów. Informacje zamieszczone na tych stronach były trywialne i na ogół kopiowały to, co może pojawić się na stronach wydziałów akademickich. Było również jasne, że niektóre zdania użyte w opisach zostały wybrane nie w celu przedstawienia osoby, ale dla podkreślenia, że jest “jedną z wielu”.
Sprawdziłem, że inne wydziały uniwersyteckie i wydziały fizyki innych uczelni w Polsce nie zostały potraktowane w ten sposób. Coś znaczącego wydarzyło się zatem tego dnia w polskiej Wikipedii. Kiedy w 2019 roku poinformowałem o tym osobę z zarządu Wikipedii, zostało to zignorowane.
Moja osoba i fakt, że zostałem zwolniony z Wydziału Fizyki Uniwersytetu Adama Mickiewicza, były jedynymi powodami utworzenia prawie stu stron Wikipedii dla osób z Wydziału Fizyki.
Niedługo potem moja żona pianistka została zwolniona z pracy nauczyciela fortepianu w Państwowej Szkole Muzycznej w Zielonej Górze na podstawie fałszywego dokumentu sfabrykowanego przez państwową służbę medycyny pracy. Władze od lat prowadzą intensywną kampanię nękania i nękania naszej rodziny. Teraz postanowiły wyeliminować nas z pracy.
Trzeba pamiętać, że strony Wikipedii znajdują się wysoko w wynikach wyszukiwań internetowych. Gdyby ktoś gdzieś szukał Lecha Borkowskiego fizyka, to z pewnością wyszukiwanie to zostałoby odnotowane przez odpowiednie oprogramowanie wyszukiwarki. I rzeczywiście, jakiś czas później mogłem zaobserwować, jak rosły statystyki oglądalności strony Wikipedii z moim nazwiskiem, kiedy tylko byłem bardziej aktywny w kontaktach z innymi ludźmi. Wikipedia służy po prostu jako gigantyczne urządzenie do prowadzenia nasłuchu. Gromadzone przez nią informacje umożliwiają identyfikację osób poszukujących określonych słów kluczowych i miejsc, w których te osoby się znajdują.
Polska Wikipedia nie ma nic wspólnego ze swoim angielskim odpowiednikiem, pomimo wspólnej nazwy. Jest ona używana do celów sprzecznych z głoszonymi oficjalnie. Jest to medium społeczne i doskonałe narzędzie sprawowania władzy. Kontrola informacji i opowiadania historii (w sensie ogólnym) należą do najbardziej podstawowych instrumentów władzy. Osoby kontrolujące polską Wikipedię są dobrze zorganizowane. Istnieje duże podobieństwo do działań komunistycznego wywiadu, zarówno w kraju, jak i poza nim.
To nie przypadek, że wojskowy komunistyczny oficer polityczny i wywiadowczy Bauman pochwalił entuzjastyczną książkę Jemielniaka o Wikipedii. To również nie przypadek, że (1) zostałem zwolniony z Uniwersytetu, (2) Strona Wikipedii została stworzona w celu kontroli i sabotowania mojej narracji. Po II wojnie światowej moi rodzice byli w komunistycznych obozach koncentracyjnych, gdzie zostali wysłani przez takich jak Bauman.
Podkreślam jeszcze raz, że mocno sprzeciwiam się istnieniu strony Wikipedii z moim nazwiskiem.
Dr hab., pracownik sklepu warzywnego w zachodnim Londynie
The article’s author represents an enthusiastic approach to Wikipedia.
Quote from the article:
Dariusz Jemielniak (author of the first ethnography of Wikipedia, Common Knowledge?, in 2014) stresses the playfulness of the whole enterprise. Why else, he asks, would academics avoid it? “When you are a soldier, you do not necessarily spend your free time playing paintball with friends.”
On his webpage, Jemielniak proudly quotes words of praise he received from Zygmunt Bauman, the late sociologist, former political officer (politruk) in the Communist army and member of the Polish Communist party and Communist military intelligence. Bauman himself used Wikipedia texts without providing attribution, see “Problematic elements…” by PW Walsh and D Lehmann (2015). In this context, the comparison of academics to soldiers does not seem out of place.
One day in 2015, someone I didn’t know sent me an email with information that a Wikipedia page in Polish with my name was just created. I replied with an objection. The page was created despite my disapproval. It was 28 October 2015. I was a faculty member at the Department of Physics of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland. The next day, I received letter terminating my employment.
As it turned out, Wikipedia pages of all the faculty in the Department of Physics were created at the same time. This was most unusual for at least couple of reasons. The information on those pages was of the most trivial type and mostly reproduced information bits usually appearing on academic departmental pages. It was also clear that some of the sentences used in personal descriptions were selected not as a way of describing each person but rather as a way as emphasizing the person as ‘one of many’.
I verified that other University departments and physics departments of other universities in Poland have not received this kind of treatment. So, something significant happened that day in the Polish Wikipedia. When I let someone from the Wikipedia board know about it in 2019, he shrugged it off.
My person and the fact that I was being fired from the faculty of the Department of Physics of the Adam Mickiewicz University were the only reasons for creating the nearly hundred personal Wikipedia pages.
Shortly afterwards, my pianist wife was fired from her job of a piano teacher in the State School of Music in Zielona Góra in Poland, on the basis of a fake document fabricated by the state service of occupational medicine. The authorities have been carrying out an intense bullying and harassment campaign against our family for years. Now they decided to eliminate us from our jobs.
One needs to keep in mind that Wikipedia pages come near the top of Internet searches. If someone somewhere was looking for Lech Borkowski the physicist, it would certainly be picked up by the snippets of code serving the search engines. And indeed, some time later, I could observe how the viewing numbers of the Wikipedia containing my name page rose, whenever I was more active in contacting other people. Wikipedia simply serves as a giant listening device. The information it collects enables identification of people and places looking for certain keywords.
The Polish Wikipedia has nothing to do with its English language counterpart, despite sharing the name. It is used for purposes contrary to those officially proclaimed. It is a social medium and a perfect tool for the exercise of power. Control of information and story telling (in general sense) are among the most basic instruments of power. The individuals controlling Polish Wikipedia are well organised. There is a great degree of similarity with actions of Communist intelligence, both inside and outside the country.
It is no accident that the military Communist political and intelligence officer Bauman praised Jemielniak’s enthusiastic book on Wikipedia. It is also no accident that (1) I was fired from the University (2) Wikipedia page was created to control my narrative. After WWII, my parents were in Communist concentration camps, where they were sent by the likes of Bauman.
And let me emphasize once again that I strongly oppose having a Wikipedia page with my name on it.
PhD, shop assistant at a west London greengrocer’s
Russia’s decision to abandon the official state-run equivalent of wikipedia does not make much difference. Wikipedia in Eastern Europe is controlled by the same people who control the state anyway. It is a perfect tool for controlling the public narrative about essentially everything. So while its editors are allegedly a bunch of enthusiasts, in fact they are not.
I was fired from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland, in October 2015. I was contacted by someone unknown to me on October 28 with the suggestion that a Wikipedia page be made about me. I objected to it, but the page was created anyway. The next day, on October 29, I received a letter dismissing me from my job at the University, signed by a deputy Rector (university vice-president, there are several of them).
If you go to my Twitter feed, @LechSBorkowski, you can watch a brief video I and my wife made in 2016 after we were both fired from our jobs for political reasons.
I looked up the name of the Wikipedia guy on the Internet. He was apparently employed in the law section of one of the Polish dailies. It turned out that Wikipedia pages of the entire Department of Physics of the Adam Mickiewicz University were created at the time. This is, of course, atypical and very unusual. I remember that a recent Nobel Prize winner did not have a Wikipedia page. I do not know of any other university where all faculty members of the department, at the last count 124 of them, would have a Wikipedia entry.
If you go to Wikipedia’s Polish section pl.wikipedia.org and search for “Lech Borkowski” you will find the entry about me. This entry is arranged in a peculiar way with the aim to control certain keywords that would be associated with me and falsify the narrative about me.
To see the Dept. of Physics page, search for “Wydzial Fizyki UAM”. You will see all the faculty names. The departmental Wikipedia page shows the administrative structure and contains information typically found on institutions’ own websites. In other words, it duplicates information from the institution’s website without providing any new value.
Wikipedia is just another social medium and is easily abused. It is naive to ignore it. It is also naive to believe in a “self-correcting” myth of social media, including Wikipedia.
Creating ‘dark profiles’ on others? That’s what Wikipedia is for. I was fired from my job at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland, in Autumn 2015. I received the letter of dismissal on October 29. One day earlier someone unknown to me sent me an email with information that a Wikipedia page about me is being created. I objected to it but the profile has been created anyway.
In order to mask the fact that I was the targeted person, Wikipedia profiles for all faculty members of the Department of Physics of the University were created at the same time.
I neither deserve a Wikipedia page nor do I want one.
1. Wikipedia belongs to social media.
2. Wikipedia is just as evil as Facebook.
3. The anonymity of its editors make it more akin to the Communist secret police.
Someone wrote “Because anyone can edit a wiki page and there are rules about living people.”
I know this mantra very well. I wrote a blog post about it. You can navigate to it via my Twitter page.
Poland is a country of an evolved Communist dictatorship. Wikipedia is a political and social tool. It is essentially a social medium and yet another tool for the exercise of power. Whoever has got the power/social power will dictate and force the narrative.
Manipulation, lies, and falsification are not seen and are not understood by people unfamiliar with the language.
At the same time my wife Małgorzata Głuchowska, who is a pianist, was fired from her job in the State School of Music for political reasons. The state-run Occupational Health Service issued a false document stating that due to some unspecified delusions my wife cannot work as a piano teacher.
We were fired for political reasons after decades of harassment and bullying. We wrote many letters to the top officials and distributed our statements critical of the authorities. You can find them on our website. Some of them are also available on Researchgate.
It is an extreme naivete to claim that Wikipedia is self-regulating.
On May 22 2013, Mark Zuckerberg met with Michał Boni, Polish Minister of Administrative Affairs and Digitisation. The headline in the computer news service zdnet.com announced “Facebook’s Zuckerberg arranges one-day holiday to discuss privacy in Poland”
On November 24 2018 The Times reported that “Zuckerberg refuses to talk to MPs about fake news”.
I find it very telling that Zuckerberg went out of his way to meet Boni in Warsaw, but declined to meet British MPs.
Creating profiles of other people may be called ‘identity management’. Identity management and control is at the heart of every oppressive regime, typically a task of secret police.
Wikipedia operates differently in different languages. There is a cultural, political, and historical context involved. Poland is a country of an evolved Communist dictatorship. Wikipedia’s Polish content is a reflection of that. Wikipedia article about me was created not because I am a public and notable figure. It was created because I was being fired for political reasons after decades of harassment. Simultaneously, my wife was being fired from another state institution, the State School of Music in Zielona Góra, also for political reasons.
The people who fired me knew that I could write about the department, university, and its people. This could show up in Google searches. The creation of Wikipedia articles for all the faculty members of the department was an exercise in prevention. This is not normal Wikipedia practice. Being a faculty member and having a habilitation does not imply you are a notable person. Thousands of distinguished scientists all over the world do not have a Wikipedia article.
The article about me falsified the fact of my dismissal and for a couple of years falsely showed that I continued to be employed at the university. You can manipulate and control information about a person in different ways. Wikipedia is an excellent tool for that purpose.
The practice of the Polish Wikipedia is different from its English counterpart. I mentioned the page of the Department of Physics, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, article which looks like a duplicate of the institutional web page. English articles are not written that way. There is no need to duplicate institutional web pages. There is no added value in it. Also, scientists often have profiles in platforms such as Researchgate, ORCID, in addition to their own web pages.
Due to the way Internet search engines operate, Wikipedia shows up at the top of a typical internet search, implying some kind of high authority. This is, however, a false authority, because of the manipulation, falsification and distortion.
Wikipedia is a political and social tool. It is essentially a social medium and yet another tool for the exercise of power.
In Poland, the same people who fired me and my wife from our jobs and created the Wikipedia profile with my name, also falsified the juridical process, blocking and falsifying the investigation. We submitted evidence to the Prosecutor General of Poland and let the Prime Minister and the President of Poland know about the matter. They have remained silent, approving and protecting the action of their subordinates. This is an organized crime.
Wikipedia cannot pretend it can be only a force for good.