Wikispooks:Importing From Wikipedia

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Importing information from Wikipedia is technically very easy, but don't do it with large articles. Wikipedia articles are sometimes a good starting point for Wikispooks articles (especially when they are very short), but always take care and be mindful of Wikipedia's problems.

Problems of Wikipedia

Full article: Rated 4/5 Wikipedia/Problems

Wikipedia is not a neutral forum for the critical evaluation of evidence. Large organisations spend a lot of time and effort to spin its content for their own purposes. Wikipedia's trust in the commercially-controlled media is particularly problematic for deep political content, often resulting in articles so full of irrelevant or misleading details that they are worse than useless. Importing articles, particularly large ones, is problematic since this taints Wikispooks with the opinions and biases which are often subtly encoded therein. As an absolute minimum, do not import material into Wikispooks you have not read carefully and judged to be suitable.

Editing as you import

Much preferred to importing whole articles from Wikipedia is to selectively edit content as you do so. Experience has shown that the most time effective way to deal with a lot of material from there is simply to ignore it.

Wikispooks style

Full article: Wikispooks style

Wikispooks aims to be very terse, and devoid of plastic language and enemy images, whereas Wikipedia ever more uncritically echoes phrases as "national security", "enemy combatant" or "war on terror". Do not import text which includes deceptive language which is not inside quote marks. People's names and enemy images should be similarly adjusted.

Use Wikipedia's strengths

Wikipedia is generally accurate and well referenced for basic, indisputable facts and most of its articles are well structured. Wikipedia is at the very least, a pretty reliable source of the official narrative. Don't neglect articles which are sparse and look thin and neglected - these are often of particular interest. Learn how to use page histories to circumvent Wikipedia's censorship and be ready to follow links contained in edits which were speedily reverted. Mostly these are just vandalism or random spam, but sometimes these turn up leads to important hidden information that makes the process worthwhile. If you do turn up good, well sourced information, it may be worth putting on multiple pages.

Avoid Wikipedia's weaknesses

A significant amount of Wikipedia's content is not of much relevance, and may even have been included for purposes of public relations or damage control. Be selective in what you import - do not just cut and paste the whole thing.

Cut to the chase

Long articles in particular will need drastic pruning to keep the focus firmly on this site's core mission of exposing deep politics. Any researchers into a topic will probably have already read the current Wikipedia article, so obscuring the site's original content with an outdated version of a Wikipedia article gains nothing.

Handle Wikipedia's Bias

Wikipedia increasingly treats the official narrative as unvarnished truth, sometimes filling most of the article with it, while relegating dissent to a small subsection near the bottom or sometimes completely censoring it. Wikispooks by contrast, condenses details of the "Official narrative" to a short introductory section at the top, allowing more room for ideas which Wikipedia flags as "controversial" (by which it means anti-establishment). Wikipedia's "Criticism", "Alternative Theories" or "Conspiracy Theories" sections are often the most relevant to Wikispooks.

Expanding sub-sections

Often an event is clearly worth a separate page, or deserves multiple pages, but is compressed. To the experienced reader, this is in itself suspicious. The classic example is the individual events of the September 11th, 2001 plot, that Rome to which "all use-of-force roads laid since the beginning of this century lead back to" and which is not given houseroom on Wikipedia.[1] For such a high profile event, you can not expect much from Wikipedia, but the strategy of compressing many happenings into a small space is illustrative. The Arms for Libya arms deal, for example, still had no page on Wikipedia as of April 2016, but sports a section on its Edwin P. Wilson page entitled "Arms for Libya controversy".[2]

How To Import

All wikipedia/wikispooks articles consist of source text, so one might think that cutting and pasting source between the two would be sufficient to copy an article. In fact, it is not so simple if this source refers to other articles (e.g. Templates) which will also need to be copied across if they are not present.

Copy and Paste

To import short article sections, it is usually fine to simply "view source"/"edit" and then copy-and-paste this source text into a Wikispooks article. This will work correctly for simple formatting such as references and manually drawn tables. Images will not be copied, so you will need to upload images manually.

If the source includes templates which are not present on Wikispooks, you will see a red "template:..." which shows which templates are missing. You can copy these by hand, but these may also use templates themselves, so this may be more work than it appears. If you meet this problem, see below for a more efficient method of importing articles.


Where the cut-and-paste method fails due to use of templates, Wikipedia offers a more efficient and reliable alternative method, the Special:Export page. This makes a single XML file ouf of the article text and (if you check the 'Include templates' checkbox) also all the templates which it needs to display correctly. This file can be imported into Wikispooks via Special:Import, to recreate not only that one page, but also all the templates on which it depends to render correctly. Note that you will still have to import images manually. Note that most editors do not have permission to use this, so you may need to ask an administrator to do it for you. Robin has volunteered to help you with this on request.

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