Friday, August 17, 2007

Canadian National Cycling Team needs your help!

As a former professional cyclist who raced for Canada at the World Championships and a world cup veteran of 8 years, I found a very troubling email in my inbox today. Chris Colbeck, a good friend, formidable cycling opponent and now coach of our national team sent out a plea for funding. It seems that our own national cycling body has disgracefully cut all funding from the downhill racing discipline while giving more funding to the Cross Country riders. Chris is not one to sit by while the world turns and has created a national organization to help get funding.

Not only is this move by the Canadian Federation a disgusting slap in the face to one of the largest contingents of mountain bike racers and cyclists in general, it seems to contravene the mandate of UCI, the world's governing organization. The UCI constitution clearly states in Article 3:
"The UCI will carry out its activities in compliance with the principles of: a) equality between all the members and all the athletes, licence-holders and officials, without racial, political, religious, or other discrimination".

To me, this implies equality in funding. Factoring in an adjustment for numbers, this still means we should be getting funding for all disciplines at some level, not putting all our money towards one form of the sport.

The Constitution also goes on to state in Article 6:
"As members, the federations shall comply with the Constitution and Regulations of the UCI, as well as with all decisions taken in accordance therewith. Likewise, they shall have the Constitution, Regulations and decisions of the UCI complied with by all persons concerned.
2. The Regulations of the UCI shall be incorporated in the corresponding regulations of the federations."

This implies that the Canadian organization should incorporate the equality, across not only discipline but gender and other considerations.

Downhill Mountain Bike racers have never fared well with respect to funding. At the 1996 World Championships, we were given used national team jerseys to wear, some of which had to be returned. We paid all our own expenses with the exception of Andrew Shandro, being the #1 seed based on being national champion. Our Dual Slalom squad was totally neglected despite having several top 50 finishes in world cup qualifying (myself included).

The news release is pasted below. I want to urge anyone reading this to please do what you can to help Chris help our 2007 national downhill squad and whatever country you come from, please consider helping to make an athletes dream come true. Representing your country at the world championships or Olympics is the highest honor any athlete can have. To have this taken away by a short sighted lack of funding is horrible.

Media Release August 16, 2007


National Downhill Cycling Foundation of Canada “NDCFC”
2007 Canadian National DH Cycling Team /

HEADLINE: National DH Cycling Team making history!

NDCFC and the 2007 National DH cycling team is making history this month!

The team is facing the reality of having no funding! Canadian Cycling Association will offer no direct funding to the Downhill Cycling discipline which is directly inline with the levels of funding received by Sport Canada.

With 10 members on the National DH Team and no funding, manager/coach Chris Colbeck and the athletes have come up with a way to help themselves and the future of the sport! All are trying to travel to the biggest event of the year, the 2007 World Mountain Bike Championships in Fort William, Scotland September 8/9.

Chris Colbeck manager/coach of the 2007 National DH cycling team and former member himself is heading up the National Downhill Cycling Foundation of Canada “NDCFC”. “I will not sit back and watch the athletes struggle year after year after year financially! It paralyzes the future growth of the sport” We have organized a major fundraiser in Vancouver, BC to help the athletes.

For more information please visit our web site or contact Chris Colbeck directly.

Contact Name:
Chris Colbeck
NDCFC President/Founder
National DH Cycling Team Manager
Mobile: 604-932-0809
PO Box 960 Whistler, BC. V0N1B0 Canada

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Has Wikipedia been Hijacked?

I have become concerned over the last few years of the growing tendency for Wikipedia to censor or delete information that they alone determine is irrelevant. I have always been a fan of Wikipedia in general, but I feel that someone needs to stand up and state clearly that the Emperor has no clothes. Wikipedia is a volunteer driven organization with many good editors. However there appears to be vast discrepancies regarding content. Lately, there have been incidents where editors seem to be acting like dictators. I feel compelled to write becaues of the latest series of incidents that has been brought to my attention, all detailed below with references. I encourage you to read these and contribute to this conversation.

On the Ontolog Forum, I recently conversed with and traded email with a scientist by the name of Jon Awbrey. I decided to look up his name on Google to see what other articles he might have available on the subjects of Computational Intelligence and Ontology/Semantics. I found this link:

For those of you who do not know Jon, he is a respected member of Ontology circles and has been very active in several groups. He has a long history of useful contributions in a remarkably contentious domain of knowledge. Jon has made numerous contributions to Wikipedia including a lot of information about Charles Peirce. I read Wikipedia's Ban Policy which is well worded and written with seemingly good intent. Wikipedia also seems to be fairly transparent (albeit somewhat cryptic) in their rationale for the ban and publishes the conversations. What I really don't understand is how the politics work.

Sadly, this is not the only incident. Last year my friend Sim Simeonov built an entry for "Social Commerce" which was a challenge because an Internet Explorer crash lost his information (who saw that coming?). Sim's thoughts on Social Commerce are fantastic and worthy of reading by anyone attempting to understand Web 2.0. Sadly, the Wikipedia page was deleted. Sim writes:

"Update: Well, despite the fact that to my knowledge at least 5-6 people contributed to the page and the content was starting to look pretty good, we weren’t able to defeat the Wikipedia bots–they auto-deleted the page, probably due to lack of references. Hard to have references to a new concept… It didn’t help that during that period I had to do a lot of travel and so had limited time to contribute. How about this–put some content in comments to this post and then I’ll try again early next year."

It appears that bots were not the only ones to delete his page. Mailer Diablo, a known Wikipedia editor, apparently deleted the Wikipedia Social Commerce page as described here:

14:52, 13 December 2006 Mailer diablo (Talk | contribs) deleted "Social commerce" (Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Social commerce)

It is interesting to note that the German page for Social Commerce still exists.

I don't know who Mailer Diablo is but other users have had issues with him including a non-profit organization trying to keep the Wikipedia entry for "Camp Mendocino". Mailer Diablo deleted the page and wouldn't even give the courtesy of replying to the email asking for clarification. The contributor also offered to change the article to meet guidelines. The conversation is public here:


Please undelete "Camp Mendocino"


I didn't get an answer to this, so I will try again.

You can also find this in your archives:

If possible, I would like to see the article "Camp Mendocino" undeleted.

Excerpt from deletion notice:

22:22, 15 January 2007 Mailer diablo (Talk | contribs) deleted "Camp Mendocino"
(Proposed deletion expiring after 5 days, 9/1/2007)

I'm not sure why it was deleted. Camp Mendocino belongs to a non profit organization, is very traditional, and has existed since the 1930s. If the article requires changes, please let me know.

Thank you in advance.


*********************END RQUEST******************

Another good friend of mine, Dick Hardt, had to struggle to save his Wikipedia page. One of the concerns was around "notability" however as user Lori P writes to Wikipedia:

Not sure why "notability" would be a concern. Dick passes your "google test", with over 160,000 references to him.)".

I too have had run-ins with Wikipedia. Matt MacKenzie and I have derived an Architectural Patterns metamodel from the gang of fours work and updated it to speak to business users as well as to add more details for developers. It comes up #1 in Google for the search term "Architectural Patterns Metamodel" as evidence of its popular use. When listed on the Patterns page (one simple line noting it's existence so people needing a template could download and use it), it was quickly deleted by someone from Wikipedia. I complained and suggested they at least read it. The editor who deleted the line item had no clue as to the contents or usefulness of the template to those who architect, design and develop software.


In all fairness, it is obviously a hard job to try and keep Wikipedia as a source of fact despite the fact there are valid, opposing opinions. Surely someone who doesn't know Dick or care might think he is not worthy but anyone using Perl considers him an icon. Those who live at Camp Mendocino might have trouble reconciling the fact Wikipedia does not think they exist with their reality. This unfortunately happens at the expense of knowledge for the rest of us.

Wikipedia editors do need to be *very* careful. I am very concerned over the apparent trend to censor information based on the decision of a few individuals. I favor a wider approach and a community that can keep itself in check. I am concerned that the people making these decisions do not have the necessary level of intellect to make the judgment calls on the items they are editing too. Who will contradict Sim's theories on Social Commerce?

We all need to be a bit more vigilant and run to the aid of those who need our help to maintain their Wikipedia pages.

Thoughts? Anyone else think Wikipedia is being hijacked?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Semaphore Publicly Solved

The Adobe Semaphore riddle, subject of many previous posts and community speculation, has been solved by a non-Adobe person as reported today here. Thank you to everyone who contributed ideas back to this blog previously and read the hints and clues.