Le MuslimPost, Yassine Bannani November 21, 2017
Highly influential, Idriss Aberkane became famous for his writings and lectures on the economics of knowledge and neuroscience. His personal way of popularising science has earned the teacher many rave reviews in the French press. But success often arouses jealousy and that of Idriss Aberkane does not derogate from this sad rule. On Wikipedia, the introduction page dedicated to him says that the scientist has “artificially inflated” his CV. Regularly summoned to explain himself, the thirty- year-old is now trapped by these all-out attacks. So much so that his works have become hidden in favour of an artificially maintained controversy.
Behind its detractors hides a group of scientists who seem to have had a bad reaction to Aberkane’s bookstore success and are trying to destroy the reputation of the latter, overstepping all the rules of neutrality and balance that should govern on Wikipedia. Decryption of a very popular phenomenon on the web.
Although he has detailed his CV, Idriss Aberkane still in the eye of the cyclone
It all begins when the author of “Free your brain” begins a tour of France television sets. Presented as a “little genius” by the journalists, notably thanks to his numerous diplomas and his positions of researcher in big institutions, Idriss Aberkane is quickly taken by the grip of some scientists who reproach him for having used false titles like that of teacher-researcher at the CNRS.
Idriss Aberkane does not understand the controversy. “I always contested the idea of not being able to claim the status of teacher-researcher at Central because I proved that I did research there,” he explains.
But he firmly denied having ever said that he was a teacher-researcher at the Polytechnic. This approximation is due to the error of a journalist.
The case has gained momentum after a Facebook post, posted by a certain Matthieu Leocmach researcher at the CNRS in Lyon, last October. A battle of researchers, so to speak. Because on the side of the CNRS, the one the Express has contacted, we cannot find anything wrong.
Idriss Aberkane, after having been a trainee at the CNRS in 2005, is now resident at the Centre for Management Research, a CNRS unit and the SAI largely reporting to the CNRS. When Idriss Aberkane claims to be “affiliated with the CNRS”, it is because he “collaborates with laboratories” of this institution. To end, once and for all, the controversy Idriss Aberkane has exhaustively detailed his CV on his website, supporting evidence. In vain: the Wikipedia file remains in spite of all, faithful to the erroneous version of its detractors.
“The worst publishers are those who are motivated by ideological reasons”
But how can the online encyclopaedia be reduced to the agora of a “guéguerre” between academics? The initial principle of the encyclopaedia is: to be open to all, or almost. “Editing an article is childishly simple,” says an e-reputation professional, specializing in Wikipedia publishing. But this sometimes leaves room for settlements of malicious accounts, orchestrated by only one person sometimes. “In my opinion, the worst publishers are those who are motivated by political or ideological motives,” says a French contributor, quoted by L’Obs. Yet community-elected administrators should be able to avoid revenge-motivated attacks. Administrators who check, control and perform a regular spring cleaning. But fifteen years after its creation, Wikipedia continues to host “vandals”, often anonymous, on its pages. Regarding Idriss Aberkane, several anonymous users regularly question the researcher’s CV.
Wikipedia works like a court: a group of Wikipedants decided that Idriss Aberkane was guilty and today a consensus against the essayist is now established. Yet, the visible discussions on the threads of Idriss Aberkane’s record show the fact that this same community is not following Wikipedia’s rules.
Why? Because a small group of participants – very organized – applies itself to maintaining the disorder and to refuting of any argument in favour of the scientist. “Their technique is extremely simple and terribly effective: when an intervention is proposed for Idriss Aberkane, the contributor is suspected of having the key person as sponsor”, summarizing our specialist in e-reputation, who noticed that every two to three days, anonymous users did not hesitate to put a layer on the so-called false CV of Idriss Aberkane. We can see here how a group of wikipedants super-contributors managed, thanks to a solid union, to freeze an erroneous and malicious version of the young author’s record.
The vicious circle of Wikipedia for “laundering” sources.
The home of Wikimedia France is unavailable to subscribers since the beginning of the summer. It must be said that the association has many other problems to solve.
Since July, Wikimedia France is at the heart of several controversies.
Between the community and the leaders of the association, a real open war is playing out. Between February and May alone, nearly half of Wikimedia France’s board members resigned. The governance of the association is questioned, but also the way it works. For several years, other affaires of Wikipedia pages, this time too complacent, have been denounced by Internet users. On the side of Wikimedia in the United States, it is estimated that “the actions that are carried out (in France) are at odds with the fundamental values of the Wikimedia movement, such as transparency, tolerance for divergent opinions and free speech”. Au Monde, the executive director of the French association even admits that “with digital tools, it is easy to go beyond the limits”. Here too, some ask questions about the more global functioning of Wikipedia.
In addition to the simple online encyclopaedia, the Wikipedia sheet of Idriss Aberkane alone illustrate a vicious circle: the critical sources of Idriss Aberkane’s reviews are based, for the most part, on obscure blog posts or “buzz” sites. And even when they come from more prestigious sources, the articles are to be taken lightly. But the mainstream media often repeat, word for word, the sources cited which become, in turn, sources that are suddenly credible. A “laundering” source that consolidates the Wikipedia page, which may remain in its current state for a very long time allowing alternative truths to become irrefutable facts thanks to the perseverance of a few perfectly organized detractors…