"Wikipedia strikes again"

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Thursday, 05/04/06

Wikipedia strikes again
Its volunteer editors seem to be creating accuracy issues at online site

What good is an encyclopedia -- whether online or traditional -- whose
information cannot be trusted?

That's the question now faced by Wikipedia and its founder, Jimmy Wales.

Wikipedia was created as an online, interactive encyclopedia; users are
free to create their own entries and to edit existing entries. But some
users are obviously more interested in manipulating Wikipedia's entries
than in enhancing them.

The Associated Press reports that Wikipedia has become a preferred tool of
political mischief. Political operatives are routinely rewriting Wikipedia
entries either to make their bosses look better or to make their bosses'
political enemies look stupid.

One online prankster turned Sen. Robert Byrd's age from 80 to 180. An entry
about a Georgia congressman was amended to say he was "too liberal for the
state." Staffers for Rep. Martin Meehan, D-Mass., edited his entry to
remove his early promise, which he didn't keep, to only serve four terms.

The rewriting by Capitol Hill staffers became so prolific that earlier this
year, Wikipedia temporarily blocked the access of congressional Internet
addresses to the site -- as if those congressional staffers don't have home

Wikipedia is the same online reference source that for several months last
year had an entry that claimed that John Seigenthaler, this newspaper's
chairman emeritus, was involved in the assassinations of John and Robert
Kennedy. After the Seigenthaler story became public, Wales initiated some
controls over who could post information.

Some of Wikipedia's defenders say that its information is as credible or
more credible than traditional sources. The science journal Nature audited
42 of Wikipedia's science articles last year and found that it had an error
rate that was comparable to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

No doubt, some of its information is good. But the problem is that people
using it have no way of discerning the valid information from the junk. If
Wikipedia wants to be taken seriously, it's going to have to hire real
editors and get serious about its own credibility. #

Re: "Wikipedia strikes again"

Dennis M wrote:

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Given the first paragraph I've quoted, this same problem must exist with
Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Toby A Inkster BSc (Hons) ARCS
Contact Me  ~ http://tobyinkster.co.uk/contact

Re: "Wikipedia strikes again"

| From: denn...@dennmac.net (Dennis M)
| Newsgroups:
| Subject: "Wikipedia strikes again"
| X-No-Archive: yes
Dennis M wrote:
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But it turned out that the Nature study
comparing wikipedia to the Britannica
was itself a distortion of the truth.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

from the Register:

Re: "Wikipedia strikes again"

Dennis M wrote

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"now faced"?  I would have posed the question from day one.

Charles Sweeney

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