April 20, 2007


In a recent interview with News24.com, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales predicts that MySpace will fail in a few years and that the popular social networking site “hurts” his eyes.

The irony is that MySpace profiles probably have a better accuracy rating than Wikipedia entries.

Israel News Agency
Joel Leyden provides an overview of falsehoods and libel that have come to make Wales’s site famous: the John Seigenthaler JFK assassination lie; Jimmy Wales’s personal alterations of Alan Dershowitz’s entry whereby he censored information (he used the term “protected”); Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s libel-ridden entry; the infamous Adam Curry podcasting entry; and the error-ridden entry on Harriet Tubman, which was highlighted by racial epithets.
“The Great Failure of Wikipedia”
Jason Scott of Textfiles.com delivered this speech at Notacon 3 in Cleveland last year and covers the Ashida Kim incident, users’ dislike of people who are actually experts on given subjects, and discusses Wikipedia’s consensus-based decisions on who/what is worthy of an entry and who/what isn’t. The audio has been archived at The Internet Archive.
The Village Voice
Rachel Aviv offers an interesting look at Wikipedia in her article “Mondo Wikipedia,” in which she points out that 2005’s biggest contributor was a high school student and entry writers can vie for a “General Awesomeness Barnstar” award.
The Smoking Gun
Professional golfer Fuzzy Zoeller filed suit against Wikipedia after a libelous entry was posted. The entry stated that he was a wife beater, child abuser, alcoholic, and drug addict.
USA Today
The most recent celebrity to be hit by the false reporting via Wikipedia was comedian Sinbad, who learned that he was dead. He looks good for a dead guy.
The Telegraph
Last month it was discovered that one of Wikipedia’s editors, who claimed to have been a professor of religion with advanced degrees in theology and canon law, was actually a 24-year-old community college drop-out who held no advanced degrees in anything and was said to have edited 20,000 Wikipedia entries. (On his Wikipedia user page, the man states that he has “received an astounding amount of support.” I’m not shocked.)