Difference between revisions of "Wikipedia"

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(Seigenthaler Hoax and Reaction of Wikipedia Editors: Removed sensationalist stuff. This is supposed to be an encyclopedia, not The National Enquirer.)
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In September 2005, a friend of Seigenthaler's discovered the Wikipedia entry and alerted Seigenthaler, whom then contacted the Wikimedia foundation to have the article corrected, however the false biography had remained on Wikipedia for many months.
 
In September 2005, a friend of Seigenthaler's discovered the Wikipedia entry and alerted Seigenthaler, whom then contacted the Wikimedia foundation to have the article corrected, however the false biography had remained on Wikipedia for many months.
 
Wikipedia critic Daniel Brandt later discovered the prepetrator of the prank was Brian Chase, an acquaintance of Seigenthaler Sr.{{fact}} John Seigenthaler Sr later published an article in ''USA Today'' on the whole affair.<ref>http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2005-11-29-wikipedia-edit_x.htm</ref>
 
Wikipedia critic Daniel Brandt later discovered the prepetrator of the prank was Brian Chase, an acquaintance of Seigenthaler Sr.{{fact}} John Seigenthaler Sr later published an article in ''USA Today'' on the whole affair.<ref>http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2005-11-29-wikipedia-edit_x.htm</ref>
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Were Wikipedia editors apologetic?  No, Wikipedia editors savaged Seigenthaler ''afterwards'' on a Wikipedia talk page for publicly criticizing the falsehoods about him:<ref>http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2006/02/12/bias_sabotage_haunt_wikipedias_free_world/?page=3</ref>
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:"Mr. Seigenthaler's attitude and actions are reprehensible and ill-formed," said one typical comment. "[He] has the responsibility to learn about his own name and how it is being applied and used, as any celebrity does on the Internet and the world-at-large. Besides, if there is an error whether large or small, he can correct it on Wikipedia. Everyone fails to understand that logic." Another wrote: "Rather than fixing the article himself, he made a legal threat. He's causing Wikipedia a lot of trouble, on purpose."
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The Siegenthaler scandal was originally billed as a "hoax", then "controversy" and finally downgraded in its stable version to "incident".  Despite the damage to an innocent person and embarassment to Wikipedia's credibilty as a viable source, the Siegenthaler scandal is considered by many internal Administrators as "the best thing that ever happened to Wikipedia" <ref>[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:John_Seigenthaler%2C_Sr.#The_best_thing_that_ever_happened_to_Wikipedia Talk:John Seigenthaler Sr.#The best thing that ever happened to Wikipedia], retrived 23 March 2007.</ref> catapulting the slander factory <ref>[http://wikipediareview.com/lofiversion/index.php?t1100.html Wikipedia: A Nightmare Of Libel and Slander], Joel Leyden, Israel News Agency, 8 May 2006.</ref> from the top 50 to the top 10 most visited websites.
  
 
==Essjay Scandal==
 
==Essjay Scandal==

Revision as of 09:37, 25 March 2007

Wikipedia is a free-content online encyclopedia established by Jimbo Wales and Larry Sangers on January 15, 2001. It currently has over 6 million articles, written in 250 languages[1], including over 1,600,000 articles in the English version. Like Conservapedia, it is a wiki that is written and edited by its users. Under its GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), anyone can add to or edit the content on Wikipedia.

Initially, Wikipedia was hosted on servers operated by Bomis Incorporated, a pornographic search engine funded by Jimbo Wales. Then in 2003, Jimbo Wales created the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation with himself as board president, to oversee the day-to-day operation of Wikipedia.

Seigenthaler Hoax and Reaction of Wikipedia Editors

In May 2005, an anonymous user created a Wikipedia article on John Seigenthaler Sr, a journalist and an assistant to former attorney general Robert F. Kennedy that states:

John Seigenthaler Sr. was the assistant to Attorney General Robert Kennedy in the early 1960s. For a short time, he was thought to have been directly involved in the Kennedy assassinations of both John, and his brother, Bobby. Nothing was ever proven.

and

John Seigenthaler moved to the Soviet Union in 1971, and returned to the United States in 1984. He started one of the country's largest public relations firms shortly thereafter.

In September 2005, a friend of Seigenthaler's discovered the Wikipedia entry and alerted Seigenthaler, whom then contacted the Wikimedia foundation to have the article corrected, however the false biography had remained on Wikipedia for many months. Wikipedia critic Daniel Brandt later discovered the prepetrator of the prank was Brian Chase, an acquaintance of Seigenthaler Sr.[Citation Needed] John Seigenthaler Sr later published an article in USA Today on the whole affair.[2]

Were Wikipedia editors apologetic? No, Wikipedia editors savaged Seigenthaler afterwards on a Wikipedia talk page for publicly criticizing the falsehoods about him:[3]

"Mr. Seigenthaler's attitude and actions are reprehensible and ill-formed," said one typical comment. "[He] has the responsibility to learn about his own name and how it is being applied and used, as any celebrity does on the Internet and the world-at-large. Besides, if there is an error whether large or small, he can correct it on Wikipedia. Everyone fails to understand that logic." Another wrote: "Rather than fixing the article himself, he made a legal threat. He's causing Wikipedia a lot of trouble, on purpose."

The Siegenthaler scandal was originally billed as a "hoax", then "controversy" and finally downgraded in its stable version to "incident". Despite the damage to an innocent person and embarassment to Wikipedia's credibilty as a viable source, the Siegenthaler scandal is considered by many internal Administrators as "the best thing that ever happened to Wikipedia" [4] catapulting the slander factory [5] from the top 50 to the top 10 most visited websites.

Essjay Scandal

In January 2007, Wikipedia critic Daniel Brandt discovered that a prominent Wikipedia administrator, bureaucrat and arbitrator nicknamed Essjay has lied [6] on Wikipedia and in phone interviews with The New Yorker magazine about his age, job, background, and academic credentials[7]. Essjay, who later identified himself as Ryan Jordan and who was an employee at Wikia Inc. funded by Jimbo Wales, had claimed to be a 40 year old homosexual, holding doctoral degrees in theology and canon law and is a tenured professor at a private university; but he was in fact a 24 years old community college dropout [1] from Kentucky. This fraud was reported by ABC, BBC and many other major news organizations. Jimbo Wales upon learning of this incident, stated: "I regard it as a pseudonym and I don’t really have a problem with it."[8]

The first public notice occured on Wikipedia Review, a critic's forum frequented by Brandt and several other prominent Wikipedians, including many who have been blocked from editing Wikipedia. Brandt pointed out as early as July 2006 [2] that "something... doesn't add up" regarding Essjay's claim of being a college professor despite editing Wikipedia as much as 16 hours per day. One of the site's administrators posted on Jan. 11, 2007 regarding Essjay's hiring by Wikia after noticing that Jordan's "Essjay" account on Uncyclopedia (a Wikia-owned site) had been changed to include the "Staff" reference, normally given only to paid Wikia employees. The "Essjay" user page on Wikia had been posted, along with the name "Ryan Jordan," on Jan. 7, 2007 - with no explanation given for why Essjay would leave a tenured faculty position to work as a Community Manager for Wikia. The situation quickly became the subject of increasing speculation by the Wikipedia Review forum members, of whom Brandt was the most skeptical.

Later, the same administrator posted further details [3] of discrepancies between Jordan's Wikia user page and his Wikipedia user page on January 19th, after Jordan added still more personal-background information to his Wikia user page that bore little similarity to the credentials he had claimed on Wikipedia since April of 2005.

Sinbad Hoax

On March 16, wikipedia entry on the 50-year old entertainer Sinbad, born David Adkins, states: "He succumbed to a fatal heart attack on the morning of March, 14, 2007." This hoax was widely reported in the media[9].

Rutgers-Ivy League Hoax

A Wikipedia entry falsely stated that Rutgers was once invited to join the Ivy League. Although that false statement was eventually removed from Wikipedia, it was not removed before the Daily News relied on it in this story:

You don't have to define your college with your football team, but Rutgers long ago decided to give it a try. Back in 1954, when it was considered a 'public Ivy,' Rutgers might have joined the fledgling Ivy League and altered its destiny. But the school declined the offer - arguably the dumbest mistake in its history. Ever since then, Rutgers has scrambled to prove itself worthy of playing football with the big boys."[10]

References

  1. List of Wikipedias - Wikimedia
  2. http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2005-11-29-wikipedia-edit_x.htm
  3. http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2006/02/12/bias_sabotage_haunt_wikipedias_free_world/?page=3
  4. Talk:John Seigenthaler Sr.#The best thing that ever happened to Wikipedia, retrived 23 March 2007.
  5. Wikipedia: A Nightmare Of Libel and Slander, Joel Leyden, Israel News Agency, 8 May 2006.
  6. Essjay/Archive/52 recovered by Brandt for posterity
  7. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6423659.stm
  8. http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/07/31/060731fa_fact
  9. http://www.ioltechnology.co.za/article_page.php?iSectionId=2891&iArticleId=3734818
  10. Bondy, Filip. "They Can Finally Say They Belong Here", New York Daily News, 2006-11-10, p. 92. Retrieved on 2006-12-13.

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