February 01, 2006

Rewriting Wikipedia

From Evan Derkacz on AlterNet:

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Okay press, you wanted a bipartisan scandal soooo bad? Here you go (even if it's technically more Republican than Democrat, unlike the Abramoff scandal it does involve Dems at least the teensy tiniest bit, we'll just call it bipartisan).

Encouraged by the revelation that Marty Meehan (D-MA) had staffers alter his Wikipedia entry to remove unflattering (but true) facts, Wikipedia ace detectives deployed themselves to find out just who else had been fudging with the people's medium.

Here's Micah Sifry: "It looks like more Republican staffers than Democrats have their fingers caught in the cookie jar known as the Wikipedia. At least that's what this entry on the Wikipedia page shows..."

Some samples:

Richard Pombo (Removing referenced to possible ties to Jack Abramoff and many other npov [neutral point of view] yet politically damaging items)
MoveOn (changing liberal to "left-wing")
Trent Lott (editing references to his rumored actions...)
Nancy Pelosi (entering libelous statements)
Phil Gramm (removing quotes I wouldn't want anyone to see if I had to run for re-election)

Wikipedia itself had this to say:

"Further investigation by Wikipedia members discovered well over a thousand edits by IP addresses allocated to the US House of Representatives and Senate. These edits had, among others, added libelous statements, removed content with malice, added childish insults, violated Wikipedia Policy. This has resulted in the blocking of at least one of the IP addresses..."

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Is this an inherent fault with the concept of Wikipedia? Is it really possible to have a people's encyclopedia, written by the people, and not have huge rewriting and distortion?

1 comment:

Dicky Neely said...

I have never had much faith in, or use for Wikipedia. It is an interesting idea but there are just too many idiots out there to make it a reliable source.