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Wikipedia mystery solved

Dec - 12 - 2005
Nicole C. Engard

I posted last week about the fact that Wikipedia was forced to require registration because of the controversy surrounding a journalist’s bio. Well, this week the culprit has come forward. According to USA Today, Brian Chase presented journalist John Seigenthaler with a letter of apology last week:

Chase said the additions he made to Seigenthaler’s biography were intended to be “a joke” on a co-worker on what he thought was “some sort of ‘gag’ encyclopedia.” They had been discussing the Seigenthalers, a well-known local family.

“I didn’t think twice about just leaving it there because I didn’t think anyone would ever take it seriously for more than a few seconds,” he wrote.

I have to agree with Chase, sometimes people just take things way too seriously. Wikipedia makes no claims to be the authority on any one topic, and us average folks who edit the articles are doing it (mostly) for fun.

On another similar note, Meridith over at Information Wants to be Free had to require registration for the Library Success Wiki because of spammers who are out to ruin it for everyone:

[T]he Library Success Wiki got hit really badly today by spam and I've decided that I need to require that people register before posting to the wiki. It's very easy (and obviously free) to create an account on the wiki and I hope it won't deter too many people from adding useful information. In a healthier wiki community, like the Wikipedia or the ALA Chicago Wiki (well, what it was in the spring), spam would get fixed quickly by whomever in the community noticed it first. But when the majority of it has to be fixed by one person, spam can really get out of hand. I'm really sorry I have to put up these barriers to use, but they were totally necessary if we didn't want the wiki to become 90% spam and 10% real content.

This is so annoying – and so sad :(


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