Monday, December 12, 2005

Wikipedia Under Siege

XODP Poster MPDoyle writes:
<< Fox News' John Gibson' Big Story just ran a piece with Jane Skinner on a guy who was recently slammed by a malicious prankster in Wikipedia. >>
And a search on Google News indicates that Wikipedia is now currently under siege by a virtual mob. To be clear, the Wikipedia "slam" was not the act of "a malicious prankster," it was a hoax by one Brian Chase who was brand new to Wikipedia and had no idea that anyone would take it so seriously.
<< FoxNews had the victim on in person. >>
How is Seigenthaler the victim? Chase resigned from his job in shame over the prank, and even Seigenthaler -- a long time free speech advocate who has been thrust into the limelight once again -- has urged Chase's employer to rehire him.
<< The upshot of the victim's message was that the existence of open, anonymous web editing forums like Wikipedia is an invitation to our state and federal legislatures to get involved more deeply in regulating our access to the internet so that anonymous slams and defamations are not possible, or at least more difficult to perpetrate. >>
I can understand Seigenthaler's personal offense at being linked to the assassination of his friend Robert Kennedy, but it disturbs me that other people are taking pleasure in the ruin of a man who acted imprudently and without actual malice, and even more disturbing to me that anyone would use such an act as an excuse to further throttle the free flow of ideas.

According to Mike Landberg of the San Jose Mercury News:
<< Wikipedia is becoming a first reference stop for millions of people, from schoolchildren to journalists, including me. But many of these users don't realize a small percentage of articles are flawed. >>
What about the Bible? That, too, has long been a "first reference stop for millions of people, from schoolchildren to journalists." And a significant number of people accept as an article of faith that the Bible is without flaw. Personally, I think that a healthy amount of skepticism and fact-checking is incumbent upon readers of both Wikipedia and the Bible. And being the die-hard optimist that I am, I think that is the lesson that will be learned from the current controversy.

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