Saturday, March 03, 2007

Closure Still Lacking in Essjay Scandal

The beleagured Essjay "retired" from Wikipedia today, and I was prepared to let sleeping dogs lie until I read a post at Andrew Lih's blog:
"Paying a source for a story is an absolute no-no in the normal practice of print journalism. And it struck me immediately how incredible it was [Essjay] would accuse Stacy Schiff, a Pulitzer Prize winning author writing for The New Yorker, of this crime. We either have a serious breach of ethics with Ms. Schiff or another dubious statement claim from Essjay (nee Ryan Jordan)."
Notwithstanding the hyperbole of comparing a breach of professional ethics with a crime, a survey of Google search results for ''paying a source' journalism' indicates that paying a source for a story is, indeed, an ethically murky area. As such, there can little doubt that Essjay was lying, once again, adding a truly bizarre spin to an already bizarre story.

In a previous blog post, I stated that I would like to see Essjay make a fresh start at Wikipedia under the protection of a new, anonymous pseudonym. However, that's not possible unless Essjay retracts this rather bizarre claim about Stacy Schiff. And given the fact that a substantial number of Wikipedians remain stuck in denial and steadfast in their support of Essjay, it is highly unlikely that he will ever offer a retraction or an apology.

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