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« Out of Fashion | Main | Heads Up: 1.23.07 »

Tuesday, January 23, 2007



It's not the wiki or "Wiki" that has to grow up, its the people who maliciously screw things up. Unfortunately, John Street and Kathleen Sibelius' minor run-ins are far from the worst that's happened.

A Wikipedian

I challenged the writer and her editor regarding this. They said they saw it on the page and that it did not change for SIX DAYS. I reminded them that Wikipedia is available to anyone to fix; they themselves could have fixed the error in two minutes. Therefore, they are part of the problem: staring at errors instead of fixing them.

Christopher Swope

Good points.

Truth be told, when these sorts of pranks occur, they are usually deleted/edited/reverted quickly and little if any harm is done.

Though six days does seem like a long time for a mayor who's up for reelection this year to have an incorrect Wikipedia profile. If you search "John F. Street" in Google, his Wikipedia profile is the third thing that comes up.

I think the lesson for state and local officials is that whether you like Wikipedia or not it's a powerful tool--and if you're in the business of managing your boss' political image, you'd best be checking his or her profile every day.


Maybe, but that could lead to other trouble, EG. getting caught adding, totally inadvertently or innocently, biased information while doing so. If you're working for a politician whose got a page with a bad mistake on it, you can be walking a fine line between fixing errors and glossing facts.

Christopher Swope

I'm not saying to let the flacks spin away. That wouldn't be in the spirit of Wikipedia either.

But really, this is the biggest unresolved flaw in Wikipedia and the whole wiki concept generally. There's a lot of well-meaning people, real believers in the whole shared-knowledge concept, who police pages from vandalism. But there's just too many pages on the site to keep up.

None of this would matter if Wikipedia profiles were buried in some dark corner of the internet. But they're not. Search any marginally famous person and it's the 2nd or 3rd thing that comes up. So if I were in the image business, I'd care.

Christopher Swope

A corporate case of going too far in Wiki-image polishing:

Jake Parrillo

Hizzoner? That's the one and only Mayor Daley, guys.

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