Last week, Wired reported on a program that allows us to see who’s editing Wikipedia. Invented by Virgil Griffith, a graduate student at Cal Tech, the WikiScanner has finally brought transparency to the encyclopedia that considers us all to be experts.
A few of my favorite revelations:
Nortel – Accounting scandal, what accounting scandal?? This sweeping rewrite of Nortel’s page removes all mention of the 2000-2004 accounting scandal that resulted in investigations from the RCMP and the Attorney General, the CEO being fired for cause, numerous directors being shown the door, etc.
Sure, Wikipedia is directionally helpful. For instance, I learned that lemmings aren’t suicidal, they’re just stupid. As you may know, the rumors of these rodents jumping off cliffs en masse are overstated. If you’re looking for myth coverage, Wikipedia’s the place to be. Meanwhile, MSN’s Encarta tells us that lemmings “…swim lakes and rivers, cross mountains, and eat all vegetation in their path. Eventually, some reach the sea; attempting to swim it as if it were a river, they are drowned.”
Reminds us of the a few corporations, does it not?
It’s not surprising that governments and corporations are being outed for their Wikipedia spin-jobs; what’s surprising is that it didn’t happen sooner. How is it that Wikipedia couldn’t have done this themselves long ago?