wikipedia’s reliability

The Association of Internet Researchers had a brief exchange over this BBC story, Fake professor in Wikipedia storm.
The question is whether wikipedia is inherently weak in structure or simply fated to be exploited like any organization by overzealous and/or unscrupulous persons. There is a public/private angle here too, and I’m curious about Kevin’s comment about the wikipedia community’s attempt to redress the situation.
Homero Gil de Zuniga: Once again Wikipedia raises controversy by the weakness of its very structure. Although I guess that it is the same structure that makes it an attractive global encyclopedia.
Kevin Guidry of mistaken goal: “I would humbly suggest that humans [were] (a) lying and deceiving one another and (b) making poor choices long before Wikipedia or the Internet were invented. The very public manner in which this has been discovered and dealt with is, in my mind, a strength of the system. There are definitely weaknesses and flaws in the system but I’m not sure it’s fair to lay them at the feet of Wikipedia as a whole or suggest (without evidence) that this is inherent in or endemic to the system.
But it sure is interesting to watch the community react and attempt
to change the system in response to this challenge!”
Michael Zimmer: “I don’t see this as a fundamental flaw with Wikipedia’s structure – faked credentials (and improper vetting of them) can plague almost any organization or community:
* Michael Brown at FEMA: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/
0,8599,1103003,00.html

* George O’Leary (football coach): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
George_O%27Leary#Notre_Dame_Controversy

* “Security consultant” posing as Fed Agent to stalk “Brangelina”:
http://www.tmz.com/2006/09/14/fake-fed-wanted-to-get-near-brangelina/
And, of course, it was the New Yorker (who has greater resources for
fact-checking) who got fooled here just as much as the Wikipedia
community….””

One thought on “wikipedia’s reliability”

  1. Hey, Steph,
    How is it going. I am enjoying the break. It is a welcome change after 10 weeks of teaching. Although today is the last day of the break for all practical purposes- LSAT coaching starts tomorrow:)
    All else is well. Pardon my out of contextness:)
    Take care
    Ila

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