Mixed blog reactions

Wikipedia prompts compliments, analysis, and call to action from blogs

Discussion of Wikipedia in the blogosphere over the past week — besides the great many people linking to and discussing the London bombings (see related story) — provided a variety of reactions to the project's treatment of other subjects. One blogger complimented Wikipedia for including information other publications had ignored, while another took issue with its coverage and promoted a campaign to fix it. Also, bloggers returned to analyze an issue that has received increasing coverage recently, the use of Wikipedia as a marketing tool (see archived story).

Monday, 4 July: Chris Crain, blogging for the Houston Voice, a gay and lesbian news site, wrote about "The straight-washing of Luther Vandross", charging that media coverage in the aftermath of the singer's death had papered over the evidence about his sexual orientation. He noted the contrast to Wikipedia, which mentioned rumors that Vandross was gay even before the flurry of edits that followed his death.

Thursday, 7 July: Joe Brockmeier, blogging for ZDNet, wrote a post called "Is Wikipedia ripe for PR?", reviewing the significance of Wikipedia in product marketing. This came after Russell Shaw noted the use of Wikipedia to provide up-to-date information about the Skype VoIP network. Brockmeier described the entry as more neutral than spam, but conceded that he found the constant use of new media for advertising purposes repulsive. However, he said he liked that Wikipedia entries could be rewritten or deleted if necessary, and that "Unlike other media, no one gets the last word".

Saturday, 9 July: La Shawn Barber, a Christian blogger who was the subject of a debate in February over whether to delete the article about her (see archived story), took the opportunity to indirectly comment on the fact that a quote from her is listed in the Islamophobia article. The statement quoted, written in the context of the controversy over handling of the Qur'an at Guantanamo Bay, said that "Despite what they may say, Muslims are and have always been on a mission to conquer and kill infidels" and that the US should "focus on stopping the spread of Islamofascism." Barber suggested that use of this quote as an example of Islamophobia was an ironic contrast with how criticism of Christianity is generally viewed, and called for her readers to collect similar quotes for the Christianophobia article, as a way of providing balance. However, when last checked this article showed no sign of being edited since 26 June.

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