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Wikipedia praised in media, including by competitor of sorts

Writers in the media showed that they were positively impressed by Wikipedia, except for a town concerned about its image. The favourable reviews included one from a site sometimes identified as a competitor.

'No greater net resource for wasting time'

Detroit Free Press writer Mike Wendland wrote about Wikipedia this week and formed a very favourable opinion, describing the encyclopaedia as 'unlike any other one-stop reference you've ever consulted' [1].

Wikipedia dominates news coverage of Wikimedia Foundation projects, but Wendland mentioned Wiktionary, Wikiquote and Wikispecies in his article, and said he had found 'no greater net resource for wasting time' than Wikipedia and related sites. Wendland quoted facts from Medieval hunting and Ninety Mile Beach as examples of the kind of 'obscure trivia' he enjoyed finding in Wikipedia, and said that the abundance of links in each article meant that 'before you know it, the birds are singing outside your window and you stayed up all night'.

Wendland considered the common criticism that because anyone can edit Wikipedia it cannot be entirely reliable, and quoted from the project's own consideration of this criticism which acknowledges that the encyclopaedia contains much 'well-meaning, but ill-informed and amateurish work' but notes that the project is very much a work in progress rather than a finished project.

The article noted the similarities between Wikipedia and h2g2, a collectively written 'unconventional guide to Life, the Universe and Everything' and brainchild of Douglas Adams, and looked at the growing influence of wiki-based sites on the Internet, but said that Wikipedia is 'clearly the standard for open-source information'. also seems impressed

One of Wikipedia's main competitors in the internet knowledge resource market,, has looked at the remarkable growth of Wikipedia since its launch.

Editor's note from November 2023: The spam blacklist, in its infinite wisdom, has deigned to demand this link not be included, or else this article can never be formatted or edited, even by administrators. The URL was: http://websearch,about,com/b/a/188129.htm. I am also strictly forbidden to even mention the name of the website, so you must imagine that this next redacted part said "About dot com blogger".

[murderously evil, unmentionable, heinous name of world's most terrifying website redacted] blogger Wendy Boswell declared herself 'not a good graph reader' but still able to see that Wikipedia's growth charts were 'pretty dang cool'. However, Boswell perhaps misunderstood the aim of the project when she said that 'So if you look up something about cats and find that you are not agreeing with the person who stated that cats can't use a vacuum cleaner, you can add your opinion' - Wikipedia being a neutral encyclopaedia rather than a place for people to propose ludicrous ideas.

Ulster town upset by its Wikipedia entry

The Belfast Telegraph reported this week on the plight of County Antrim town Ballymena, which it claimed had been 'ridiculed in the biggest open access encyclopaedia on the internet' [2]. The Telegraph underestimated Wikipedia's size by a factor of ten when it stated that the project 'currently carries about 50,000 articles', but found the Ballymena article somewhat deficient. Some content appeared to be sarcastic, claiming that the town contained two of Europe's best-kept housing estates, and urging visitors to visit "the green and gentle pastures of the Doury Road and Ballykeel".

More controversial was a claim that the town is the heroin capital of Europe, something disputed by the mayor of the town, Tommy Nicholl, who said the claim was "ludicrous and not true" and said "Why doesn't whoever wrote this highlight good things about Ballymena?", although he acknowledged that the town did face a drugs problem. The Telegraph quoted Encyclopædia Britannica executive editor Ted Pappas as saying "The premise of Wikipedia is that continuous improvement will lead to perfection. That premise is completely unproven".

Since the publication of the Telegraph article on 22 July, the article has seen several edits, which have removed the sarcasm and dubious claims which the Telegraph highlighted, and also added sources and external links, which were previously absent.

Non-notable BBC News guest columnist inspires his own article

The editor of the BBC News website Pete Clifton writes a weekly column for the site, but recently handed over for two weeks to a replacement chosen from the general public. Researcher Ed Moran from Oxford took over, and in his first column remarked on his surprise and awe at finding that Pete Clifton had an entry [3], although he suggested that Clifton had probably written the article himself.

In his second column [4] Moran reported one reader as writing in to say "Dude. It's Wikipedia. Anyone can be in it", and an article on him duly sprang up. Moran acknowledged, though, that while Pete Clifton had survived a vote for deletion, he was unlikely to do so, and his prediction was borne out - Neutrality put the article forward for deletion and the vote looks set to remove Ed from Wikipedia.


Among the citations of Wikipedia articles in the press this week: University of Illinois newspaper The Daily Illini quoted from confirmation bias in an article on the flaws inherent in scientific studies [5]; the Cincinnati Enquirer cited the existence of an article on Coingate as evidence that a worker's compensation fund scandal in Ohio would shape the state's political future [6]; The Times discovered that the Irish equivalent of the British chav is a scanger [7]; and an article published in several Canadian newspapers looked to Wikipedia to expose the history of the word metrosexual [8].

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