In the news

In the news

Independent review

On 12 February, British newspaper The Independent published "Wikipedia under the microscope over accuracy", which invited experts to rate eight articles (Muslim, Russian Revolution of 1917, Kate Moss, Ann Widdecombe, Tony Blair, In vitro fertilisation, Philip Larkin, BBC Radio 1, and Punt). Overall, the online encyclopedia seemed to do fairly well; Wikipedia editors are now reviewing the criticisms at the external review page in order to improve the articles.

In-depth article

The Boston Globe published a front page article entitled "Bias, sabotage haunt Wikipedia's free world" on 12 February, the first half of a two-part story. This long story gives a wide overview of Wikipedia and its strengths and weaknesses. Most of the errors mentioned in the first article have been corrected, as of Signpost press time.

The second half, "Many contributors, common cause", was published on 13 February, compiled from interviews with the Boston local Wikipedia group. A sidebar, "The idealists, the optimists, and the world they share" explored the personalities and editing habits of a few more Wikipedia contributors. (Note access to the articles will require payment after 14 February and 15 February, respectively.)

A discussion at the Village Pump noted a few errors in the piece.

Congressional edits

The story from two weeks ago about edits to political articles coming from computers assigned to United States congressmen (see archived story) continued to make high-profile news this week, as it did last week (see archived story). Notably, several mainstream media stories cited the investigation performed by reporters from Wikimedia's own news site, Wikinews (see "Wikinews investigates Wikipedia usage by U.S. Senate staff members").

Articles this week included:

A smaller newspaper, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, included an ironic quote in "Burns' office may have tampered with Wikipedia entry" on 9 February. James Pendleton, a spokesman for Senator Conrad Burns, said of Wikipedia: "They have exactly zero credibility. Because there is no fact-checking, anybody can go in and put in whatever they want."

Interview with Jimbo Wales

The Lowell Sun, a Massachusetts newspaper which initiated the investigation into Wikipedia edits from Capitol Hill, published "Wikipedia founder: It's not about technology", a short interview with founder Jimbo Wales about how Wikipedia works.

German Wikipedia

Three weeks ago, Associated Press published a story about the "shutdown" of the German Wikipedia requested by the parents of a deceased hacker whose name was published against their will; AP later issued a correction clarifying the details. This week, they reported the German court's dismissal of the case, and the story was carried by several large news sources, including:

Brief mentions

This month's Discover magazine states "Science entries in Wikipedia, the open-source online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, are nearly as error-free as those in Encyclopaedia Britannica, according to a team of expert reviewers." This figure comes from the comparative study performed by science journal Nature a few months ago (see archived story).

An opinion column in the Detroit Free Press ("RON DZWONKOWSKI: A War Beyond Images"), mentions Wikipedia's publication of the controversial Muhammad cartoons.

Gaming blog Joystiq quoted Microsoft Corporate Vice President J Allard as saying "We're going to take on the Wikipedia model", regarding player participation in world-building for computer and video games.

Wikipedia also made another appearance in a satirical article in The Onion, in "Mark-Paul Gosselaar Obviously Authored Own IMDb Trivia".

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The following discussion copied here from Wikipedia:Village pump (news)#Boston Globe will publish long 2-part series on Wikipedia on February 13. It is not up to date.

Boston Globe will publish long 2-part series on Wikipedia

first part This article sucks--it's dead on. Damn the Seigenthaler incident. It's made the press so gimlet-eyed. They used to just pile blind superlatives about what a great social experiment this is.

Lotsofissues 08:54, 12 February 2006 (UTC)[reply]

It's ironic that an article on the reliability problems of Wikipedia makes a false statement: "On his own, Seigenthaler tracked down the saboteur to a business in Nashville, and an employee there admitted altering the article" (p. 3). Seigenthaler hit a dead end with the vandal's ISP, and internet activist Daniel Brandt successfully tracked down the vandal. When people consider this issue, they often don't seem to take into account the frequency of inaccuracies in the media.--Nectar 10:00, 12 February 2006 (UTC)[reply]
Actually, the article is not "dead on". It's riddled with errors. While they claim this "raises new questions" people have been aware of the problems for years. They say it is "Two months after a highly publicized attack" when the vandalism itself was actually in May. They wrongly imply all articles are "written by thousands of anonymous contributors.". They say "funds to support the project come mostly from public fund-raising, in gifts of $50 to $100." when some contributions are much more or much less. The author also confuses slander and libel. He says Jimbo removed the Seigenthaler libel when it wasn't him. The list goes on. Wikipedia is undoubtedly inaccurate in parts, but we correct our mistakes (as I did with those mentioned in the article). Superm401 - Talk 03:23, 13 February 2006 (UTC)[reply]
Has anyone reviewed the Wikipedia errors mentioned in the article? Kaldari 09:00, 13 February 2006 (UTC)[reply]
I checked all of them and I can confirm that at least according to the information in the article, all of the errors identified have been addressed, though I can't confirm the one about Hingham, Massachusetts, because I can't access the link used as a reference there. They haven't been cited to multiple external sources, but our articles do now conform to the information the Globe listed as being from the various experts. Below are the four articles they mentioned. All but Tubman are mentioned in the last section of the Globe article:
They're probably worth a check to further independent sources to go the extra mile. - Taxman Talk 23:10, 13 February 2006 (UTC)[reply]
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