In the news

In the news

Allegations of anti-Islamic bias

Media Monitors Network, a self-declared anti-media-propaganda site, published a long article by book author Abid U. Jan, entitled "Wikipedia: A tool for expediting the clash of religions" on 22 February. Jan states that:

While the concept behind Wikipedia is admirable, we cannot help but feel that the project has become a tool in the hands of diehard Islamophobes who have planned to add validity to the concept and divisive terminologies.

In reply to a letter from Wikipedian gren, Jan published another detailed article in the editorial section of the Al-Jazeerah Information Center (unrelated to the Al Jazeera TV channel), entitled "Wikipedia: Good Intentions, Horrible Consequences" on 27 February, in which Jan says:

Keeping the good intentions behind Wikipedia project and sincerity of its editors in mind, it is necessary to clarify some of the basic misconceptions so that one could see how these good intentions are being manipulated and could pave the way for horrible consequences.
According to a 23 February announcement on the Yahoo! Search blog ("Going deeper into the Wikipedia"), new functionality has been added to Yahoo searches which return Wikipedia articles in the results.
Quick links to sections of the bootleg recording article
A new row of "Quick Links" near the bottom of Wikipedia results provide deep links to the section headers of article content, allowing "more answers in fewer clicks". The news was picked up by Search Engine Watch [1] and several other SEO magazines ([2], [3], [4]).

Promoters targeting Wikipedia?

Public relations magazine PR Week published "Analysis: Wikipedia-friend or foe on the net?", (subscription required), in which the author, Adam Hill, asks how PROs (public relations professionals) can use the online encyclopedia to their advantage. Raul654 was interviewed for and quoted in the article. Interesting quotes in the article include:

Joel Cere, vice-president and head of netcoms EMEA at Hill & Knowlton -
"If an entry has been obviously modified to suit a particular agenda, it will only be a matter of time before it is swayed back to a more neutral ground or to the prevalent public opinion. My PR colleagues should have more faith in the "wisdom of crowds".
Idil Cakim, director of knowledge development at Burson-Marsteller -
"PR firms can advise their clients to update the information about their industries and companies on Wikipedia, without going into marketing-speak. Clients can also refer Wikipedia readers to websites that provide more in-depth information about the given topic."
Shimon Cohen, chairman of consultancy The PR Office -
"It is an example of the very best of the internet: fast, up to date and informative. Of course, it can also be at risk of the very worst of the internet: hackers, misinformation and distortion."
Cere (again) -
"PROs wishing to align Wikipedia's and their client's mention of an event shouldn't modify the original entry, unless factually incorrect, but provide additional information to offer a more balanced viewpoint."

Cory Doctorow

Author and Electronic Frontier Foundation alumnus Cory Doctorow, aka User:Doctorow, who has previously defended Wikipedia in print (see archived story), was interviewed by the The Harvard Crimson college newspaper in "Doctorow Pushes for ‘Free Culture’". He mentions Wikipedia briefly:

THC: Could you speak a little bit about your attitude towards the online, open-source encyclopedia Wikipedia? Because I know there was some misinformation about your career on there for a while, regarding the relative success of your career, among other things.
CD: I never actually took that particularly amiss. I think that John Seigenthaler Sr. [Seigenthaler, a former aide to Robert F. Kennedy, wrote a furious editorial after a false biography of him emerged on Wikipedia] mystified a lot of Internet natives, who said “So you found something inaccurate on a wiki? Why didn’t you just change it?”
As I pointed out before in an editorial response, the difference between Wikipedia errors and errors in the mainstream press is their relative ease in correction. As Bruce Schneier said, the interesting thing about systems isn’t how they perform when they’re working, but how they perform when they fail. When newspapers fail, they perform very badly. When Wikipedia fails, it fails pretty well.

In "Nature has Wikipedia in its cites", The Scientist discusses Wikipedia's history, the Nature study of its accuracy, and a few of the ideas Jimbo Wales has for the future.

The Sun Herald in Mississippi also published a balanced overview of Wikipedia in "Wikipedia open to interpretation".

"Wikipedia war over Sue Kelly" in The Times Herald-Record in New York State documents an edit war over the article on U.S. Congresswoman Sue W. Kelly.

The A.V. Club, the non-satirical entertainment section of The Onion newspaper, published "Inventory: Five Truly Useful Websites", putting Wikipedia at number five:

The ultimate expression of democracy in all its wonderful and awful totality, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that relies on Joe Q. Public for its entries. This is both good and bad. It's good because folks who are passionate about, say, Nikola Tesla, can help provide a comprehensive overview of the inventor's life, complete with references and recommended further readings. Bad because registered users can add an entry to Richard Gere's filmography called The Gerbil Stuffing Club. (And that isn't even funny.) But the users are also diligent police, correcting the entries quickly after they're mangled.

+ Add a comment

Discuss this story

To follow comments, add the page to your watchlist. If your comment has not appeared here, you can try purging the cache.
No comments yet. Yours could be the first!


The Signpost · written by many · served by Sinepost V0.9 · 🄯 CC-BY-SA 4.0