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Wikipedia in the news

IP Vandalism affects an entire country

When AntiVandalBot reverted a page blanking by IP and an administrator blocked the IP for a month, a Slashdot post "Wikipedia Blocks Qatar" started a mini-media circus. With headlines like (chronologically): Wikipedia denies banning Qatar (The Inquirer), Wikipedia Bans Qatar Users Due To Net Vandalism (All Headline News), Wikipedia edit blackout for Qatar (CNET), and Wikipedia Qatar ban 'temporary' (BBC News) reporting on the event was spotty. Jimmy Wales took the unusual step of personally calling the story "completely false." Additionally, Wales posted (later clarified) that he would give his cell number and respond 24 hours a day to email from reporters asking for information on the incident.

Because Qatar has only one Internet service provider, Qtel, for the entire country, the block to the IP address for its proxy server may have affected many users. Nearly 200 edits were made from the IP in December, although it does not have a long contribution history as the proxy server occasionally changes address. Originally the block prevented account creation but this was relaxed shortly after the Slashdot article was posted. Some users continued to post from Qatar as Qtel's mobile service uses a different proxy server and only anonymous users were blocked.

Wikipedia covers Saddam's execution

Red Herring has a short article about Wikipedia's coverage of Saddam Hussein's execution. "For more than a century this was the deal: newspapers wrote the first draft of history, and the encyclopedias put it all in perspective a few years later. Not anymore. Within minutes of former Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein’s execution ... [Wikipedia] had more than 700 words worth of details..."

Wikipedia called not authoritative

Reader's Representative for the Kansas City Star, Derek Donovan, in an article titled "Wikipedia is hardly authoritative on any subject", expresses frustration with readers referencing Wikipedia as proof of assertions of error in the newspaper. Without addressing whether the asserted proof was indeed false, Donovan complaints include: "unceasing flow of vandalism," "plagiarism," "edit wars," "lack of intellectual proportion." He closes with a request that "Wikipedians, please spare me the angry e-mail."

Internet incivility

The New York Times, in an article titled "Try to Play Nice, Wicked Wide Web", includes Wikipedia in a list of sites with user created content that are susceptible to "conversation[s] descending into the muck." Labeling the interactions "New Nastiness", the article reports that the insults "may be no different from the incivility people can show each other in everyday life ... [but] it may be that anonymity online removes whatever self-control they might have exhibited when confronting their subjects in person."

Edit wars on medical articles

Medical blog, Clinical Cases and Images, discusses Wikipedia's medical entries. After noting that "Wikipedia ... may become the most comprehensive medical textbook," the article outlines a few disagreements between doctors and administrators. The article notes the importance of keeping vandals and promotions out, but warns "If you make contributing too difficult though, 'regular guys' may just go somewhere else."

Other news

Continuing coverage

Media outlets continued to cover the following stories:

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