Last week an unregistered contributor posted what was allegedly a draft of Steve Jobs's keynote address at the Macworld Conference & Expo to Wikipedia, sparking a flurry of blog speculation and analysis. While its potential validity was largely downplayed, its appearance still garnered considerable attention.
Macworld ritually kicks off with the Jobs keynote Tuesday, 15 January, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. His address is typically expected to include a major announcement or two, such as new product offerings. The leadup to the event thus fuels a dizzying amount of speculation in the active online community of Apple users and fans.
The "leak" was posted 9 January to the talk page for the article about the conference itself. The IP address, 220.127.116.11, has a limited contribution history and traces to an ISP serving Wisconsin and neighboring states. Its appearance sparked a bit of discussion on the talk page and a brief edit war over whether it belonged there at all - it has since been removed.
Identifying itself as a "Rough Outline; draft 5", the document goes through highlights of various Apple products Jobs would presumably discuss during his keynote. Included are the iPod and iTunes, the iPhone, along with the Mac and MacBook computers. At least in form, it would be plausible if not earthshaking, and as some people pointed out, the real speech is presumably undergoing frequent last-minute changes. This means the actual keynote could be different and makes it impossible to definitively disprove the leak, part of what makes this sort of thing a popular debating subject.
As the opening of the conference approached, a variety of bloggers picked it up, although most thought it likely to be fake, possibly even active disinformation being circulated by Apple. Bryan Gardiner of Wired wrote that it "seems to suspiciously mirror the popular rumors that have gained credence over the past month". On the other hand, Steve Rubel said he was inclined to accept the document - "It sounds real." Steve Jobs keynote on January 15, however did not contain any of the material in the leak.
The choice of the talk page is interesting, suggesting that the poster understood Wikipedia editing practices well enough that source material wouldn't be appropriate to dump directly into the article. For that matter, one could wonder why Wikipedia was chosen at all, as opposed to the unrelated Wikileaks project created specifically for this type of material.