In the news
Politics, more politics, and more
UK politics an area of contention
Brian Wheeler of BBC News examines the relationships between British politicians and their Wikipedia articles in "UK politicians' Wikipedia worries". Wikipedia plays a similarly significant role in British politics as in American politics; the article notes that "In the 2008 US primaries, candidates' Wikipedia entries ranked higher on Google than their own websites for 25% of Democrats and 60% of Republicans, according to research by the Tech President website."
Wheeler reports that "In the UK, the main parties all monitor Wikipedia for errors and bias - but they are reluctant to criticise something which is generally seen as a force for good." However, many individual politicians found fault with their own entries, which are often subject not only to perennial vandalism, but also to more subtle issues of imbalance and misrepresentation. Still, according to a spokesman for the the Liberal Democrats, "Wikipedia is probably more prone to errors than other sources, but it is also much more prone to correcting errors."
Controversy over Barack Obama edits
Aaron Klein of WorldNetDaily [http://worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=91114 reported] several instances of what he believed to be entirely unjustified instances of content being removed from Barack Obama. On multiple occasions, editors attempted to add sourced information related to Jeramiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and concerns over Obama's eligibility to serve as president of the United States. According to Klein's article, those edits were quickly reverted and, in some cases, resulted in the author being blocked. Klein described the Barack Obama article as being "heavily promotional toward the U.S. president." Long time editors of the Barack Obama article meanwhile have countered that this was a content decision made with the consensus of editors involved with the article.
City councilman struggles with his biography
Genevieve Bookwalter of the San Jose Mercury News reports that a "Battle for control of Santa Cruz councilman's Wikipedia page persists". Bookwalter writes that "what once seemed like hip political strategy has become a headache as [Ryan] Coonerty, 35, engages in an ongoing struggle to control his online image on Wikipedia".
Finkelstein: Deletionism is about money
Seth Finkelstein, a long-time critic of Wikipedia and its connection to the for-profit company Wikia (founded by Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales and Wikimedia Foundation Advisory Board chair Angela Beesley) has a column in The Guardian, "Inclusion or deletion? In the end, it's actually about money". Finkelstein argues that deletion of detailed popular culture content pushes contributors from "the relative prestige of Wikipedia" to "being digital sharecroppers on an electronic plantation of user-generated advertising revenues" (i.e., Wikia wikis).
WikiRank soon to go online
WikiRank is a new analysis tool for Wikipedia. The tool, similar to Google Analytics, offers detailed statistical analysis and information regarding Wikipedia article traffic. Unlike toolserver-based traffic counters, WikiRank will also provide "a list of the most dramatic traffic shift in popularity in the last 24 hours." WikiRank is expected to launch in late March 2009.
- Jimmy Wales was interviewed by BBC World Service regarding Wikimedia's fundraising and financial situation.