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Financial Times, death rumors, Google maps and more

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By Cryptic C62 and Phoebe

Financial Times on Wikipedia

The Financial Times ran a long story on Wikipedia and various quality issues that have been in the news lately, including the possibility of flagged revisions, the potential decline in editorship, and ways to detect the quality of articles. The article includes quotes from Sue Gardner, Jimmy Wales, Larry Sanger, Craig Newmark and Andrew Lih, but also a few people who are less often quoted about Wikipedia; Marissa Mayer, head of search at Google, notes that the company could potentially analyze the editing histories of individual editors and rank articles accordingly, but she says "Google has no plans to do that."

Premature death report

Talk show host Rush Limbaugh was hospitalized due to chest pains on December 30. He is alive and recovering, but his article was edited to claim that he had died that day. Although the edits were reverted within minutes of being saved, the error was reported by and later by [ WorldNetDaily].

Google Maps adjustment

According to this article, Google Maps has tweaked the way it selects local search results. Although there already exists a wide range of information available on local businesses, there is often a lack of information available for non-business points of interest (such as local parks). Wikipedia's articles on these non-business locations are now being featured in the top spots for Google Maps searches.


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The misguided news articles that attempt to paint Wikipedia in a negative light because of random examples of vandalism always irk me. They prey upon the average reader's lack of knowledge about how the encyclopedia's inner workings function. Falcon8765 (talk) 01:08, 7 January 2010 (UTC)[reply]

The FT article exhibits certain characteristics in common with some dodgy Wikipedia articles: parts of it are well written, other parts poorly written, and when considered as a whole it's bollocks. Columnist Andrew Waters strongly implies that Wikipedia has no existing peer review process whatsoever, which is an insult to those hard-working editors who spend much of their time assessing articles.
Of course, giving Featured and Good articles preferential rankings over unsourced stubs in Google search results would not be a perfect solution, but it would surely be more meaningful than pie-in-the-sky ideas like having some Googlebot attempting to analyse and rate editors and articles.
Mr Waters then tries to trivialise the WP:Flagged revisions/Sighted versions proposal, describing "a plan to improve the English-language version ... by subjecting changes proposed by newcomers to approval by more experienced editors and flagging up any revisions" as a "minor but highly symbolic innovation". Whether an effective end to the era of "the encyclopaedia that anyone can edit" would be an improvement is open to debate, but to describe it as "minor" displays a fundamental lack of understanding of the nature of Wikipedia.

He goes on to observe "The problem is not necessarily that the average quality of articles is low; rather, that there is no way to tell which can truly be relied on." Much like newspapers, then. Contains Mild Peril (talk) 18:46, 11 January 2010 (UTC)[reply]


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