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Education minister's speech copied from Wikipedia; Jimmy Wales interviewed; brief news

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By Tilman Bayer

Education minister's speech copied from Wikipedia

A speech given in the UK House of Commons by British further education minister John Henry Hayes was largely copied from Wikipedia, according to a detailed comparison by Hayes was responding on behalf of the government to a private member's bill to create an additional bank holiday, and numerous sentences in his speech correspond almost verbatim to parts of the article Bank holiday. ePolitix noted that the speech was given on a Friday, where attendance in parliament is usually very low, and mentioned the minister's remark that the particular section of the speech had been prepared for him to read out, but nevertheless called the incident "not exactly a glowing example for students", pointing out that Hayes "is an honorary member of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers".

Jimmy Wales profiled by USA Today and Chicago Sun-Times

Last week, Jimmy Wales was interviewed by USA Today ("Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales takes wiki work seriously"). Among other things, the paper noted his recent editing about current events, having been the Wikipedian who moved Catherine Middleton to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge during the British royal wedding ("Yes, I am just that big a Wikipedia geek that I was waiting with my finger on the mouse button..."); however, another Wikipedian overtook Wales in updating Wikipedia with the death of Osama bin Laden.

The Chicago Sun-Times's profile of Jimmy Wales ("Wikipedia still ad-free at 10") focused on financial aspects: "Wales splits his time between London and Florida and says he earns a living by making speeches to industry groups and schools." The newspaper quoted an online marketing consultant who estimated that Wikipedia is foregoing at least "$1 billion" in advertising revenue but added "that's good. There should be some places online without ads."


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"3% of scientists edited their Wikipedia article" does not follow from a poll - such polls are not necessarily representative. It is likely they reached a particularly online-intensive subset. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 01:38, 17 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Wait a minute, isn't this a WP:COI issue? (my emphasis) "Darren Logan, a geneticist at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, is an administrator on Wikipedia — a position that gives him additional editing powers. He agrees that editing Wikipedia can be a very influential way of getting a point across, even within the scientific community. One article he has written, on major urinary proteins, included references to his scientific work and introduced terminology that others later used to describe his work" -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 01:43, 17 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]

The true figure may be higher, if we count the spirit as well as the strict letter of the wording. I'm aware of cases where a prof has had one of his staff or family members edit the article. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 02:03, 17 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]

How do we count "scientists"? I know of plenty of (for instance) people who work in other professions who have discovered and named many species of plants - are they scientists? Same proably goes in astronomy and a few other disciplines too...Casliber (talk · contribs) 02:47, 17 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
I think you need an ology.  Chzz  ►  04:23, 17 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Hopefully, most of the scientists who edit Wikipedia aren't doing so because they are insecure about the legacy of their work or the work of their colleagues, because it might influence some of them to act in a way that is contrary to Wikipedia's spirit of collaboration, cooperation, and compromise. By the way, the interviewer's follow-up question to Wales on the super-injunctions was very astute. Cla68 (talk) 00:16, 18 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Perhaps the item in the Signpost would be clearer if it included Jimmy's statement (from the print version): "But if they appeared in say the New York Times or a French newspaper he would run them, 'without question'." . DGG ( talk ) 22:45, 18 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
I agree with Boris that the true % of academics editing their bios is considerably higher than 3%, (I'd say 10 to 20%) but this is only sometimes problematic. When it is, the edits are equally likely to be too brief & modest, than to be too expansive and self-promoting. In general, the academics usually do a better job of it themselves than their university's PR staff, and often better than scientifically naïve unrelated users. DGG ( talk ) 19:58, 18 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
True. Perhaps we could clarify what edits are acceptable or even encouraged, such as published research? On a related subject, I've worked on articles about authors, and if any of them would have been interested in listing the works with the date, publisher, year and ISBN number, I wouldn't have complained. Some things are necessary and noncontroversial. Flatterworld (talk) 03:45, 23 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]


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