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Seigenthaler v. Wikipedia? — Viva Wikipedia

Tags: Wikipedia, News

One John Seigenthaler, Sr., has been making a big fuss over Wikipedia lately. You can get the whole story just about anywhere, such as from a New York Times article or, as should come as no surprise, a Wikipedia entry.

The meat of the situation is this — Seigenthaler happened to come across the Wikipedia entry about himself recently, and he didn't like what he read there. It implicated him in the RFK and JFK assassinations or something... but that's not important. What is important, is this: he has made and is continuing to make a huge stink over it.

I do feel bad for him, honestly. He seems like a nice fellow who was offended by what he read about himself, and, on top of that, he's concerned that anyone could write similar "slander" about anyone or anything else, and hapless readers might accept it as the truth.

But poor John, unfortunately, just doesn't understand Wikipedia. Wikipedia is founded on two basic ground rules:

1. If you know something and it's not in there, add it.
2. If you find something in there that is incorrect, fix it.

These are the rules from which Wikipedia was born, and the rules according to which it continues to grow. A true User of Wikipedia accepts them and abides by them. What Seigenthaler should have done when he came across his bio is fix it, and then post an explanatory note in the entry discussion. It would have been quiet, under the radar, and correct from then on.

Instead, he made a fuss. Who does this benefit, other than the news-media? No one that I can see. It has caused him an even greater headache, though, as his entry is now a juicy target for wikivandalism.

Wikivandals, by way, deserve to beaten over the head with all 32 volumes of the Encyclopædia Britannica.

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  • Purpose: user-interface critique (ranting), among other things.
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