January 31, 2006

Rewriting History with Wikipedia

As the German magazine Spiegel reports today, the free Online Encyclopedia Wikipedia has frequently been abused by Members of the American Congress. Not only did they manipulate biographies of politcal friends and enemies, they also deleted facts on the article on the war in Iraq. While people are always concerned about the danger of vandalism in Wikipedia, those rather subtle manipulations are by far harder to reveal and to correct. And maybe this is just the tip of the iceberg. Although this is outrageous and questions the Wikipedia model, I also think that Wikipedia has already proved to be a great and well working machine and it will hopefully also find ways to manage challenges like that. The fact, that the changes have been discovered are at least encouraging. Anyway, it also reminds me how careful one has to deal with information from the WP - the "community" is not "all the good people in the world", as I like think about it... [Wikipedia artice on the affair]

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