Wikipedia accuracy v NYT

Andy Hargadon brings sense and perspective to the Wikipedia fracas:

I’ll be the first to admit that technologies bring unintended, and often catastrophic, consequences. But this is an example of how new technologies that are no worse than old technologies managed to get blamed for crimes that, in the old ways of doing things, were just business as usual.

Worse things happen every day in the book reviews posted anonymously on Amazon (I should know). Worse still happen in the NYT Review of Books, considering the far greater damage to writers’ careers of a bad review in the NYT magazine. And of course, the irony absent this NYT report on the Wikipedia makes it seem that such a travesty of truth could never happen to the Times news organization itself (see the Wiki for Jayson Blair and Judith Miller).

As the Times reports, “Mr. Seigenthaler discovered that the false information had been on the site for several months and that an unknown number of people had read it, and possibly posted it on or linked it to other sites.” Seriously, how many people do you think saw it, or possibly posted it on their sites? Now compare this number to how many people read Judith Miller’s reports on the Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction?

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