Wikipedia Senior Editor Scandal!


Reports are just coming out of a major fracas at Wikipedia over a senior editor with bogus credentials. The thrust of the story is not that the editor had bogus credentials, but that he was almost at the top of the Wikipedia tree

Orlowski has a long article in El Reg as well which says

An assiduous editor with the nickname "Essjay", the 24-year old Jordan passed himself off as an older and more mature character: a Professor of Theology with two PhDs - these impressive credentials even winning him fame in a New Yorker feature. The deception did little to stop Jordan's meteoric ascent. Wales appointed Jordan to "ArbCom", Wikpedia's Supreme Court, and even found him a position at his own commercial venture, Wikia Inc.

The Reg article includes a nice quote from a Wikipedia editor - DMOZ revisited if ever I saw it

We've stopped being an encyclopedia. We've stopped using common sense. We've taken our eye of the big picture and focused on ourselves, our myopic power games, our petty process, and our internal need to keep every one in line. We count sources to determine notability - because we need objective rules. Never mind the fact it is absurd. We fight little wars with [[Daniel Brandt|monsters of out own imagination]]. Never mind the fact they cheapen us. We care not for the damage we do to the real world and its real people, or potential we miss, as long as we can make little rules and have little people follow them.


That is part of the joke

The fraud was unearthed publicly some time ago, but Wikipedia either ignored the facts that surfaced, or were ignorant of them.

The deception was initially unearthed by Daniel Brandt in January, and has been simmering since early February, when Wikipedians themselves put two and two together: the Essjay that Wales had blessed couldn't be the character that Essjay claimed to be. It breezed into public view last week, with a short disclaimer on the New Yorker's website. (The magazine has also printed a hard-to-miss explanation in the current issue).

Another funny thing is that the guy defrocked at Wikipedia is one R. Jordan ;-)

Yep RC got that last week -

Yep RC got that last week - great story though it deserved it's own post.

The text offers a Nihil Obstat from the Rev. Daniel J. Mahan, STB, STL, Censor Librorum, and an Imprimatur from the Rev. Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel, Vicar General. This is a text I often require for my students, and I would hang my own Ph.D. on it’s credibility


He even wrote an open letter to a University Professor (declaring himself as a fellow tenured professor of theology) to implore him to take Wikipedia more seriously as a source.

Wikipedia is not intended as a stand-alone reference; it is imperative that information gleaned from Wikipedia be checked for accuracy, just as information gleaned from any other source. (I for one would not accept the authenticity of a given statement based on a single source; I expect my students to check their facts, regardless of where they originate.)

Nice analysis

There is a nice analysis from Andrew Lih (Wikipedia user and assistant professor of journalism) regarding potentially libellous allegations during the furore.

He has now accused Schiff of unethical conduct, entering into the dangerous domain of defamation and libel and directly affecting the reputation of a working journalist.

just coming in?

WTF? this story is maybe a week old or there abouts? Fast forward to today and you'll read the chap was forced to fall on his sword...or something else the well known pornographer Jimmy Wales was poking at him :-)

>WTF? this story is maybe a

>WTF? this story is maybe a week old or there abouts?

Yep there's an important lesson there about responding quickly and correctly to a PR SNAFU. When the major outlets took the story they went with Wales' original 'so what' comment. I doubt any of them are going to bother to follow up with his change of position.

Listen to the Wikipedia

Listen to the Wikipedia Weekly podcast from Saturday. Too funny. The kiddo played the professor pretty good :).

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