Wikipedia’s False Information is Now Truth

By | Feb 13, 2009

I like Wikipedia; every time I’m remotely interested in a television series I crack open Google, type ‘[series name] wiki’ and navigate to the online encyclopedia’s article. I always find a world of interesting tidbits including comparisons of characters to literary and real life persona, breakdowns of key episodes, and an overview of the series’ mythology.

Apart from entertainment value, I have a hard time taking Wikipedia very seriously. Aside from Stephen Colbert’s ‘Wikiality’ antics (that is, your position represents reality if enough people agree with you), the encyclopedia’s founder has gone on record warning people not to cite his project as a reference source.

Case in point: Germany’s a new minister of economic affairs was the victim of a Wikipedia vandalism (in German, many apologies) claiming that his incredibly long proper name included ‘Wilhelm’ (it doesn’t). Some journalists reporting on the minister’s appointment copied his name from the Wikipedia article – including the false Wilmhelm.

What happens now? If it weren’t caught, Wikipedia would be able to cite those papers as printed confirmation of its own mistake – giving it further self-justification to publish erroneous material. (Note: The article in question has already been fixed)

1 Comment so far
  1. Good Riddance 2009 | Ignorant Mouth January 16, 2010 7:42 pm

    […] (Although, they lost it again with some haste) Never doubt free information, and never question the wisdom of Wikipedia. Not only is Google leading the way in discovery, they’re leading the way in environmental […]

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