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Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2017-11-24/In the media

Open knowledge platform as a media institution: Wikipedia seen as flawed but important; conservative think-tank fellow wants his say; volunteer in Madison wants to close the gender gap.

Mistakes were made

Flickr - Government Press Office (GPO) - A man reading a newspaper while bathing in the Dead Sea..jpg
Reading news online comes with risks.

Media reported on some errors in, or "hacking" of, Wikipedia, however short term. Maybe this is a good sign of the work's importance as a global media institution but maybe not a good sign of assumption of correctness for realtime events like a coup d'état or a televised beauty contest.

Vandalism of Phineas Gage was labeled "hacking" by the International Business Times and attributed to GNAA trolls in a campaign to smear BuzzFeed reporter Joseph Bernstein for reporting on the alt-right. (Jain, Rishabh (15 November 2017). "Wikipedia Hack Targets BuzzFeed Reporter Who Exposed Hedge Fund Billionaire's Alt-Right Connection". International Business Times.) The 2017 Zimbabwean coup d'état left the Wikipedia biography of Robert Mugabe in disarray, indicating for a period that he was no longer president, when (according to the current article revision) he was only under house arrest. (Austin, Winifred (16 November 2017). "Mugabe's Wikipedia profile updated to former president". Daily Post. Nigeria.) The International Business Times scorned Wikipedians again, holding up a revision of Miss World 2017 that listed the wrong winner – before results were actually announced, and which was reverted after seven minutes – as proof that "Wikipedia page [sic] can be edited by anyone and you cannot trust the platform." (Sharma, Dishya (18 November 2017). "Miss World 2017 winner: Miss Indonesia Achintya Holte Nilsen is the winner? Wikipedia says so!". International Business Times. India.)

And in the feature-not-a-bug category: According to a Washington Times op-ed by Robert H. Knight, "Wikipedia is Britannica — but without factual safeguards" because his edits to American Civil Rights Union with the self-identified account Truthwins09 were reverted and COI identified as a senior fellow employed by the group. Interestingly, for readers interested in finding out more about American Civil Rights Union, the Washington Times displays a synopsis of the Wikipedia article (with credit to Wikipedia). (Knight, Robert (29 October 2017). "'Whackapedia' and its error fest". The Washington Times.)

End of Wikipedia again

Wired magazine published another prediction of Wikipedia's end in "How Social Media Endangers Knowledge". The good news: "Trump's rise ... kicked in a significant flow of funds that has stabilized the nonprofit's balance sheet." The bad news: too many people are Amusing Ourselves to Death and not enough of us turning away from television-like media streams, reflected even in popular Wikipedia content which "tend[s] to revolve around television series or their cast".

Concerns about Wikipedia's accuracy and relevance go back to its very beginning; see for instance the December 2006 Signpost analysis of the previous year's Wikipedia Seigenthaler biography incident.

In brief

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