Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Actually, no it didn't. But critics of the Internet's interactive encyclopedia allege that anyone could rewrite history.

USA Today reported that some are losing faith in Wikipedia's credibility after a high-profile incident of erroneous reporting surfaced last week. A Wikipedia article about the assassinations of Robert and John F. Kennedy claimed that John Seigenthaler, a one-time administrative assistant to Robert (and now a member of USA Today's staff), alleged he had been suspected.
Seigenthaler published a large editorial about the claim last week.

Wikipedia has responded by tightening controls on submissions. Users must now register before submitting any information. Before that, anyone could edit anything before the group. Creator Jimmy Wales started the site to create a sort of digital collective knowledge base that would one day contain the answers to life, the universe and everything. Or something like that.

Anonymous users can post entries and articles. Other users can correct the information. "You are a Wikipedia editor," reads the site's submission policies. The problem comes from bias. A USA Today article alleges former MTV VJ Adam Curry used the site to inflate his role in the creation of podcasting. What happens if Dubya figures out how to get on the 'Net and starts rewriting history about the Iraqi War? Or Clinton redefines the word "is"?

The Mailbox has referred to Wikipedia several times on many different subjects. Unfortunately, now the site's authority and credibility is called into question, which is too bad. The biases of a few wack jobs has ruined the whole thing for everyone. Makes the Mailbox wonder if Wikipedia's articles on evolution, Thanksgiving and the moon landing are just as spiked.

And the Mailbox has a teensy problem about writing things under the guise of anonymity. Sure, the Mailbox does it every day—sometimes twice a day—but Joe Hadsall does not deny being the voice of the Mailbox, whatever it is. That means Hadsall (dang, it's weird to talk about myself in the third person) takes ultimate responsibility for whatever the Mailbox thinks, feels, wonders and ultimately writes. Siegenthaler has no such luxury...according to his editorial, he wants to unmask the "biographer" who libeled him.

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