There were lots of little errors of tone. For example, Robert Lever, writing for the Agence France-Presse, said:
‘In an unusual bit of self-criticism, Wikipedia notes on its site that some complain about “a perceived lack of reliability, comprehensiveness, and authority” in the encyclopaedia.’
“Unusual”? Wikipedia has been a continuous state of self-criticism that newspapers would do well to emulate. It has discussion pages for every article. It has handled inaccuracies not defensively but with the humble understanding that of course Wikipedia articles will have mistakes, so let’s get on with the unending task of improving them. Wikipedia’s ambitions are immodest, but Wikipedia is not.
And Daniel Terdiman wrote for C-NET:
‘The article stayed on Wikipedia – the free, open-access encyclopedia – for four months before Seigenthaler finally got the service’s founder, Jimmy Wales, to agree to take it down.’
“Finally”? Sounds like Jimmy Wikipedia Wales was resistant? Nah. I asked Jimmy about this. He was contacted by Seigenthaler once. Jimmy immediately removed the previous versions of the article so people couldn’t come upon it by accident. Previous versions are not indexed by the search engines, but, Jimmy said, “We do that fairly often as a courtesy to people, if there’s something disparaging to people in the article.” Added Jimmy, Seigenthaler “didn’t request that it be deleted. He seemed to be surprised that we were willing to do that.”
No surprises, I guess. A lot of people who are making a living out of being arbiters of the truth are unsurprisingly quite resistant to concepts like Wikipedia and other ‘Web 2.0’ platforms (blogging, for example). It’s my hope, however, that these models of user-contribution resources continue to gather pace. An article on the BBC Online News site mentioned that Wikipedia held up pretty well against the Encyclopedia Britannica, in response to the same trigger story about a false libelous entry on Wikipedia. My guess is we’ll hear more about this in the next few months.
(This link found on BoingBoing.)