Photo: Flickr user lifeontheedge

Friday, September 21, 2007

The daily telegraph (the most popular newspaper broadsheet (thanks, martin) in britain) has run a completely incorrect article about wikipedia. Here's the lede:

Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia compiled by computer users, is to stop people from editing entries after a series of questionable updates cast a shadow over its accuracy and reliability.

Ordinary users will no longer be able to edit information and to see those changes appear instantly on the screen.

Under plans being considered they will have to submit changes to a team of “trusted editors” who would then decide whether to update the entries.

This is, of course, complete nonsense. Possibly the telegraph is referring to the "stable version" plan, which an actual journalist has written about here: "English readers are likely to continue to see the latest version of an entry, with a page that has been certified as vandalism-free by trusted editors available via a link." (The article also talks about how the trust metric is being integrated with mediawiki. Cool.)

I wouldn't be quite this pissed off if I hadn't taken the trouble to write a very long comment on the article page, which the telegraph decided not to approve for posting. Update: They've posted it. I think it was just a delay.

I got used to seeing incorrect stories about wikipedia a couple years ago. But at this point, the largest paper in britain should be getting this sort of thing right. If you want to ask for a correction, contact


David Gerard said...

At least I wasn't actually misquoted. I did try to explain things to her properly. Hadn't read the New Scientist article at that stage. I think she was trying to get things right, but she really didn't seem to get a lot of stuff about Wikipedia.

Martin A. Walker said...

Yes, this Telegraph piece is poor journalism for a broadsheet. I just wanted to mention that (according to the unreliable source, Wikipedia) the Telegraph is the most popular broadsheet (read - "serious" newspaper) in the UK. The most popular newspaper overall is The Sun; I can hardly imagine what The Sun would do with this story...!
Martin Walker (User:Walkerma)

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