Wikipedia Controversy Over Editor’s Fake Credentials

There is something of a controversy about Wikipedia in the news now, and I thought it would be worth drawing your attention to it:

  • From BBC News: “Fake professor in Wikipedia storm”.  BBC reports “Internet site Wikipedia has been hit by controversy after the disclosure that a prominent editor had assumed a false identity complete with fake PhD.” Apparently the contributor, who had been described last summer by The New Yorker, a prominent news magazine, as a “tenured professor of religion,” was actually a 24-year-old college student “who used texts such as Catholicism for Dummies to help him work.” More details on the controversy are available in Wikipedia’s entry on “Essjay Controversy” The discussion at Wikipedia about the entry is also interesting.

Take a few minutes to browse through some of the information linked above, and follow some of the links to other information available at those entries. Does the controversy suggest anything to you about the value of Wikipedia as an information resource? Why or why not?

Happy Women’s Day, and enjoy your breaks. We will meet again on Monday 19 March (when your final project proposals will be due).


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Filed under Key Concepts, Wikis

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