Sunday, December 04, 2005

The New York Times vs. Wikipedia

Following is a link sent to me by a friend about how a fake posting a person in Wikipedia got by the volunteer editors and slandered someone who's still around with alot of untrue info. This is my response to it. It's interesting in that I think this will become a sort of attack point by old media entities on new media and it's worth both keeping an eye on and making sure it doesn't spiral into something unreal:

"This is interesting in that it's creating alot of focus on the 'unreliability' of things like WIkipedia and blogs.

My initial reaction is 'how accurate are the newspapers?'. I've been quoted, over the years, many times in newspapers and magazines and, about 10 or so years ago, stopped talking to them because they NEVER got it right. Sometimes, they intentionally got it wrong (a quote by me was once used by a Washington Post reporter, totally out of context, about a story on the 'problems' at Apple computer... my quote, which had nothing to do with the problems, made it sound like an exec (me) from the company was confirming it was going down the tubes).

And the NYT's has some very real credibility problems in my mind right now when it comes to 'getting it right'. I don't even read these guys anymore due to 'award winning' reporters getting it wrong and, in some cases, just making it up. The NYT in particular is well known for having this happen to them.

That said, yea.. it's an issue. I think, however, it's a self correcting one. The Wisdom of Crowds is real, and overall, it's better than the editor/writer/fact-checker model used by commercial entities that broadcast out to the masses. Will things like this happen? Always. Will the Wikipedia's (and blogs and podcasts) of the world continue to have this problem? Yes. But I would bet, over time, if you compare the accuracy of a Wikipedia to a NYT's, you'll find overall better information with the user generated (and policed) source over the commercial source.

Just my two cents. ;-)S

WEEK IN REVIEW December 4, 2005 Rewriting History: Snared in the Web of a Wikipedia Liar By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE The question of Wikipedia, as of so much of what you find online, is: Can you trust it?


brainhell said...

I am shsocked to see you defending someone who killed John Kennedy. P.S. If it's in writing, it may be libel. Slander is spoken, not written.

Scott Converse said...

brianhell, I'm not sure I get what you're saying. I'm not defending any one person, I'm not even concerned with the specific content. I'm defending the power of user generated and moderated content from Wikipedia, blogs, podcasts, etc. as being, overall, better than content from our 'official' news sources like the New York Times who has a history of flaky reporting.

The Wisdom of Crowds concept is 1000 average people are as smart, or smarter, on any subject you can name than even the best 'expert' on that subject.

Hope that clears up (at least) the intent.