Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-11-24/In the news

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Wikipedia in the news

By Icewedge, 24 November 2008

Wikipedia.de shutdown

The shutdown of http://wikipedia.de (see archived story) continues to receive extensive press coverage, Google News has indexed what it believes to be 211 articles on the subject. http://wikipedia.de which redirects to http://de.wikipedia.org was shutdown briefly last week after a complaint by Lutz Heilmann to Landgericht Lübeck, a German intermediate court about inaccuracies in his biography. However after much negative press which corresponded to a spike in donations to Wikimedia Deutschland Heilmann had the court rescind their injunction as long as his bio was corrected.

An interesting facet of this incident was reported by Christian Stöcker, in his article "Wikipedia Shutdown Backfires" published November 17, in Der Spiegel, Thorsten Feldmann lawyer for Wikimedia Deutschland said he was disappointed in Heilmann's withdrawal. "We would have preferred to have the temporary injunction removed on the grounds that it was baseless", it quotes him as saying, because they are now afraid that Politicians or Celebrities will now try and get similar injunctions placed on the site merely for PR purposes.

Reliability of Wikipedia, vandalism, misinformation, etc.

As is usual the accuracy of Wikipedia was a hot topic for discussion in the media.

Brendan Carroll, sophomore at Princeton University and columnist for The Daily Princetonian, writes that "The time has come: Wikipedia should be a valid citation for academic papers" in his article published November 21st titled "Give Wikipedia the green light". He acknowledges the problems of vandalism and what he describes as "notoriously amateurish content", providing an anecdote about loading the article on Barack Obama and finding "BARACK OBAMA WON!!!!!!!" repeated endlessly on the page. Despite this, he writes that there is a "robust defense" and that "professionals casually correct amateurish mistakes [with speed]". He says what really makes Wikipedia a reliable source though is its citations policy and that "The "citation needed" feature is Wikipedia's saving grace", that being a reference to template:fact. It is apparent that Carroll, the author, is not well versed with Wikipedia, though he does say that "I've made corrections to Wikipedia myself" but he does not participate as an active member of the community. He also claims that "Wikipedia has fewer mistakes per article than the Encyclopædia Britannica", which is likely a misinterpretation of the 2005 Nature study that found Wikipedia was only slightly less accurate than Encyclopædia Britannica.

Also, Ben Wojdyla of Jalopnik rather humorously writes about some vandalism to the article Michelin, which he describes as a "masterpiece of imagination" in his article "Adventures In Wikipedia Fiction: The Origins Of The Michelin Man" published on November 20th. Despite this, he is of the opinion that overall Wikipedia is "fairly reliable" due to its "vigorous peer review on even the most minute detail and completely humorless administrators."

Wikipedia goes video?

Rafe Needleman from CNet is wondering "What is the significance of Sun Microsystems' announcement Wednesday that Wikimedia is buying truckloads of Sun servers?" in his article "Wikipedia gears up for flood of video and photo files" published on November 19. He reports that the Wikimedia Foundation is intending to greatly improve image and video hosting services which may include online photo editing similar to the standard Wiki text editing. With this new capacity the upload cap is expected to be lifted to 100 MB for large files according to Raju Shanbhag of TMCnet in his article "Wikimedia Selects Sun Microsystems for Open Source Web Infrastructure".

The specifications of the deal are available from the Sun Microsystems press release "Wikimedia Selects Sun Microsystems to Enhance Multimedia Experience for Expanding User-Base Worldwide and Accommodate Explosive Growth of Rich Content".



Also this week:

From the editor — ArbCom elections — News and notes — In the news — Dispatches — Features and admins — Arbitration report


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