Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the living people about whom we write. There is a deadline for them: it is the moment that Google puts our article about them in their top-5 results. That is something that was never contemplated at the time that Wikipedia was created. We must be responsive to changes in circumstances; this is about as big a change as can be. This is part of Wikipedia maturing and becoming a responsible citizen of the information world; when we were small and unnoticed, we had almost no impact on the life of an article subject. Now, what is published in our pages can (and sometimes does) cause long-lasting harm. Why do you think Google now crawls our articles incessantly to ensure it reflects the most current version of a page? We are no longer a little upstart in a distant corner of the Internet: we are now a top-10 website whose words, whether they should be or not, are taken as relatively accurate if not entirely authoritative. Not a day goes by that someone being interviewed on radio or television isn't confronted with a question that starts "I looked up your Wikipedia entry and it says..." The failure of individuals to recognise this collective responsibility to get things right about real people does more to harm the reputation and credibility of this project than any other error that is made.
—Risker (talk) 03:02, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
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