Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2006-06-05/Indianapolis Star

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Paper profiles Wales, criticizes Wikipedia business coverage

By Michael Snow, 5 June 2006

A major US city newspaper ran an article last week highlighting Jimmy Wales' connection to the area, but in turning to examine Wikipedia's coverage of local businesses gave the project low marks.

Jeff Swiatek of the Indianapolis Star published the profile of Wales, "Time at IU shaped Wiki founder", on Friday. The story focused on Wales' studies at Indiana University in Bloomington, where he did graduate work before leaving to work in options trading. Wales talked about how the school's emphasis on game theory influenced his ideas about Wikipedia.

The profile that accompanied the article, "Companies face a Wiki world", took a different local angle by focusing on the quality of Wikipedia articles about Indiana businesses. Swiatek concluded that "Wikipedia tends to have spotty coverage of business." The story noted cases of vandalism and pointed out some sizable companies that did not yet have articles. Five existing articles were evaluated and rated in a sidebar: Conseco, Cummins, Eli Lilly and Company, Marsh Supermarkets, and WellPoint. Four out of the five were rated as "Poor", and Eli Lilly was deemed only "Fair".

The companies themselves had mixed reactions to the articles. A Conseco spokesman indicated that he found the article out-of-date and added some fresh information. The latest edit does indeed trace back to a Conseco IP address, although his addition still needed to be integrated into the article. In contrast, Eli Lilly said it had no interest in monitoring its article. Meanwhile Upland Brewing Company, the state's largest microbrewery, was quite favorably impressed at seeing the article about it.

All of the companies mentioned, and more besides, can be found in Category:Companies based in Indiana. Potentially related WikiProjects include WikiProject Indiana and WikiProject Business and Economics (the latter seems focused more on theoretical concepts, however). Conseco, Cummins, and Eli Lilly have been tagged as part of WikiProject Indiana, although there's no sign that project members have actually worked on any of these articles.


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