In the news
Foundation plans, David Barton, dangerous occasional glitches
The Foundation's 2010–11 annual plan (see last week's coverage) and its 2010-15 strategic plan (see earlier Signpost coverage) have been receiving media attention following the keynote speech of its executive director, Sue Gardner, at Wikimania (see also this week's News and notes):
[A] five-year strategic planning project, which is still being worked on (and lives on an editable wiki), resulted in the goals that Ms. Gardner outlined today. She also stressed that the expansion plan goals involved input from Wikipedians: 1,000 people working on the strategy, which included 900 separate proposals."
"Many of the new employees will work either at marketing Wikipedia to could-be contributors, or providing technical support to keep them from getting flustered. “Nobody knows what this will look like”, executive director Sue Gardner told the Times. Because yes, the company’s plans are being managed on a wiki."
"Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world, yet, unlike pretty much every other website its size, it has no direct revenue. Operated by Wikimedia, a non-profit organization, all of the site’s funding comes from donations. Operating a top 10 site is not cheap, though, and Wikimedia has struggled each year to drum up more donations. Yet, the latest plans are to almost double its yearly budget and double its staff in the next year, all of this while increasing editorial contributions and the number of visitors."
Does David Barton edit Wikipedia to promote his views?
American website newshounds.us (a Fox News watchdog) has noticed an unusual similarity between a passage from the Wikipedia article on Phillis Wheatley to a statement by historian David Barton on a show with Glenn Beck about women in the Revolutionary War:
Barton said this about Wheatley: “She was bought by the Wheatley family and adopted her as a daughter. She became a daughter ... a lot of Christian families would adopt slaves, buy them from slaves to make them part of the family and to keep them from going into slavery.” Now check out Wikipedia: “Wheatley and his wife Susanna adopted her as their daughter to keep her from becoming a slave. This was common in Christian families of the time who were anti-slavery.”
The News Hounds writer claims she is unable to find any confirmation of the idea that this happened or that Christians would adopt slave children, and wondered if either Barton was getting his history from Wikipedia or if Barton himself was editing Wikipedia to push his views.
Looking at the logs, the statement was introduced to the Wikipedia article on July 4 (), but it has since been reverted, while the Glenn Beck show was on July 2nd, so your author (user:extransit) considers it most likely that one of the show's viewers added the statement to the Wikipedia article, not Barton himself.
Make sure you read your own Wikipedia entry, blogs Daniel Hannan
The conservative British MEP and journalist Daniel Hannan writes in his Daily Telegraph blog this week that he has spotted a number of errors on his own Wikipedia page.
"If there are any Wiki-editors reading – and this is your call, obviously – it seems odd to give prominence to my relatively tangential writings about Afghanistan and the International Court while barely mentioning the philosophy that informs my entire political career. Oh, and I stopped writing Telegraph editorials shortly after I began this blog. Other than that, though, it’s pretty accurate. Crowd-sourcing, you see, works. Which is what makes the occasional glitch so dangerous."
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