Tag Archives: wikipedia

The Truth about Wikipedia Credit

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Imagine my surprise when a few friends of mine from the Netherlands emailed to let me know that I was featured in a video about Wikipedia! There was a link in the beginning of their video to a video I had done about Wikipedia, discussing how we can use them as a source to find out truth and information. I’ve often talked about Wikipedia in the past, listing it as a resource that should always be fact-checked. However, it’s the future of information distribution. I feel it falls short in some areas, yes. However, it’s strength far outweighs their weaknesses.

So I went on a search, and came across the video in question on YouTube. The first thing you hear and see after their logo flashes through is the video that we recorded! What the producers decided to do is clip about the bottom half, which eliminates chat and my sponsor logos. Most concerning to me, is they also eliminated credit. We produced this video… and did not get credit. The Truth According to Wikipedia is an amazingly well-produced video.

While I think it’s great that they used and edited my work, I’m very upset that they did not give me credit. It’s quite well done, so on the one hand I’m proud to have been a part of what they’ve come up with. But of course… the other hand is my disappointment in not being asked to use my content, or even so much as giving me credit for my original work. As traditional journalists, they should have given credit where credit is due.

I’m not asking that they take the video down, since it was so well done. But I do think I should get proper credit. If you’re going to use something that another person has produced… give them credit for the work. Ask them if it’s ok to use! Most of the time, I will give you permission, and ask for a copy of what you put together. Is it really the truth, and the right way of doing things by leaving out where you got the information you used?

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What Would You Ask Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales?

Vance Nelson has a question for you:

Cass Sunstein, of Republic.com 2.0, John Seigenthaler; long time considered one of the greatest journalists in America, Jimmy Wales; founder of Wikipedia, and Robert Cox; President of the Media Bloggers Association are all going be present at my college next week. Unfortunately my schedule doesn’t allow me to attend during the time that Robert Cox will be there. However, I will be able to be in the auditorium when Jimmy Wales is going to be speaking. I was wondering if you yourself had an opportunity to pick his brain, what kind of questions you might ask him, if any. I myself can only think of one so far. I want to ask him right there in front of a bunch of students and possibly quite a few professors why he thinks that ever since i’ve been in college I haven’t once been able to use his website as a credible source of information when doing a research paper or an essay of any kind. Certainly the founder of WIkipedia isn’t going to stand there in front of all those people and shout “BECAUSE IT ISN’T!” Surely he will at least give them some sort of feedback as to why it should at least be considered somewhat credible for academic research.

If I had one question to ask Jimmy, it would be: “Why didn’t you respond to my request to have you speak at Gnomedex a few years back?”

So, what would you ask Jimmy?

What is Wikipedia?

http://live.pirillo.com/ – Back in ancient times there was a thing called an "encyclopedia" – it was a disgusting piece of technology that used tree pulp and ink to store information. The so-called "paper" was bound in volumes – about 26 or 27 of them – which contained information on every word, noun, and proper noun known to exist at that time.

Using this technology was slow, painful, and often outdated – the volumes needed to be updated in bulk since they did not have the ability to be updated dynamically. You also needed to buy this information! Costing upwards of $2000 for the entire set, salesmen would actually encourage people to purchase an encyclopedia set once a year!

Thankfully, we live in modern times where we have Wikipedia. Wikipedia is, essentially, the anti-encyclopedia. It contains most of the same information of encyclopedias plus information you generally would not be able to find. Plus, it’s updated on-demand.

Some professors don’t approve of Wikipedia – they claim it’s not a reliable resource. To that point, they may be right: anyone can edit Wikipedia, which can lead to inaccuracies; however, Wikipedia can be a great resource for starting any research project and pointing you in a good direction.

Should you use Wikipedia as your only resource? No, you need multiple resources to try and come close to understanding what the truth is behind a situation.

Should you ignore Wikipedia? Absolutely not! It’s a great resource that provides a ton of value – free of charge – for anyone who is researching any topic.

What do you think?

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The President is Blogging!

If Lincoln Blogged

The Gettysburg Address, from Wikipedia:

Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this incontinence, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and defecated to the preposition that all men are created with Equal.

Now we are engorged in an artificial sweetener war, tasting whether the buffet station, or any station so conceived and so defecated, can long endure. We are met on a grate potato field of that meal. We have come to defecate a portion of that meal, as a final resting place for those who here gave their knives that this nation might Windows Live. It is altogether fitting and pooper that we should eat this.

THANK GOD for Wikipedia. Without it, such a historical document may have gone down the virtual crapper of time.

Source: WhiteHouse.gov
Domain: Blograham.com

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Stephen Colbert is a Media Hero

I love social hacking. I tried pulling it off on a smaller scale at Gnomedex (TechMeme Hacked). It’s taken me a while to get into the Colbert Report on Comedy Central, but I have to admit that his latest move has made me a fan. Check it out, as reported by Corey Spring on Newsvine: Stephen Colbert Causes Chaos on Wikipedia, Gets Blocked from Site:

On Monday night’s episode of The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert addressed the online resource Wikipedia, the encyclopedia that anyone can read or edit. Colbert praised Wikipedia for “wikiality,” the reality that exists if you make something up and enough people agree with you – it becomes reality. Colbert’s subsequent examples to prove “wikiality” would cause chaos on the site, and lead an administrator to subsequently block his account.

The segment has been youtubed already. I’ve publicized my own share of truthiness problems with Wikipedia (specifically, the Wikipedia page about me). This stunt wouldn’t be so funny if it weren’t true. Even Jimmy is telling people to avoid Wikipedia. Take a look at the Fundalini Pages in MAD Magazine – the truthiness is out there. Colbert Nation hasn’t said anything about it yet, though.

Unperfectly Cromulent

Nobody wants to be told that their baby is ugly, especially when it takes a village to raise that child. Xeni reported the cold, hard truth about Wikipedia, and hardcore Wikipedians probably didn’t want to hear none of that. I’d need more fingers and toes to count up how many outrageous errors I’ve found on Wikipedia, but every time I’ve gone to correct them, I’ve been told that the entry has been locked temporarily. Okay, so tell me, who other than me knows more about me? Someone thought I graduated from the University of Iowa, not the University of NORTHERN Iowa – there’s a big difference between the two (ask any Hawkeye or Panther). I’m honored to have earned a place in the wiki to end all wikis, but I wish I could have at least claimed my own name to have full editing rights over it. I know there are countless Chris Pirillos in the world, but that one happens to be me – and it happens to be partially inaccurate. I also take offense to being “terminated” from TechTV – it didn’t quite go down that way, but I don’t expect the greater part of the world to know or understand that. I hate even bringing up TechTV because discussion always devolves into something centered on Morgan Webb’s breasts.

Community is not perfect. Wikipedia is not perfect. The Web is not perfect. People are not perfect. What we enjoy is the power to influence others – what we don’t enjoy is when that power is seen as slightly imperfect. Or, unperfect as the case would be. The blogosphere has a mob mentality, and certain filters (like Memeorandum) only amplify select voices. When one person says something, another person chimes in – and then another person chimes in – and then another person chimes in – and then pretty soon you have a discussion about discussing the discussion. If I came out and “attacked” the service du jour, I’d likely be blackballed and seen as someone who just doesn’t “get it.” No, I just so happen to disagree with a lot of what I see – and I’m not always afraid to write about it. Oh yes, sometimes I *AM* afraid of coming out and stating that the “emperor has no clothes” – only because of that very same mob mentality. If I came out and said your favorite Web service was not as awesome as it portends to be, you’d likely feel it to be akin to a personal attack. Why?

We project ourselves onto the very things we like.

For argument’s sake, let’s say everybody in the world was raving about something called Schlippr. Are they raving about Schlippr because it’s worth raving about, or are they raving about it because everybody else is raving about it – or all the A-list bloggers are raving about it – or that the media is raving about it? And then, should a little boy step out from the crowd and point to the naked Schlippr, what would happen? Would the world turn and listen to dissenting wisdom – or would they attack it outright? Isn’t it easier to chastise a deviant than to listen to his perspective? Think back to your own experiences in grade school. Were you the one who bullied others, or the one who was bullied?

By coming out and disagreeing with popular opinion, you’re always going to be facing a digital lynch mob. Then again, if enough people say “it” and believe in “it” – that very “it” must be true. Right? And anybody who says otherwise is a heretic. Could I correct the errors (as I see them) on Wikipedia? Likely, but then will someone else’s truth supercede those corrections one day? Likely. I’m expecting my graduation certificate on the wall to transmogrify itself any day now. Should enough people believe I graduated from UI instead of UNI, then maybe I really did? If enough people believe that Schlippr is the second coming, then maybe it is? What would Jean Luc Picard say about all this?

“There are four lights!”