Search Wikipedia for the word “lame”

Props to Michael Geist for holding the government’s feet to the fire for editing the Industry Minister’s Wikipedia entry. Not just because it’s unseemly for agents of the current administration (or any administration, for that matter) to be editing Wikipedia entries directly, but also because what they added was so, well… lame. I can understand removing controversial comments about whether Prentice delayed the proposed copyright legislation as a result of public pressure (which Michael was instrumental in helping to orchestrate). Some of what was written arguably breached the site’s “neutral point of view” requirements. But at the same time, adding phrases like “he is widely praised in both political and private circles, as he personifies experience, confidence and competence, ability and capability” not only breaches those rules, but breaches the nausea rule as well. Lame, lame, lame.

4 thoughts on “Search Wikipedia for the word “lame”

  1. Not to defend the practices here but the inserted comments in to the article could have been considered biased as they for the most part all reference Michael Geist's website for his interpretation of the copyright laws currently under discussion. If you actually go back to the edits from June 3 many of them infringe on WIkipedias rules on finding balanced sources whether you agree with geist or not..

    “It is rumoured that Prentice has been responsible for developing new Canadian Intellectual Property laws akin to the DMCA in the United States, partly due to pressure from US-based advocacy groups [1]. While he had promised to “put consumers first”, the commentators have suggested that the draft legislation seems to cater strictly to industrial groups and Prentice has now suggested consumer interests may not be heard for years. [2] Indeed, Prentice has refused to talk to a group of protesters who went to his office to express their concern.[3] stating “When (Canadian Heritage Minister Josee) Verner and I have reached a consensus and we're satisfied, we will introduce a bill.” [4]”

    In each source cited in this statement Geist is the predominant quoted person by the reporter in the article or it is directly citing his blog. It would not pass a test of being balanced, unless they started quoting from the Conservative parties website to get another side of the discussion. That said this is a stupid way of fixing the issue, they should have caused a stir in the discussion for the page to express the unhappiness with the bias.

    The current version is much more balanced so to some extent the system works.

    • Thanks, Matt. I agree — as I mentioned in the post — that the
      original edits likely didn't meet Wikipedia's test of neutrality, but
      to add even more unbalanced edits in the opposite direction is hardly
      the right response. In other words, lame.

  2. I edited this story and I can assure you that Mary did not get fired for this story or any other. Mary decided to leave the paper to take a job with a local documentary filmmaker. She gave her notice before the Wikipedia story was published. She disclosed to me early in the reporting process her sister's fights with Griot and her sister's role is mentioned high up in our story. Bottom line: We stand by the story.

    Comment by Will Harper, Managing Editor, SF Weekly on Feb 26th, 2008, 13:55 pm

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