wikipedia update: author of seigenthaler smear confesses 12.12.2005, 10:14 AM
posted by lisa lynch
According to a Dec 11 New York Times article, Daniel Brandt, a book indexer who runs the site Wikipedia Watch, helped to flush out the man who posted the false biography of USA Today and Freedom Forum founder John Seigenthaler on Wikipedia. After Brandt discovered the post issued from a small delivery company in Nashville, the man in question -- 38-year-old Brian Chase -- sent a letter of apology to Seigenthaler and resigned from his job as operations manager at the company.
According to the Times, Chase claims that he didn't realize that Wikipedia was used as a serious research tool: he posted the information to shock a co-worker who was familiar with the Seigenthaler family. Seigenthaler, who complained in a USA Today editorial last week about the protections afforded to the "volunteer vandals" who post anonymously in cyberspace, told the New York Times that he would not seek damages from Chase.
Responding to the fallout from Seigenthaler's USA Today editorial, Wikipedia founder James Wales changed Wikipedia's policies so that posters now must all be registered with Wikipedia. But, as Brandt shows, it's takes work to remain anonymous in cyberspace. Though I'm not sure that I beleive Chase's professed astonishment that anyone would take his post seriously (why else would it shock his co-worker?), it seems clear that he didn't think what he was doing so outrageous that he ought to make a serious effort to hide his tracks.
Meanwhile, Wales has become somewhat irked by Seignthaler's continuing attacks on Wikipedia. Posting to the threaded discussion of the issue on the mailing list of the Association for Internet Researchers, Wikipedia's founder expressed exasperation about Seigenthaler's telling the Associated Press this morning that "Wikipedia is inviting [more regulation of the internet] by its allowing irresponsible vandals to write anything they want about anybody." Wales wrote:
*sigh* Facts about our policies on vandalism are not hard to come by. A statement like Seigenthaler's, a statement that is egregiously false, would not last long at all at Wikipedia.
For the record, it is just absurd to say that Wikipedia allows "irresponsible vandals to write anything they want about anybody."
Anonymoose on December 18, 2005 2:52 PM:
I love wikipedia, even when it's wrong.
Check out this joint wikipedia/google search thingy
I made for a home page.