One of my favorite short pieces of writing is Douglas Adams' pedantic history of the world, a chronology that notes the start of the new millenium. He must have been sorely disappointed when the events of Jan. 1, 2001, did not transpire as expected. I am a pedant. I once alarmed my relatives in the middle of the night by rearranging their collection of leather-bound Franklin Library Pulitzer Prize classics in the order they won the prize. My brother-in-law, who must also be a pedant, immediately noticed the next ... read more

Seth Finkelstein covers the latest scandal to embarrass Wikipedia: a site administrator and Wikia employee who's been lying for years about his academic credentials. Ryan Jordan, a 24-year-old in Kentucky who's never taught a class, claimed on his Wikipedia bio and in an interview with the New Yorker to be a tenured professor of religion with four degrees: a bachelor of arts in religious studies, master of arts in religion, doctorate of philosophy in theology and doctorate in canon law. The magazine ran a ... read more

Golfer Fuzzy Zoeller has sued a Florida company for libel over edits made to his Wikipedia entry from one of the company's computers. Although I reported one of Wikipedia's best-known gaffes -- project founder Jimmy Wales edited his own page to remove credit from a former colleague -- I'm a defender of the project. I think it's an amazing experiment in collective fact-gathering that deserves to be nurtured, no matter how many different ways Seth Finkelstein proves it should've been smothered in infancy. ... read more

While browsing Amazon.Com this evening I noticed a reference to Amapedia, a collaborative wiki the company describes as a "community for sharing information about the products you like the most." The site's newly launched, because there's not a single mention yet on Technorati or Google Blog Search and its ... read more

If you dive into the Wikipedia talk page on Seth Finkelstein, you'll find his interesting and utterly futile effort to be deleted from the encyclopedia. Getting a piece in The Guardian isn't helping his claim to be insufficiently famous at all. On the mailing list WikiEN-L, Steve Summit identifies a law of Wikipedia that should become known as the Finkelstein Paradox -- a subject who argues he doesn't belong in Wikipedia is more likely to remain in Wikipedia: I was struck by Seth's account of how he "strongly ... read more

In a provocative commentary for The Guardian, Seth Finkelstein argues that having a biography in Wikipedia is a magnet for libel: For people who are not very prominent, Wikipedia biographies can be an "attractive nuisance". It says, to every troll, vandal, and score-settler: "Here's an article about a person where you can, with no accountability whatsoever, write any libel, defamation, or smear. It won't be a marginal comment with the social status of an inconsequential rant, but rather will be made prominent ... read more

Aaron Swartz is running for a position on the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, an election that began today and ends in three weeks. A contributor to the site since 2003 with around 2,400 edits, Swartz is running in part to help out on the huge engineering requirements of the project: Since January, Wikipedia's traffic has more than doubled and this group is beginning to strain under the load. At the technical level, the software development and server systems are both managed by just one person, ... read more