Wikipedia's a Sticky Wicket

Step away from the wiki and keep your hands where I can see them The neutrality and factual accuracy of this article on Wikipedia are disputed.

The Los Angeles Times gave up its wikitorial experiment after three days. Someone got their goat by adding one of the web's most infamous gross-out photos to the site.

Jeff Jarvis defends the honor of wikis, blaming the Times:

They didn't get that wikis are a collaborative medium where, even when people disagree, they try to find common ground, knowing there can be only one outcome, or else the wiki will, by its very nature, fail.

Look up any hot-button subject on Wikipedia, the most well-known and successful wiki, and you'll find a lot of contributors in the common ground, looking for a place to plant mines.

As an example, check out the entry on the mercury-based vaccine additive thimerosal and the ongoing nine-month flamewar among people removing each other's edits.

Any parent reading Wikipedia to learn about the suggested link between thimerosal and increased autism in children will be either reassured or alarmed, depending on who edited the page last. (Our highly recommended pediatrician in Jacksonville has signs declaring the practice "thimerosal-free.")

Here's how one of the warring thimerosal editors describes the work of another:

It falls into a pattern that is becoming all too familiar: he disputes everything he finds disagreeable as being false or biased; deletes whole sections if he disagrees with one word in it; asks for citations; disputes that the references provided are legitimate; deletes references if he feels there are too many; and then starts revert wars. On the thimerosal issue, I've repeatedly asked that if he's so confident that thimerosal is harmless that he wants to withhold information about the controversy, he should voluntarily inject himself with equivalent doses to what babies have gotten to prove his point.


I understand Wikipedia's raison d'tre, regardless of its many imperfections. But I just don't get the purpose of an open-source editorial. Not only are opinions like arseholes, variations in rhetorical styles are bound to result in the expository equivalent of a Psycho-Billy Cadillac.

Now, up to now my plan went all right
'Til we tried to put it all together one night
And that's when we noticed that something was definitely wrong.

The transmission was a '53
And the motor turned out to be a '73
And when we tried to put in the bolts all the holes were gone.

You are mentioned favorably at Mark In Mexico,
or at least commenter Grant is.

Muchas gracias. Su blog es su voz!

"; asks for citations; disputes that the references provided are legitimate"

Asks for citations? What a nutcase!

"; asks for citations; disputes that the references provided are legitimate"

Asks for citations? What a nutcase! Next thing he'll be asking for peer-reviewed references rather than anecdotes.

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