Amapedia: The Conspicuous Consumption Community Wiki

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)

Want Out of Wikipedia? Fight to Stay In

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 ... (read more)

Wikipedia Leader: I Want to Be Deleted

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 ... (read more)

Aaron Swartz Running for Wikipedia Board

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 ... (read more)

New Wikipedia Subject: Kathy Sierra

All of the talk about last week's BlogHer conference reminded me of an effort I began last December to add overlooked female technologists to Wikipedia. In a discussion with Shelley Powers, I said that the encyclopedia is one area where gender disparity is easy to rectify. Someone just has to take the time to write comprehensive, neutral biographies that will pass muster with the site's editors. A person's presence in Wikipedia tends to attract new bios for people of similar background and ... (read more)

Bloggers Don't Want Anyone to Name Names

Two of the best-known Daily Kos diarists, Redacted and Expunged, are uncomfortable with people knowing their real names. Redacted discourages the press from identifying him, as he told the Philadelphia Inquirer: ... the 47-year-old blogger who goes by the pen name [Redacted] gave an interview on the condition that I not write what I know about him, because the publicity could hurt his blogging or his job. Let's leave it at this: he works in corporate marketing in the Philadelphia area. He's ... (read more)

Writer Tells Wikipedia He Got a Divorce

I fleshed out a placeholder entry on Wikipedia this morning, giving the Richardson, Texas, high school where "Jeremy spoke in class today" enough substance to inspire future editors to work on it. I've made around 150 edits to Wikipedia in the past year, most extensively on new bios and the unspeakably hideous "alcopop" drink Zima. Starting new subjects is a lot more fun than defending existing ones from vandalism. My Drudge Retort coconspirator Jonathan Bourne and I worked on the Zima entry as ... (read more)

Wikipedia Fights for Prophet Muhammad Cartoons

The controversy over the publication of editorial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad is playing out on Wikipedia, where an image of a newspaper page containing the cartoons has been removed eight times within the past week alone. An internal poll of Wikipedia editors strongly favored the publication of the image, which puts the online encyclopedia in the same position as media organizations that have taken criticism for reprinting them. "Making and also looking the figures of Mohammed is ... (read more)

Wikipedia Needs Women

Shelley Powers believes that well-known female technologists are less likely to find themselves in Wikipedia than their male counterparts: Why are there significantly fewer women? I think one reason is that we women are taught not to put ourselves forward. Men are complimented for tooting their own horn; making known their wishes; noting their own accomplishments. Women, however, are expected to be sweet, demure, and most of all, stay ever so slightly in the shadow. My take on her observation ... (read more)

A Toast to Computer Book Authors

Whenever a new biography is added to Wikipedia, an "articles for deletion" debate is likely to happen on whether the subject is notable enough to merit inclusion. If the subject's a computer book author, you invariably get a comment from a Wikipedia editor like the one that was just made about best-selling O'Reilly author Shelley Powers: I really don't believe that authoring a how-to technology book makes one a notable author. We might as well have articles for writers of toaster manuals. He ... (read more)