Wikipedia in the news: 2 September 2008

Wikimedia: maturing and professionalising

Wikimedia pegs future on education, not profit (24 August 2008, San Francisco Chronicle)

Sue Gardner, Wikimedia’s executive director, expresses surprise at the misunderstandings that people have about Wikimedia. As a charity, Wikimedia is not seeking to profit from the billions of dollars that some say could be earned from placing advertisements on its projects’ websites. Recently, Wikimedia moved its headquarters to San Francisco, and the move, Gardner says, was because of the area’s “tech talent”; the organisation’s core staff has now increased to 21. Jimmy Wales credits Gardner with professionalising Wikimedia, instituting competent and sound management. Gardner’s goals for the future include increasing participation, improving quality and making Wikipedia available in a variety of formats. On the other hand, Ed Chi, the creator of WikiDashboard, says that there has been a decline in interest in editing that does not bode well for the community.

US Vice-Presidential candidates with groomed articles

McCain camp touts Biden praise ahead of speech (27 August 2008, TheHill.com)

Bloggers have noticed changes to Joseph Biden’s Wikipedia article as news of his Vice-Presidential nomination was leaking out. For instance, bloggers say that the section about his involvement in the 2004 presidential campaign was deleted. Also, details of Biden’s undergraduate studies and allegations of plagiarism were said to have disappeared from his Wikipedia biography. The article raises the question of whether Barrack Obama’s campaign or the Democratic National Committee changed the article, given the timing of the edits.

Don’t Like Palin’s Wikipedia Story? Change It (31 August 2008, The New York Times)

A Wikipedia user called YoungTrigg made a number of edits to Sarah Palin’s article before the announcement of her nomination as the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate; the username is a reference to her infant son Trig. The edits, which added compelling stories about her upbringing and positive comments about her political career, were in fact rewarded with a Barnstar, and the editor made contact with other Wikipedia editors. In particular, YoungTrigg asked an anonymous editor where he or she had heard about Palin being McCain’s choice, possibly because, as the article suggests, YoungTrigg had an interest in whether the news had leaked already. However, later, another user came along to tone down the additions that seem biased. Ultimately, YoungTrigg, who denied relation to the Palin family, has now retired from Wikipedia.

Other mentions

Other recent mentions in the online press include:

From the Wikipedia Signpost.

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