Friday, August 17, 2007

stickier wikis

We've cautioned before: Don't get caught relying solely on Wikipedia entries, much as we want to believe in the self-regulating nature of the Internet, reported and argued here earlier on this blog. But this week, two intriguing developments and ideas emerged about wikis. First, Lee Gomes wrote in the Wall Street Journal about the better read you can find in Wikipedia's discussions pages--the place where edits and articles in the online encyclopedia are debated openly, under a separate tab for "discussion." Then came reports of a new site, Wikipedia Scanner (now overrun with searches), designed to allow users to track the computers where changes to Wikipedia entries originated; among the first discovered this week were changes made on CIA and FBI computers about entries concerning the Iraq war and the Guantanamo military prison (read the Reuters story here). Does this mean you'll spend more time investigating your Wikipedia entries? Do you welcome the transparency? And, if your tactic has been to surreptitiously change the entries of others, looks like a new bright light's shining on your keystrokes.

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