Wikipedia Battles Vandalism

by Noc Team on August 26, 2009

While I was completing my thesis, I found a well formulated article from Wikipedia, which served as a great supplement for the information I needed. Most of the students around me were depending on the information from Wikipedia for their research as it is among the top 10 most visited websites across the globe. But my supervisor warned me and told me not to use the Information available on Wikipedia as it was not reliable. I was Perplexed.

So I decided to research on it and I found a statement on Wikipedia which said,

“Anyone is welcome to add information, cross-references, or citations, as long as they do so within Wikipedia’s editing policies and to an appropriate standard.”

Well this open editing policy did create a few problems for the website. I was actually amazed that such a website allowed ANYONE to upload and edit ANYTHING. Today I have something to show everyone. But first I have to question to ask,

Did you know about Porchesia? Well, even if u did then let me tell you what exactly Porchesia is. According to Wikipedia

“Porchesia was a small Mediterranean islandnation, situated across from Syria and Lebanon and considered to be a Lebanese-affiliated territory. Alas, due to a cruel and unusual click of the mouse, it no longer exists. The fate of the island was decided by one named only as ‘Danny’ who, in one fell swoop, wiped out the whole island, ordered groceries online, and watched videos on YouTube.Wikipedia_Porchesia

Tired from years of civil wars, Zionist invasions, and Syrian despots, a group of the Levant’s Elite gathered – intellectuals, scientists, ex-military leaders. Workers, models. House wives, miners, men of the cloth, men of the bathrobe. People of thought. People of matter. People of might. They all left, seeking for a better place to live the American Lebanese dream.”

And they found a new Island for themselves by the name of Porchesia,

It was glorious. It was a glitter on Earth’s dusty existence.

And then suddenly it was decided to wipe Porchesia from the pages of history as it was discovered that Porchesia never really EXISTED.Wikipedia_Porchesia

So it made me wonder, what if I was writing an article on the most glorious islands of the world, and Porchesia would have held the most important part in it. So now although Wikipedia has removed the Islands page through only one click but due to various other such cases has decided to change its policies. The growing numbers of controversies have deeply affected the repute of world’s greatest encyclopedia.

Thus Wikimedia, a non-profit organization which runs Wikipedia, has decided to formulate a new team of “experienced volunteer editors”, so that the information remains authentic and up-to-date.

“We are no longer at the point that it is acceptable to throw things at the wall and see what sticks,” said Michael Snow, chairman of the Wikimedia board. “There was a time probably when the community was more forgiving of things that were inaccurate or fudged in some fashion — whether simply misunderstood or an author had some axe to grind. There is less tolerance for that sort of problem now.”

Nothing can be more embarrassing for a country if a foreigner searched a country’s president’s name and found Tony Blair’s middle name as “Whoop-de-do”. Or found John Seigenthaler, a renowned American journalist, as one of the assassins of US President John F Kennedy. Or what if you discovered one day that the information you are currently reading was edited by Wikipedia’s one of the most prolific editors, named Ryan Jordan, was actually a 24-year-old college dropout rather than a theology professor whom he had claimed to be.

Reaching the top and retaining your position is not as easy as it might sound. Wikipedia is the world’s most top rated encyclopedias used by 65 million people from all over the world, each month.

Larry Sanger, one of the co-founders of Wikipedia, left and built his own rival site named as Citizendium, which controls the contributed material and edits it as required said, “It’s been one of the sorest points, how the site has played fast and loose with people’s reputations. It’s nice to see they’re doing more – but one has to ask if this will make much difference at all.”

So here is an advice for all the students out there, ‘Research’ but make sure the resource is reliable. Because at the end of the day, authentic information is what matters, not the number of people who visit it.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Asim Zeeshan August 27, 2009 at 2:47 AM

Wow, this one is a great article

Usman Siddique August 27, 2009 at 12:25 PM

Hope my projects, placed in university liabrary now for students’ consultation, are correct……

Asim Zeeshan August 28, 2009 at 12:51 AM

Wikipedia-watch is also a great resource for other such blunders that were found on Wikipedia.

Viewers discretion advised.

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