Contributor scandal rocks Wikipedia

A recent scandal involving the fabricated identity of a Wikipedia editor is causing some to rethink the way in which user-driven sites should evaluate content. The concern stems from the story of a Wikipedia contributor known as 'Essjay' who served as an editor and moderator for the online encyclopaedia. Wikipedia gathers all its content from public submissions which are edited and maintained by volunteer editors who are also responsible for settling disputes between users and cleaning up vandalised web pages. Essjay claimed on his Wikipedia user page to be a tenured theology professor at a private American university.

The claim was met with little doubt and the perceived expert became the author and moderator for a number of entries on religion and theology. However, on following up a July article in which Essjay was quoted, the New Yorker discovered that the respected member of the Wikipedia community was actually a 24 year-old man with no formal theology degree. The resulting fallout led many to question the validity of Wikipedia, and ended in Essjay resigning his post and leaving the site. In a parting statement Essjay said: "Leaving is the best thing for me and for Wikipedia. I walk away happy to be free to go about other things."

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News source: vnunet

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Wikipedia is great for looking up easily verifiable things, but i wouldn't trust it for a research paper or anything important...

like i just looked up tire speed ratings, just wanted to check one out real quick, it worked great... but i'd never use it if i was going to do a paper my grade or job depended on...

it's sad to be deceived like that, especially on a subject that many people take to heart (religion will always have that level of depth for all)...

wikipedia has been and will probably always be my number 1 distraction for idle days, where you can get lost in the maze of links just casually reading.

Well, this is actually starting to become pretty old news...

Anyway, one of their admins was being childish and lied... Stuff like that happens, and will of course not shake Wikipedia as a whole. That's just sensationalism. If you don't believe me, just look at Wikipedia, because these news broke some month ago.

On a heavily biased subject such as religion, that has little to do with with real facts and knowledge, does it really matter if this person faked their identity to contribute on this subject? :P

Exactly.

Wikipedia is still the best resource when you need "hard" (sceintific) data fast, be it technology, georaphy, demographics, math and science in general or anything else with quantitative stuff. Anything qualitative is subject to opinions (and bias) anyway no matter what the source is.

I personally love Wiki. It's a great project. They lack just a little behind Britannica in terms of errors, but hey, it's free, so why would anyone complain?

To the person who wanted to hang anyone who uses Wiki for academic research: a big junk of articles on Wiki provide links to the sources, often times they are peer-reviewed publications - same stuff you would look for hours using your university's library computer.

Wikipedia is a good source when your info doesn't need to be reliable.
Whoever uses Wikipedia for academic or other serious purposes should be hang from the ceiling on his balls.

Since when does anyone care if facts are real? It's just that they look convincing! Don't you understand?!

ROFL. Imagine that -- a liar on the Internet! Whatever next? As for Wikipedia, I never use it, largely for reasons such as this -- if I want the so-called knowledge from the man on the street, I'll go ask the man on the street.