Thursday, December 20, 2007

Another beauty from Wikipedia, this time from the entry for Pope Benedict XVI:

Pope Benedict XVI
(Latin: Benedictus PP. XVI; Italian: Benedetto XVI, born Joseph Alois Ratzinger on 16 April 1927) is the 265th and reigning Pope, the spiritual head of the Catholic Church, and as such, Sovereign of the Vatican City State.[1] He was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave, celebrated his Papal Inauguration Mass on 24 April 2005, and took possession of his cathedral, the Basilica of St. John Lateran, on 7 May 2005. Pope Benedict XVI has both German and Vatican citizenship. He succeeded Pope John Paul II, who died on 2 April 2005 (and with whom he had worked before the interregnum). Benedict XVI is also the Bishop of Rome.



Shaun said...

Well, it's only your reputation for exactitude, Louis, that ruled you out as a suspect in the Hazelhurst hoax. Yours was the last edit before Ronnie 'wrote' Reach.

Stuff like 'I like the Pope because the Pope smokes cock' is quickly removed as vandalism, isn't it?

The more pernicious stuff seems to happen when a wiki 'administrator' marries a mad theory and obsessively resists any attempts to correct it. Of course, being a 15-year old from Wisconsin with thousands of trivial edits to your name is one source of encyclopaedic authority.

Cade Metz, following on from Andrew Orlowski, has been revealing some of this backstage stuff at El Reg.

One of the oldest and most unanswerable criticisms of journalism was that readers often found it inaccurate when it dealt with their area of expertise - and then began to doubt its authority in other fields.

What's a Wiki worth when it's laughably wrong about things in which you have only a casual interest?

LF Barfe said...

Listen, if I had been responsible for the Hazlehurst hoax, I'd be taking full credit for it. Instead, the cap is doffed at whoever it was.

Friends who do a lot of Wiki-editing tell me that there are some terrible empire builders on there, people who regard certain entries as their personal fiefdom and who resist any edits by anyone other than themselves. I've yet to come across any directly, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

I have some fairly fundamental problems with the Wikipedia definition of encyclopaedic authority. I correct some things on there on the basis of unpublished interviews and research I've undertaken, but because they're not published, they're not trustworthy sources. If I put them up on my own site, instantly, they become trustworthy, it seems. The biggest farce of all was when Bernie Newnham - ex-BBC cameraman and producer, and now proprietor of the superb Tech Ops site - added a lot of first-hand material to the Top of the Pops page, which was then removed because it hadn't been published anywhere. Now that Bernie's posted a lot of the material on Tech Ops, it's probably permissible. It's all rather reminiscent of the jobsworth postman (played by Dick Emery) in a 'Hancock's Half Hour', insisting that he can't accept a letter in his sack until it's been passed through the slot. Cue Hancock posting letters into an open box where Emery catches them.

Wikipedia is a good start point for finding out about things, but that's as far as it goes.