November 21, 2006

Cites & Insights November, December 2006 - Wikipedia, Copyright, Blogging

Walt Crawford recently released issue 6:14 (December 2006) of his Cites & Insights, which made me worry about not being good at reciprocity since I hadn't noted issue 6:13 (November 2006) even though it mentioned me several times.

Things to read - a long discussion of "What About Wikipedia?". And to answer the question there, about why Wikipedia doesn't allow opting-out:

I must admit that, apart from politicians, Nobel Prize winners, and perhaps people with some high level of celebrity, I don't get this position at all. You can choose not to be listed in Who's Who in America. Why is it inappropriate for someone who's mildly notable but not a world-class celebrity or politician to ask to be left out of Wikipedia?

As I've said, I believe the answer is "that to allow anyone to decline to be a subject an article would be an admission that the supposed collective editing process is deeply flawed".

Long summary of Copyright Currents - Fair Use and Infringement, The RIAA and Copyright, DMCA Discussions, and more.

Blogging, and the corporatization thereof (links added):

Anybody can become an A-lister. There is no A-list. Any blog can reach a vast audience. You know the myths. Within the broad field of blogs, I no longer have any doubt that they are myths. The A-listers play by different rules and mostly draw sycophants as commenters; these days, though, many of the A-list blogs are really just new forms of old or corporate media in any case.

... Your chances of making those big bucks? Turns out that, once you take away the Hot Sites, there's not a lot left over (although the article never says that outright). And the blognates (blog magnates) are building lots of new blogs to soak up any excess revenue.

... But you have to be hot stuff to get impressions-based ad revenue, and I think The Great Unread and other articles discussed previously pretty much spell out the odds of becoming hot stuff if you're an honest-to-gosh blogger.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in copyblight , cyberblather , wikipedia | on November 21, 2006 11:52 PM (Infothought permalink)
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Seth, thanks for the kind words--but reciprocity is never required or expected, particularly given that Cites & Insights doesn't provide live links. (And won't: The HTML is an offshoot of the PDF, not the other way around.)

I think your reasoning for Wikipedia's refusal to allow opt-outs is right--and also stupid. But hey, that's just me.

Posted by: walt at November 22, 2006 11:27 AM

Hi, Seth. While I sympathize with the troubles you've had with your entry in Wikipedia and with your desire to not be profiled there, I don't understand how allowing opt-out would be an admission of deep flaws in the collective editing process. (I haven't read your previous comments on this, so maybe that would help.)

Posted by: Scott Carpenter at November 22, 2006 09:59 PM

Walt: OK, though note reciprocity doesn't have to be strict :-).

Scott - see my Wikipedia Guardian article for more.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at November 22, 2006 10:40 PM

That's right. I'm pretty sure I read that previously and that's where I heard about your troubles. I think Wikipedia tends to work great as a whole and I'm glad it's there, but there are challenges, clearly. It's kind of abstract until it hits you personally.

I'm very much in favor of having the right to be left alone, or at least to have some choice in the level of effort you have to expend to defend your name and reputation against falsity. It will be tough to work out the boundaries between freedom of online information and personal privacy. Although this is probably more of a question of hassle and nuisance than privacy?

Posted by: Scott Carpenter at November 23, 2006 11:18 AM