I go back and forth between thinking the lid is finally coming off the extremely seamy underside of the cult of Wikipedia, and a sympathy backlash when I see some of the severe errors which have been made in the reporting of the various scandals. I can't decide if it's all ending up as rough justice where multiple attention-mongers deserve what they get from each other, or if many wrongs don't make any right.
Here's one specific example from "The Sydney Morning Herald"
More woes for Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales
Earlier, an ex-girlfriend, Rachel Marsden, leaked instant messaging transcripts that purported to show Wales using his influence to improperly make changes to Marsden's Wikipedia entry so he could continue "f---ing [her] brains out".
In fact, that's a direct lift of phrasing from sensationalist blog ValleyWag, self-described as "Silicon Valley's Tech Gossip Rag", which has
While they were together, Wales promised Marsden swift action on edits so he could "continue fucking [her] brains out."
That phrases it as if Wales stated a quid-pro-quo, of edits for sex. But he didn't say that. The whole quote in context is:
jimbo.wales: right so the way it is told now, hang on a second
let's actually do this right now
because the last thing I want to do is take a break from fucking your brains out all night to work on your wikipedia entry :)
Note there's no "continue" in the real quote. That is, he basically said he wanted to get the work done so it doesn't interrupt play, not that he's trading edits for trysts. The word "continue" shows that the _Morning Herald_ got it from ValleyWag. So an inaccurate gossip blog post has been reputation-laundered into a far more prestigious venue. And henceforth an edits-for-sex accusation-cloud is going to follow Jimmy Wales around forever.
Live by media manipulation, die by media manipulation?By Seth Finkelstein | posted in journo , wikipedia | on March 10, 2008 10:50 PM (Infothought permalink)