Thursday, July 5, 2007

Never break an engagement to a Wikipedian

Followup, I guess.

From The Chronicle of Higher Education:

Back in July, Stacy Schiff of The New Yorker profiled a Wikipedia administrator called Essjay as part of a sprawling piece on the open-source encyclopedia. To many scholars who read the piece, Essjay was a fascinating figure -- a "tenured professor of religion at a private university" who not only edited articles on penitential rites and transubstantiation but also corrected errors in Wikipedia's write-up of Justin Timberlake.

But as it turns out, Essjay's story was a bit too good to be true. In fact, the Wikipedia editor doesn't even hold a doctorate: He's a 24-year-old named Ryan Jordan, and he has never taught a class in his life....

On his own Wikipedia "user talk" page, Mr. Jordan apologized, but said he created the false identity to protect him from critics who make a point to publicize the names of Wikipedia contributors. Some Wikipedians were quick to offer support to Essjay, but others were harshly critical. A few people even suggested Mr. Jordan be banned from posting to the encyclopedia.

So, in the interests of full disclosure, I guess I should note that the only one who acknowledges my imperial rule is my dog...and she only acknowledges it when I have a dog treat in my hand.


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