I loved reading, Wikipedia-Mania, Judith Newman’s funny but revealing take on the webcyclopedia that we all use but are afraid to cite:

And that’s the wonderful, and nightmarish, thing about Wikipedia: It teaches that truth is always a work in progress. The idea was nothing if not Utopian when Wikipedia’s co-founder Jimmy Wales introduced it in 2001. He envisioned a living, breathing information bank where anyone with knowledge could contribute, and where a passion for a particular subject was reason enough to start an entry. (Though perhaps he wasn’t envisioning a world where passions would run so high that there would be whole pages devoted to individual episodes of “Battlestar Galactica.”) Your erudite granny, your esteemed academic, the 16-year-old holed up in your basement: doesn’t matter. Show us what you know — and then prove it.

Newman finds that there are firms that will maintain and defend your wiki page:

I asked Mr. French to supply a couple of his clients to talk to me, and at press time he was still trying to find some. “They’re afraid,” he said. “They know that admitting they had paid help — well, one client said to me that dealing with the Wikipedians is like walking into a mental hospital: the floors are carpeted, the walls are nicely padded, but you know there’s a pretty good chance at any given moment one of the inmates will pick up a knife.”

Despite its flaws, it is probably not a bad idea to contribute to wikipedia lest the Koch brothers buy it outright.

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