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Academic Credentials and Wikiality 429

Posted by kdawson
from the matter-of-degrees dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A prominent Wikipedia administrator and Wikia employee has been caught lying to the media and 'other' professors about his academic credentials. Wikipedia's Essjay has been representing himself as 'a tenured professor of theology at a private university in the eastern United States; I teach both undergraduate and graduate theology. My Academic Degrees: Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies (B.A.), Master of Arts in Religion (M.A.R.), Doctorate of Philosophy in Theology (Ph.D.), Doctorate in Canon Law (JCD).' His real identity came to light after Wikia offered him a job: It turns out that he is really 24 years old with no degree living in Louisville, KY. Wikipedia's co-founder, Jimbo Wales, says 'I regard it as a pseudonym and I don't really have a problem with it.' How will this affect Wikipedia's already shaky reputation with the academic world?"
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Academic Credentials and Wikiality

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  • Wow... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Zeek40 (1017978) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @09:40AM (#18193158)
    Lying about having a Liberal Arts degree.... that's a new level of desperation. ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, 2007 @09:40AM (#18193160)
    I see no problem with this current situation.

    Dr. Anonymous Coward
    Harvard Law
  • Well.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @09:45AM (#18193226) Homepage Journal
    Speaking as a top award-winning particle physicist, race car driver, neurosurgeon, and rock star, I feel that this is absolutely terrible.
  • by Deag (250823) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @09:55AM (#18193334)
    This teacher training course could be expanded by testing the participants to make sure no bad ones slip through. Then for more complex teaching requirements there could be longer training courses which also is examined to maintain a level of quality. Each of these exams could have a certificate to show to others that the person who took it is competent in this area. Then we wouldn't need those useless credentials.
  • by ari_j (90255) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @09:58AM (#18193376)
    I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row.

    I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.

    Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When I'm bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge.

    I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I don't perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force demonstration. I bat .400. My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me.

    I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations for the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me.

    I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a toaster oven. I breed prizewinning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.

    But I have not yet gone to college.
  • by hey! (33014) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @10:41AM (#18193828) Homepage Journal
    U of Me.

  • by kalirion (728907) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @10:41AM (#18193830)
    That would be ideal. Unfortunately in the real world you probably won't have the opportunity to show such merit without claims to a piece of paper.

    Yes, he's sure showed his merit to the world now. I think we already have enough misinformation in the media, don't you?
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday March 01, 2007 @10:43AM (#18193852)
    Don't knock it. I learn valuable stuff there all the time. For example, did you know that the population of African elephants has TRIPLED in just the last ten years?

    -Eric

  • Theology. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tatarize (682683) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @10:57AM (#18194018) Homepage
    Come on now, he said he had a degree in theology. If there is any degree which claiming you have and not having is a rather moot point it is theology. Just accept his degree on faith. It'll be fine.
  • by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedy AT tpno-co DOT org> on Thursday March 01, 2007 @12:08PM (#18194906) Homepage
    Chuck Norris, is that you?
  • Crap! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Malakusen (961638) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @12:17PM (#18195046) Journal
    Now I have to go find a credible and legitimate source of information for fictional universes from TV shows, and video game settings!
  • by BendingSpoons (997813) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @01:19PM (#18195920)

    If anyone thinks lying about credentials doesn't matter, you're wrong. My Master of Divinity degree required learning to read Latin, German, Koine Greek, and Biblical Hebrew, then basing research conclusions on the linguistic and historical setting of documents written in those languages.
    Sorry Essjay, but reinventing yourself on slashdot isn't going to work. I appreciate that you scaled down your credentials from a PhD to a Masters degree, and that you're now indignant about forged credentials, but I'm not buying it.
  • by douglips (513461) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @03:10PM (#18197486) Homepage Journal

    How are you ever going to show anybody that your that good if they won't give anyone who doesn't have the piece of paper the opportunity? Lying about credentials on resumes is actually fairly common and some of those liars are the best performers ever hired. But you can bet that regardless of skill or merit they wouldn't be hired if they hadn't claimed to have the paper.

    You're absolutely right. There is no way this Essjay guy would ever have been allowed to edit Wikipedia articles if he hadn't claimed to have 18 degrees.

Gosh that takes me back... or is it forward? That's the trouble with time travel, you never can tell." -- Doctor Who, "Androids of Tara"

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