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Wikipedia May Require Proof of Credentials 317

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the yeah-good-luck-with-that dept.
narramissic writes "According to Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, a new policy is currently under discussion by the community of users who regularly write and maintain Wikipedia that would require contributors to the site who claim certain credentials to prove they really have them. The new policy comes after one of Wikipedia's most prolific and respected editors, who went by the pseudonym 'Essjay,' was found not to be the 'tenured professor of theology' he claimed to be but a run-of-the-mill 24 year-old from Kentucky. Said Wales, 'To discover that someone had been deceiving the community for a long time really was a bit of a blow to our trust. Wikipedia is built on the idea of trusting other people and people being honest and we find that in the most part everyone is, so it was a real disappointment.'"
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Wikipedia May Require Proof of Credentials

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  • Link to proposal (Score:5, Informative)

    by SEWilco (27983) on Friday March 09, 2007 @11:52AM (#18289298) Journal
    Wales' proposal is at [[User:Jimbo Wales/Credential Verification]] [wikipedia.org].
  • by Moryath (553296) on Friday March 09, 2007 @12:00PM (#18289472)
    to support using other sources, to claim that other sources were not proper, and to push his own (anti-Catholic biased) agenda in editing.

    That's why this is such a big deal.

    He also claimed the credentials as "proof" of his maturity and trustworthiness to handle a lot of the business that went on. This despite his being one of Wikipedia's very corrupt administrators' circle and routinely granting support to obviously corrupt behavior by others.
  • The proposal (Score:2, Informative)

    by chato (74296) <chato.chato@cl> on Friday March 09, 2007 @12:01PM (#18289484) Homepage
    Wikipedia:Credentials [wikipedia.org] outlines the proposal. It comes from an idea suggested by Jimbo in 2005 and again [wikipedia.org] in 2007, after the Essjay controversy. The proposal is that "Wikipedia develops a system for verifying editors' credentials, so as to encourage greater accountability for users who claim expertise in certain fields".
  • Re:Somewhat odd. (Score:5, Informative)

    by ZachPruckowski (918562) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Friday March 09, 2007 @12:04PM (#18289530)
    In fact, it was his 4th edit ever (backing up his 1st edit) that he first used his fake credentials to win a dispute. That implies that he created the fake credentials for that reason in the first place (a claim he denies).
  • by Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) on Friday March 09, 2007 @12:36PM (#18290114)
    For example, he defended Catholicism for Dummies as an accurate source, saying, "This is a text I often require for my students, and I would hang my own Ph.D. on it's credibility." [1] It turned out that the Dummies book, or perhaps his interpretation of it, was quite wrong in this matter. And several times, he made the claim, "I am a Catholic scholar," to the effect of, "In my research as a scholar, I have not seen x, so it must be wrong" or "I can be trusted with this role on Wikipedia -- I'm a theologian." He was setting up argument-from-authority traps that people have been falling for.

    [1] Talk:Imprimatur [wikipedia.org]
  • by Moryath (553296) on Friday March 09, 2007 @12:39PM (#18290156)
    The more people know about Wikipedia, the more things like this are going to be exposed.

    Eventually, the corruption will be too much, and Wikipedia as it now exists will cease to be. There may be something called wikipedia down the road, but the grand scheme - the idea of an encyclopedia in which errors are corrected by a horde of readers who see something wrong and fix it - can't function as long as those who have true editorial control, the administrators, are a hopelessly corrupt group of individuals led by another hopelessly corrupt individual.

    Wikipedia's hordes of corrupt administrators already make more enemies than friends every day for the project. Actions they take like banning their critics, making the appeals processes that are supposed to hold the administrators a non-public affair (they recently "closed" membership of their unblock-en-l list for one example), and rigidly enforcing a group of shibboleths which if a user does not speak, they will not be given the time of day? Not going to work.

    It is in the nature of power to corrupt; wikipedia's problem is that they gave power to already-corrupt people, and all the power has done is just made them even worse.
  • by Hittite Creosote (535397) on Friday March 09, 2007 @01:32PM (#18290886)
    Tend to get published in real journals? Such as, say, Nature, which has had articles encouraging academics to publish in the past? Indeed, I know from a Nature article from December 2005 that one of the regular editors on the Schizophrenia article on Wikipedia is a neuropsychologist at the Institute of Psychiatry in London - and indeed, the researchers academic webpage lists the relevent Wikipedia pages he has edited. There are *plenty* of editors with credentials. This proposal suggests acknowledging that.
  • Depends. (Score:3, Informative)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Friday March 09, 2007 @02:26PM (#18291746) Journal
    Some sites are actually fairly artistic and tastefully done.

    Some sites are pure smut, but are at least honest -- you know up front how much it'll cost you, and what you'll be getting.

    And some sites are pure crap -- typosquatters, thumbnail galleries, nothing but piles of ads and spyware.
  • by petermgreen (876956) <plugwash&p10link,net> on Friday March 09, 2007 @02:39PM (#18291916) Homepage
    this is what that lump with lots of urls in was meant to say:

    1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terpsichori_Chryssoul aki-Vlachou <-- no citations, two external links only one of which is in english. The english one doesn't look very authoritive the greek one looks like some kind of newspaper but a local expert would be needed to determine its quality.

    2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kentucky_Route_11 <-- no citations, one external link to a cite that directly claims to be unofficial.

    3: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C4%93len <-- no citations, one external link to a person who claims to be the creator, no way of validating that claim.

    4: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Dixon_Murray <-- we actually have what appears to be an authoritive source mentioned (not cited but the article is so short thats forgivable). I can't check the book itself without quite some effort and there is no talk page or other indication that anyone else has done so.

    5: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peruvian_national_ele ction%2C_2006 <-- no citations and no print references, looks like it may have some decent links to official sites but again only someone familiar with the locality could tell for sure.

    6: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nayif_Abdallah_Ibrahi m_Al_Nukhaylan <-- essentially a duplicate of information from US government websites and more general information about gitmo (whose citation if any belongs in the articles about that in general which i have not checked). Overall pretty bare bones but what is said about this particular person is adequately cited.

    7: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villa_Muti <-- no citations or external links or assertions of notablity whatsoever!

    8: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stevenson_and_Higgins <-- no citations or external links whatsoever, use of the term queen elizibeth looks rather dubious, the would tend to reffer to a ship but the link points to a person whos life is in totally the wrong timeframe.

    9: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Est%C3%A1dio_do_Reste lo <-- once again no citations or external links

    10: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrestling_at_the_1952 _Summer_Olympics <-- once again no citations or external links
  • from the edit: (Score:5, Informative)

    by Moryath (553296) on Friday March 09, 2007 @02:54PM (#18292152)
    From Essjay's 4th edit ever:

    "This is a text I often require for my students, and I would hang my own Ph.D. on it's credibility."

    Original link. [wikipedia.org]

    As it turns out... he had no such Ph.D.
  • by owlnation (858981) on Friday March 09, 2007 @03:15PM (#18292460)
    Yep, if you are based in the English Speaking World porn sites are probably the most regulated and scrutinized of all websites. You pretty much have to be honest to run one, or end up being hung drawn and quartered by the "think of the children" fascists before long. So yes, let's rule that one out.

    However, one you could add would be the whole Ayn Rand thing. The promotion and protection of factually dubious and biased material in this regard goes right up to Mr Wales himself.

    But I applaud the poster of the original parent. I wholly agree with him. I wish more people spoke up with their criticism of Wikipedia. It is not what it portrays itself to be.

    A proper public investigation and expose of Jimbo and some of the things that go on in Wikiland is long long long overdue. It is Wikiality, an insidious weakening and poisoning of truth - sometimes deliberate (see Ayn Rand), and often just through incompetence.

    Journalists, please start investigating Mr Wales and his associates in depth!
  • by d34thm0nk3y (653414) on Friday March 09, 2007 @04:17PM (#18293312)
    So we should compare these entries to those found in Britannica.com correct?

    1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terpsichori_Chryssoul [wikipedia.org] aki-Vlachou
    Britannica.com: No result

    2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kentucky_Route_11 [wikipedia.org]
    Britannica.com: No result
    Seriosly though, it's a road you can verify it by looking at a map. Not to mention the link to the State Highway system wiki as this is a stub article.

    3: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C4%93len [wikipedia.org]
    Britannica.com: No result

    too lazy to do the rest...

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