More Reasons We Don’t Want Open Search to Beat Google

Following on the heels of my question Do We Really Want Open Search to Beat Google, one has to wonder how much of a problem vandalism and general inaccuracies really are in Wikipedia.

One example I mentioned was politicians and their staff and their detractors editing and re-editing the articles.  Microsoft didn’t do any better when it paid a blogger to maintain the Open Office XML page.  A Wikipedia editor discusses these examples at

Recently, the same editor published an article about The Right Way To Fix Inaccurate Wikipedia Articles.  A politician did not correct inaccuracies because he feared a PR backlash:

The exact text as it appeared in Wikipedia was:

“A graduate of the University of Michigan, LaTourette studied law at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and had the dubious distinction there of disrupting a school assembly honoring Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales. LaTourette was roughly removed by the Secret Service.”

The really damaging aspect of that allegation is how it bears a tangential resemblance to the truth. There actually had been a student disturbance when Prince Charles visited that law school. LaTourette was enrolled at the time but had nothing to do with the incident.

A Wikipedia Scanner has also been developed to track who has been editing entries:

Every once and a while Wikipedia seems to get some odd editing’s and phony entries. They get caught fast but are extremely annoying for people who rely on the tool for research.

More story at