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 http://searchengineland.com/070717-113550.php.
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.