Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Fred Bauder - Crestone Lawyer Suspended

Crestone Lawyer Suspended
Chieftain Denver Bureau
January 26, 1999

DENVER -- Crestone lawyer Fred Bauder was suspended Monday for 30 days from practicing law by the Colorado Supreme Court.

As a condition for getting his license reinstated at the end of a month, Bauder was ordered to pay a previous $2,058 penalty that the court imposed on him in 1997.

Bauder was publicly censured in 1997 for soliciting for prostitution during a telephone call with the wife of one of his clients in a divorce proceeding.

"He did not pay the costs as ordered, however, or file a motion for an extension of time to comply with our order," the Supreme Court reported Monday.

In addition to the previous penalty, Bauder was ordered to pay the state's $124 cost of the suspension proceeding before it is lifted in 30 days.

Fred Bauder - Crestone lawyer is censured

Crestone lawyer is censured
The Pueblo Chieftain & Star Journal
July 15, 1997

DENVER -- Fred Bauder, a lawyer living in Crestone, was censured by the Colorado Supreme Court on Monday for allegedly making statements that would constitute soliciting two women for prostitution.

In 1994, Bauder had a client in a divorce case in Alamosa District Court and called the man's house in San Acacio, according to the court record.

His client wasn't home, so Bauder talked over the telephone with the man's wife, who didn't have a lawyer representing her in the divorce.

The wife later reported that the lawyer suggested he meet with her and his client's new girlfriend, who also was in the house, for a sexual rendezvous, the court said.

The wife testified that Bauder asked how much they would charge him for sex.

Bauder denied he had such a conversation or had solicited sex from the women.

A disciplinary hearing board found the women's testimony more credible and recommended Bauder receive a private censure.

The Supreme Court chose instead to censure the lawyer publicly. It also ordered Bauder to pay $2,158 in disciplinary hearing costs within 30 days.

Wikipedia Source For 'New Yorker' A Fraud

Wikipedia Source For 'New Yorker' A Fraud

Submitted by David A. Utter
Wed, 02/28/2007

The anonymous Wikipedia administrator cited extensively in an article about the online encyclopedia has been found to be less than he seemed.
Essjay's user page on Wikipedia has this to say about contributing to the site: "I used to contribute a lot to theology articles; I don't anymore because I found that I could be of better use elsewhere. Should you run across a theology contribution from me, it is important to remember that I am a Catholic scholar, not a Catholic."

He's also not a tenured professor of religion at a private university with a Ph.D. in theology and a degree in canon law, as Valleywag noted today. That's not the Essjay the New Yorker came to know in a July 2006 article.

Radar Online gleefully poked the New Yorker for being fooled:

In a feature story about Wikipedia, it appears The New Yorker fell prey to just the sort of pseudo-truths for which the online encyclopedia is famous.

It only took the magazine's vaunted fact-checking department seven months to discover that Essjay is actually a 24-year-old named Ryan Jordan who has never taught anything and holds no advanced degrees.

Jordan's creative background-building doesn't seem to have had an impact with Wikipedia or its founder, Jimmy Wales. The New Yorker said in its correction that Jordan has been hired by Wales' Wikia business, as well as keeping his Wikipedia responsibilities.

The whole fake background thing wasn't a big deal for Wales. "I regard it as a pseudonym and I don’t really have a problem with it," he told the New Yorker.

"My Wikipedia motto is 'Lux et Veritas' (Light and Truth)," Jordan said in his Wikipedia user profile. He's certainly receiving some light now.

College has problem with Wikipedia sourcing

College has problem with Wikipedia sourcing
By: Stephen Bartlett
Staff Writer
February 28, 2007

PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh State’s History Department has located Lucifer.

Wikipedia is apparently the devil.

“It is Satan for the History Department,” said history major Jennie McFadden, a junior at Plattsburgh State.

OK, maybe Wikipedia is not literally the horned creature from Hades, but the free online encyclopedia has been the center of growing unrest among the university community nationwide. Some colleges have officially banned students from citing Wikipedia as a reference for their papers.

Plattsburgh State has not taken this step, leaving it up to the discretion of individual professors, who overwhelmingly agree that, while students can turn to the online encyclopedia for background, they’d better not use it as their sole research source or include it on the reference page of their papers.

“I always tell students never to cite it,” said Plattsburgh State history Professor Dr. James Lindgren. “Any encyclopedia or common source like that is too simplistic. What we in the History Department urge students to use are primary and secondary sources. They can use Wikipedia or the encyclopedia for their own background information, but it is never to be cited.”

Lindgren admitted that is not an official Plattsburgh State rule but said it is the “common sense in the trade.”

“We can’t ban the use of Wikipedia,” he said.

Wikipedia, launched in January 2001, is a free, collaborative online encyclopedia operated by a non-profit organization and containing more than 6 million articles. It ranks among the 12 most visited Web sites worldwide.

Its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site, which has caused problems with some individuals purposely posting false information, though they can, in turn, be banned from editing the site and other people posting information while not being considered experts in the field they are writing about.

Wikipedia has taken steps to improve this portion of the site by restricting the editing of some subjects.

Still, errors get through, sometimes on purpose — such as when David Klatell, vice dean and professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and his students altered information on Queen Elizabeth to prove how unreliable the site could be and see how long it would take before it was corrected.

The incorrect information remained on the site for more than three days, which meant any students who looked up Queen Elizabeth during that time, for example, wrote about a birth date that was off by about 500 years and likely thought the queen was strange for some of the horrific names she gave her dogs.

More recently, the New York Times reported that Middlebury College’s History Department banned students from citing Wikipedia on papers and exams after noticing students relying heavily on the online Web site for about a year. In some cases, the Vermont college students unknowingly incorporated incorrect information into history papers, citing Wikipedia.

“I would be very upset if a student cited it as the only source of information for a paper,” said Dr. Douglas Skopp of Plattsburgh State’s History Department.

But he and others understand the temptation to rely solely on Wikipedia.

“It is electronic and so easy,” said Lindgren.

In fact, Skopp is pleased that the ease of using Wikipedia has resulted in more people looking up information, but, when it comes to college papers, he wants students to find ways to view concrete evidence.

“Many Wikipedia articles are excellent beginning points,” Skopp said. “But students sometimes use them as the end point, and then there is the concern, because a Wikipedia article, or anything summarized or abbreviated, is not a full story.”

“We want students to have a larger understanding of how knowledge is accumulated and find ways to understand that knowledge themselves, and Wikipedia shortcuts the process. But that is not to say Wikipedia is not useful.”

Many Plattsburgh State students seem to understand this.

“I use Wikipedia for basic information, but I would not rely on it, and I
certainly wouldn’t cite it,”
said Robert Asher, a senior at Plattsburgh State.

Some students steer clear of Wikipedia.

“I have heard bad things about it,” said Kelly Powers, a Plattsburgh State nursing student. “I don’t think it is scholarly at all, and I would rather go to the library.”

Conservapedia takes on Wikipedia 'bias'

Conservapedia takes on Wikipedia 'bias'
By Iain Thomson
28 February 2007

For when facts are just too left wing.

Popular online encyclopaedia Wikipedia has a new rival in the form of Conservapedia, which aims to correct what it claims is a left-wing anti-Christian bias.

Conservapedia was set up by Andrew Schlafly, son of conservative commentator Phyllis Schafly, and has over 3,500 entries which counter what is seen as Wikipedia's "biased" view.

This bias includes occasionally using British rather than American spellings, and using the dating term CE (Common Era) rather than AD (Anno Domini) to refer to the first year of the Christian calendar.

"Conservapedia is an online resource and meeting place where we favor Christianity and America," the front page reads.

"Conservapedia has easy-to-use indexes to facilitate review of topics. You will much prefer using Conservapedia compared to Wikipedia if you want concise answers free of 'political correctness'."

However, some users may object to certain entries, such as that for 'Atheism': "Since atheists have no God, as a philosophical framework atheism simply provides no logical basis for any moral standard.

"They live their lives according to the rule that 'anything goes'. In recent years, this has led to a large rise in crime, drug use, pre-marital sex, teenage pregnancy, pedophilia and bestiality."

The entry for 'Einstein' claims that his work had nothing to do with the development of the atomic bomb, and that nothing useful has even been built based on the Theory of Relativity.

The site's front page offers: "Did you know that faith is a uniquely Christian concept? Faith is complete trust or confidence in an unseen, loving power. Its root is the Latin word 'fidere', meaning 'to trust'. Jesus was unique in preaching the significance of faith and it is exclusive to Christianity. No other religion is based on faith as distinguished from mere belief."

However, it seems that the site may also have been attacked by leftist subversives. For example, Bill Clinton's Conservapedia page includes the following commentary: "Bill Clinton managed to serve two terms without botching the prosecution of two wars, manipulating intelligence, engaging in a systematic program of torture, or mishandling the federal response to flooding of a major American city. Obviously, he is the devil incarnate."

Bias and sabotage: Wikipedia's middle name

Bias and sabotage: Wikipedia's middle name

According to a report in the Boston Globe, "teachers and college professors are wondering whether they should allow students to cite Wikipedia as a source in term papers, which they are increasingly doing. Given its inherent nature as a work in progress, some wonder whether Wikipedia can ever be a reliable source of information."

The site is commonly known for its prejudicial misinformation, biased article entries by uneducated individuals, "basic juvenile toilet talk", and for its use as a resource for liberal educational institutes and American high schools, including Camden Central High in Benton County, Tennessee. Interviews with four teachers at Central High (who requested anonymity) revealed that they permit their students to quote freely from the inaccurate materials provided by Wikipedia and that some of their lesson plans are based on the site on a regular basis.

The Boston Globe says that questions have been raised about "an Internet phenomenon that some are acclaiming as the future of information. And the issues plaguing the site run deeper than political spin. Wikipedia touts itself as 'the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit,' and it is exactly that quality that is causing problems."

The Boston Globe says:
"Two months after a highly publicized attack on the Wikipedia profile of a Tennessee newspaper editor -- in which a prankster falsely implicated him in the murders of President John F. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy -- the new disclosures sharpen a nagging question about Wikipedia: Can it stop sabotage and distortion without losing the freedom and openness that made the reference possible?"
"Wikipedia users don't have to give real names or addresses. Anyone with access to a computer can log in and do mischief. Wikipedia's articles are becoming battlegrounds, pitting writers with biased viewpoints and vandals trying to sabotage entries against a volunteer band of 'Wikipedians' who constantly seek to set the record straight. Aside from sabotage, for many people the big question about Wikipedia is accuracy."

"It's absolutely not trusted, from a faculty point of view," said Gregory Fried, chairman of the philosophy department of Suffolk University. "I don't doubt that it has good articles, but I don't know which are good and which are not."

Wikipedia Is Not Always Right

Wikipedia Is Not Always Right
By Matthew Weaver / Internet 03:43pm

A group of religious zealots and social rightwingers in America are taking on the might of Wikipedia. Based on their belief that Wikipedia's liberal and secular bias is polluting young American minds, they have set up Conservapedia to put the record straight and promote creationism in "educational, clean and concise" entries.

Despite suspicions that it is a parody, the site is apparently deadly serious. It has become the laughing stock of the internet, as bloggers compete to find the most ludicrous entries.

Cosmic variance finds lots. BoingBoing is tickled by the entry on the Satanic aspects of the humble cactus. While Erikemery thinks the whole thing is "absolutely, incredibly hilarious".

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, is relaxed about it, judging by comments to the New Scientist blog. But the site he created has a pretty dismissive entry on the Eagle Forum, who are apparently responsible for Conservapedia.

Meanwhile, Wonkette is amused by efforts to subvert the site with vandalised entries.

Others say the site is no laughing matter. It is "racist" and "repugnant trash", says Jack and Jill politics. While Mike Dunford on Science blog says Conservapedia may seem funny at first but it is actually a very worrying sign of the growth of prejudice over facts. In a thoughtful post, he says: "Conservapedia is a joke, to be sure, and it's not even a good joke ... It is a mindset that is unhealthy and unacceptable, and it needs to be fought."

Wikipedia debate carries on

Wikipedia debate carries on
Brian Fung
Issue date: 2/28/07

Members of the College faculty joined students in an open forum held on Feb. 26 as part of a larger effort to discuss the role of Wikipedia in higher education. Two presentations sponsored by Ross Commons offered differing treatments of the online encyclopedia and debated the value of open-source technology in academic study. The conference represents the latest step in a campus-wide discussion ignited by the Department of History's recent ban on Wikipedia citations in essays and exams.

Assistant Professor of History Amy Morsman sought to address popular concerns that the ban was tantamount to an outright condemnation of the research tool while simultaneously defending the History Department's formal position. She suggested that though justified for broad background research, the citation of a tertiary source such as Wikipedia on major assignments was inappropriate given professors' expectations of their students' work.

"I actually think that Middlebury College students, especially History majors who are taking 300- or 400-level courses, are beyond making Wikipedia the starting point of their research," said Morsman.

Morsman went on to explain that many Wikipedia articles, or "wikis," are biased or inaccurate because of the Web site's fluidity and apparent lack of oversight. In certain cases, competing Wikipedia contributors have edited and re-edited the same document countless times in an effort to have the final say over a wiki's content.

To prove her point, Morsman introduced a video clip of the popular late-night comedy, "The Colbert Report," in which satirical television news anchor Stephen Colbert coined the term "wikilobbying." Colbert described wikilobbying as a war of information between two parties, each trying through open-source Web sites to convince the public of the truth of their particular versions of reality-regardless of their accuracy.
"[This is] more proof of what happens when you bring democracy to information," said Colbert, during the clip. "Open-source software is like free trade, and the invisible hand of the market has the mouse now."

Jason Mittell, assistant professor of American Studies and Film and Media Culture, disagreed about the nature of open-source software, arguing in his own presentation that coordinated contributors can in fact produce a product as good as, or in some cases better than, the traditional bound encyclopedia.

"It's only as good as its users," said Mittell, "but there are enough users that will take what they read [from more formal sources] and put it on. If you are an invested volunteer, of which there are thousands, you will provide immediate oversight and review."

According to Mittell, who has helped to write entries for print encyclopedias in the past, the editing process for such articles often consists of one expert author and an editor who may only be somewhat knowledgeable about the topic in question. By contrast, he said, Wikipedia provides "transparent and explicit" information about standards for research-gathering and the subsequent processes of writing and editing wikis.

In addition to his defense of Wikipedia, Mittell also asked for clarification from the History Department regarding its policy. He suggested that it was unclear as to whether the ban on Wikipedia citations was prompted by the way in which information was compiled on the site, or whether it was merely a reaction to the tool's nature as a tertiary source.

"When you have any critical dialogue about the site," said Mittell, "you have to understand whether your attitude is formed by the 'wiki-' part, or by the '-pedia' part."

A number of faculty members present at the forum responded to both speakers. Many of those who contributed to the discussion were largely supportive of the History Department's new policy, and advocated the use of discretion when conducting online research.

"The mantra is, 'be critical of what you use, validate it, and know what the context is," said Louisa Burnham, assistant professor of History at the College.

Some suggested that middle- and high-school teachers may be routinely directing their students to Wikipedia for projects and essays, thereby sending the message that such resources are acceptable academic research tools. Now, however, it seems as though some members of the College faculty hope to raise awareness about the potential pitfalls of Wikipedia as news of the History Department's resolution spreads to the national level with high-profile coverage on blogs and in the New York Times.

Ode to Wikipedia Riddled with Errors

Ode to Wikipedia Riddled with Errors
By Jeff Bercovici

In a feature story about Wikipedia, it appears The New Yorker fell prey to just the sort of pseudo-truths for which the online encyclopedia is famous.

An editors' note in the current issue notes that the article, written by Stacy Schiff and published July 31, 2006, contained extensive quotes from "a Wikipedia site administrator and contributor called Essjay," described as "a tenured professor of religion at a private university" with "a Ph.D. in theology and a degree in canon law."

It only took the magazine's vaunted fact-checking department seven months to discover that Essjay is actually a 24-year-old named Ryan Jordan who has never taught anything and holds no advanced degrees.
Be sure to check back in September to find out if the Bush administration has really decided to back Sunni radicals against their Shiite rivals.

The wicked Wikipedia

The wicked Wikipedia
By: Andrew Freeman
Issue date: 2/28/07

Last semester I wrote a brief paper on the subject of technological determinism for a science history class. As this concept was completely unfamiliar to me, I went to the free online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, for a definition. I was subsequently admonished by the TA and warned on the unreliability of that Web site. Such experiences are growing more common, contributing to debate over Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is the chief project of the non-profit Wikimedia foundation. This organization has the goal of "providing free knowledge to every person in the world," according to one of its documents. Much of its work is performed by volunteers, and it relies primarily on donations to operate, collecting $1.3 million last year alone. Other projects include a dictionary, library and curriculum materials, all freely available online.

Wikipedia allows users to write and edit articles on any subject. This has resulted in an amazing proliferation of information, far more diffuse than any print encyclopedia. However, the ease with which individuals can change entries creates the potential for abuse. Inaccurate information can be inserted into an article, turning it into a vehicle for misinformation or propaganda.

Recently, the history department of Middlebury College banned students from citing Wikipedia as a source in papers. This decision, reported in The New York Times, was prompted by a professor of Japanese history whose students wrote erroneously about the Shimabara Rebellion on an exam. They overstated the role of Jesuits in this incident, based on faulty information on Wikipedia.

The issue of historical accuracy on Wikipedia is particularly contentious, since history often plays an important role in modern political debates. Two years ago, one of my history professors introduced the subject of Wahhabism, an Islamic movement, by having us read the Wikipedia entry for it. Subsequent readings and lectures revealed that most of the article was incorrect - it misrepresented the beliefs espoused by Wahhabis. These errors are significant because Wahhabism is often incorrectly blamed for Islamic terrorism.

Wikipedia has methods of combating inaccuracy. Users can discuss changes to articles on the Web site's forums, report vandalism or abuse or correct errors themselves. Over a thousand entries are semi-protected, meaning that they cannot be edited except by registered users.

A system of rules, enforced by users and administrators, govern the site. The most important is that articles should been written from a neutral point of view, focusing upon facts for which there is consensus. Debates over an issue should be presented, but should not be the main focus of the entry. Moreover, articles should be based on sources, whether online or in print, allowing for verification of claims.

There is a conscious effort to improve Wikipedia. Some articles are tagged, requesting that an expert revise them, such as the entry for the Shimabara Rebellion. Considering the democratic nature of the Web site, the call for expert assistance is ironic.

Wikipedia represents the Internet's potential for the democratization of knowledge. Information, rather than being a restricted, proprietary commodity held by elites, becomes free and widely accessible. The whole notion of the "expert" falls into question, as anyone with a computer can cultivate specialized knowledge and disseminate it to millions. With thousands of contributors revising each others' work, the community can collectively perfect information, thereby advancing a more accurate understanding of the world.

In practice, this theory falls apart. The Internet is full of disinformation and propaganda, which infiltrates sites like Wikipedia. Moreover, many specialized concepts are not discussed or not analyzed in detail, while there is a profusion of pop culture and pornography. Information becomes a sprawling mass, and parsing the useful from the useless requires a hierarchy - it requires experts.

For this reason, the Internet does not yet pose an existential threat to academia. Academics are respected as sources and their works are cited in Wikipedia. They are even called on to contribute.

In fairness, one finds some of the same problems in a university as on Wikipedia. Vandals deface books or bathrooms here, just as they attack articles online. There can be disinformation in lectures and textbooks, and conspiracy theories abound. I received an email last week about professors who suspected the government was complicit in Sept. 11th.

No institution can credibly claim a monopoly on the truth, because truth is an ideal, one that can never be achieved in totality and one that people often deviate from. In the future, Wikipedia may become as reliable as academic journals, and it is certainly affecting our lives in the present. Technological determinism, by the way, is the belief that technology, on its own, can change society, and Wikipedia provides an excellent example of this.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

BU professors question Wikipedia’s validity as a source

BU professors question Wikipedia’s validity as a source
By Ashley Tarr
Pipe Dream

Online encyclopedias and research sites may be making it easier for college students to procrastinate, but with the recent controversy surrounding the popular reference site, Wikipedia, it’s not surprising that opinions are widespread here at Binghamton University, too. is an open encyclopedia in which virtually anyone with an Internet connection can add, remove or edit the posted information. The site, established in 2001, has recently come under criticism by scholars who claim that the tool is more of a source for background information — if that at all — than anything else.
“I do not consider Wikipedia an academic source, basically because people can change it at any time and there’s no control over what goes in and out of it,” said professor Fran Goldman of the Asian and Asian American Studies Program at BU. “In other words, it can be there today, someone can decide they don’t like the way it’s written, go in there and change it, and it’s not there tomorrow.”

Goldman’s opinions are supported by a recent entry for BU President Lois B. DeFleur. The site originally claimed that DeFleur was “widely recognized as a blatant racist,” among other listings concerning her professional background.
“We were unaware of the existence of this page. It seems to have been created by someone who is unaware of President DeFleur’s extensive academic work in the field of juvenile delinquency in Latin America, police enforcement of drug laws and occupational socialization,” said Gail Glover, director of media relations, in a statement about the entry. “Since anyone can contribute to Wikipedia, I certainly would encourage students not to use Wikipedia as their sole research source.”

The listing was later changed to, “She is an authority on juvenile delinquency in Latin America and has done extensive work in the fields of deviant behavior and occupational socialization.”

Goldman’s feelings are reflected throughout other departments as well, as professor John McNulty of the political science department does not support the use of the site for legitimate information.
“… It’s problematic for precisely the reason that it’s not checked carefully; people could put anything there. A student could change a Wikipedia page him or herself and then source it, theoretically,” McNulty said. “Wikipedia can’t be your sole source, something has to be second source, particularly with anything that is controversial … it would not be a sufficient source for that kind of thing.”

A Feb. 21 article in The New York Times reported that the history department at Middlebury College in Vermont banned students from citing Wikipedia as a research source. The article reported that Jimmy Wales, one of Wikipedia’s founders, said he didn’t consider the Middlebury policy “as a negative thing at all.”

McNulty maintains that for checking something like a birthday, Wikipedia is somewhat sufficient. But when it comes to looking at something controversial, like President Bush’s invasion of Iraq with respect to the oil companies, the information on Wikipedia would be “completely unkosher.”

According to McNulty, the only thing a student can cite Wikipedia for is something that does not need a citation in the first place.

“… I like the idea behind it because it’s kind of democratic in that people contribute to these sites that are supposed to convey knowledge to everyone else. But the real problem is that they’re not peer review,” said history department visiting professor Gregory Geddes. “… And there is a lot of information that I’ve found that people have used … and it’s just simply incorrect … and so I don’t allow people to use it.”

Although many professors at BU do not approve of the site, some faculty members feel differently.

Both Susan Currie, the associate director of library services, and Kate Bouman, the reference librarian, feel that the site is very useful for pop culture and ultimately is as valuable as any other reference in the library.

“I think Wikipedia is a great place to start, and I love it for popular culture; it’s a great place to look because a lot of things in popular culture you won’t find in even the online versions of encyclopedias,” said Currie. “You shouldn’t cite it as a scholarly source, but I don’t think you should cite an encyclopedia because those are places to start.”

Bouman agreed, saying that the links on the site can sometimes be valuable, but it’s something students have to be cautious about.

Wikipedia Admin Fred Bauder

Wikipedia Admin Fred Bauder

No. 98SA447

January 25, 1999


Linda Donnelly, Attorney Regulation Counsel
James C. Coyle, Assistant Attorney Regulation Counsel
Denver, Colorado

Fred Bauder, Pro Se
Crestone, Colorado


In this lawyer discipline case, a hearing panel of the supreme court grievance committee approved the findings and recommendation of the hearing board. The board and the panel recommended that the respondent, Fred Bauder, be suspended for thirty days, be required to petition for reinstatement, and pay certain costs before again being allowed to practice law. We accept the recommendation.

Fred Bauder was licensed to practice law in Colorado in 1976. He failed to answer the formal complaint filed in this case and the hearing board entered a default against him. The allegations of fact contained in the complaint were therefore deemed admitted. See C.R.C.P. 241.13(b); People v. Paulson , 930 P.2d 582, 582 (Colo. 1997). Based on the default and the evidence presented, the hearing board found that the following had been established by clear and convincing evidence.

On July 14, 1997, we publicly censured Bauder for soliciting for prostitution during a phone call with the wife of a dissolution of marriage client. See People v. Bauder , 941 P.2d 282, 283 (Colo. 1997). Bauder was ordered to pay the costs of that proceeding in the amount of $2,058.97 within thirty days of the date on the opinion. See id. at 283-84. He did not pay the costs as ordered, however, or file a motion for an extension of time to comply with our order. Moreover, Bauder failed to respond to a letter from the Office of Disciplinary Counsel and has not explained or justified his noncompliance with the order. As a result, a request for investigation was filed against him. Bauder did not respond to the request for investigation.

The hearing board concluded that Bauder knowingly disobeyed an order of this court in violation of Colo. RPC 3.4(c); and that his conduct also violated Colo. RPC 8.4(d) (engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice) and C.R.C.P. 241.6(7) (failing to cooperate in a disciplinary investigation).

The hearing panel approved the board's recommendation that Bauder be suspended for thirty days, be required to petition for reinstatement, and as a further condition of reinstatement, demonstrate that he has paid the costs incurred in the 1997 proceeding.

Under the ABA Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions (1991 & Supp. 1992) (ABA Standards ), "[s]uspension is appropriate when a lawyer knowingly violates a court order or rule, and there is injury or potential injury to a client or a party, or interference or potential interference with a legal proceeding." ABA Standards 6.22. However, disbarment is warranted when a lawyer "(a) intentionally or knowingly violates the terms of a prior disciplinary order and such violation causes injury or potential injury to a client, the public, the legal system, or the profession." Id. at 8.1(a).

The 1997 public censure is an aggravating factor for analyzing the proper level of discipline. See id. at 9.22(a). Other aggravating factors include Bauder's refusal to acknowledge the wrongfulness of his conduct, see id. at 9.22(g); his substantial experience in the practice of law, see id. at 9.22(i); and his indifference to making restitution, see id. at 9.22(j). Because Bauder did not appear at the hearing or offer any evidence, no mitigating factors were found.

The lawyer respondent has defaulted and apparently ignored the disciplinary proceedings. We elect to accept the board's recommendation. See People v. Rishel , 956 P.2d 542, 544 (Colo. 1998). We are satisfied that the requirement that the respondent undergo reinstatement proceedings and demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that he is again fit to practice law will adequately protect the public. Accordingly, we accept the recommendations of the hearing board and panel. One member of the court, however, would impose more severe discipline.

It is hereby ordered that Fred Bauder is suspended from the practice of law for thirty days, effective thirty days after the issuance of this opinion. It is further ordered that, prior to seeking reinstatement and as a condition thereof, Bauder shall pay the costs of his 1997 disciplinary proceeding in the amount of $2,058.97 plus statutory interest from August 14, 1997, to the Attorney Regulation Committee. Bauder is further ordered to pay the costs of this proceeding in the amount of $124.11 within thirty days after this opinion is announced to the Attorney Regulation Committee, 600 Seventeenth Street, Suite 200 South, Denver, Colorado 80202-5432. Bauder shall not be reinstated until after he has complied with C.R.C.P. 251.29.

Wiki this

Wiki this
Nandini Jammi
Issue date: 2/27/07

Stop trying to make "fetch" happen. It's never going to. Also, Tucker Carlson will not be stopping his egregious habit of wearing silly bowties in public, and Wikipedia, my friends, will never be a credible source for your precious research papers. No amount of Facebook rioting or Google bombing will ever change that.

Wikipedia, everyone should know, is a brilliant child of postmodern thought. Here is a place where a rural Vermonter can access information written by an Indian yuppie. Here we can access the other side and the forgotten. It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, so let's give humanity a nice, squishy hug right about now. Have something to say? By all means, the "Edit" tool is a mouse click away. Let millions around the world know that the Eskimos have successfully potty trained a sofa. They will most likely scarf it up and cite it in their doctoral dissertations. History is certainly no longer written by just the winners, but also the losers, the innocent bystanders, and here's where we run into the problem - the misanthropic hackers and a garden variety of psychos.

During the last midterm elections, Wikipedia told the masses that Sen. Robert Byrd from West Virginia was, in fact, 180 years old. Congressman Jim Marshall from Georgia was labeled "too liberal," placing him on the edge of a deadly political cliff, which wasn't so peachy. In a moment of true democratic spirit, former Press Secretary Scott McClellan was listed under the entry for "douche." The mud-slinging got so bad that Wikipedia banned edits from IP addresses coming from Capitol Hill. That put a stop to Rep. Marty Meehan's (D-Mass.) cyber henchmen, who had been sneaking out campaign promises from their boss's entry during a period of six months.

This is where today's college students, who were raised on the then-precarious and now thoroughly obsolete concept of researching multiple sources of media, such as books (those dusty old things) bring their lazy, lackadaisical cerebral cortexes into the picture. They bring out their cyber pitchforks, demanding professors recognize the authenticity of Wikipedia, this great noble experiment. At this point, the professor most likely sends a snooty e-mail reply such as, "Go learn to use a real dictionary." Then, in the cyber equivalent of turning red and throwing a @#%#$^@^ fit, the student sends her sob story to Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia's founder.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported last year that Wales gets "about 10 e-mail messages a week" from such students. Wales elaborates on their somber bleating: "They say, 'Please help me. I got an F on my paper because I cited Wikipedia.'" His reply? "For God sake, you're in college; don't cite the encyclopedia."

Wales knows that what makes Wikipedia an indispensable source for those with potbellies and somewhat unlimited computer access is also a catch-22. Before it becomes an acceptable source for research, Wikipedia will have to find a way to effectively police its more than 1 million articles, which it won't because that defeats the purpose of calling it Wikipedia. "Wiki" was defined as an inherently collaborative website by programmer Ward Cunningham, who picked it up from the Hawaiian term "wiki-wiki," which means "quick-quick." I know this because I looked it up online in the Oxford English Dictionary. Therefore, my editor feels much safer that I am quoting a safe and dependable source in The Diamondback, one that can be held accountable in case it's wrong.

Wikipedia is a great starting point for research. The links are fabulous -they'll take you all over. I play this game when I'm bored: I pick an entry to start from ("flamingoes") and see where I am half an hour later ("Lord of the Rings"). I also lead a lonely and minimally gratifying social life. But maybe, instead of tittering at me, you should go finish up your research paper. The university subscribes to precisely two trillion journals and publications. If for some reason, you find they give you wrong information, just bomb their Wikipedia entry like it's your job.

Nandini Jammi is a freshman English major. She can be reached at jammin(at)

Monday, February 26, 2007

Professors Split on Wiki Debate

Professors Split on Wiki Debate
Published On Monday, February 26, 2007 1:55 AM
Contributing Writer

Despite questions about its accuracy and criticism on other college campuses, some Harvard professors and teaching fellows have incorporated Wikipedia, the online collaborative encyclopedia, into their syllabi.

“I believe Wikipedia is an excellent resource because of how low-cost it makes the process of looking for information,” wrote economics graduate student Reinier A. Schliesser in an e-mail. “When I was looking for readily available materials for our discussion-focused class, I found some of the articles in Wikipedia quite useful.”

Schliesser, who teaches the sophomore economics tutorial, “Economic Development: Theory and Empirics from a Macro Perspective,” includes a Wikipedia article on his syllabus, and last semester, students in Psychology 1, “Introduction to Psychology,” were given the task of creating Wikipedia entries.

Littauer Professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy Shaye J.D. Cohen requires his students to read nine Wikipedia entries for his Literature and Arts C-70, “From the Hebrew Bible to Judaism, From the Old Testament to Christianity,” class.

“Students know Wikipedia, and know where and how to find it,” Cohen, who is also the director of the Center for Jewish Studies, wrote in an e-mail. “Therefore I hope there is a high likelihood that they will actually do the assignment.”

Emily C. Milam ’10, a student in Cohen’s class, said the idea of incorporating Wikipedia entries sounded appealing.

“I think it’s helpful,” she said, “I’m totally okay with Wikipedia.”

But not everyone is singing Wikipedia’s praises.

Earlier this month, Middlebury College’s history department banned the use of Wikipedia as a source for papers and exams after a number of students referenced the same inaccurate Wikipedia article in an exam.

“Wikipedia is good for providing overviews of noncontroversial and broad topics, but not good for news, commentary, or anything with polarized opinions,” wrote Harvard teaching fellow Abdur-Rahim Syed in an e-mail. Syed, who teaches the sophomore tutorial, “Economics of Hegemony: Rome, Britain, and America,” also includes Wikipedia articles in his syllabus.

Cohen said that he reviewed Wikipedia articles before assigning them.

“The articles in question seem fine,” he said, although he admitted that he “did not realize that Wikipedia entries are ‘unstable,’ and perhaps I should re-look at the entries from time to time.”

While Cohen said he was unsure whether Harvard should copy Middlebury’s ban on Wikipedia, he acknowledged that it was important to treat Wikipedia skeptically.

“Wikipedia represents all that is great and all that is dangerous about the Internet,” Cohen said, “It is incredibly powerful and readily available, and yet can mislead the unwary and spread disinformation. One hopes that a good undergraduate education will enable students to assess what they are reading.”

Hack got death threats from Wikipidiots

Hack got death threats from Wikipidiots
More Stalinistic purges

By Nick Farrell: Monday 26 February 2007, 06:40

ONLINE encyclopedia Wikipedia is killing off more people who its bunch of techies do not think are important enough.

The latest to be up for deletion was Slate hack Timothy Noah who apparently was not 'notable enough' for inclusion.

Noah notices that he now joins Anthony Stevens "internationally respected Jungian analyst, psychiatrist, and author", Final Approach "romantic comedy anime series", Secproof "well known security consulting company in Finland", and about 400 other topics tagged during the past calendar month.

A former Wall Street Journal hack, Noah admits that his beef with Wikipedia is caused by a swift kick in the ego. He said that to be told one has been found 'objectively unworthy' by a Wikipedia tech hardly softens the blow.

However he questions why Wikipedia needs a notability policy at all. While other encyclopedias need to limit the topics they cover because they are on paper. Wikipedia does not have that problem. Indeed, if people want to read about a person, it justifies their inclusion.

Noah points out that if Wikipedia publishes a bio of his cleaning lady, that won't make it any harder to field experts to write and edit Wikipedia's bio of Albert Einstein. So, why not let her in?

Wikipedia already maintains rules concerning verifiability and privacy. Why does it need separate rules governing 'notability'? Noah asks.

He looked at the policy and found it a bit spotty. A former Playboy Playmate of the Month is notable but a girlfriend to a famous rock star is not.

Ironically Noah was permitted inclusion because he wrote his article on Wikipedia which seemed to get him loads of death threats. Talking about Wikipedia makes you famous apparently.

Despite ease of use, Wikipedia is still a gamble

Despite ease of use, Wikipedia is still a gamble
By David Ryan

There's no denying the allure of Wikipedia. The Web's premier open-source encyclopedia that anyone can edit is easy to use, it's free, and the selection of information available is seemingly endless.

For instance, if you ever need to know how to say ''I ate my cat'' in any particular language, Wikipedia author ''Ardonik'' has you covered.

''I've had a page like this in mind for a long time now,'' the entry reads. ''However, I thought that it would take several years to do the research, make the phone calls, and send the e-mails required to complete this list.''
But then ''Ardonik'' found Wikipedia, and the quest for translations began. ''Before long, I realized that out of all these Wikipedians, someone, somewhere had to know how to translate 'I ate my cat' into any given language,'' the entry continues, asking, ''Are you that someone?''

If you know, get on it -- perform a Google search and help the cause.
While Wikipedia is good for a cheap laugh (has anyone ever been in a position that they've needed to explain such an occurrence in Polish?), it is one of the problems facing its entire being.

With anyone, anywhere, able to edit it, its credibility is zero. Though the entry for the Revolutionary War is factually correct in saying that it was a war between the United Kingdom and the 13 colonies, it could later state that it was a war between Oompa Loompas and The Monkees.

Stephen Colbert, host of ''The Colbert Report,'' made himself enemies with the online encyclopedia twice over, once for asking for viewers to change the entry of African elephants to say that they weren't nearing extinction, and that their population had tripled. After the windstorm blew over and the article was corrected, Colbert later asked users a second time to change the entry on ''reality'' to say that ''reality is a commodity.'' It was changed within seconds of airing.

Another instance of abuse is resulting in litigation with Josef Silny & Associates of Miami. Pro golfer Fuzzy Zoeller is suing the company after tracing an IP (a computer's Internet address) from a Wikipedia entry on him that changed information on his page to say that he routinely beat his wife and children under the influence of alcohol and drugs. The lawsuit filed says that John Doe, the Wikipedia author who is not yet known, edited the page to say ''Zoeller said in an interview with Golf Digest magazine that he hadn't beaten his wife in nearly five years.''

But with Wikipedia being a constant presence on basic searches on Google and Yahoo, students looking for information can be easily tricked into thinking something ''sounds'' credible, without going any further than the page on the site.
Such was the case for six students at Middlebury College in Vermont. History professor Neil Waters noticed that all of the students incorrectly cited information about the Shimabara Rebellion in 17th-century Japan. According to Waters in a New York Times article, the Jesuits were in ''no position to aid a revolution,'' adding that the few of them in Japan were in hiding. Now the college's history department has banned the citing of Wikipedia as a source for papers.

In a few of my classes, teachers have already stressed not to use Wikipedia as a source, and that doing so would result in an undesirable grade. If you've ever found yourself in a position where a four-page term paper is due within the hour, with five chapters of reading material in your textbook to go over to write it, the online encyclopedia can be an incredibly attractive source of information.

If you have to, go ahead and use it -- just don't cite the information listed on the page. Take it upon yourself to verify the information made available on the page.
Even though I utilize all of the academic features the college makes available on the libraries' Web site (Lexis Nexis, J-Stor, etc) I myself have used Wikipedia as a springboard for sources, pictures and information. On each page, posted materials usually have corresponding links to Web sites, news articles or journal entries where the information came from. Only use information you can verify, citing the more reliable, credible source of information.

The Internet, created to be a global meeting place for ideas and information, is a shaky place. Wikipedia, while a novel idea, is trapped in a world of faceless authors who are free to change, update or delete information in seconds. Its own design is its own flaw.

On the entry for the site itself, the page explains that ''Two scholarly studies have concluded that vandalism is generally short-lived, and that Wikipedia is roughly as accurate as other online encyclopedias.''

It's just too bad you couldn't cite that to your professor.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Wikipedia Attacks Attorney General...

Wikipedia Attacks Attorney General...
Submitted by JohnMaxfield on Sat, 02/24/2007 - 7:35am.

When General Grevious' Dog first began to nip at the heels of Wikipedia...or should I say Waldopedia...that was when I began to take notice. This was an issue that has been sliding under the radar for months, if not years. This is the systematic discrediting of Republican congressmen, senators, delegates, and basically anyone who could own a Wikipedia entry. The liberals have gone in and edited these legislators' posts to their cold hearts' content. Do Dems care about our childrens' education? Perhaps some do...but a majority who surf this online encyclopedia, do not. And joining the ranks of the latter is none other than the blog 750 Volts.

Do we need democrats to get on a site that promotes itself as a legitimate resource for factual information and have them twist meanings, words, and stances such as this--read here.

How, as bloggers, let alone ETHICAL bloggers, can we allow ourselves to ignore this obvious threat by the Left that is occurring on Wikipedia. As the Dog said, Wikipedia is an educational tool for children and educators. The left has taken this teaching tool and turned it into a political weapon. Do they have no shame?

They are quickly jumping to turn unbiased articles on Republican legislators into articles where their tirade of left wing agendas can be reported on as if they were "facts." So are we now going to have to monitor Wikipedia just to make sure the left does not misuse it?

And let's face it folks, any site that lists a rave about how great their site is, from The Almighty Knower of Things, cannot be trusted to initiate what it deems factual about a candidate that it so blatantly is opposed too.

Stay tuned for the Daily WhackJob's Wikipedia editing....

Fuzzy Zoeller not the only dispute regarding golf in Wikipedia: St. Andrews not the birthplace?

Fuzzy Zoeller not the only dispute regarding golf in Wikipedia: St. Andrews not the birthplace?
By Brandon Tucker
a Golf Publisher Syndication blog

Golf discrepancies don't start and end at Wikipedia with Fuzzy Zoeller, who claims defamatory material was added to his biography in 2006. The "Encyclopedia anyone , seriously, can edit" is calling Musselburgh Links in Edinburgh - not St. Andrews the birthplace of golf in the 17th century.

It also credits the Netherlands for inventing the game. Here's the paragraph (Under the entry "Golf"):
"Golf is said to have originated in the Netherlands (see History below), but has been played for at least five centuries in the British Isles. Golf, in essentially the form we know today, has been played on Scotland's Musselburgh Links (today's oldest golf course world-wide) since 1672, while earlier versions of the game had been played in the British Isles and the low-countries of Northern Europe for several centuries before that. Although often viewed as an upperclass pastime, golf is an increasingly popular sport across all sections of society [citation needed]."

But flip a few virtual pages over and come to the "Old Course at St. Andrews" entry and it credits this course as the birthplace, with historical record dating back to 1506. Here's the graph:
There is no real knowledge of when golf was first played over the grounds that now constitute the Old Course. The earliest written evidence is a license issued in 1552, which permitted the community to rear rabbits on the links and "play at golf, futball, schuteing ... with all other manner of pastimes." The first written record of golf being played at the Old Course dates to 1574, which would make the Old Course the fifth-oldest links golf site in Scotland.[2] However, documents from the reign of King James IV show that he bought golf clubs at St Andrews in 1506, only four years after his first purchase at Perth, which may indicate that the Old Course is significantly older than the written evidence shows.

Two thoughts come to mind. First, why would anybody with any expertise in a field spend so much spare time making an entry on this page for free? Are people really that bored? Surely there's a dog out there who sorely wants a human to play Frisbee with.

Secondly, is the documentation of history going to be completely screwed for our later generations as a result of the internet's sore lack of editors and fact-checkers? I fear 60 years from now my grandkids will tell me Adolf Hitler was a blind, 18th century Baroque pianist - who later split the Atom holed up in a bunker after cutting off his ear.

Golf champion Zoeller sues to identify author of Wikipedia post

Golf champion Zoeller sues to identify author of Wikipedia post
Associated Press Sports
Feb 22, 2007

MIAMI (AP) -Pro golfer Fuzzy Zoeller is suing to track down the author who posted what he considers a defamatory paragraph about him on the Internet reference site Wikipedia.

Zoeller's attorney, Scott D. Sheftall, said he filed the lawsuit against a Miami firm last week because the law won't allow him to sue St. Petersburg-based Wikipedia. The suit alleges someone used a computer at Josef Silny & Associates, a Miami education consulting firm, to add the information to Zoeller's Wikipedia profile.

"Courts have clearly said you have to go after the source of the information," Sheftall said. "The Zoeller family wants to take a stand to put a stop to this. Otherwise, we're all just victims of the Internet vandals out there. They ought not to be able to act with impunity."

Wikipedia, which describes itself as "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit," leaves it to a vast user community to catch factual errors and other problems.

The paragraph in question has been removed, but the information has been picked up by other Web sites. The lawsuit said it alleged Zoeller abused drugs, alcohol and his family with no evidence to back up the statements. The derogatory information was first added in August 2006.

According to the lawsuit, the profile was last "vandalized" on Dec. 20 from a computer with an Internet address assigned to Josef Silny & Associates.

Josef Silny was shocked to learn his company was targeted in the lawsuit.

"I can't imagine anybody doing that," Silny said. "This is completely out of left field."

He has asked his computer consultant to investigate the complaint.

Zoeller sued under the alias "John Doe'' to protect his privacy. But Sheftall confirmed the golf champion was the plaintiff in a phone interview Thursday with The Associated Press. The lawsuit was first reported by The Miami Herald.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said no one has contacted the site about the lawsuit. He said volunteer editors are aggressive about cleaning up inaccuracies reported to the site.

"We try to police it pretty closely, but people do misbehave on the Internet," Wales said.

On the Net:

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Cornell Profs Slam Use of Wikipedia

Cornell Profs Slam Use of Wikipedia
The Cornell Daily Sun
By Ben Eisen
Feb 20 2007

One professor in the city and regional planning department tells her students that she will "slash" their essays if they use Wikipedia as the sole source of information. She is tired of reading research papers that are falsely cited and finding that the free Internet encyclopedia is to blame. The professor's hostility towards Wikipedia is part of a growing sentiment among professors who are banding together against the citation of inaccurate information.

Middlebury College's history department recently banned the use of Wikipedia as a source for research. Chairperson Don Wyatt said that the department finally came to the decision when they found that multiple students had cited wrong information from the website.

"Wikipedia is very seductive," Wyatt told the Chronicle of Higher Education. "We are all sort of enamored of the convenience and speed of the Web. From the standpoint of access, it's a marvelous thing. But from the standpoint of maintaining quality, it's much less so."

One of the primary concerns about Wikipedia is that it is openly edited — anyone can change or update entries. Though legions of so-called "Wikipedians" spend hours of volunteer time maintaining the site, even Jimmy Wales, the site's co-founder, says that neither Wikipedia — nor any other encyclopedia — should be used as an academic source.

Prof. Aaron Sachs, history, said Wikipedia should be used with caution in research.

"I tell my students that Wikipedia is sometimes a decent option for a getting a basic overview," he said. "But even then it takes a lot of practice to recognize when an entry might be more or less reliable."

A December 2005 study by Nature Magazine found that Wikipedia had on average four errors per article compared to Encyclopedia Britannica's three.
Britannica has fervently denied that Wikipedia could be anywhere near as accurate.

"It is not the case that errors creep in on an occasional basis or that a couple articles are poorly written," Tom Panelas, Britannica's director of corporate communications, told Nature about Wikipedia. "There are lots of articles in poor condition. They need a good editor."

Prof. Bill Arms, computer science, who focuses on digital libraries and electronic publishing, is more enthusiastic about Wikipedia.

"In my field the entries are usually well written, accurate and up to date. In my last lecture, I explicitly suggested that the students should read a Wikipedia article. It was at least as good as lecture notes that I might have written," Arms said.

However, he still encourages his students to use a variety of sources and cross-check them against each other.

While many professors are in an uproar, most students at Cornell tend not to quote Wikipedia as fact.

"I will use Wikipedia if I need to look up an equation or if I want to get background information before starting my research, but I wouldn't ever cite it in a paper," said Michael Lazar '10.

"I love Wikipedia because there's an entry for everything. When there's something I just don't know I it's good to be able to look it up. But it really isn't specific enough for a research paper," said Jeff Krock '10.
Wyatt echoed Cornell students' view of the website.

"I happen to personally like Wikipedia," Wyatt said. "This is not a personal stance or a hostile one. Wikipedia is a wonderful innovation, but it has its limits."

Middlebury College Levies Ban on Wikipedia

Middlebury College Levies Ban on Wikipedia
William D. Sedlack Assistant News Editor

Middlebury College's his-tory department recently made a dramatic step against a popular Web-based ency-clopedia. The history depart-ment issued a ban against the use of Wikipedia as a citation for their history papers.

"Wikipedia is not an ac-ceptable citation, even though it may lead one to a citable source," reads their new pol-icy according to the Burling-ton Free Press.

"It is a useful beginning point that can point to bet-ter-vetted sources, or suggest possible research topics. .... It cannot serve as the end of the research process, and it can-not stand as an authoritative citation." Neil Waters, the His-tory Professor and impetus behind the Middlebury policy, said in an interview with the Burlington Free Press.

According to its own Wiki-pedia article, it was founded in 2001 by Jimmy Wales. Cur-rently, the server and base of operations for Wikipedia is Tampa, Florida.
According to its own facts, Wikipedia has a self described 1.6 million articles in the Eng-lish section of their Web site.

According to the Burlington Free Press, the Wikipedia Foundation responded to the announcement from Middle-bury with a statement that read. "We think that this is a sensible policy, Wikipedia is the ideal place to start your research and get a global pic-ture of a topic; however, it is not an authoritative source."

No organ within the Uni-versity of Vermont has made any move to follow suit with Middlebury's history depart-ment at this time.

"The UVM history depart-ment has no plans to issue a proclamation to our students forbidding the use of Wiki-pedia in papers," said James Overfield, chairman of the UVM History department.

"We think it's amazing that an institution of Middlebury's standing considers it neces-sary," Overfield said.

"I think that it can be a very helpful tool, but it should never be the only source for information," freshmen Geor-gia Katinas said.

"Even more than most en-cyclopedias, Wikipedia is a place to start one's research, not an authoritative guide. But this is common knowledge; there's no need to spell this out in an official policy," Overfield said.

However, Waters felt that a policy needed to be put in place for Middlebury, and did so for varied reasons.

"One was the increasing appearance of Wikipedia cita-tions in term papers. Some stu-dents in fact explained to me that their high school teachers had encouraged them to cite Wikipedia," Waters said, in an interview with the Burlington Free Press.

Some students at UVM feel it's an unneeded step for Mid-dlebury College to implement a policy for their students to tell them what they already know.

"I don't do it [use Wikipe-dia] and I get kinda irritated when teachers or whatnot print out handouts from Wiki-pedia, like it's some kind of legitimate source," freshmen Kerrie Keller said.

EDITORIAL: Do your research

EDITORIAL: Do your research

Wikipedia's slogan is "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit." Anyone. Meaning it doesn't require a degree in a particular field or any specific expertise -- just Internet access.

The editing is monitored somewhat rigidly, but the point remains -- Wikipedia is not a credible source.

Most students are aware of this, but not all have abandoned using the public encyclopedia as a legitimate source of info.

According to a Feb. 21 New York Times article, six Middlebury College students taking a Japanese history course wrote on a test that Jesuits supported the Shimabara Rebellion. This is false, but according to Wikipedia, it is correct.

The class's professor, Neil Waters, is fed up with students taking the website's material as fact. He has justly moved to eliminate Wikipedia citations.

Relying on the collaborative encyclopedia demonstrates laziness and sloppy study habits. Students should search elsewhere for information.

That isn't to say Wikipedia can't be a useful tool. It is a great launch point for many research projects. It contains more than a million and a half articles in English, and a lot of the material is truthful.

But students must not rely solely on Wikipedia. Because anyone can edit its articles, the website's information is not trustworthy. The half-dozen Middlebury students learned that after fouling up their Japanese history exam.

There is no excuse for someone to cite Wikipedia, because most universities put a myriad of different resources at their community's fingertips. Boston University subscribes to databases such as LexisNexis and JStor with hopes that students use them.

It may be easier to find material on Wikipedia because it doesn't require as much sifting through articles, but, students can still access these other highly credible online research sites while in their pajamas.

When composing an academic paper, writers would never get away with citing a biased website. So students shouldn't be permitted to reference Wikipedia, which could contain biased information anyone is allowed to modify.

Those that argue Waters's ban is a form of censorship should reconsider their stance. He is not saying students can't use the website; he is just mandating they don't rely on it.

Students who use Wikipedia as a crutch will be crippled academically. Waters is simply trying to keep everyone's studying in shape.

A History Department Bans Citing Wikipedia as a Research Source

A History Department Bans Citing Wikipedia as a Research Source
February 21, 2007

When half a dozen students in Neil Waterss Japanese history class at Middlebury College asserted on exams that the Jesuits supported the Shimabara Rebellion in 17th-century Japan, he knew something was wrong. The Jesuits were in "no position to aid a revolution," he said; the few of them in Japan were in hiding.

He figured out the problem soon enough. The obscure, though incorrect, information was from Wikipedia, the collaborative online encyclopedia, and the students had picked it up cramming for his exam.

Dr. Waters and other professors in the history department had begun noticing about a year ago that students were citing Wikipedia as a source in their papers. When confronted, many would say that their high school teachers had allowed the practice.

But the errors on the Japanese history test last semester were the last straw. At Dr. Waterss urging, the Middlebury history department notified its students this month that Wikipedia could not be cited in papers or exams, and that students could not "point to Wikipedia or any similar source that may appear in the future to escape the consequences of errors."

With the move, Middlebury, in Vermont, jumped into a growing debate within journalism, the law and academia over what respect, if any, to give Wikipedia articles, written by hundreds of volunteers and subject to mistakes and sometimes deliberate falsehoods. Wikipedia itself has restricted the editing of some subjects, mostly because of repeated vandalism or disputes over what should be said.

Although Middleburys history department has banned Wikipedia in citations, it has not banned its use. Don Wyatt, the chairman of the department, said a total ban on Wikipedia would have been impractical, not to mention close-minded, because Wikipedia is simply too handy to expect students never to consult it.

At Middlebury, a discussion about the new policy is scheduled on campus on Monday, with speakers poised to defend and criticize using the site in research.

Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia and chairman emeritus of its foundation, said of the Middlebury policy, "I dont consider it as a negative thing at all."

He continued: "Basically, they are recommending exactly what we suggested — students shouldnt be citing encyclopedias. I would hope they wouldnt be citing Encyclopaedia Britannica, either."

"If they had put out a statement not to read Wikipedia at all, I would be laughing. They might as well say dont listen to rock n roll either."

Indeed, the English-language version of the site had an estimated 38 million users in the United States in December, and can be hard to avoid while on the Internet. Google searches on such diverse subjects as historical figures like Confucius and concepts like torture give the Wikipedia entry the first listing.

In some colleges, it has become common for professors to assign students to create work that appears on Wikipedia. According to Wikipedias list of school and university projects, this spring the University of East Anglia in England and Oberlin College in Ohio will have students edit articles on topics being taught in courses on the Middle East and ancient Rome.

In December 2005, a Columbia professor, Henry Smith, had the graduate students in his seminar create a Japanese bibliography project, posted on Wikipedia, to describe and analyze resources like libraries, reference books and newspapers. With 16 contributors, including the professor, the project comprises dozens of articles, including 13 on different Japanese dictionaries and encyclopedias.

In evaluations after the class, the students said that creating an encyclopedia taught them discipline in writing and put them in contact with experts who improved their work and whom, in some cases, they were later able to interview.

"Most were positive about the experience, especially the training in writing encyclopedia articles, which all of them came to realize is not an easy matter," Professor Smith wrote in an e-mail message. "Many also retained their initial ambivalence about Wikipedia itself."

The discussion raised by the Middlebury policy has been covered by student newspapers at the University of Pennsylvania and Tufts, among others. The Middlebury Campus, the student weekly, included an opinion article last week by Chandler Koglmeier that accused the history department of introducing "the beginnings of censorship."

Other students call the move unnecessary. Keith Williams, a senior majoring in economics, said students "understand that Wikipedia is not a responsible source, that it hasnt been thoroughly vetted." Yet he said, "I personally use it all the time."

Jason Mittell, an assistant professor of American studies and film and media culture at Middlebury, said he planned to take the pro-Wikipedia side in the campus debate. "The message that is being sent is that ultimately they see it as a threat to traditional knowledge," he said. "I see it as an opportunity. What does that mean for traditional scholarship? Does traditional scholarship lose value?"

For his course "Media Technology and Cultural Change," which began this month, Professor Mittell said he would require his students to create a Wikipedia entry as well as post a video on YouTube, create a podcast and produce a blog for the course.

Another Middlebury professor, Thomas Beyer, of the Russian department, said, "I guess I am not terribly impressed by anyone citing an encyclopedia as a reference point, but I am not against using it as a starting point."

And yes, back at Wikipedia, the Jesuits are still credited as supporting the Shimabara Rebellion.

The kiss of death from Wikipedia

The kiss of death from Wikipedia
By David Segal

The Shiny Diamonds, a spunky band from Canada, make music they call "mind-blowing thrash folk." Recently, the lads and their songs were tagged with a less flattering description: "non-notable."

This was not some hasty, capricious opinion, either. No, this was the official verdict of a squad of stern-sounding editors at Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia, which recently began the process of booting an entry about the Shiny Diamonds off the site.

One Wiki editor counted a mere 97 Google hits about the group and noted on a Wiki page that all those citations "seem to be MySpace or other self-promotion." Three other Wiki editors soon weighed in, each recommending "delete," which in Wiki-speak translates roughly as, "Beat it, losers."

Up in Vancouver, B.C., where the band's lead singer was reached by phone, the news hit kind of hard. "Dude, I don't know what they were thinking," said Tim the Mute, which is a stage name and the only name he would give. In midsentence, Tim's cellphone went dead and, a few minutes later, he sent an e-mail.

"I urge whatever Internet-snob wiki-geeks who deem our band 'non-notable' to look at their own lives," he fumed. "The Internet is about sharing, and the point of Wikipedia is that there's room for everything."

That, it turns out, isn't exactly true.


Casual readers might assume that Wikipedia's goal is a complete account of all earthly knowledge, but the site maintains a rather elaborate set of criteria for admission. The several thousand unpaid volunteers who write and edit Wikipedia spend a lot of energy ensuring that people, bands, companies and everything else meet what it calls "notability guidelines."

Let's sum it up this way: Not everyone is Wiki-worthy.

In fact, Wikipedia jettisons more than 100 entries every day, many of them from people who posted autobiographies after registering on the site. Writing your own entry, as we will see, is "strongly discouraged."

The list of nominated rejects is posted each day on a page titled "articles for deletion," and because all of Wikipedia is transparent and public, anyone can watch the editors' votes roll in and witness those ultimately deemed non-notable get cyber-gonged off the stage. Type into a Web browser for a peek at the latest.

There goes T.C. Congi, described as a "random school kid" by an editor.

Buh-bye, Muhammad Islam, also "being considered for deletion," the son of the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens. ("Being the offspring of a famous musician is not enough to merit notability.")

Still on the bubble is Kim Eternity, a "minor porn actress" who "doesn't seem to have any awards" and who has done "nothing noteworthy in her niche," various editors wrote. Supporters pointed out that Ms. Eternity had appeared in several issues of Voluptuous magazine, among other achievements.

'Vanity in vain'

The proceedings are generally courteous, a quality prized in the Wikipedia ranks, but a tone of you've-gotta-be-kidding occasionally seeps in.

"Vain vanity in vain," quipped one editor, voting an illustrator named Peter Mitchell, 28, off the island.

"Crystalballery, vanity, unencyclopedic, non-notability," snapped an editor after reading an entry on an Israeli model named Esti Ginzborg, which included the claim that "many say she has a bright future."

"Who cares?" the editor countered.

It's like the minutes to a meeting of the planet's own co-op board. And you'd be surprised at how many people want in. Wiki-worthiness has quietly become a new digital divide, separating those who think they are notable from those granted the imprimatur of notability by a horde of anonymous geeks.

Now, the presence of any quality-control system on the site might surprise those who are familiar with the conventional rap against Wikipedia: that its pages, which every registered user can alter, are rife with mistakes.

The upside of the site's collaborative style is reflected in the astounding breadth and growth of the site, which launched in 2001 and features more than 1.5 million entries in English on everything from La Modelo, a prison in Colombia, to the Cobden Club, a British gentlemen's club founded in the 1870s.

But just because the premises are spacious and a little unruly doesn't mean that the Wiki mandarins will let just anyone stay.

Musicians and bands must have charted on "any national music chart, in at least one large or medium-sized country," or released "two or more albums on a major label or one of the more important indie labels," or "been the subject of a half-hour or longer broadcast on a national radio or TV network."

Politicians must have received "significant press coverage," while sports figures must compete in a "fully professional league" or "at the highest level in mainly amateur sports."

If a person clearly doesn't belong, an editor might mark him or her for "speedy delete," which shortens the mull-it-over period.

Here, Wikipedia can be ruthlessly efficient, because Wikipedians are constantly on what they call "new-page patrol."

That entry on illustrator Peter Mitchell, for instance, lasted a mere eight hours, he said. Otherwise, the administrators wait for a consensus of "delete" or "keep" to coalesce over a span of days.

Room for disagreement

Even with those detailed definitions of "notable," there is plenty of room on Wikipedia for disagreement, and not just among editors. Wikipedians are frequently deluged with protest e-mail from the newly deleted.

So who are these editors, the nameless sages who can bestow or withhold the cachet of Wikidom as they please?

In Wiki terminology — and this is a realm piled high with terminology — these editors are called "administrators" and they get their jobs after being nominated and voted in by the great mass of Wikipedia contributors. Fairness and diligence and a track record for good writing and editorial decisions earn you the nod.

There are just more than 1,000 administrators at any one time, and none of them is paid. Generally, they are men in their 20s or 30s with jobs in the computer field; it's also likely these people have a lot of time on their hands.

Plenty of deletees, of course, have no idea they've been chucked. Like Bill Slavick, who was expunged from the site soon after an editor described him as a "failed candidate for U.S. Senate in Maine who got 5 percent of the vote."

Speaking on the phone from his home, Slavick, 78, a retired professor of English, sounded unmoved.

"I don't care," he said.

You don't care?

"No. Someone called me a few months ago and asked if it was OK to send in this biography, and I didn't have any big objection."

Slavick would, however, like to clarify one point. As an independent candidate, he participated in three debates in this fall's campaign, two of which were televised. The verdict, by his reckoning, is that he won all three.

"In Maine," he says, with a hint of pride, "I'm notable."

Educators weighing in on Wikipedia

Educators weighing in on Wikipedia
Potential legislation, some schools' policies aim to limit Web site's application as a research tool

By Alexa Vaughn

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

As the days of expensive hardbound Encyclopedia Britannica sets transition into the age of Wikipedia, schools are determining what their relationship to the Web site should be.

Educators are currently determining whether to allow students to use Wikipedia in their research while the U.S. Senate is considering restricting interactive Web sites such as Wikipedia at all public libraries and schools.

The measure, called the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, was introduced last month by UCLA alumnus Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska.

Though the legislation's language does not list specific Web sites to be restricted, it would put limits on commercial social networking sites and chat rooms. If the bill were to be passed, the Federal Communications Commission would have 120 days to determine which sites would be restricted.

The bill's definition of Web sites eligible for restriction includes any site that "enables communication among users," which includes Wikipedia.

Wikipedia obtains its information and edits from any user and information is posted without any formal peer review. Altogether 75,000 people across the world have contributed to more than 5.3 million articles.

According to Wikipedia's article entry on itself, the site's "philosophy is that unmoderated collaboration among well-meaning, informed editors will gradually improve the encyclopedia in its breadth, depth and accuracy, and that, given enough time, the truth will win out and even subtle errors will be caught and corrected."

But the site has repeatedly encountered controversy for the posting of faulty and copyrighted information since it opened in 2001.

As Stephen Colbert, anchor of mock news show "The Colbert Report," proved last summer when he successfully asked his viewers to add false information to an entry on elephants, the site's information may not always reflect fact.

Many educators agree, however, that Wikipedia is a valuable place to start research, but should not be treated as an authoritative source.

"As faculty, I can see Wikipedia as a starting point for gathering information, not an end point or primary source of reference," said Vivek Shetty, a UCLA Academic Senate chairman, adding that he uses the site himself.

Though many other UCLA professors do not allow Wikipedia to be cited for their classes, no university-wide policy against it is being proposed, Shetty said.

"Our goal as UCLA faculty is to help our students acquire and refine the critical-thinking filters that will allow them to distinguish between information and knowledge," Shetty said.

Aaron Gorelik, an English teaching assistant, said Wikipedia is a great research tool when used with caution.

"One can use the database for getting a large picture of a topic that one needs in passing," Gorelik said. "Or one can use the database as a point of departure, a starting point that can lead one to other reliable sources."

But administrations at other colleges and universities have taken stances restricting or banning Wikipedia from students' work.

The history department at Middlebury College in Vermont announced a policy last week forbidding students from citing Wikipedia articles in research papers, said Middlebury history Professor Neil Waters.

The policy states that "Wikipedia is not an acceptable citation, even though it may lead one to a citable source."

Many of the facts within Wikipedia articles are footnoted and can be checked with a link that connects to other sources on the Internet.

Evangelina Perez, a fifth-year history and philosophy student, said instituting a policy against citing Wikipedia would be unnecessary.

"It's just assumed that you don't cite it in research," Perez said.

But Patrice Fabel, a third-year political science student, said one of her former professors allowed citations directly from Wikipedia.

"I use it more if (the subject is) something you want to get a broad idea of," Fabel said. "Sometimes I use it to reaffirm what I thought."

But regardless of educators' individual policies, Wikipedia could be restricted at all public schools and libraries considered accessible to minors if Senate Bill 49 passes.

With reports from Bruin wire services.

Wikipedia sucks students in with reliable information

Wikipedia sucks students in with reliable information
By: Kyle Buis

The elephant population across the world tripled in the first half of 2006.

Well, not exactly.

But Stephen Colbert used this false fact to support his theory of Wikiality, or the belief that if enough people thought something was true, the facts couldn't get in the way. To prove his theory, he sent his viewers to edit many entries on Wikipedia with special "facts" he provided.

Now, history students at Middlebury College in Vermont are being told not to cite Wikipedia in research papers.

Thusly, we have a new entry into the "They Actually Had to Say It" hall of fame.

Wikipedia is a valuable resource. It has information you couldn't find anywhere else, and most of it is correct.

But slips in accuracy should make an average college student stop and think that maybe he shouldn't include in his paper that bears are "godless killing machines" - another Colbert fact.

Even Wikipedia's founder, Jimmy Wales, has said not to use it as a source.

"For God's sake, you're in college. Don't cite the encyclopedia," Wales said at a conference last year.

The site acts as an open-source encyclopedia. In technology, open-source refers to software whose source code has been released to developers to improve on.

For the less tech-savvy, think of someone building half of a jigsaw puzzle, getting stuck and then letting someone else work on it.

Wikipedia is a massive puzzle that was started in 2001 with a few pieces of knowledge and has since been added to by many users. The problem is that not everybody knows how to put the pieces in the proper way.

Chico State doesn't have a policy condemning the use of Wikipedia as an academic source, nor should it. That decision is left to individual departments and professors who typically aren't thrilled to see the site cited.

"Most professors I have worked with are not crazy about Wikipedia citations in bibliographies," said Sarah Blakeslee, head of information and instruction at Meriam Library.

To wake freshmen up to this reality, Blakeslee uses Colbert's elephant facts as example of the site's biggest weakness.

"Anyone can edit anything on Wikipedia," she said.

There are no publishers, professional editors or even experts to proofread the articles before changes are posted on the site, Blakeslee said.

But even with these potential downsides, the library's Web site still lists Wikipedia under the encyclopedia section.

"I think it's an incredible resource," Blakeslee said.

The elastic nature of the site allows for even more topics and faster updates than books, academic journals or magazines. Pop culture and current events are covered much more thoroughly on Wikipedia than in most publications.

"Sometimes I'll go on and read about somebody dying, and it'll be updated on Wikipedia," Blakeslee said. "There's no other encyclopedia that could keep up to the minute like Wikipedia can."

Because of its thoroughness and ability to be updated in real time, Wikipedia can act as a rudder to point students in the right direction to the information they're trying to find, she said.

Outside of that, Blakeslee had one piece of advice for students about Wikipedia.

"If it's not important, it's a good source."

In Search, Google's Hot And Wikipedia's Warm

In Search, Google's Hot And Wikipedia's Warm
by David A. Utter

Carve out another notch in Google's gunbelt of months it has led the US search market; meanwhile, quite a few of those searches have led people to Wikipedia.

By the numbers, the comScore report on US search share for January looks a lot like it has the previous 12 months. Google's on top, holding 47.5 percent of the market. Yahoo is in second and running backwards with 28.1 percent, while Microsoft held on to third with 10.6 percent.

Google's share amounted to 3.3 billion queries performed by US searchers. That's out of 6.9 billion comScore reported. It's not only a small increase from December 2006 (up 2 percent), but a big jump from the prior January (26 percent up).

The numbers show more of a reliance on search by Internet users. We've noted in previous articles that people use search engines like an address bar as they query for sites like Google and Yahoo, sometimes from within that site's search engine.

As February prepares to move on, Hitwise said the hot search topic for much of the month has been global warming. Searches for that hit an all-time high in February, and a lot of those queries sent people along to Wikipedia.

"Search term data can provide invaluable insight into societal concerns," said Bill Tancer, general manager of global research at Hitwise.
"When you examine the actual search terms and the end destination of those search missions you can also discover intent behind those searches, in this case with Wikipedia being the most common site visited after searches on 'global warming' tells us that searchers are curious to learn more about the topic."

Golfer Sues Over Vandalized Wikipedia Page

Golfer Sues Over Vandalized Wikipedia Page

Profile described Fuzzy Zoeller as abuser of family, booze, pills

FEBRUARY 22--Pro golfer Fuzzy Zoeller has filed a lawsuit over the vandalizing of his Wikipedia page, which recently described him as a former wife and child abuser who was hooked on alcohol and prescription drugs. According to Zoeller, 55, his Wikipedia profile was altered in late December from a computer with an IP address that tracked back to Josef Silny & Associates, a Miami law firm. In a Florida Circuit Court complaint filed last week, Zoeller (who is identified as "John Doe") notes that his Wikipedia page was altered to include his alleged admission to "polishing off a fifth of Jack (Daniels) after popping a handful of Vicodin pills." The page went on to claim that Zoeller had also acknowledged "the violent nature of his disease" and how he had beaten his wife and four children "while under the influence of alcohol and drugs." In his lawsuit against the Silny firm, a copy of which you'll find below, Zoeller, a former Masters and U.S. Open winner, contends that the false and defamatory statements have damaged his reputation and caused "mental anguish" and loss of income. Zoeller sought to use the "Doe" alias to minimize further invasion of privacy, but since his complaint quotes at length from the vandalized Wikipedia page, an Internet search easily identifies the subject of the since-revised online profile. In fact, a mirrored version of the vandalized Wikipedia page can still be found on the web site (7 pages)

Wikipedia drives zoeller to court

Wikipedia drives zoeller to court

Fuzzy Zoeller is so incensed by "false and defamatory" statements made about him in Wikipedia, he has taken the matter to court.

But because it is not possible to sue communal media sites such as Wikipedia, Zoeller's attorney Scott D Sheftall of Miami is going after a Miami company, Josef Silny and Associates, from whose offices, he says, the alleged statements were posted on the Wikipedia site

Company president Josef Silny said he was completely taken aback this week when told by a Miami Herald reporter that the 1979 Masters champion was suing his company.

"I think it's the most bizarre thing that's ever happened to me," said Silny, who insisted that he doesn't follow golf and knows Zoeller's name only from seeing it on the sports pages.

Shiftal, in the meantime, is saying he has had to sue the company because Federal laws clearly hold that "no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as publisher or speaker of any information provided by another."

"The Courts have clearly said you have to go after the source of the information," Sheftall explained.

Silny said he doubted that any of his 45 employees was responsible for the statements which accused Zoeller of abusing drugs, alcohol and his family.

"I can't imagine anybody doing that," he said.

"This is completely out of left field - but I will be getting a computer consultant to look into the matter."

Zoeller's identity was originally concealed in the suit to protect his privacy and prevent further harm, his attorney said, but it was agreed that he discuss the case openly after The Miami Herald>i> learned of Zoeller's identity.

"The Zoeller family wants to take a stand to put a stop to this," Sheftall said. "Otherwise, we're all just victims of the Internet vandals out there. They ought not to be able to act with impunity."

In this case, Sheftall said there was neither a shred of evidence nor an informed source to suggest any truth in the derogatory statements.

Wikipedia, calling itself the largest reference website on the Internet, allows articles to be edited by anyone who has registered with the site.

It does warn in a disclaimer, however, that it "cannot guarantee the validity of information found here" and while many users have waxed lyrical about the site, others have questioned the accuracy of information on it.

One critic even set up a website called Wikipedia to warn users about it.

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, declined to comment on the law suit.

But he did say that Wikipedia is no different from any Internet message board. Objectionable comments have to be posted before they can be removed.

The statements Zoeller is upset about no longer appears in his current Wikipedia biography, but they can still be seen when reviewing a history of entries made.

The statements apparently were first posted on August 28 by someone using the name Damien Lynch but were later removed. They were re-posted on two further occasions, most recently on December 20, but this was again removed on January 2.

It's the last of the two postings that Zoeller's attorney has linked to Silny's firm.

Sheftall said he plans to subpoena Wikipedia and other parties to learn the identities of anyone else who may have participated in posting the statements.

Sheftall claimed the damage is not over, but was spreading. The false statements have now also appeared on the website and he is worried that the bad publicity generated could cost Zoeller, still active on the Champions Tour, his endorsement revenue.