Wednesday, February 28, 2007

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.

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