Thursday, March 8, 2007

Anonymous Writers Days Numbered After Firing of Wikipedia Editor

Anonymous Writers Days Numbered After Firing of Wikipedia Editor
Writers with Pen Names May Have to Show Themselves in the Future
By dreahwrites
March 08, 2007

One can only assume that writing websites will be forced to follow the lead of Wikipedia. After Ryan Jordan, a major contributor to the site was exposed as a college drop out instead of a professor of theology, writing under pennames may soon be a thing of the past. It turns out, Ryan Jordan, just made up his identity. He did not have to make up a fake name or steal anyone's identity, he just had to create a pseudonym, and claim to have credentials he did not have. This representation of Mr. Jordan has not only discredited himself, but a large chunk of what is written on Wikipedia who incidentally, was promoted to editor.

Mr. Ryan is not the first "journalist" to misrepresent himself. Anyone with half a brain knows to look at at-least three online sources before coming to a conclusion on anything. Writers for major newspapers are routinely fired for plagiarism. Take Jayson Blair for instance. The former writer of the prominent New York Times pulled the proverbial wool over the eyes of his employer through years of exaggerations and lies in stories the 'wrote'. When this story broke back in 2003, writers everywhere were under scrutiny. After all, news reporters are and should be held to a higher standard.

In 2005, Judith Miller was dismissed after Miller came under criticism for her reporting on whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. In this debacle known as the Plume Affair, the journalist seems to have crossed the line of objectivity.

Still in 2007, websites allow 'writers' to add content to their site on no other information than a user name. Sometimes knowing your writers is still not enough. Just last month, John Edwards lost a blogger (through resignation) whose writings risked his campaign.

It comes down to the fact that the owners of the media, be they newspapers or websites are ultimately responsible for what is written in their name. Whether public, credentialed, or anonymous, if the media source wants to survive, it must place restrictions. Restrictions will make some people very unhappy. However, in the end, changes will need to happen or the credibility of online information will become less trustworthy than it already is, and eventually extinct.

Perhaps to make myself more credible, I should drop my Dreahwrites moniker and go back to being just Andrea Hermitt, Content Writer.

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