Thursday, March 1, 2007

Wikipedia 'expert' lied about qualifications

Wikipedia 'expert' lied about qualifications
By Nick Farrell: Thursday 01 March 2007, 15:26

THE NEW YORKER magazine has uncovered a bit of dirt on one the grand pooh-bahs of Wikipedia.

A character called Essjay was sent by Wikipedia to be interviewed by the New Yorker for an article on the online encyclopedia. Essjay is a member of the Wikipedia management team and makes daily decisions about what information is accurate or not.

The article told of Essjay's impressive education qualifications and life which the hack nicked from his biographical details which were posted on the Wikipedia. This included the fact that he was “a tenured professor of religion at a private university” with “a PhD. in theology and a degree in canon law.”

Today the New Yorker put up a disclaimer saying that Essjay has come clean and said that he has no advanced degrees, is 24 and what he put up on his user page was all porkies. His real name is Ryan Jordan, the closest thing to a PhD was when he studied philosophy and religion at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky as well as the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville. A degree, but not a doctorate and certainly not teaching anyone anything.

We notice that his profile has changed a bit since the New Yorker retraction was published.

Far from being embarrassed, Wikipedia boss Jimmy Wales told the New Yorker that Essjay's profile was just an online pseudonym and he didn't have a problem with it. Of course it is not surprising that an organisation that is lately killing off people it does not think are significant, including the Everywhere Girl and IT hacks, seems to think that any form of status among its decision makers is meaningless. Certainly it bodes well for my cat to get a job as an admin on wikipedia as he seems pretty qualified by comparison.

All he has to do is sort out that opposable thumb problem and he could be adjudicating on the worthiness of existentialism and its relationship to quantum physics for Wikipedia.

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