Thursday, May 28, 2009

Isolated points

There are currently over 100 mentions of wikipedia on IPBiz.

On May 28, IPBiz got a harsh comment about one of them:

The statement "wikipedia has altered entries" indicates a serious misunderstanding of Wikipedia. The transformation you observed in Wikipedia's Joe Biden entry may very well have reflected political bias, but it's the bias of the "editor" who made the change, not of Wikipedia. You can choose to become an "editor" and change it back, something you can accomplish with one click. It is probable that Wikipedia's Joe Biden article has a pro-Democrat bias, but the mechanism is more complicated than you recognize.

There are several levels of response to this.

First, who can rely on text which depends on "what" the last editor did? In this particular case, there is a political spin. If the entry is political in the first place, and subject to further politically-motivated changes, what value is the thing as authority?

Second, at least when Channel 10 "sikahema'd" Vai Sikahema's piece "Rutgers is Wrong," it stayed GONE. If you can't rely on a source to at least approach some "truth," what value is the thing as authority, even a wrong authority?

Third, IPBiz was interested as to Biden's plagiarism (specifically at Syracuse Law), and not pro-Democrat or anti-Democrat thinking. As in point one, if wikipedia turns on politics, and not substance, what value is the thing as authority? The objective reality as to Biden is that Biden did plagiarize at law school and he was never exonerated as to that plagiarism. This event did not adversely affect his later career. If wikipedia can't keep facts on-line, there is a big problem.

[note separately IPBiz post: on the general problem of speaking without regard to consequences, as may have happened to Vai Sikahema speaking about Rutgers is Wrong, and which gives rise to desires to alter/delete internet postings, apart from pure political motivation]

See also

**Separate matter

A while back, Patently-O was pushing the 2009 Intellectual Property Scholars Conference. LBE made a submission but was told: we’ve decided to give priority to scholars with positions on law school faculties.
That kind of approach fosters the in-breeding and group-think mentality that has been a plague to academic IP.

**Separate matter. Blogging trends survey by videojug


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