Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Obituary writers get slammed for Wikipedia use

Wikipedia isn't perfect but it's very, very impressive - unlike those obituary writers writes the Observer. Among those who made the mistake was the obit writer of The Times. Bit of an amateur mistake - trusting Wikipedia rather than using it as a research tool to find evidence or otherwise elsewhere, and one which Wikipedia itself discourages - and not one any of our esteemed crowd would make, I'm sure. A bit harsh to blame all Wikipedia's ills on the obit writers, however.


mckie said...

There but for the grace of God was rather my feeling, but we did avoid it, as I blogged about here

But I can't gloat. I could easily have done the same. We were in a hurry, and that was the material that was there. I'm bound to say, the paucity of info on him was part of what held me back, but I could easily have been carpeted for being late, when everyone else did him. This error rather helped my argument that it's better to be right than first.

Alana Baranick said...

I think Andrew McKie's blog nails the view of Wikipedia from the perspective of many - and hopefully most - obituary writers.

Here's the complete URL for that blog item:

D'you want to see something really scary? Google your name and Wikipedia. You may be surprised to see that someone has mentioned you or - Gasp! - written what they think the world ought to know about you in a Wikipedia entry.

Bob Chaundy said...
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Bob Chaundy said...
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Bob Chaundy said...

There's a corollary to this Wikipedia story. On several occasions when I was writing online obits for BBC News, I was accused by some readers of plagiarising Wikipedia. In fact, each time whoever posted the Wikipedia entry for the obit subject had copied and pasted part of my BBC obit. Interesting that this hadn't occurred to the complainer.