Does The Mistaken Identity Of A Wikipedia Editor Reflect Worse On Wikipedia… Or The New Yorker?
from the just-wondering dept
Stephen Dubner, over at the Freakonomics blog, is pointing out that The New Yorker has issued a correction to an article about Wikipedia from last summer. The article talked to one of Wikipedia’s site administrators and contributors, who goes by the name Essjay. The article claimed that Essjay was a tenured professor of religion at a private university, who had a Ph.D. in theology. However, the correction notes that Essjay is really a 24-year-old who has no advanced degrees and has never taught. This is getting some attention from the usual Wikipedia haters, suggesting that this is somehow proof of the problems with Wikipedia. However, that seems incredibly backwards. It actually highlights the reverse. It shows the fallibility of The New Yorker — a publication known as one of the few media outlets that still does serious fact checking, but apparently was not able to verify the identity of this individual. If anything, this highlights the fact that the so-called “professionals” often make mistakes too. Also, while mistakes in Wikipedia are a lot more easily correctable, it’s a bit of a process to correct this kind of mistake in The New Yorker — which is why it’s now getting attention.