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Fake Wikipedia editor unmasked
Supposed expert is college student

 4:15 pm on Mar 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Couldn't find this posted elsewhere.

Internet site Wikipedia has been hit by controversy after the disclosure that a prominent editor had assumed a false identity complete with fake PhD.

The editor, known as Essjay, had described himself as a professor of religion at a private university. But he was in fact Ryan Jordan, 24, a college student from Kentucky who used texts such as Catholicism for Dummies to help him work.

From the BBC [news.bbc.co.uk]




 7:54 am on Mar 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

The whiners are likely people with made-for-adsense sites and they're pissed off because wikipedia's valid, useful, informative content outranks their useless nonsense MFA site on their primary search term.


 8:42 am on Mar 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's not nice to generalize ;-) I've done my share of whining about that site, although not in this thread. My site is neither useless (that's an opinion) or MFA, and I don't like being outranked by WP. There, now I've gone and whined after all. Since I'm in the mood let me state that I've spent the last 4 or 5 years getting my site to the top, and keeping it there. Mr. Wales put together a nice framework, and let anyone else supply his content. Apparently, some of those authorities are not quite up to snuff. Some of us have a right (my opinion) to be upset.


 9:05 am on Mar 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

Catholicism for Dummies! Now that is funny.

This just in: The schemer has been offered a book deal: Wiki for Dummies.




 12:17 pm on Mar 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

Personally, I would give any BBC author more credence than 100, so called Wikipedia editors!

After Iraq, I wouldn't. Media is being influenced or biased in one way or another including BBC these days unfortunately IMHO.
You cannot compare the two either. We are not talking about news reports here. We are talking about history, facts, science, etc.

Whats with all you people? Web2 and all that? Power in numbers? I would much rather take an opinion of 1000 well educated people than 1 PHd fool.

Idiots skewing the information on wikipedia are a drop in the ocean.


 1:42 pm on Mar 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

This is so funny.... :-)

In this community, you can be sure that GoogleGuy and MSNDude, for example, are not random posers

yeah, but if BestBBS is multilingual, you'd never now who could show up under these 2 names
(translated - the "o" can be a "0" i.e. zero, or can be an "o" from completely different character set...you get my point)


 4:19 pm on Mar 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

I am watching fox news tv right now, they are making a big deal out of it.


 4:47 pm on Mar 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

In any case, I would rather like to read my wikipedia article, about catholism, written by someone who's inspired by catholicism for dummies than by the pope himself...
It's so much easier to read and understand for people who are looking for this kind of information.

I sometimes swallow in articles that get way and way to scientific about their topic.
These ones must and i believe can only be written by people who have a degree in that area.
But to me, the one looking for information and not having a degree in that area, this article becomes an unreadable monster..
But fortunately wikipedia has translations and in some other country/translation, there's always someone writing about the same topic with a more "for dummies approach".

I thank the Ryan Jordan's of wikipedia! :)


 4:52 pm on Mar 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

Wikipedia = Research for Dummies :)


 7:13 pm on Mar 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

I wonder why Dmoz and its "editors" are not mentioned in this thread so far?


 9:21 pm on Mar 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

AP via Yahoo!: Wikipedia to seek proof of credentials [news.yahoo.com]

Following revelations that a high-ranking member of Wikipedia's bureaucracy used his cloak of anonymity to lie about being a professor of religion, the free Internet encyclopedia plans to ask contributors who claim such credentials to identify themselves.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said in interviews by phone and instant message Wednesday from Japan that contributors still would be able to remain anonymous. But he said they should only be allowed to cite some professional expertise in a subject if those credentials have been verified.

Err, that would be cofounder... I guess AP has bought into Mr. Wales' historical revisionism.

A curious statement by Mr. Jordan appears in the linked article (which originally appeared on his Wikipedia page):

"It was, quite honestly, my impression that it was well known that I was not who I claimed to be, and that in the absence of any confirmation, no respectible (sic) publication would print it," he wrote.

There is so much I could say about that statement that it would bore us all to death, so...


 1:47 am on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

-- And is anyone at all surprised by this? Wikipedia is a wasteland full of unidentified and unqualified "editors".--

The surprise is that he wasn't unidentified, he was falsely identified which is much much worse.

If a source is anonymous you know not to trust it too much, but if a source claims to have two PhDs and doesn't, that's deliberate deception.

The worst part of this is that Jimbo Wales just shrugged his shoulders and said he didn't have any problem with this.


 7:35 am on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Bah!, I have 3 Phds and have worked for the Nasa as far as Wikipedia knows about me.... it's so funny! :D


 7:38 am on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

The worst part of this is that Jimbo Wales just shrugged his shoulders and said he didn't have any problem with this.

Should he?
Silly people who trust in a medium where every idiot can fake an identity, that's what I would be worried about.

As we're going, in 2015 you will have to fax your ID to get signed up into a website and upload a voice recording and digital prints.


 1:32 pm on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

From what ive read on this he was good at it, so why get rid of him?


 1:47 pm on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

so why get rid of him?

Because the whole deal about an encyclopedia is legitimacy and authority of the data.

If the editor is BS, then the data [s]he touched may also be tainted.


 5:19 pm on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

From what ive read on this he was good at it, so why get rid of him?

If he didn't lie about his credentials it would be a non-issue, but he did and that shows a bias(that one needs these type of credentials to know about a subject) and that he has a tendency to LIE.

Now where does the lying and the bias stop? Just at who he claims to be? Or is there more bias and untruths in the content he is providing?

I know I have to earn my clients trust in order to do business with me - for example it really helps to have a certificate authority like Verisign or Thawte in order to do secure transactions on the web. If you want to flash your credentials on WP then maybe you should be authenticated somehow by WP.


 5:55 pm on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Priceless quote from the Register article linked to earlier in this thread:
So what could be a more appropriate resource for an ignorant and lazy student, than reference material prepared exclusively by other ignorant and lazy students?

Sadly this really funny comment really sums up the whole problem very nicely. Or as I've heard it said so many times in two different wasys:
1) Can't read won't think.
2) Won't read, can't think

I can not tell you how many times I've had students write me via my website's contact form asking a question that was explicitly answered on my webpage they were just visiting before hitting my contact form. I've gotten to the point of either pointing them back to the webpage that the question is answered on or ignoring their request.

What is even worse is that some teachers are not doing a good job of teaching good research skills because they are assigning really lame research topics that simply require regurgitating facts and citing sources without doing any critical analysis, thinking and writing about the subject at hand.

This 47 message thread spans 2 pages: < < 47 ( 1 [2]
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