Very many people now turn to Wikipedia on the Web as a source of knowledge on almost anything. It’s now said to be the biggest encyclopedia in the history of the world. It receives 2.5 billion page views a month. The number of articles is close to 2 million and is growing by seven percent per month. Anyone with an Internet connection can help to share their knowledge about a subject and build this collective brain.
There’s an interesting newspaper account today of the efforts of Daniel Brandt, of San Antonio, to help an individual whose Wikipedia entry was defamatory. It turned out that the entry had been created by someone as a prank. However it took some clever detective work to track down the miscreant.
If that name, Daniel Brandt, rings a bell he was the founder of Public Information Research in 2002, which runs the Google Watch website. Brandt states that the website’s goals are to report on conflicts of interest in Google’s corporate structure, the dependency of the public on it for information, invasion of privacy issues, and its increasing commercial links with private interests.
The interesting footnote to this story is that Daniel Brandt wants his Wikipedia entry removed. As of today, it includes the following:
Brandt in October 2005 launched a new website, Wikipedia Watch, with criticism of Wikipedia, as a direct response to his inability to delete the article that was made about himself, which he stated was an invasion of privacy, and the inability of Wikipedia founder Jimbo Wales to respond to his facsimile requesting for this article to be deleted. As a direct result of the creation of Wikipedia Watch, Brandt was banned indefinitely from Wikipedia. Brandt argues that Wikipedia’s openness raises the risk that articles may be manipulated by anyone without being accountable for it.
You can find what Daniel Brandt thinks about Wikipedia at Wikipedia Watch.
It just shows how elusive the truth can be.