Wikipedia Changes Policy After Poster Is Exposed
Posted on Mar 7, 2007
The popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia, which draws its content from countless anonymous contributions, will institute safeguards following revelations about the identity of one of its most industrious contributors. Ryan Jordan, under the name “Essjay,” wrote thousands of articles for the site while claiming to be a theology professor but was exposed by The New Yorker as a 24-year-old college dropout.
The fact that Jordan was so successful, though ultimately an embarrassment to the project, adds weight to one of Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales’ central tenets—that expertise can obscure the substance of the work.
AP via Time:
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.
“We always prefer to give a positive incentive rather than absolute prohibition, so that people can contribute without a lot of hassle,” Wales wrote.
Wales suggested such a plan two years ago, but the idea suddenly gained currency after the recent discovery that a prolific Wikipedia contributor who wrote under the pen name “Essjay” and claimed to be a professor of theology turned out to be a 24-year-old college dropout, Ryan Jordan.