March 10, 2007
@ 03:25 AM

Today I was taking a look at my referer logs and stumbled upon a post entitled TechCrunch Resolution on Wikipedia by Jonathan Stokes which contains the following anecdote

A Brief History

The edit war was prompted by the now famous scandal in which Microsoft paid a Wikipedian to favorably edit Microsoft articles on Wikipedia. Michael Arrington of TechCrunch covered the Microsoft story in a post that was largely sympathetic.

Perceiving unfairness in the issue, Microsoft employee Dare Obasanjo, aka Carnage4Life, retaliated against TechCrunch by adding an extensive criticism section to Wikipedia’s TechCrunch article. He then wrote about his “experiment” on his blog,

Ensuing Uproar

Michael Arrington was not happy to be slandered by a Microsoft employee, in response to Microsoft coverage. Obasanjo expressed surprise at Arrington’s response, but did not apologize. I blogged this chapter of the Microsoft controversy.

Judging from his blog comments, Dare does not seem to have a high respect for Wikipedia. He has previously violated Wikipedia rules by anonymously writing his own Dare Obasanjo article on Wikipedia. Humorously, it appears to include inside jokes with other Microsoft employees, such as:

Dare has lunch once a month with Don Box to rinse the SOAP off of Don while Don simultaneously attempts to lather up Dare.

Edit War

With traffic pouring into Wikipeda through TechCrunch and Digg, an all-out edit war ensued between long-time Wikipedians and anonymous vandals. The vandals began attacking the userpages of Wikipedians trying to protect the TechCrunch article. It finally escalated to a point where this anti-TechCrunch user was banned for repeatedly blocking out user pages with disturbing death threats.


Wikidemo came to the rescue by establishing a Wikipedia Mediation. She invited all editors involved to the discussion, even going so far as to invite me on this blog, and Dare Obasanjo on his blog.

Anthony cfc handled the mediation. Notably, none of the controversial IP’s showed up to state their case. With help from Anthony cfcComputerjoe, we have now restored the Wikipedia TechCrunch article, and hopefully made a few minor improvements as well. and

In the process, I earned my first Wikipedia Barnstar for Civility from Anthony cfc. Kind of neat to see Wikipedia in action.

Some days the Daily Show just writes itself. I'm crapping myself in amusement at how seriously these people take this nonsense. I am especially amused by all the bits in red font since they are either borderline libel or just straight up hilarious. And I thought Mike Arrington emailing folks at Microsoft trying to get me in trouble after I apologized on his blog was the most absurd turn this story would take.

It's like Nick Carr wrote in his post Essjay's world, Wikipedia seems to be full of the kind of people who used to play Dungeons & Dragons back in the day and now have difficulty separating the real world from the fantasy world they've created in their heads.


Saturday, March 10, 2007 4:10:37 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Kind of like bloggers.
Saturday, March 10, 2007 5:11:15 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I kind of wonder what the rest of the world thinks about wikipedia. It almost sounds like a religion now.
Saturday, March 10, 2007 5:16:38 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
It is a lot like bloggers. A bunch of wackiness on the fringes with a heck of a lot of good information in the middle if you look.
Saturday, March 10, 2007 6:48:52 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I object to your title. Wikipedia is not at all a joke. I use it frequently and benefit from it greatly. What makes me take Wikipedia so seriously is that fact that it is useful and, on the whole, incredibly balanced and well thought out even on many very delicate issues - *despite* all the nonsense that inevitably goes on, an example of which you just quoted. Somehow the whole is better and stronger than all of its messy parts taken together.
Monday, March 12, 2007 12:10:56 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Wikipedia being a joke or not aside, I had a good laugh reading Mike Arrington's "response" to your Wikipedia experiment, and I thank you for that. I missed all the fuss at the time it happened.

Wikipedia isn't a giant joke, but some people do have to pull their heads out of clouds and consider reality for a moment.
Monday, March 12, 2007 5:03:35 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Might there also be some self-fulfilling prophecy going on here, i.e., people keep treating Wikipedia as a joke, therefore it's become one? I think I understand the archetype you're poking fun at with the "D&D" comment, and it's true that excessive self-seriousness is as bad as constant snark, but if nobody ever takes WikiPedia seriously (and not over-) at all, it'll never improve.
The Idiot Developer
Friday, April 6, 2007 3:30:29 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I was dumb enough to help out Wiked-pedia with some good information. They promptly lost it or ignored it. The info on this "source" is often suspect. Very sketchy. Anyone can tell Wiked-pedia anything, from what I've read. It's dangerous and stupid to try to be THEE source for everything. Can't do it, booby.
Hal Evans
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