Dare vs Mike: Live at Wikipedia!24 Jan 2007
It looks like Mike Arrington of TechCrunch has gotten a little up upset over Dare Obasanjo’s experiment on Wikipedia editing. It seems Mike knows how to stir things up, the digg article on the situation is up over 300 diggs at this moment. Mike Arrington is saying that this Wikipedia page is “vandalized”. Hardly, Dare simply posted a fact about some people’s opinions of the site. Granted it was biased, but that was exactly what Dare was trying to point out.
The question of how to handle obviously biased articles on Wikipedia is a touchy one. You’ll hear alot of talk about democracy and freedom of speech in this situation. The problem with democracy is that it’s nothing but the rule of the mob. Even if everyone agrees on something, that doesn’t automatically make it right. Had no one edited the TechCrunch article back to it’s original state, or added in the opposing view point (as what was done) then no one could argue that democracy wasn’t followed and freedom of speech wasn’t respected.
Mike seems to feel that one sentence on Wikipedia espousing an opinion about someone’s credibility with a couple of links to blogs that assert this, is “The Man Holding You Down”. The problem with this thought is that you can then argue that anyone that doesn’t agree with you or that questions you is simply trying to “silence your view point”. This is a common tactic of people who have no argument. Such a knee jerk reaction does nothing more than strengthen your opponent’s argument.
The ironic thing is that 1) Mike’s original article on TechCrunch was hardly anti-Microsoft, and 2) Dare’s purpose wasn’t to attack Mike Arrington. Dare was simply trying to point out a flaw in the Wikipedia system, namely that it’s a pure democracy where mob rules and not true neutrality.
The whole situation could be resolved by allowing people to edit Wikipedia articles that reference themselves or their companies as long as they do it in a transparent manner.