July 31, 2006
Social Computing: An Amusing Anecdote About Who is Participating
We learned something about Wikipedia tonight. Mariquita was reading an article on Castro on CNN.com entitled “Castro Blames Stress on Surgery” about his upcoming intestinal surgery.
[Quick detour — I’m sorry, Castro blames the surgery on stress? Isn’t it good to be the king? And he’s handing the reins of government over to his oh-so-younger brother Raul, at the tender young age of 75?]
Anyway, we were debating over whether Castro took over the government of Cuba in 1957 or 1959, so of course we turned to Wikipedia. Ok, so Mariquita was right, it was 1959. But more important, we learned something interesting about Wikipedia and its users.
There were three banners above the entry for Casto that I’ve never seen before in Wikipedia. They said:
This article documents a current event. Information may change rapidly as the event progresses.
This article or section is currently being developed or reviewed. Some statements may be disputed, incorrect, biased or otherwise objectionable. Please read talk page discussion before making substantial changes.
The neutrality of this article is disputed. Please see the discussion on the talk page.
That’s interesting of the editors, and it made me rush to read the entry on our fearless leader, George W. Bush. It only had one entry, a bit different from that of Castro (who, at least in my opinion, history will treat as a far more horrendous character than Dubya):
Because of recent vandalism or other disruption, editing of this article by anonymous or newly registered users is disabled (see semi-protection policy). Such users may discuss changes, request unprotection, or create an account.
Well, there you go.