Malicious Editor of Wikipedia Comes Clean

Written by Jason Cundall

December 12, 2005 | 18:44

Tags: #wikipedia

The heinous villain in the slanderous affair of the Wiki edit, The Dead President and The Journo has come clean and admitted the dastardly deed. Unfortunately, honesty doesn't seem to be the best policy (in this case, at least) as the perpetrator has now lost his job:

On Monday, in one of his now-weekly appearances on cable news defending the latest Wikipedia scandal, the project's figurehead Jimmy 'Jimbo' Wales expressed his desire to find the anonymous internet user who had libeled John Seigenthaler.

Seigenthaler, a former Robert Kennedy aide and newspaper editor wrote about his anguish a fortnight ago, describing how an edit to his Wikipedia biography implicated in him in the Kennedy assassination, and claimed he'd lived in Russia for twelve years. Both claims were false, and lay uncorrected for months.

For CNN viewers, and for NPR listeners again the following day, Wales repeated his wish to unmask the perp, but could only offer some hand-wringing excuse about the difficulty of finding anonymous users, and the complexity of serving internet service providers with subpoenas. However, we now learn that the libeler wasn't very hard to find, and has now stepped forward to confess to making the edit with an apology.
Brian Chase, a 38 year old employee of Rush Delivery in Seigenthaler's home town of Nashville, Tennessee, admitted to making the edit and has apologized to Seigenthaler. The reason he gave to the New York Times was most revealing.

Chase thought Wikipedia was a joke site and he made the edit to amuse a colleague. From which we conclude that the spoof site Uncyclopedia, which consists entirely of fictional entries, is doing far better than expected, and that Wikipedia has a long way to go to rid itself of the image that it's a massive, multiplayer shoot-em-up game, or MMORPG.

More (lots more - they've waxed lyrical on this one) from el Reg here.

Of course, he was collared first by a fully paid up member of the anti-wiki brigade before he sang like a canary - but should the guy who (we'll give him the benefit of the doubt) didn't realise the nature of the site and has appologised to the slandered individual, lose his job over it? Seems to be overly harsh to me. But you may think differently - let us know your feelings on any aspect of the story in the news forum here.
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