We’ve often heard the opinion that the platform used by Wikipedia in which anyone can contribute is likely to be filled with errors and bias that would make it completely unreliable and unusable. This unfortunate perception continues in spite of evidence that Wikipedia is every bit as accurate as printed encyclopedias.
The latest rumble is reports of people and companies editing negative information out of their own pages. Allegedly Roger Bramkin, a Wikimedia trustee, is being accused of running a pay-for-play system using Wikipedia’s “Did You Know” and GLAM projects to keep his “day job clients in the wiki bloodstream”. It has been reported that Bramkin took Gibraltaron as a consulting client and went on to routinely pump their stories into Wikipedia. It’s a pity that upfront organizations including the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) are now in the spotlight.
Wikipedian in Residence, Dominic, has written an article on the difficult subject of conflict of interest as it relates to NARA’s partnership with Wikipedia. This partnership has been built over more than a year in a successful effort to make our National Archives and Records Administration user friendly and accessible online. The relationship it reported to be a success with 70,000,000 page views in 2011, which is 6 times the annual traffic to archives.gov.
Like other cultural institutions NARA works with Wikipedia because of the amount of traffic driven to it’s pages and Wikipedia is an important tool to many. To quote David Ferriero, “The Archives is involved with Wikipedia because that’s where the people are.”
The article covers a great deal so instead of rehashing the article I’ll point you to it. Click on How does NARA avoid conflicts of interest on Wikipedia?
Click on Wikimedia Scandal: Proof Of Unreliability Or Confirmation That Crowdsourcing Works? to read the Tech Dirt article on the controversy from their “guess-who-caught-the-bad-guys dept”.