Lots of online discussion about Microsoft and Wikipedia relating to whether companies, and their public relations people, should be able to amend the official entries – and in this case, pay an “independent” author to do so.
Stuart Bruce feels the resource should be open to input from all sources, provided an entry is accurate. I tend to agree – and that references to show the origins of information are essential so they can be checked and any bias determined.
Again this is an ethical issue – something Web 2.0 seems good at throwing up as everyone finds their way around this new world. It would be good if there wasn’t so much wheedling to find questionable ways around the open and transparent nature of social media, but similarly, there is a lot of virtuous over-reacting too.
Wikipedia is a really useful resource – particularly as a starting point for students. It shouldn’t be taken as some great authority on everything and anything – but as an accessible viewpoint, it has great merit. The ability to follow links and check further is its greatest virtue – as that encourages independent investigation and a skeptical mind.
Provided others who disagree with an entry can verify their position in making amendments, then Wikipedia entries can dynamically evolve. It shouldn’t be about propaganda or sanitised entries, but we shouldn’t discount input from those who are the subject of an entry.