Oh, the irony

Tech Central Station has an article by Robert McHenry criticising Wikipedia for inaccuracy. Yes, this Tech Central Station. McHenry found an error in the Wikipedia article on Alexander Hamilton. Of course, within hours of his pointing out the error, it was fixed. Unlike the numerous and far more serious errors you see in Tech Central Station.

Incidently Tech Central Station is drafted by a lobbying company that works for Microsoft. And Microsoft Encarta is a competitor to Wikipedia. And McHenry was Editor in Chief of the Encyclopedia Britannica, another competitor to Wikipedia.


  1. #1 William Connolley
    November 19, 2004

    I wonder why they didn’t check the entry for TCS itself?


    Perhaps they are insulted because its too short?

    Mind you, the article on Tim Lambert isn’t much longer:



  2. #2 Tim Lambert
    November 19, 2004

    I’m famous!

  3. #3 ChrisPer
    November 19, 2004

    The thesis of that TCS article is that the Wiki model does not bring articles closer to the truth by assymptotic approach; rather it allows a ‘pretty fair’ article to be screwed up, needing corrective action from those in the know on that topic. An unsteady cycle of improvement vs messing up is more likely than assymprtotic improvement.

    Perhaps the model could be improved with a variation of the ebay reputational system for contributors, with weighted voting to approve, reject or partially accept contributions.

  4. #4 Tim Lambert
    November 19, 2004

    You can look at the history of Wikipedia articles and see that the TCS thesis is wrong. Articles do tend to get better with time. Yes, sometimes they get worse, but it is easy to undo those changes. It doesn’t seem like it should work, but it does.

  5. #5 ChrisPer
    November 19, 2004

    I looked up the Wiki on you Tim, and was disappointed that it did not mention your work on Lott too.

    As a pro-gunner, I find that a significant contribution of yours. I try to debunk the crap propaganda my side puts out (eg the NRA 300% increase in murders in Victoria), and your contribution is valuable to me.

  6. #6 William again
    November 20, 2004

    OK, I’ve added a brief comment on Lott on the wiki page. But I don’t care about that issue much (I’m more into climate) so its only brief. Don’t forget, the “edit this page” button really means it (end of plug).

    In fact the John Lott page is probably a more interesting case, ‘cos its got a NPOV tag on it, meaning that people can’t agree a version that “all sides” can live with.

  7. #7 Steev
    December 17, 2004

    Hi there, very interesting article by McHenry. I was so excited I wrote up my reply.

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