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As the rest of the world can see by looking at the outcome of the 2004 U.S. Presidential elections, the lowest common denominator often rules in a democracy. That’s what many observers, including me, believe has happened to Wikipedia, the popular anyone-can-contribute and edit encyclopedia.
So I welcome the news that in response to a recent brou ha ha, Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales is changing the rules of to bar anonymous entries. Only registered members will be able to write and change entries, beginning today.
Dave Winer has an explanation of why Wikipedia can be dangerous. “Every fact in there must be considered partisan, written by someone with a confict of interest.”
The debate centers around Adam Curry’s recent editing of the history of podcasting entry in Wikipedia, which has raised a hue and cry among bloggers.
“That I’m trying to inflate my role in the history of podcasting is a mean-spirited claim,” he said, “and not based on the facts of my (Wikipedia) edits and entries. But the meme took, and now I’m the asshole of the week.”
And then he punts. “Maybe we should get five or six key figures on a Skype call and podcast a conversation about the ‘definitive history of podcasting’,” Curry writes on his blog. “We could make a mini-series out of it :)”