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Excerpt on the Wiki from The World is Flat

March 23, 2007

When I came to page 123 of The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman, I was delighted to see that there was something here which was very interesting. It was about the Wiki and I use the Wiki regularly. But why am I getting obsessed with page 123 of The World is Flat?

Well, JV tagged me and at first I was quite clueless as to what that meant. I found out that it means I have to publish the last or fifth paragraph of the book I am reading. The last para by itself wasn’t making much sense so I started from somewhere above:

This is a highly personal story about Internet character assasination. It could be your story.

I have no idea whose sick mind conceived the false, malicious ‘biography’ that appeared under my name for 132 days on Wikipedia, the popular online free encyclopedia whose authors are unknown and virtually untraceable. There was more:

“John Seigenhaler moved to the Soviet Union in 1971, and returned to the United States in 1984,” Wikipedia said. “he started one of the country’s largest public relations firms shortly thereafter.”

At age 78, I thought I was beyond surprise or hurt at anything negative said about me. I was wrong. One sentence in the biography was true. I was Robert Kennedy’s administrative assistant in the early 60’s. I was also his pallbearer. It was mind-boggling when my son John Seigenthaler, journalist with NBC News, phoned later to say he found the same scurrilous text on and

I had heard for weeks from teachers, journalists, and historians about “the wonderful world of Wikipedia” where millions of people worldwide visit daily for quick reference ‘facts’ composed and posted by people with no special expertise or knowledge – and sometimes by people with malice.

I highlighted this text simply because it appears on page 123 of the book I am reading, not because I have any reservations about using the Wiki. In fact I use the Wiki a lot and am perfectly aware that there are malicious people who write lies, not just on the Wiki, but everywhere on the internet. The fantastic thing about Wiki is that the lies gets corrected. But on other websites which are run by a handful of people, the lies never gets corrected because everyone does not have access to it. And as the Wiki gets more staff, more donations, they will find better and better ways to control these poison pens. Every year cyber policing is getting better and better.

I am supposed to tag five other people with the same thing, but I am unable to do that. Don’t feel comfortable with it. 🙂

6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2007 6:10 pm

    Thanks for responding the call. I hope I have not made you uncomfortable by the tagging. Infact, tagging is sometime confusing when you cant think of anything. In my case sometime back Sigma, tagged me with write down my dream, but I could hardly think anything to write. But this tagging was related to reading and I found easy to respond, and thought to include you.

    Thanks again.

  2. March 23, 2007 9:01 pm

    No, it was fun actually. I responded for several reasons. One was that I love reading, second was that I found something decent to publish on page 123 and last but not the least, I think you are a nice guy! 🙂

  3. March 24, 2007 1:48 pm

    The fantastic thing about Wiki is that the lies gets corrected. But on other websites which are run by a handful of people, the lies never gets corrected because everyone does not have access to it.

    That’s probably the most insightful thing I’ve seen in weeks.

    Thanks for that.

  4. March 25, 2007 12:23 am

    Thanks !! 🙂

  5. March 26, 2007 6:56 pm

    A very interesting book and one that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.


  1. FAS493: TWIF:Chapter 9 "This is not a Test!"

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