where’s your footnote?

I love wikipedia. It’s a great place to find information. But as most people know, it’s not always 100% accurate.

The way wikipedia works is by allowing anyone to add and edit content on the site. The idea is that information from a wide group of people will be more balanced and thorough than only one source. Whenever someone edits a page, their IP address is logged with the changes.

Someone developed a way to track down these IP addresses and correlate them to the changes that were made in the content. You can check out the site here, and search for companies or organizations to see if changes have been made from their IP. Here’s a few of the changes that are mentioned in the Totally Wired blog:

A Scientology IP added a link to the Kurt Cobain page that suggests the singer’s childhood Ritalin prescription led him to suicide. An Exxon IP cleaned up the section on the effects of the Valdez oil spill, cheerfully noting “six of the largest salmon harvests in history were recorded in the decade immediately following the spill.” A Philip Morris IP deleted this sentence from a history paragraph of the “Marlboro (cigarette)” page: “It emerged as the number one youth-initiation brand.”

Anyway, I did my own search of “Assemblies of God”. Here’s what I came up with (all are from Southwestern Assembly of God University):

  • Someone realizes that wikipedia is editable and defaces a page with a comment about it.
  • Apparently someone from the college thinks they are a foreign dignitary.
  • Someone doesn’t want to acknowledge that Jimmy Swaggart attended there.
  • Another person defaces a page about Jehovah’s Witnesses (how does this help anything?).
  • Apparently this Southwestern student knows more about Carrie Underwood’s hygiene than her success on American Idol (the best one of the group).

I’m amazed at these edits. Especially the 3rd and 4th. How does covering up the truth and defacing information help the advancement of the Gospel? I realize these aren’t huge problems. But, as the saying goes, “the Devil is in the details.” It’s the little things, when added up, that lead to problems. I guess I just think it’s sad and it’s a poor reflection of what we should be like. I don’t mean to be preachy, but I just think we should have higher standards for how we deal with the world. Something about honesty, sincerity, grace, mercy, love and humility seem like they should fit here.

And by the way, remind me to never shake Carrie Underwood’s hand.

Author: erik

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