This article is more than 1 year old

'Take out a subscription to The Register. Then cancel it, and sign it Disgusted Wikipedian'

Nothing stings like a gift rejected...

Let's start with a celebrity flame - from a Grammy nominated songwriter, no less.

1. A monkey's can't speak or write.

2.No,i meant details.

; 3.The problem is you

Wikipedias looking better all the time; but against me you have no chance at all. Face it andy,you just can't keep up,stop making a fool of yourself. Unless you enjoy looking like a jackass. In that case,bray away donkey boy.

Mr.Pete Holly, President/CEO, Look's Music International.


You can find Mr Holly's entirely sane-and-normal looking website here - it's highly recommended. While on the subject of canine metaphors:

Wikipedia is not a panacea, but it fits a key role in knowledge access. Whatever we may think about it, whatever our feelings, it has reached a critical mass and it's there to stay. So let's improve it instead of wasting time criticizing it, because any critic today is actually woth a flea bite on a dog : annoying, but useless, and in the end the flea gets scratched away.

manuel viet

All encylopedias are a rediculous joke stuck in the trough of a minor ripple in history. I own a set of pre-WW1 British encylopedias. They're hilarious.

But Wikipedia is also one of the greatest source of FACTS on the internet.

Don't spoil it for everyone becuase you're don't know the difference between fact and truth.

Richard Senior

You said,

"For now, however, it's the chasm between Wikipedia's rude claim to be an "encyclopedia", and the banal reality of trashy, badly written trivia that causes so many people to be upset about it. It is an unwarranted assumption of authority."

Even if that were true, it wouldn't matter.

No argument should be made from authority. Ever. That means no good encyclopedia should be written from authority.

And, if you think Wikipedia, by allowing anyone to edit, claims authority, you're of questionable mental fitness.


Amazing. Just savour that one for a moment.

This is NOT journalism. This is pathetic mudslinging. I am no wikipedia fanboy but I didn't like the tone of the article at all.

Kunal Thaka

With recent articles by Andrew Orlowski, such as that titled, "There's no Wikipedia entry for 'moral responsibility'", it becomes clear that The Register has lost any credibility whatsoever. The article is strewn with blatant factual errors and FUD fallacies.

Brian Tinker

Do you have nothing else to do with your life but attack hard- working people groundlessly and stupidly in public?

Michael Hardy

You're a fucking idiot.

I supose I could continue to mimic your article by blaming the Register for publishing it but I've already lost interest.


Brian Ray

Why do you hate Wikipedia so much? Do you think we should have to PAY for access to information like that? That's elitest, that only the rich should have access to information. Do you own a company that requires users to pay for information similar to that of Wikipedia's?

I'm surprised that as a librarian you would hate such a vast knowledge resource like Wikipedia.

Jonathan Goetz

Here's one that manages to combine the Flood The Area With Large Numbers counterattack together with the Public Are Stupid If They Believe Us parry.

Take note, and marvel:

At present Wikipedia claims more than 860,000 articles of which I would wager that a relative handful contain either vandalism, errors of great significance or malicious content.

What is truly a sad commentary is that the public at large apparently cannot be trusted to treat such a facility with respect and consideration. A few cowardly miscreants feeling compelled to satisify their juvenile impulses by vandalising the otherwise well-intentioned work of others.

Really it's no different than scrawling obsenities on an overpass or public restroom except that the effect goes beyond mere visual ugliness.

At the end of the day, however, I believe that Wikipedia, for all its warts, does a lot more good than harm.

Ben Schorr

That's great news, Ben. Maybe email spam has simply been part of the conditioning process, so that we must in future expect all good information to be picked out, like truffles, from a mass of scrawled toilet obscenities?

How ironic that a member of the media (and an online one at that) criticise a project like Wikipedia for lack of moral responsibility.

News publications make their living publishing stories and front page scandals on shock value, and go to little effort to ensure the validity of their sources.

When a particular scandal has to be withdrawn, we find a tiny mention tucked away deep inside a little read section, and the blame falls upon the reader for not reading every word of the publication to locate the retraction.

The media is in absolutely no position to get high and mighty on Wikipedia for their nobel project. Defacement is hard work to keep on top of. Editors have to watch edits to pages they work on like a hawk for vandalism, and suspect information isn't always removed until it's verified to be false.

Derek Snider

Which will bring great comfort to everyone.

You don't offer an intelligent debate, you come off as ranting and raving about something that given your point of view isn't that important. After all it is just a website for those who participate in using it. Are you saying that this really is a valid source for resource and that's why you spent so much time investigating it?

John Loscuito

Hey, for someone whose vocabulary is as replete as yours, you sure sound as if you've had way too many lattes over in Berkeley. Or maybe you're not on caffeine at all, but some other mind-bending substance. What is it you really have against open-ended encyclopedias? Sounds to me like you're all about political correctness, which of course is simply another name for cultural Marxism. I hate to overgeneralize, but it is tue you folks almost always think that way. fellow who pulled the stunt is the one who was in the wrong, not Wikipedia.

Crawl your way back to your ACLU hole and bury yourself pretentious platitudes. Oh, and enjoy your latte.

John Graham

We live in a world where you can rarely get three people to agree on pizza toppings, yet you expect the collective contributions of thousands of people to miraculously form The Truth?

Wikipedia, by its very nature, IS NOT a definitive resource. Anyone who looks at Wikipedia and thinks "oh, this MUST be accurate because it has 'pedia' in it" is simply not thinking. The main page for Wikipedia says, quote, "Welcome to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit." How much brain power does it take to make the connection between "something that anyone can edit" and "may not be entirely accurate"?

Steve Godun

Quite so.

And here's one left tantalisingly open. In its entirety:

One question: did you use any of your employer's time and resources as well as the public's money to produce your article on Wikipedia? and if so, ....

Randy Taff

If so, ... er, what?

We have no idea. Presumably the Hive Mind of thar interweb will complete it - like it might complete a blook or a flook.

Speaking of which, here's a classical refutation of the criticism that WIkipedia is er, rubbish:

I think your article fails to genuinely assess the problem at hand.

The problem here is not 'moral responsibility' per se, but that people make wikipedia out to be something its not. NO reasonable person would ever consider wikipedia a valid source for any research. Its more like a collective knowlege repository, and collective knowlege is by defenition imperfect. Its all based on the idea that with enough people participating the truth will come out.

But the whole analysis that wikipedia is being subjected to focuses on the '[encyclo]pedia' part of its name, leaving out the 'wiki' part of it. The beauty of the system is that if there is something wrong on a bio, or any other article, whoever spots it can change it. For your part, if there is no entry for 'moral responsibility' you have the power to suggest its creation. Locking down wikipedia can only make the problem worse because the universal availability of power over the articles, wikipedia's strongest check, that will be the first to go (Notice, only registered users can now suggest articles, so your check of creating 'moral responsibility' is no longer there, thanks to this misconstrued debate).

I see this debate as going to the heart of the internet. Participation is the key rather than regulation. More opennes and more discussion, even where flaws come out, is preferable to less openness and less discussion where there is more fact checking. We can't go shutting things down because they get something wrong, we should work to help them get it right, ESPECIALLY where, as in this case, the power is right there to do it.

P.S. The accusation that started all this was that he was involved in the Kennedy assassination conspiricy. Come on, what a crazy accusation. How libelous is that? its more like satire than defamation.


It's another universe out there, in Wikipedialand.

Up, up and away! A young Wikipedian takes to the air

The last word on moral responsibility comes from star reader Gerry Steele in Belfast - the chap who at the weekend promised, "May your carear rest in peace Mr Orlowski." (sic)

As with Edward, all Gerry's typos are his own. And he produces the answer we've been looking for on the question of moral responsibility.

Take it away, Gerry:

I do not normally comment on opinion articles in press but I believe your article to be particularly insidious. Your criticism by proxy of belittling is a rather amateur attempt to undermime something that is of use to millions every day.

Whilst the open nature of Wikipedia may allow vandalism by anyone who deems themselves bothered to do so, it is a rare thing. Once you witness how the vandalism works and how the 'many eyes' principle of Open Source philosophy kicks in to rectify any errant modifications, the moral responsibility of Wikipedia becomes inherent in the user network itself.

A non profit organisation such as this must denounce responsibility as it has not the means to indemnify its content as a commercial one might. I note you also question the quality of the writing in Wikipedia; Sir I state that any article to which i refer to (and i refer to Wikipedia a lot) is of a greater quality of writing than any article to which you have put your name that I have read (particularly this one).

I think I trust the community and its unseen masses considerably more than the ramblings and rantings of an unobjective, unprofessional and clearly struggling excuse for a Journalist.

Regards G. Steele Belfast, NI.

Take note: "the moral responsibility of Wikipedia becomes inherent in the user network itself". Which sounds a fancy way of saying, "not here, guv".

We have our answer.

So after that selection, why do people scorn this noble project? If you find yourself slightly incredulous that the venture gets so much adulation, don't worry, you're not alone.

More about


Send us news

Other stories you might like