Real-time Wikipedia chaos — and order

If you want to see what’s good and what’s bad about Wikipedia, a good place to watch real-time is the entry for Robert Gates. For a few moments this morning, it was the world’s most powerful magnet for jokesters. Here’s the page’s history. If you hit it at the right refresh, you’ll learn about his career in the CIA and National Security Council and about him being president of Texas A&M. However, if you hit it at the wrong nanosecond a few minutes ago, you’d have learned, well, here’s a screen grab.

Within moments of the news that Gates will be nominated to replace Rumsfield, the entry was locked down (changes can only be made by those registered for over 24 hours) to prevent such vandalism:

For a look at how volunteer Wikipedians are discussing how to update the entry (the correct way), visit the discussion taking place among Wikipedians about the entry.

For the record, I think the good far outweighs the bad.

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