Thursday, October 09, 2008

Ronnie Hazelhurst was in S Club 7, too...

It's always a bit of a surprise to be reminded that things you write have a life beyond being sent to the sub-editors on press day - I have on occasion had to forcibly restrain myself from telling people on trains "what are you doing turning the page, you haven't shown proper appreciation for my bits in Street of Shame yet" - so it's gratifying to have had a demonstrable effect in the real world.

Well, alright, not the real world. Wikipedia. They've just redrafted their editorial guidelines as a result of something I wrote last issue.

"Some news organisations have used Wikipedia articles as the sole source for their work. To avoid this indirect self-referencing, editors should ensure that material from news organisations is not the only existing source outside of Wikipedia. Generally, sources that predate the material's inclusion in Wikipedia are preferable."

Here's the article in question:

Idly sabotaging the user-generated online encyclopedia Wikipedia following the UEFA cup draw back in August, a user of the b3ta web forum going by the name of “godspants” made a few amendments to the entry for Cypriot team Omonia Nicosia. He noted that they were sponsored by Natasha Kaplinsky, that their former players included Jean Claude Van Damme and Richard Clayderman, and claimed that “A small but loyal group of fans are lovingly called ‘The Zany Ones’ - they like to wear hats made from discarded shoes and have a song about a little potato.” As you do.

Writing up his pre-match report on Omonia’s match against Manchester City for the Daily Mirror on 18 September, sports hack David Anderson decided to do some in-depth research. Thus it was that Mirror readers were informed that City manager “Mark Hughes will not tolerate any slip-ups against the Cypriot side, whose fans are known as the ‘Zany Ones’ and wear hats made from shoes”.

Brilliantly, by the rules of Wikipedia – which relies on “verifiablility - whether readers are able to check that material added has already been published by a reliable, third-party source” such as “mainstream newspapers” – this is now officially true.

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