Saturday, January 15, 2011

Never put your trust in things prefixed ‘Wiki’

David Porter, who works for the Illinois Press Association, makes a few interesting observations in an opinion piece published today.

Highly regarded reporters don’t trust anything that has “wiki” in front of it. To be taken seriously, wiki information must be independently verified. “Wiki,” by definition, is something that is edited by virtually anyone. It’s a Swahili word that means, literally, “not to be trusted,” which you can verify on Wikipedia.

I’ve heard complaints that the “mainstream” media hasn’t taken Wikileaks seriously. That’s because they used the prefix “wiki” in their name. If you want people to take notice, you have to use a different phrase, like “naked pictures of Paris Hilton.”

There's not much to say about this claim other than to conclude that Porter may have a point. The name of the organization may simply harm it. WikiLeaks is taken much more seriously in other parts of the world than in the United States, so it could, of course, be that there's other reasons too.

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