Wikipedia, crowdsourcing and the biography of Sarah Palin

Last week, the announcement that Sarah Palin would become John McCain’s running mate had a lot of people scratching their heads. But over at Wikipedia, it attracted a gaggle of contributors eager to fill in the gaps in her biography.

On the day she was announced, I blogged about the battle over Sarah Palin’s Wikipedia entry here and then here. And I turned it into a column that ran on Saturday.

But the fight continues. On Wednesday, I checked back and there were new restrictions on editing the profile:

This page is currently protected from editing until September 8, 2008 or until disputes have been resolved. This protection is not an endorsement of the current version. See the protection policy and protection log for more details. Please discuss any changes on the talk page; you may use the {{editprotected}} template to ask an administrator to make the edit if it is supported by consensus. You may also request that this page be unprotected.

In my blog posts, I wrote that I admired how the Wikipedia community is handling all of this. But check out the discussion here around edits. This is really going to put Wikipedia’s ideals to the test.

If you’re working at a student paper, creating a wiki for you campus can be a great potential service for your community. And if you’re teaching a j-school class this semester, wikis are a great tool to introduce to your students. But in either case, it’s worth following the Wikipedia debate as a great case study about the value and challenges of crowdsourcing and open source content creation.

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