Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Move over truthiness; here's wikiality

I'm usually working when "The Colbert Report" comes on (and I don't have a TiVo), so I never see it when it airs. But thank God for YouTube.

This is Colbert's take on Wikipedia and a new concept he calls wikiality. In case you don't have the inclination to watch the video, here's a partial transcript:
Now, folks, I'?m no fan of reality, and I'?m no fan of encyclopedias. I'?ve said it before. Who is Britannica to tell me that George Washington had slaves? If I want to say he didn'?t, that'?s my right.

And, now, thanks to Wikipedia, it'?s also a fact. We should apply these principles to all information. All we need to do is convince the majority of people that some factoid is true -- for instance, that Africa has more elephants today than it did 10 years ago. ...

Nation, it'?s time we use the power of our numbers for a real Internet revolution. We'?re going to stampede across the Web like that giant horde of elephants in Africa. In fact, that'?s where we can start.

Find the page on elephants on Wikipedia, and create an entry that says the number of elephants has tripled in the last six months. Folks, it'?s the least we can do to save this noble beast. Together, we can create a reality that we can all agree on --? the reality we just agreed on.
One of Wikipedia's moderators blogged about blocking changes to 20 or so elephant-related pages.

A Wired blogger sums the joke up nicely:
The whole series of events is a brilliant practical joke that exposes the fragility of online communities and the much-challenged trustworthiness of crowdsourcing. Or should that be truthiness? Eh, that doesn't quite fit. Unless of course you believe that it fits. In which case, it's perfect.
And that reminds me to refer you all to this brilliant Colbert piece on the morning news shows (via Media Orchard). Nothing to do with copy editing. But, damn it, enjoy it anyway.


At 7:43 AM, August 02, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would have liked to have watched the video but it wouldn't play.


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