[Air-l] Wikipedia and defamation

Ken Friedman ken.friedman at bi.no
Mon Dec 5 21:27:26 PST 2005


Barry puts his finger on the issue that bothers me here. I agree with most
of the posts on scholarly and theoretical issues, and certainly the posts
on pedagogical issues.

My strong stand on this case is simple. There seems to be no good way
to correct seriously damaging information in a swift, rapid manner.

My goal is to see some clear action taken that will enable this kind of
information to be caught and corrected without the kind of lengthy
process Seigenthaler's correction took, and I want to see it done in a
way that allows for rapid flow-through correction to the sites and
services that use Wikipedia.

In that sense, you can consider this a kind of stubborn "sit-in" or a
non-violent "fast."

As to the rest of it, I agree, and I spend a great deal of time on many of
these issues -- at least to the degree possible in courses that sometimes
seem to have more required content than the semester allows while
students are also overloaded with cases and projects in other courses
that militate against the reflective, critical thinking many of us encourage.




Barry Wellman wrote:

the current AOIR debate about Wikipedia highlights another problem.
It is quite easy to make legally defamatory statements on Wikipedia.

Normally, the remedy is a law suit for civil damages.

But if the author is anonymous, whom does one sue?

And yes, I know that defamation law suits are expensive and hard to do.
But at least the legal remedy is there in principle -- when the author is
known. But the Wikipedia approach is like someone flooding the mail with
anonymous defamatory photocopies.


Ken Friedman
Professor of Leadership and Strategic Design
Institute for Communication, Culture, and Language
Norwegian School of Management

Design Research Center
Denmark's Design School

email: ken.friedman at bi.no

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