What if we all vote on the truth, part 2

I wrote a few days ago about the coming LA Times initiative to create something they are calling "Wikitorials." Well they've done it, and the results are quite interesting:

Someone going by the name Hank Ramey (a real name?) does a complete 'rewrite' of the LA Times Editorial. A really provocative idea. However it's not at all clear what was rewritten though, so the effort is kind of loss.

For the more sophisticated Wiki user, a little digging reveals highly sophisticated edit trails which let you see what changes were made by one person or another. But as you can see here, it's still hard to tell what's going on, and who's opinion is where. Look particularly at the times of each of these edits on the edit history and you can see several people pulling one way or another. I am not sure how that will work over the slightly longer term.

Picture 1-3

There is also a "Discussions" area where readers can comment and discuss the Wikitorial page. You can see near the bottom, a pretty thoughtful mini essay: "Editorials without annotations are meaningless":

"When I see an editorial with no name attached, several questions about the writer of the editorial pop into my mind before I ever consider the content of the editorial. How old is she or he? What is the writer’s educational background including the amount of study of economics, science, and the law, as opposed to literature, philosophy and culture."

A very interesting experiment, for sure, and worth following. One commenter correctly points out that there is a real risk that this wiki, like many, will get corrupted by vandals etc. (Written Saturday afternoon)

Late breaking news (Sunday Night): The Wikitorials have been taken down by the LA Times:

"Where is the Wikitorial? Unfortunately, we have had to remove this feature, at least temporarily, because a few readers were flooding the site with inappropriate material. Thanks and apologies to the thousands of people who logged on in the right spirit." (from LA Times Wikitorial Page)

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Posted on June 20, 2005 and filed under Life.