Terri Gross savages Jimmy Wales

Terri Gross savages Jimmy Wales

Summary: Anyone listen to Terry Gross' interview with Jimmy Wales last week on Fresh Air? Was it just my wishful thinking, or was the normally all-too-tolerant Terry really appalled by Jimmy and his Wikipedia menagerie of idiot editors and idiotic information?

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Did anyone listen to Terry Gross' interview with Jimmy "Free Culture" Wales last week on NPR's Fresh Air? Was it just my wishful thinking, or was the normally all-too-tolerant Terry really really appalled by Jimmy and his Wikipedia menagerie of idiot editors and idiotic information?

It's definitely worth a listen -- for Terry's witheringly understated humor, if nothing else. She seemed totally bemused by the idea that Wikipedia has no formal editors or editorial controls. But the most hilarious bit in the interview was when Terry recounted the story of her Fresh Air's Co- Executive Producer, Danny Miller, whose link from the Fresh Air entry on Wikipedia had him listed as the mass murder in Pat Barker's 2001 novel, Border Crossing. Here's what the Wikipedia had to say about Fresh Air's Danny Miller:

When Danny was ten years old he murdered an elderly woman by the name of Lizzie Parks, smothering her with a pillow before "play[ing]" with her deceased body. Based on psychologist Tom Seymour's testimony in court, Danny was sentenced to be tried as an adult, and served seven years at the Long Garth correctional institute. At the age of 18, Danny was transferred to an adult prison, where he was allegedly harassed and sexually abused.

Wikipedia has now fixed its "mistake". But imagine Terry Gross' horror when she discovered that the trusted first lieutenant on Fresh Air had murdered an old lady and "played" with her body (sounds like an ideal guy to invite onto her show). Not that Jimmy, forever incarcerated in his self-congratulatory "free culture" mental playground, seemed too bothered by the misunderstanding. "Ah, interesting," he responded to Terry. Wikipedia even has its own special page for this kind of misunderstanding, he explained, proudly about his website -- a "disambiguation" page.

But Jimmy forgot to tell Terry that Wikipedia -- which employs 7 people and has over 1.7 million entries written by anonymous contributors -- is, by definition ambiguous. If you want disambiguity go to Britannica. Free culture is always ambiguous culture. Just ask Fresh Air's Co-Executive Producer and resident necrophiliac, Danny Miller.

Topic: Tech Industry

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