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Reg hack gives forth in Wikipedia doco

Cade Metz surprisingly plausible, admits Wikimaniac

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Those of you who had the misfortune to miss the recent Wikimania 2010 - Wikipedia's annual love-in which this year graced Gdańsk with its presence - also missed the opportunity to catch Reg San Francisco bureau big cheese Cade Metz giving forth on the popular fount of all human knowledge.

Cade wisely chose not to attend the shindig in person, but did appear alongside such luminaries as Richard Branson and Jimbo Wales himself in the world premiere of Truth in Numbers?, an independent, feature-length documentary on Wikipedia by Scott Glosserman and Nic Hill.

The film's central question, Glosserman explained, is this: “Should you and I be charged with canonizing the sum of human knowledge for everyone, or should we be leaving that to the experts?”

As regular Register readers will be aware, our respective answers to these posers are "No", and "Yes", and it seems the documentary came to pretty well the same conclusion, if Wikimaniac Sage Ross is to be believed.

In his Wikimania 2010 blog, Ross says: "The film gives a lot of focus to some shallow or misleading lines of criticism, and on an intellectual level, it comes off as largely anti-Wikipedia, contrasting the reasonable-sounding arguments of mature critics with the naive optimism of youthful Wikipedians."

This prompted a slighty confused Peter Damian (Wikipedia banned editor, for the record) to comment: "Are you saying that the shallow or misleading criticism is the same as the 'reasonable-sounding arguments of mature critics'?"

Ross replied: "By reasonable-sounding, I mean reasonable in tone and made by respectable-looking people. For example, I was really surprised to see Cade Metz on screen; he pulls off the 'hard-boiled reporter' look perfectly, and you’d never know that his stock-in-trade for covering Wikipedia is tabloid half-truths and rumors just from watching those clips."

Well, Mr Ross hints at a possible solution to the Cade Metz tabloid half-truth problem. His blog notes: "The Truth in Numbers? filmmakers also plan on releasing all the used and unused footage - full interviews with Wikipedians from around the world as well as important critics and supporters - so that others can re-edit and re-purpose it."

Ah yes - "re-edit and re-purpose". It's the Wiki way, and Cade and his fellow shallow and misleading critics should look forward to hitting the cutting room floor in due course ahead of the release of There's Truth in Numbers!, featuring youthful Wikipedians leading humanity toward an information Utopia. ®

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