Wiki wiki what?

This week brings a mini-kerfuffle about EA amending its Wikipedia entry. Two comments on this:

1) Isn’t Wikipedia designed so anyone can edit it? Um, even the people it’s about? Duh. You’ve found the “flaw” in the system, if you consider free speech a flaw. Mind you, I see the ethical issue, and I certainly don’t agree with removing Trip Hawkins from EA legacy. The company exists because of his hard work (and hype). Don’t mess with history. But what would cause someone within EA to want to make those revisions? That’s the question — that’s the story. But it seems most blogs have stopped at “Ha ha, EA got caught.” Granted, it’s not like EA is going to say anything publicly about the matter, but where’s the deeper thought and analysis? (Maybe someone’s gone there and I’ve missed it? Hit me with a link.)

2) A lot of times,Wikipedia entries don’t follow the rules when it comes to weasel word generalizations, neutral point of view, and proper citations for information. That’s the nature of an open-source project, of course — it’s impossible to enforce a standard everywhere at once. It falls to the community of Wikipedia editors — variably and voluntarily informed of the site’s rules — to amend those problems when they’re found. So, I’ve edited OXM‘s entry as recently as this week, because this was a tidy little assumption pawned off as fact:

Many view the magazine, being a first party magazine, as unreliable and biased to first party titles. Others see the magazine itself as a rather poorly written gaming magazine compared to other video game magazines such as Electronic Gaming Monthly. This criticism can also be seen in a recent PennyArcade comic, where OXM is called a “husk or peel for the demo disk” that should be “thrown away immediately upon peeling.“ 

This is clearly opinion and features no sources or citations (save for a link to the PA cartoon). I replaced it with some hard facts about the magazine and external sources that fit the topic of discussion:

As an officially branded Xbox product, some have alleged the magazine is biased to first-party titles. However, Official Xbox Magazine is created under license by an independent, external company (Future US, publisher of gaming magazines including PC Gamer and PSM); that licensing agreement lasts until 2011. [1] In section III of its Frequently Asked Questions list, OXM maintains that its content is not dictated by Microsoft. [2]

Despite the allegations of favorable bias, recent high-profile first-party games Shadowrun and Crackdown received review scores of 7.0, which were on-par or lower-than-average ratings.[3] Currently, there is no statistical evidence to suggest that OXM’s review scores are unusually favorable to Microsoft games.

One notable criticism of OXM can be seen in a Penny Arcade comic, where OXM is called a “husk or peel for the demo disk” that should be “thrown away immediately upon peeling.” [4] This can be taken as either a criticism of the magazine’s content and quality, or as a satiric comment on its existence as a print product in a space dominated by online outlets.

(I added the Future US info not as a plug, but to establish that it is in fact an independent company with other products aside from OXM.)

Let my intentions be clear. Everybody doesn’t like the place I work and I’m not trying to change anybody’s mind. I just don’t feel you should be led to believe one thing or another without some form of supporting evidence from an impartial source like Wikipedia. Pretty sure Wikipedia feels the same way!

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