Saturday, February 27, 2010

Wiki-Bio

Writing a Wikipedia entry about yourself is pretty feeble, but having your PR department do it for you is even worse, especially when they choose to skate over some of the rockier patches of your tenure as a museum director. According to the New Zealand Herald, Russell Briggs, head of public relations for the Auckland Museum, produced an air-brushed profile of the Museum's director, Dr. Vanda Vitali, which omitted some of the more interesting events of her tenure including lay-offs, rejecting a proposal for a war memorial, and having a public spat with the children of NZ climbing god Sir Edmond Hillary. Wikipedia itself notes that it "is not a soapbox, an advertising platform, a vanity press.... Self-promotion, paid material, autobiography, and product placement are not valid routes to an encyclopedia article."

All this seems like a bit of a storm in a teacup to me. People that write articles like this seem to miss the point about Wikipedia, which is that anyone can edit the articles to correct it or put in missing information. For example, this entry, which seems a little on the short side, is particularly ripe for editing.

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