Self-proclaimed "online activist" Daniel Brandt, creator of the Google Watch and Wikipedia Watch websites, has a new bone to pick with Wikipedia: plagiarism. Brandt claims he's found 142 examples of material copied from other sources.

The Sydney Morning Herald examines the controversy and concludes that Brandt's accusations are overstated. Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, reviewed the list and said that some questionable passages are in the public domain. In other cases, Wikipedia itself is the original source of material that was copied elsewhere on the Web. But there were genuine cases of plagiarism on Brandt's list, and Wikipedia editors are reviewing those instances and all other Wikipedia contributions made by the now-suspect authors.

Is plagiarism acceptable on a free-for-all website written and edited by anyone with an Internet connection? Of course not, but policing such a mammoth encylopedia is hard. One suggestion for Wikipedia's volunteer editors? Enforce the requirement that all statements posted be attributed to a source. At least that will make cases of plagiarism instantly obvious.
Posted by Owen Thomas 11:37 AM 0 Comments comment | Add a Comment

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