October 18, 2004

Wikipedia Citations

Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, two items, one by Eugene Volokh and the other by Orin Kerr note the problems of citing Wikipedia, based on accuracy issues for the purpose of court briefs. Another problem is Wikipedia's malleability. One has to be careful to not only cite the correct URL but also some sort of time stamp or version stamp as an entry that supports you when you looked it up, can make the opposite point four hours later.

Another issue that is not raised by the two legal scholars in their objections for court usage is that there is no bar to simply editing a particular article to make it say what you want just prior to citing it. Without some sort of longevity measure on the data in a Wikipedia entry, Wikipedia's usefulness in any sort of judicial proceeding is dubious.

But this does not mean that the collaborative encyclopedia model is beyond saving, just that the current technology platform that Wikipedia is running on lacks at least two features that would meaningfully extend its usefulness to the courtroom.

Both articles had me thinking one thing though. Did either of them fix the Wikipedia errors they spotted? Why or why not?

Posted by TMLutas at October 18, 2004 02:40 PM