I happened to wander by the Wikipedia entry for Conrad Burns this evening, and it turns out that the Senator has had a pretty rough week there. He was declared dead yesterday, associated with the German Nazi party, declared Emperor of the Universe, and the ‘worst politician that America ever had.’
I almost hate to bring these entries up, because critics of the Wikipedia commonly use examples like these to attack the concept. The fact is that most egregious entries are cleaned up very quickly, and at least one of these statements is definitively true.
The actual Burns page demonstrates a lot about the nature of Wikipedia. It has gradually been shaped over the past few months from a biography that is quite critical of the Senator to one that is much less specific–and much more flattering to the Senator. Over time, the page lost its specific mentions of Burns’ notable racist remarks and the Abramoff affair has moved to a position of less prominence. Maybe we should keep a better eye on the page; I’m not suggesting that vandalism or trolling are needed, but balance might be. While most of the comments on the page appear to be true, right now, the page isn’t the Conrad Burns I know.