LA Times Wikified Editorials Turned Out To Be a Bad Idea – Who Would Have Thought?

January 5, 2009

by — Posted in Technology

Picture from here

A couple news sources are reporting today (here, here, and here) that the LA Times is suspending their program of using a wiki for editorials.   Now in a controlled environment like Wikipedia where they have the volunteers to handle un-authorized edits, wiki’s can be a great thing.   In the hands of exposing your edits to the audience of a major newspaper – I wouldn’t have gone that route.

What they were finding is that people would make their own slant on the editorials – such as changing the word abortion ot the word murder.  They also were inundated with spam and porn ads.   Sounds like they didn’t have the best idea on the onset of setting up a wiki or properly staffing what would be a high profile use of the technology.   This is technology that is meant to be changed and updated.   That ability alone has made some people suspect of Wikipedia.   Newspapers are dying out in America – but this example shows why such high profile companies can not hand the keys to the car to just everyone asking.   Citizen media has it’s place, but old media shouldn’t be attempting to tag it on without understanding hte consequences or the work involved in maintaining it.

I wonder if anyone got fired?

4 thoughts on “LA Times Wikified Editorials Turned Out To Be a Bad Idea – Who Would Have Thought?

  1. This was tested by a local online news by trying to create an article about a given topic by wiki-like technology. It was actually succeeded to attract idiots and other internet lowlifes and failed to please intelligent lifeforms for long enough, and finally has been fallen to oblivion.

    Wikinews, however, seems to work.

  2. I'm aware of wikinews – my point was two-fold LA Times is such a large target they should have realized they would have more problems then wikinews. On the same token I'm sure wikinews has more volunteer moderators that are passionate about wikinews that handles issues (and I'm sure they use the spam plugin).

    The LA Times should have been scaling up moderators to handle and patrol the wiki based on the number of users they had – since the LA Times was making money off the work directly – most passionate people that could have protected it were probably over at wikinews already. I'm sure they short staffed it and thought it would be an easy to implement solution, which it rarely ever is.

    I believe Wiki's can be used for news – it just won't “be easy”

  3. I think they were asking for trouble using this technique.
    I am not surprised they got bombarded with porn, any opening and its in.
    Did anyone get fired?
    I would have fired the whole team.

    spookyed

  4. I think they were asking for trouble using this technique.
    I am not surprised they got bombarded with porn, any opening and its in.
    Did anyone get fired?
    I would have fired the whole team.

    spookyed

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