Edits to Erik Paulsen’s Wikipedia Page

On October 11th, I posted a story here about the probationary status of 3rd District Republican candidate Erik Paulsen’s Wikipedia entry.

Three days later, Emily Kaiser wrote the same story for CityPages, used my screenshot, and did not cite or link to the source of her story. UPDATE: Emily added a link an hour after I originally posted this. She included the following line in her story:

We decided to check out the page for ourselves. Frankly, nothing on it is obviously political or factually incorrect. While it does read like a terrible resume, it doesn’t make any obscene claims.

To which I say, “Well duh, Emily.” Doncha think someone may have gotten around to editing it during those three days?

Here is a screenshot of the edits to Paulsen’s Wikipedia entry that happened between when I broke this story and when Emily Kaiser did a horrible job of stealing it:

Edits to Erik Paulsen's Wikipedia Page

See the stuff in red? Those are changes. That’s what you should have written about, Emily. Here’s what would have been a good story: Write about what I found (with a citation and link) and then build upon that by taking a look at what’s changed.

Had you done that, you may have avoided this idiotic comment by W00t:

Get a clue citypages. Wikipedia didn’t shake its finger at Paulsen, some partisan hack opposing him did. Apparently they didn’t deem it “advertising” because the warning has since been removed and only the “this person is running for office” notice is still up.
Posted by: W00t at October 14, 2008 4:50 PM

You see, W00t is coming to the wrong conclusion – based on poor reporting – about why Wikipedia no longer considers Paulsen’s entry to be a blatant advertisement.

For further ranting about this marginal effort by Emily, check out this thread on MNspeak.

20 thoughts on “Edits to Erik Paulsen’s Wikipedia Page”

  1. You just wasted a lot of time tearing someone apart for the biggest non-story of the day. Get over yourself. As their post suggests, they don’t even think this is a story and they are poking fun at the fact that this is news. Lighten up.

  2. Paul, thanks commenting on this non-news story.

    As I mentioned in this post, Emily’s assumption that this was a non-news story was based on her misunderstanding of how Wikipedia entries evolve.

  3. I still don’t think most of the text is really that terrible. Most of it is factual and there are just some terms that are not neutral. If she did include those quotes to “further the story” it wouldn’t make it a better story. Both of you covered a non-story.

  4. Paul, are you suggesting that something I whipped together while drinking a 312 Urban Wheat in a Chicago hotel room isn’t Pulitzer material?

    It seems like you saying that some of the stuff on Paulsen’s Wikipedia page was not neutral, which lead to probationary status. AKA what I wrote.

  5. Her blog was still being snarky towards the fact that this is considered a controversy or news. It’s not news and that’s why she is making fun of it. You are making yourself into a fool for taking it so seriously. If Paulsen’s page had terrible inaccuracies or lies, that’s different.

    If the blogging community is trying to foster community, you’re sure failing at it. Couldn’t you have solved this by a comment, email or phone call asking for credit? I’m sure she would have kindly obliged. Instead you waste all this time trying to bring her down and will surely taint any kind of cooperation you could have fostered by just talking to her. And besides, the information she posted was publicly available online by going to Wikipedia. You didn’t provide any content she couldn’t find somewhere else, nothing exclusive. If she had posted an interview you conducted and called it her own, that’s a problem. For all you know, she could have heard about this story from someone else and saw your post after that. You can’t jump to judgement about other people without talking to them first. This is so passive aggressive it’s ridiculous.

  6. Paul, I don’t know how long you’ve been a reader, but before you accuse me of taking myself too seriously, realize that there are pictures of folded toilet paper from Belgium and a running Elvis on the homepage of this site right now.

    Now, here is some seriousness:

    If by “foster community” you mean get along with everyone all the time, even when they rip off your original stories, you’re not going to find that here. I prefer to foster a community of people that calls BS on media laziness. That may be a smaller community, but those are people I care about. And I can still be friends with people I occasionally disagree with. This isn’t junior high.

    Yes, the data was public. But someone had to notice it and write about it in terms that others can understand. That’s original work just like interviewing someone is original work. Both deserve citations.

    And, as far as your theory that she may have heard about the story somewhere else first, please explain how my screencap ended up on her server.

    I’m not judging a person but a person’s actions. To me, this is a big difference. Emily may be a wonderful person and a wonderful journalist. I’m perfectly comfortable judging her actions in this scenario based on the online paper trail.

    If this is too passive aggressive for you, check the site’s slogan.

  7. Geez Paul, is Emily your girlfriend or something? Went through a whole box of Kleenex on this mistake she made and you’re gonna be the man and help out?

    Save it. The blogging community you seek to bring together knows how the deal works, if you borrow it, great, just give a hat tip and life is fabulous.

    That’s it. Simple, eh? A lot easier than all this defensive obfuscation you are bothering with tonight.

    Just call it a lesson learned, tell Emily to use the hat tip approach in the future, lesson completed, have a beer or some sex and move on.

    Bummer if you and her are still upset and still haven’t learned the lesson. Sex (and beer) is no where near as enjoyable then.

  8. Paul, if you want passive agressive, check out Emily’s “if you’re bored” link.

    If someone who clicks the link back to the ORIGINAL post is considered “bored,” then what does that make Emily for reading it and subsequently ripping it off ? Comatose?

  9. haha you clearly aren’t getting the point. She was making fun of the story in the first place. And I am defending her because I am a journalist myself and she did nothing wrong. TV news does this every single day. Newspapers do it too. If you can find the same information on your own, you can cite the original source, which is Wikipedia. Like I said, if you had actually done some real reporting and interviews, she would have cited your post because it contained something unique. You just pointed readers to another site. Of course it would be nice to get a link in her post, but she doesn’t have to. She didn’t “steal” anything. She credited the photo, so it’s clear she wasn’t trying to “break” this news as her own. If that was her point, she would have taken a screen shot herself. Next time do a story that actually requires work and she might give you credit. Point is, she is making fun of you and everyone else for thinking this story means anything. I don’t see you tearing apart every TV reporter when they take a story and report it as their own. You’re just taking cheap shots because your terrible story idea made it somewhere and no one cares that you “discovered” it. And once again, I can almost guarantee she wouldn’t be passive aggressive if you actually emailed or called her to talk about it like you should have in the first place. You started all of this by tearing her apart without trying to solve the problem so why should she be fair to you? Seriously, try shooting her an email and see how she treats you. She has no reason to contact you in the first place. This is everything that is wrong with online media.

  10. Paul, I think I understand what you’re saying, and here’s what I’m hearing: You seem to expect me to apply mainstream, old world, journalism standards to blogging.

    My post DID contain something unique. Unique enough that she thought it was worth stealing. That could be because it’s the best thing she’s ever read (probably not), the stupidest thing she’s ever read (quite possible with most of the stuff I write here), or something in between. The point is that she read it and decided to write about it without citation. While that may be acceptable by your standards, it gets a different reaction from me and would from many other bloggers who have original thoughts or discoveries.

    It is a shame that someone can come out of school and get thrown into job in online media without proper training (from their professors or current employer) on the differences between offline and online media.

  11. It appears to me that Paul is speaking just to hear himself rant. Any respectable person, regardless of the source, should have sited. It is rule number 1 in even beginning college English courses.

  12. Ah, journalists…in name only, it appears.

    Otherwise, if you were a real journalist, you would have taken the time to learn the difference between between the internet and TV/newspaper journalism–where you ‘steal’ stories without crediting the source by belonging to wire services–AP, Reuters, et al–whose very agreements, in return for monetary investment in their service, allow this.

    This is internet journalism. Its rules are different because the ability to link and credit is BETTER; and thus the rules for playing are better.

    Just ask Derusha, Brauer, Collins and the other old school journalists who have graduated to the internet…seriously…do, and read their growing pains postings where they learned these rules (you can read them, they are STILL listed online, not like those old school TV/newspaper websites!) and contact them to ask their opinion if crediting the source improved their journalistic abilities or hurt them in any way?

    I sincerely urge you to gain this understanding, because in fact, the gap in knowledge here is yours. And you can learn to accept this approach, or risk playing by other rules that are not acceptable in the internet and see where that gets you.

  13. I don’t understand, Paul. You’re suggesting she thinks it’s a non-story and is therefore making fun of it. How does this preclude her linking back to Ed? When television news people discuss not citing sources, they usually say it’s because of time constraints, and WCCO has been quite good about then adding their sources to their Web page.

    And do you really think it is the job of unpaid bloggers to simply provide uncredited material for a for-profit newspaper?

    I worked at City Pages for three years, and this would not have been blown off at this time, but would instead have been addressed. And it’s not bloggers who are being bad citizens of the online community here.

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