[Cross-posted] I’m quite a big fan of the work of Andrew Niccol, not because he is a Kiwi (and an underrated one at that), but I get the messages he puts in to his movies. After viewing a few of his ﬁlms over the last week on DVD, I was surprised to ﬁnd this claim about his ﬁlm Simone on IMDB and, one of my must-dislike sites, Wikipedia:
Al Pacino’s character, Viktor Taransky, is based on Ray Kurzweil and his female alter ego Ramona.
I do not know for a fact if this is true, but I do know that Mr Kurzweil’s ‘Ramona’ demonstration was in 2001. According to Mr Niccol’s father, whom I have spoken to on numerous occasions, Simone was written before The Truman Show, which débuted in 1998. So unless Mr Kurzweil had some proto-Ramona in the mid-1990s, then the claim on IMDB and Wikipedia is ﬁctional.
But you try correcting something on Wikipedia. A friend of mine attempted to remove some false information about his wife, but was blocked, so the inaccuracy (possibly defamation) stands. I once put in something about an actor and it was removed because it was ‘original research’. So, my conversation with Mr Niccol senior would be branded the same.
The other Wikipedia experience I recall was providing an authoritative view on the capitalization of the deﬁnite article, along with supporting evidence, and I got severely shot down by some who refused to acknowledge it, despite their requesting a professional come in and settle the argument. Folks, if you don’t want it, don’t ask for it.
Conclusion: things like Wikipedia are merely a collection of gossip and inaccurate rumour, which is given weight if it has been published in a less-than-reputable source. I’d give it a wide berth.
Somehow, given the message of Simone, on how the media spread ﬁctions because people prefer to believe them, Mr Niccol may well love the way life has imitated art in the virtual world. Posted by Jack Yan, 04:00
I think your view of Wikipedia is a little unfair. I understand that you might have been offended by the treatment your contribution received. However, what sounds like two trivial quibbles shouldn't warrant you dismissing the entirety of WP as a "collection of gossip and inaccurate rumour". Wikipedia is an enormously valuable resource that has proven useful to millions of people.
PS. I've updated the S1m0ne article and tagged the offending statement as uncited. I hope this helps soften your opinion of WP :)
# posted by Paul: 6/01/2009 07:43:00 AM
except by blogging it you now have web reference you can link to in wikipedia!
# posted by Gavin Knight: 6/01/2009 08:27:00 AM
Paul, I appreciate your comment. The two I blogged about were the ones that stuck in my mind. I have had others, and even when browsing it I constantly ﬁnd errors, maybe 90 per cent of the time.
You’re obviously one of the better editors or supporters of the site, but I have seen Wikipedia get worse over the years, from a bunch of initially well intentioned people, to a wild-west free-for-all. Email and blogging once were noble pursuits; now spam and splogs are in the system.
Gavin: good point! I like life’s ironies.
I think it also depends on what subject you are looking at. For such things as science articles, there usually isn't much to argue about, except how to arrange the info. Haven't heard of many edit wars in these areas.
I recall that there was some talk about splitting the project. One will remain more open, the other will be more restricted, with more qualified editors for a subject.
Either way, despite all its problems, I still think Wikipedia is one of the most important and useful projects on the web.
# posted by Justin Bell: 8/17/2009 04:06:00 AM
I will concede, Justin, that Wikipedia is a great concept. Also, because it exists, other encyclopædias have had to raise their game and make things more open. The MediaWiki software has also been a godsend to a lot of people. Paul seems like a nice guy and acted in the way I would expect; however, since this post, I have been abused on a daily basis over a three-day period by a senior Wikipedia admin in private email. It seems that each time I have some contact with the people behind this website, it is excessively and unreasonably negative.Post a Comment
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