This morning I was reading an item about a Wikipedia “sock puppet” investigation. Wikipedia “sock puppets” are multiple accounts maintained by one individual who uses them to support their edits on Wikipedia and come to their defense if their edits are questions. This portion of the article made me think of David Weinberger’s assertion in chapter 6 of Too Big to Know that while footnotes in books were stopping points (“This has been researched, trust me.”) footnotes and references in web based works were invitations to explore:
At first glance, the CyberSafe page seemed to meet Wikipedia’s notability requirements. Every fact was backed up with citations to multiple news outlets. Then DocTree dutifully clicked on the links. The facade quickly crumbled.
“None of the references really dealt with CyberSafe,” DocTree told the Daily Dot. “The sources dealt with Internet security in general, but not CyberSafe.”
Whoever had created the page had done so with the assumption that most people wouldn’t bother actually clicking on the citations.
I’m really shocked that anyone with an internet mentality would have assumed that citations would remain unclicked. Makes me wonder if the sock puppetmaster was old-school at heart and still believed that citations were stopping points.
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