Friday, October 19, 2007

It's all about the...something

Remember those vaguely creepy ads for The ones with the brown-haired girl cooing, in a glazed-over spacey way, that "it's all about the O"? The ads have mostly vanished now because has run into rough financial waters. But it a weird and wonderful way, it's still all about the O...on Wikipedia.

Seems that's worst enemy is a financial reporter named Gary Weiss. He's constantly bashing the company, which oddly enough has seen something of a recovery in its share price as its fortunes have improved.

So how does Wikipedia get into this corporate picture? A Wikipedia account called Mantanmoreland, considered by some though by no means proven to be Weiss himself, supposedly forged an alliance (sounds like Survivor, no?) with powerful people on Wikipedia. Weiss' critics charge that the alliance enabled Mantanmoreland to gain at least some control over the Wikipedia articles on Weiss himself and on naked short selling, a stock-market practice that's chief exec alleged was used to bash his company's share price.

Meanwhile, Weiss' enemies at were exiled from WP for various crimes and misdemeanors. They retreated to whine sites like Wikipedia Review and, where they complain about the unfairness of their treatment by the encyclopedia. In particular, Judd Bagley, an official who runs, has played some cute tricks on the Wikipedia hierarchy in revenge. Much of the recent BADSITES hoohah was about Bagley's site and how aggrieved the Wikipedia poobahs feel about it.

Yes, it's a hilariously tangled web. Which happens to be the title of this blog entry from an observer who seems slightly inclined toward the Gary Weiss side of the spat. As the entry points out, the New York Times took note of the dispute but didn't fill in many of the details about Wikipedia. Now you know the rest of the scrambled story.

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