January 30, 2007

Courts Turn to Wikipedia, but Selectively - New York Times

Courts Turn to Wikipedia, but Selectively - New York Times:

Wikipedia quickly enters the mainstream of typical 'old line' institutions. If some courts now use Wikipedia, can banks and insurance companies be far behind? even the CIA thinks Wikis are a good idea.

Not everyone agrees with me, but I'm convinced that the collective intelligence ( The Wisdom of Crowds) mode of content creation when accomplished at a certain scale, works as well as a selective group of experts. Anyone trusting any man-made content should be as cautious with it as with Wikipedia.

"A simple search of published court decisions shows that Wikipedia is frequently cited by judges around the country, involving serious issues and the bizarre — such as a 2005 tax case before the Tennessee Court of Appeals concerning the definition of “beverage” that involved hundreds of thousands of dollars, and, just this week, a case in Federal District Court in Florida that involved the term “booty music” as played during a wet T-shirt contest.

More than 100 judicial rulings have relied on Wikipedia, beginning in 2004, including 13 from circuit courts of appeal, one step below the Supreme Court. (The Supreme Court thus far has never cited Wikipedia.)

“Wikipedia is a terrific resource,” said Judge Richard A. Posner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in Chicago. “Partly because it so convenient, it often has been updated recently and is very accurate.” But, he added: “It wouldn’t be right to use it in a critical issue. If the safety of a product is at issue, you wouldn’t look it up in Wikipedia.”"
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