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The Wiki War

Well, the mystery of the wiki has been solved: On Sunday, the Tennesean reported that Nashvillian Brian Chase created the fake online biography of journalist John Seigenthaler that linked Seigenthaler to the assassinations of two Kennedys – and set off a debate about Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that can be edited by all comers.

Chase said he created the fake Seigenthaler biography in order to play a trick on a coworker – and didn't know anyone used Wikipedia as a serious reference tool. He hand delivered a letter of apology to Seigenthaler and deemed the whole kerfuffle "a joke that went horribly, horribly wrong." Seigenthaler accepted the apology, but said "it doesn't lessen my frustration that anybody can put anything on Wikipedia."

A book indexer named Daniel Brandt helped force Chase into the public eye by tracing the computer used to make the offending entry to a delivery company in Nashville where Chase worked. He subsequently called and emailed the company, and a New York Times reporter called as well, which made employees nervous. Now Chase is out of a job, under somewhat unclear circumstances. From the Times' account:

Mr. Chase resigned from his job because, he said, he did not want to cause problems for his company. Mr. Seigenthaler urged Mr. Chase's boss to rehire him, but Mr. Chase said that, so far, this had not happened.
If you don't want to read the Tennessean or the Times, of course, you can always learn about Chase on – ahem – Wikipedia. And as befits Wikipedia's philosophy, there's also a debate on whether Chase should have an entry in the first place.
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