January 17, 2022

Meet The Climate Change Denier Who Became The Voice Of Hurricane Sandy On Wikipedia

The following article published by Popular Science is not a THE reason to cease using or consider using Wikipedia. It is a real world example of how Wikipedia works (or does not work) depending on your viewpoint. It includes comments from the head of communication at Wikipedia/Wikimedia.

A thorough understanding of how Wikipedia operates both in theory and in practice is both essential for those who use it.

Although many of us in the library and info industry are aware of Wikipedia’s positives and negatives, not everyone who uses it does. We have an important role to play in making sure that those who don’t have this knowledge, but use Wikipedia as THE SOURCE for all facts (and often go no further), gain the same insights and understanding we have. Librarians can and should be the leaders in digital literacy training. Of course, since the Internet and online information retrieval moves so quickly, frequent digital literacy updates and retraining are a must.

Now, to the article.

From the Opening of the Pop Sci Article:

“All I am is a contributor. I have no title, I’m just a Joe Blow,” says Ken Mampel, a currently unemployed 56-year-old living in Ormond Beach, Florida. He’s also largely responsible for the Wikipedia article about Hurricane Sandy. If it isn’t already, that article will eventually become the single most-viewed document about the hurricane. On the entire internet.

In an unpaid but frenzied fit of news consumption, editing, correction, aggregation, and citation, Mampel has established himself as by far the most active contributor to the Wikipedia page on Hurricane Sandy, with more than twice the number of edits as the next-most-active contributor at the time this article was written.

And Mampel made sure that the Hurricane Sandy article, for four days after the hurricane made landfall in New Jersey, had no mention of “global warming” or “climate change” whatsoever.

Much Much More in the Complete Article

See Also: Palin Fans Try to Rewrite History (or at Least Wikipedia) on Paul Revere (Time.com; June 6, 2011)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.