Wikipedia in the Courts

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4 Responses

  1. The case is Campbell v. Sec’y of Heath & Human Servs., 69 Fed. Cl. 775 (2006). Interestingly, the court didn’t provide an exact citation to the location of the “disclaimers” on Wikipedia. They come from Wikipedia: Researching with Wikipedia. That page is a regular Wikipedia page. Thus, the “pervasive and, for our purposes, disturbing series of disclaimers” aren’t actually disclaimers in a legal sense; they’re just statements that Wikipedia users have made about Wikipedia itself.

  2. Frank says:

    Great comment on the paradox of authority raised by Wikipedia, James. It really brings up all sorts of interesting epistemological questions. For example, what if a community decides simply to use wikipedia as a reference, trusting its own ability to recognize and repair “vandalized” pages? Would we, on some naive Peircean view of truth, commend such reliance? Or mgiht we just take a Darwinian view that eventually such a group will be “outcompeted” wby the “reality-based community”?

    I’ve been frustrated by students’ reliance on Wikipedia for all manner of citations. On the other hand, I’ve often found that the wikipedia entry is better than anything else (easily findable) on the web for defining some technical topic. So I’m torn on question myself.

  3. MR says:

    This is a great example of the need for the hearsay rule…