The Longest Now


Published in the Washington Post
Saturday September 18th 2004, 2:42 am
Filed under: Glory, glory, glory

Perhaps I should say, “published about WP in the WP”.
The Washington Post led their Business section ten days ago with an article about “Spreading Knowledge, The Wiki Way“… despite the placid title, they couldn’t resist letting Dale Hoiberg, editor-in-chief of the Britannica, get in a dig at Wikipedia’s clearly-labelled Disclaimer.

Of course Britannica, like every other large information site online, has a long page full of the many facets of its terms of use… including a disclaimer. And theirs is in ALL CAPS. Wikipedians had been joking about this for weeks, since the first jibe about our disclaimer came out. But this was in such a prominent article, it demanded a response… which the Post was nice enough to publish in today’s Saturday paper:

…I would like to bring to Mr. Hoiberg’s attention the disclaimer of warranties tucked away in Britannica Online’s terms of use. It reads in part, in all capital letters:

“ALL INFORMATION . . . INCLUDED IN OR ACCESSIBLE FROM THIS SITE [IS] PROVIDED ‘AS IS’ AND WITHOUT WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND. . . . YOUR USE OF BRITANNICA.COM IS AT YOUR SOLE RISK.” Wikipedia takes great pride in — and as much responsibility for it as is legally tenable — all of its content. Online, Britannica appears to do the same.

I’m not surprised they clipped out the “harsher and less visible” that had been modifying “disclaimer” (the WP editors have a fine grasp of NPOV), but I don’t know what to make of their rearrangement of the last paragraph… the way it was originally written was no longer, but grammatically correct. And I shouldn’t have tried so hard to verify that Hoiberg was a “Dr.”, since they dropped the title anyway. Someday I’ll figure out how to use titles in print, hopefully before I have to start writing about honoured Brits.

Published in the Washington Post …


2 Comments so far
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Oooooh, sj, it’s on page A24 in the print edition in a nice, fancy box drawing my eye to it. Impressive!

Comment by j 09.19.04 @ 2:55 pm

Happy to have gotten my very own copy, thanks to a vigilant j. The last one in beantown!

Comment by sj 10.26.04 @ 3:01 pm



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