The Longest Now

Wikipedia Deathwatch: Andrea Dworkin (practice makes perfect)
Tuesday April 12th 2005, 3:16 pm
Filed under: Glory, glory, glory

”Imagine an encyclopedia that had someone’s death noted in their biography before the first major news outlet had even published an obituary.” —Joe Gratz on Dworkin and WP

Andrea Dworkin, a famous radical feminist known (among other things) for her strident opposition to pornography, died Saturday, April 9, at her home in DC. Just before 2100 UTC of the same day, her Wikipedia bio was updated accordingly. The editor who made the update was a new account, created only to modify her bio and update the list of deaths for April 9. The next day, the death information was removed on two separate occasions for 4 hours each time, while editors debated the reliability of the source on the article’s talk page, and looked for better sources. By 1700 UTC, April 10, the active editors of the page had decided that they had sufficient verification to leave mention of her death in the article.

Just before 1800 UTC, April 11 (45 or 31 hours later, depending on how you count), the UK’s Guardian put out the first obituary notice published in the major news media, and was kind enough to mention in a full-length article that while doing their research, they had found Wikipedia to be the only published source.

In case you haven’t been following along at home, recent deathwatch items (offset from mainstream media announcements): Schiavo (simultaneous), JPII (ditto), Cochran (+20 minutes), Dworkin (+31 hours).

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