Stephen Colbert has had a lot to say about Wikipedia over the years, coining the term “wikiality” to suggest that viewers could change “truth” by changing the content of Wikipedia. It seems fair that the Wikimedia Foundation in turn gets to have its say about Stephen Colbert.
As Stephen Colbert settles into his new role as David Letterman’s replacement on the Late Night show, the Wikimedia Foundation has an article looking at Colbert’s complicated history with Wikipedia over the years, as he suggested viewers should go to Wikipedia and edit untruths into it in an effort to “make them true,” and later called out an early case of paid editing, presaging the subsequent struggles Wikipedia has had with it.
It seems to me that, inasmuch as Wikipedia has become one of the most frequently visited sites on the entire Internet, and it has set such an important goal—chronicling human knowledge in a form that people can both view and change—it ought to have someone like Colbert there to call attention to it and prod it into overcoming its weaknesses. Hopefully he’ll be around to do that for a good long time to come.