Why is Killing Someone on Wikipedia Just So Darn Addictive?

russwiki.pngOver at the Globe and Mail (which recently and finally dropped its subscription policy…Margaret Wente for everyone!) Ivor Tossell is confessing that he too succumbed to the same siren call of Wikipedia as the kid who got fired for preemptively reporting Tim Russert’s death on the site two weeks ago. In fact, it seems Tossel was up to much the same thing.


I saw the updated Wikipedia article before NBC made its announcement — because I was busy doing much the same thing. But when I visited the Wikipedia page of Meet The Press, the flagship political show he helmed on Sundays, I found it in pristine condition. Why I was compelled to be the one to change it, I couldn’t tell you, but that’s what I did. I added a “2008” as an ending date on his tenure at the show. I changed everything else to the past tense. And I did so post-haste.
What motivated this journalist to make accurate a public web page so quickly (or, in his words, “kill Tim Russert on Wikipedia?”)? Tossell assures us it did not “stem from a desire to make sure that the public was well-informed,” more likely it was driven by the same “primal instinct that makes people shout “First!” on online forums.” As to whether Wikipedia should have lost its general appeal by now, as Tossell suggests, well, why bother becoming a journalist (or murderer) when you can play one on Wikipedia?