July 7, 2006
One of my friends made the comment that I am likely the first person in five years to utter that statement and seriously mean it. He’s probably right.
Here’s some selected text from the article:
Moments after news of former Enron CEO Kenneth L. Lay’s passing, his online biography had been updated with a new subject heading: “Death.”
Hunter Chorey, 23, a Charlottesville resident, was one of many people who revised Lay’s entry yesterday on Wikipedia.org, the editable online encyclopedia.
While Wikipedia is the most well-known type of “wiki” — a Web site or page that lets anyone add, revise or delete content — more companies are using the technology for internal collaboration.
Until yesterday, Lay’s biography had been written in the present tense, referring to how he “could face 20 to 30 years in prison” for his role in the accounting scandal that destroyed the Texas energy company.
Among several updates was a modification to change wording to the past tense, noting how Lay “could have faced” 20 to 30 years in prison.
But as Chorey perused the digital biography, the University of Virginia graduate caught an error: the Wikipedia article said Lay had died at his home in Colorado.
“But I saw a [news] article that said he had made it to the hospital,” said Chorey, an analyst with a Charlottesville intellectual property firm. A few clicks of the mouse and keyboard strokes later, Chorey had updated Lay’s bio, reworking the incorrect sentence to say the embattled businessman was admitted to the Aspen Valley Hospital, where he later died… Whether working on an internal company document or a biography about a deceased former Enron executive, “everyone brings something to the table with their knowledge,” said Chorey, the U.Va. grad.
Woohoo, thanks, Ken! The weirdest part is how the reporter found me; I had made an edit to Ken Lay’s wikipedia page, and he must have seen it, clicked on my wikipedia profile, come here to my website, found out where I worked, found my company’s webpage, and then discovered my work phone number through that. All in 20 minutes. Kind of scary, how readily and quickly information spreads across the internet, leaving a huge swath of a paper trail behind.
Oh, my particular edit to wikipedia found its way into articles in the Washington Post and on CNN.com, too. How crazy.
p.s. – If you have an original copy of the Times-Dispatch article in print, please let me know. Thanks.