Stephen Colbert in talks to buy out Wikipedia


The title of this post may sound hard to believe, but since I say it's true, it is. Hey, just tell people you read it on the Internet.

If you regularly watch The Colbert Report, you know Stephen's feelings on Wikipedia. On an episode of his show, he coined the term "Wikiality." I found it hilarious. This is what he had to say about it:

"You see, any user can change any entry, and if enough other users agree with them, it becomes true. ... If only the entire body of human knowledge worked this way. And it can, thanks to tonight's word: Wikiality. Now, folks, I'm no fan of reality, and I'm no fan of encyclopedias. I've said it before. Who is Britannica to tell me that George Washington had slaves? If I want to say he didn't, that's my right. And now, thanks to Wikipedia, it's also a fact. We should apply these principles to all information. All we need to do is convince a majority of people that some factoid is true. ... What we're doing is bringing democracy to knowledge."

This satire sums up the most common criticism of Wikipedia. He instructed viewers to edit Wikipedia to report that the African elephant population has exploded. Colbert has quite a following, and they listened. As a result, Wikipedia editors had to lock 20 pages relating to elephants so that only registered members could edit the page. Today, 6 months later, the African Elephant page is still locked.

Did Colbert discredit Wikipedia through this entertaining stunt? I'm not sure. Between the broadcast itself and all of the articles and blogs about the gag, he really just brought Wikipedia further into the public limelight. Wikipedia is now a part of pop culture, and this popularity will only make it work more effectively.