Wikipedia's million-dollar faux pas

Proving again that sometimes the facts get in the way of a good story

Wikipedia forever

Hey, look, someone donated a million dollars to Wikipedia - anonymously, no less.

At least that was the headline on Digg last Friday and we could all see it was true because there was a link to the online database of donors and a plain-as-day screen capture, a cropped version of which you see here.

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A million smackaroos from a benefactor too shy to even accept a public thank-you? Now that's news, so I fired off an e-mail to Jay Walsh, Wikipedia's head of communication, to see if A) he could confirm that it was indeed true; and, B) if he could tell me anything at all about the bashful donor.  Walsh's reply:

"In fact it turns out there was a slight glitch in how that donation was reported through our system.  The amount is 100% correct, but the donation should have been attributed to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. We've corrected the link and donation here:

"This is the third part of a three-year, one million dollars per year grant that was announced back in March, 2008.

"Glad the Digg folks pointed this out, and we're now tracking the comment/donation input system a bit more carefully."

There are easy wisecracks to be made here about Wikipedia and accuracy. Too easy.

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