Thursday, September 14, 2006


Rumours of Bertrand Meyer's death were exaggerated

My only claim to Wikipedia fame is that I wrote the oldest edit still to survive on Wikipedia, a minor edit which I made on the second day of its existence.

But some people are famous enough to have an article about them at Wikipedia, and Bertrand Meyer, inventor of Eiffel, is justifiably one of those people. In fact, there is also an article about him on the German version of Wikipedia. And something went wrong there last December...

A prankster (possibly a student) added the German translation of the following text to the entry about Bertrand Meyer:
According to the latest reports, Bertrand Meyer died on 24.12.2005 in Zurich. On 23.12.2005, exam results were published; links between that publication and his death couldn't be confirmed.
According to Wikipedia:
The hoax was reported five days later by the Heise News Ticker and the article was immediately corrected. Many major news media in Germany and Switzerland picked up on the story, creating the German Wikipedia's version of a Seigenthaler affair. Meyer went on to publish a positive evaluation of Wikipedia, concluding "The system succumbed to one of its potential flaws, and quickly healed itself. This doesn't affect the big picture. Just like those about me, rumors about Wikipedia's downfall have been grossly exaggerated."
Bertrand wrote at length about this in his January 2006 column "Defense and illustration of Wikipedia".

I chuckled at the part where Meyer writes:
McHenry ... dismisses the entry overall as a paper that "might be expected of a high school student, and at that [...] a C paper at best" (a reference to the grade, not the programming language).

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?