The Players: Injustice in Perugia, a blog supporting the innocence of Amanda Knox, the young woman charged with murdering her study-abroad roommate Meredith Kercher, and fellow Knox supporters; Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, along with assorted Wikipedia users
Opening Serve: Injustice in Perugia sent an open letter to Wales, noting that Wikipedia would not allow the creation of an "Amanda Knox" article separate from "The Murder of Meredith Kercher," and that the article "in its present form is not written from a neutral point of view and bears little resemblance to what reliable sources have said about the case."
Return Volley: Wales responded by creating a discussion about the "Murder of Meredith Kercher" page, writing, "My interest is simply in making sure that this entry accurately reflects what reliable sources have said and that no reliable sources are omitted based on anyone's agenda in either direction." Thus began the Wikipedia user brawl.
What They Say The Spat's About: Knox's supporters argue that Wikipedia's coverage of the case "for the most part relies on obsolete and inaccurate British tabloid reports for its information" and omits "criticism of numerous important experts who have stated in no uncertain terms that Knox and Sollecito did not receive a fair trial." The discussion, which Wales created in response to the letter (written on the group's Blogspot blog), has already prompted responses from critics who question whether Wales is bowing to the pro-Knox agenda. One commenter, Ian Spackman, wrote: "I certainly agree that the article should reflect reliable sources. But a blog post? One on a site which perhaps less than neutrally describes itself as 'INJUSTICE IN PERUGIA: THE WRONGFUL CONVICTION OF AMANDA KNOX &RAFFAELE SOLLECITO'? Surely the kind of stuff an encyclopedia should turn up its nose at, rather than waste its time over."
What The Spat's Really About: The back and forth may have started by asking how much of the Wikipedia article is factual, but has now evolved to a question of whether Wales's response to complaints from an interest group--such as Injustice in Perugia--is warranted. "An internet petition with all of 60 signatures? Hmm, I am not seeing the compelling need for the founder to get involved here," writes Wikipedia User "John" in the discussion.
Who's Winning Now: The "Murder of Meredith Kercher" Wikipedia page has not been changed, nor has an "Amanda Knox" page been added. Still, the open discussion continues, with Wales advocating for accuracy. "A petition doesn't matter. Number of signatures doesn't matter. Getting it right is all that matters. I accept input from all kinds of sources, and we should always be willing to take another look," Wales responded to "John's" comment. Having successfully recruited Wales in their effort to publish the truth--whatever it may be--would seem to be a win for Injustice in Perugia, for now.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.