An Open Letter to Wikipedia

Earlier today, Philip Roth posted an Open Letter to Wikipedia after he was unable to have some false contributions removed from the Wikipedia article on his own novel, “The Human Stain.”

I am Philip Roth. I had reason recently to read for the first time the Wikipedia entry discussing my novel “The Human Stain.” The entry contains a serious misstatement that I would like to ask to have removed. This item entered Wikipedia not from the world of truthfulness but from the babble of literary gossip—there is no truth in it at all.

Yet when, through an official interlocutor, I recently petitioned Wikipedia to delete this misstatement, along with two others, my interlocutor was told by the “English Wikipedia Administrator”—in a letter dated August 25th and addressed to my interlocutor—that I, Roth, was not a credible source: “I understand your point that the author is the greatest authority on their own work,” writes the Wikipedia Administrator—“but we require secondary sources.”

It turns out that Philip Roth is actually pretty credible. This situation indicates that there is something seriously wrong with the Wikipedia process. The English Wikipedia Administrator should not have simply denied the change request based on Philip Roth’s lack of secondary sources.  I suggest that you read his Open Letter to hear it in his own words.

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