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Saturday, March 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Luna becomes subject of Wiki war

Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey reports today on the controversy over Idaho schools Supt. Tom Luna's public information officer, Melissa McGrath, editing his bio on Wikipedia, which led to something of an online battle among Wikipedia editors in which Luna's biography on the site was revised 60 times in the past two weeks. In the end, the bio was left straight, without pro- or anti-Luna changes.

Idaho teacher and blogger Michael Strickland wrote about the squabble on Daily Kos and 43rd State Blues and it became a big topic in social media. Today, Popkey weighs in, saying, "This humble outlet says McGrath overstepped with her praise of her boss and would have been better off contacting Wikipedia about her concerns rather than editing herself. But Luna's foes were even farther over the line. Wikipedia's senior editors seem to agree. They have revised the bio, stripping slanted material on both sides, leaving a balanced piece."

Popkey's article is accompanied by a side-by-side comparison of some of the revisions; you can read it here. Boise State Public Radio reporter Adam Cotterell also looked into the issue today, and interviewed with public relations experts on the ethics of dealing with Wikipedia; you can read his report here.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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