One can have a lot of fun these days poking around Wikipedia, discovering various types of inaccuracies and, perhaps, fixing them. But how should one treat a case where Wikipedia accurately reports on an otherwise inaccurate statement?
This thought comes to mind following an exchange I had over the past few days with Jimmy Guterman, editor of Release 2.0. In the latest issue Jimmy correctly quoted the common statement of Metcalfe’s Law, which, according to Wikipedia amongst others, states that “the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of users.” It turns out that’s not what Bob Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet, founder of 3Com and my partner at Polaris Venture Partners, claimed. I pinged Jimmy about this and he was kind to blog about it and spread the word. I explain what I learned from Bob about Metcalfe’s Law here (a post which was triggered by an IEEE Spectrum article that Metcalfe’s Law was wrong). About the same time, Bob also did a guest post on my partner Mike’s blog.
Should the Wikipedia article be changed? Should the original image from Bob be included in the article?