John Dandola's
Wikipedia Warning


Open information systems such as Wikipedia (an online "encyclopedia") start off with all good intentions but allow people with little knowledge or training to come along at any time and ruin the content of accurate listings because they think it makes them appear superior and, worse yet,  makes them think that they have been "published".

The worst pest in this regard is someone who goes by the moniker "Alansohn" a self-proclaimed "Jersey expert". For someone who doesn't live in West Orange, "Alansohn" seems to think he knows more than the local historians but time and again he proves that he does not.

Imagine John having to have a dueling match because "Alansohn" repeatedly questioned the accuracy over how two schools were connected—through the auditorium which was a very common practice—when John attended those schools and "Alansohn" hadn't ever set foot in either of them.

Or being forced to use as a footnote an outside and almost entirely inaccurate article about a local opera singer because it mentioned only one correct fact while it gave readers even more incorrect ones. Things would have been far better served by citing John's published works, his credentials, or the fact that the singer in question was a personal friend of John's wife and John's knowledge was indeed firsthand. Citations about John's works and expertise by reference professionals are quite common practices but "Alansohn" seems to rule his niche Wikipedia roost as he continually changes correct information with his own incorrect information. The end result is what makes Wikipedia neither a very accurate nor a very reliable source for information. Professional researchers know this but, unfortunately, it keeps spewing out across the internet.

Another problem you may find is John Dandola listed as a "famous resident" of West Orange in postings culled from Wikipedia but he is no longer on the Wikipedia site itself. The explanation is one which should teach everyone to exercise caution on the internet. Several of John's fans listed him on Wikipedia with a biography and professional accomplishments. But it seems that there is a branch of the Dandola family which also has someone named ‘John Dandola'. A split must have occurred hundreds of years ago because neither branch of the family knew of the other's existence until the internet came along. But according to an Italian genealogist, the surname ‘Dandola' is unique—associated with Venice throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance—and all those who have it are somehow related. When the other ‘John Dandola' discovered there was an author with the same name, he repeatedly logged in on Wikipedia, deleted the info about the author, and replaced it with information about himself. After having to constantly monitor the site, John simply told Wikipedia to remove his name entirely. It was not met with enthusiasm and reaped several snide postings in response but that is why John is no longer listed of his own choosing.
"...precisely what can always be associated with Dandola's work: scholarly research and exceptional writing talent."

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