It turns out that EssJay, one of the Wikipedia users described in The New Yorker article, is not the “tenured professor of religion at a private university” that he claimed he was, and that The New Yorker reported him to be. He’s actually a 24-year-old, sans doctorate, named Ryan Jordan.
It’s a long and typically thoughtful post. In the end, Prof. Felten reaches this conclusion:
In the wake of this episode The New Yorker looks very bad (and Wikipedia only moderately so) because people regard an error in The New Yorker to be exceptional in a way the exact same error in Wikipedia is not. This expectations gap tells me that The New Yorker, warts and all, still gives people something they cannot find at Wikipedia: a greater, though conspicuously not total, degree of confidence in what they read.