Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Fisking Wikipedia

Who is editing Wikipedia?

A database of 34.4 million edits, performed by 2.6 million organizations or individuals ranging from the CIA to Microsoft to Congressional offices, now linked to the edits they or someone at their organization's net address has made.

Some of this appears to be transparently self-interested, either adding positive, press release-like material to entries, or deleting whole swaths of critical material.

Voting-machine company Diebold provides a good example of the latter, with someone at the company's IP address apparently deleting long paragraphs detailing the security industry's concerns over the integrity of their voting machines, and information about the company's CEO's fund-raising for President Bush.

The text, deleted in November 2005, was quickly restored by another Wikipedia contributor, who advised the anonymous editor, "Please stop removing content from Wikipedia. It is considered vandalism."

Very enlightening.

Update: Wow, this is BIG. Two BBC employees have been caught editing entries in Wikipedia. One edited the President's middle name to "Wanker," another changed the word "terrorists" to "freedom fighters." Almost unbelievable... if you've never listened to the BBC.

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