Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Who's Editing Wikipedia and Why?

As someone who's created, edited and pulled out my little remaining hair over Wikipedia articles (under my real name if you're interested) I found the following from little green footballs interesting. Wikipedia has a huge impact on public opinion and, frequently, is subject to campaigns of willful distortion for ideological or arbitrary reasons. The anonymity of the editing process makes that sort of campaign possible. I'd like to thank those who are taking this issue seriously and doing something about it.

little green footballs: "Who's Editing Wikipedia and Why?"

Here’s a very interesting tool built by Caltech graduate student Virgil Griffith, which searches the list of edits at Wikipedia and correlates them with known IP addresses of groups and organizations—revealing edits made by The New York Times and Al Jazeera, among others: List anonymous wikipedia edits from interesting organizations.

The site is currently struggling under high traffic, so it may not be available; but you probably won’t be surprised to learn that someone at Al Jazeera has been adding blatantly anti-Israel statements to many Wikipedia pages, or that the New York Times has been sanitizing their own page.

Another interesting IP to look up is the Reuters Canary Wharf office, the origin of a death threat sent to LGF last year. Someone using that IP has been going around Wikipedia and editing entries related to Islam; before the site went down, I discovered several places in which that IP had inserted the word “Prophet” in front of “Muhammad,” for example. Here’s the Reuters IP search.

Here’s an article at Wired: See Who’s Editing Wikipedia - Diebold, the CIA, a Campaign.

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