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Insider Editing Spotted at Wikipedia August 19, 2007

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in News.
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Dozens of salacious edits have come to light through WikiScanner, a new Web site that traces the source of millions of changes to Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia that anyone can edit.

The tool trawls a list of 5.3m edits and matches them to the net address of the editor. Such information was already available on Wikipedia, but WikiScanner makes it easier to connect those addresses with the names of network owners. The scanner cannot identify the individuals editing articles.

WikiScanner is the work of Virgil Griffith, 24, a cognitive scientist who became interested in creating such a tool after hearing of members of Congress who were editing their own entries. Since its release, Web users have spotted the fingerprints of people from NGOs, the CIA and corporate networks.

Most revisions did not stay posted for long as Wikipedia’s many volunteers and administrators tend to keep an eye out for bias. For example, on the profile of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the scanner indicates that a worker on the CIA network reportedly added the exclamation “Wahhhhhh!” before a section on the leader’s plans for his presidency.

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A warning on the profile of the anonymous editor reads: “You have recently vandalised a Wikipedia article, and you are now being asked to stop this type of behaviour.” Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales called WikiScanner “a very clever idea” and is considering changes to the wiki to help visitors better understand what information is recorded about them.

Related:
Wired’s List of Salacious Edits
Seeing Corporate Fingerprints in Wikipedia Edits
Wikipedia Shows CIA Page Edits
Vote On the Most Shameful Wikipedia Spin Jobs

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