Tag Archives | Wikipedia

Wikipedia bans editors suspected of being paid shills

Graphic image illustrating the close interlacing of sock accounts. Yellow bubbles represent IP addresses, and green bubbles represent accounts. via Wikimedia.

Graphic image illustrating the close interlacing of sock accounts. Yellow bubbles represent IP addresses, and green bubbles represent accounts.
Created by James Alexander using Maltego CaseFile software.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia.

Wikipedia admins have banned 381 accounts believed to be run by paid shills.

via Wikipedia:

The socks

There are 381 socks currently being blocked as a result of this investigation. All of the socks are linked by both technical data and behavioural evidence. The list of socks has been posted at Wikipedia:Long-term abuse/Orangemoody/Accounts. All of these blocks are checkuser blocks. They are being performed by EgressBot using a standardized block summary and user talk page template, so that reviewing administrators and editors will be able to identify that they are part of this group. A copy of the block summary and template is posted on the page listing the identified socks. Unblock requests can be brought to the attention of checkusers; this can be done by posting a link at the SPI talk page.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Wiki War Ingredients: Wiki Noise, Digital Wildfires, And Social Propaganda


In a wiki war, a number of online forces appear to converge, sometimes erupting in a ‘perfect storm’ of miscommunication, mistrust, and misinformation. Three forces that can be witnessed to emerge are digital wildfires, wiki noise, and social propaganda.

What are Digital Wildfires?

In 2014, the World Economic Forum declared ‘digital wildfires’ a leading global threat for stability. According to the Macmillian online dictionary – a digital wildfire is ‘false or suspicious information’ that spreads virally online.  A ‘dark meme’ that is collaboratively constructed by a mob type mind set. A false rumor that uses online social networks to spread at ‘breakneck’ speed.

A timely example of a digital wildfire is the father in Australia who was playing with a Darth Vader mask in a kids playground and then accused of being a pedophile across social media networks within 24 hours. This digital wildfire was a rumor that the woman who started it apologized profusely over.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

What Is A Wiki War?


This article originally appeared on “Wikipedia, We Have a Problem.”

Essentially a wiki war is an ‘edit war’ that occurs on Wikipedia. It happens when editors disagree on article content. The ‘war’ is when many points of view engage in three dimensional chess strategies with each other using Wikipedia policies or admin support to block editing permissions to those with opposing viewpoints, or how veteran Wikipedia contributor David Gerard puts it – “battles to the death for insanely low stakes”.  It can be a seriously nasty business, and I’m skeptical that the stakes are so small.

The general public is not aware what sort of serious business it can be, because these activities are ‘buried out in the open’ in WikiMedia’s software system. Wikipedia is horribly complex and horribly time consuming. One of the hurdles in producing this site was actually detailing the full arc of events in a Wiki War, it’s a very complex argument to follow and often requires 8 – 16 hour work days in heated consensus or research.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

NYPD caught sanitizing police brutality Wikipedia entries

rollingrck (CC BY 2.0)

rollingrck (CC BY 2.0)

They changed “Garner raised both his arms in the air” to “flailed his arms about.” But don’t worry, the matter is under “internal review.” So justice will be served, right?

David Kravets writes at Ars Techninca:

IP addresses linked to the New York Police Department’s computer network have been used to sanitize Wikipedia entries about cases of police brutality.

This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen nefarious alterations to Wikipedia entries, and it won’t be the last. But the disclosure of NYPD’s entries by Capital New York come as the Justice Department announced a national initiative for “building community trust and justice” with the nation’s policing agencies.

As many as 85 IP addresses connected to 1 Police Plaza altered entries for some of the most high-profile police abuse cases, including those for victims Eric Garner, Sean Bell, and Amadou Diallo,Capital New York said.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Create your own book of Wikipedia articles

Photos of books made by PediaPress with Wikipedia content. By Jann Glasmacher for PediaPress via Wikimedia Commons.

Photos of books made by PediaPress with Wikipedia content. By Jann Glasmacher for PediaPress via Wikimedia Commons.

I can’t believe that I just found out about this service: you can create your own book of Wikipedia articles. After gathering the articles you want to include, you can compile them into a book, and then download it as a PDF, ODF, or even get it printed. I think I just checked a few people off of my  “What the Hell Do I Get Them?” Christmas list.

via the Wikipedia Help:Books page:

Tips for creating great books

Topic and title

There are almost no limits when creating books from Wikipedia content. A good book focuses on a certain topic and covers it as well as possible. A meaningful title helps other users to have the correct expectation regarding the content of a book.


Books should have a reasonable number of articles.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Wikipedia’s ‘Brazilian Aardvark’ Problem: When Lies Turn Into Feedback Loops

PIC: Pearson Scott Foresman (CC)

PIC: Brazilian Aardvark. [Pearson Scott Foresman (CC)]

Don’t worry Dylan. We’ve got you covered. Send the Lollypop Guild – I mean, the Wikipedians – our way for the following citation:

“It is a well-known fact that the coati is known informally as the Brazilian aardvark.”

In July of 2008, Dylan Breves, then a seventeen-year-old student from New York City, made a mundane edit to a Wikipedia entry on the coati. The coati, a member of the raccoon family, is “also known as … a Brazilian aardvark,” Breves wrote. He did not cite a source for this nickname, and with good reason: he had invented it. He and his brother had spotted several coatis while on a trip to the Iguaçu Falls, in Brazil, where they had mistaken them for actual aardvarks.

“I don’t necessarily like being wrong about things,” Breves told me. “So, sort of as a joke, I slipped in the ‘also known as the Brazilian aardvark’ and then forgot about it for awhile.”

Adding a private gag to a public Wikipedia page is the kind of minor vandalism that regularly takes place on the crowdsourced Web site.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Portrait of a Wiki War: Rupert Sheldrake Versus Wiki Skepticism


Pic: Rupert Sheldrake (c)

Writer and media strategist Rome Viharo offers a a case study of Wikipedia editorial bias in the back and forth war over an entry on Rupert Sheldrake:

Via WikipediaWeHaveAproblem:

Rupert Sheldrake has a career of 30 years being the official ‘critic’ of scientific materialism and reductionism – what many would simply refer to as the ‘mainstream scientific point of view’. It began in 1982 with the editor of Nature magazine referring to him as a ‘heretic’ and suggesting that his book on his ‘Hypothesis of Formative Causation’ might be a candidate for burning if society chooses to use book burning as a way to control knowledge. He has been wearing the banner of the ‘heretic of science’ ever since. For this reason, I find Rupert Sheldrake not only interesting but a hoot.

In these past 30 years, BBC documentaries, television programs, and even academic thesis papers and peer review journals have been covering the manner in which Rupert Sheldrake has been treated by the scientific community as often as his ideas.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Battle to Destroy Wikipedia’s Biggest Sockpuppet Army

Here is one more reason to double check your sources. Simon Owen informs us on the largest sockpuppet network in Wikipedia’s history.

via The Daily Dot

Wikipedia editor and self-professed “bird geek” DocTree spends most of his time on the world’s largest encyclopedia editing the pages for long-dead ornithologists. So it was somewhat unusual when, in August 2012, he found himself working on the page for “CyberSafe,” a high-tech digital encryption company based out of Middlesex, England, with a pronounced dearth of ornithological relevance.

Someone on Wikipedia had nominated the page for deletion, and DocTree, who sometimes participates in deletion discussions on topics that fall outside his interests, decided to pitch in.

There are a number of possible reasons for a Wikipedia page to be deleted, but the most common justification is that it lacks “notability.” This is a loose standard that essentially asks the question: Is this subject important enough for a Wikipedia article?

Read the rest
Continue Reading

How Scientology Changed The Internet

Entrance of the Church of Scientology Madid, SpainThe Scientology cult is at war with the Internet reports Dave Lee at BBC News:

What do Wikipedia, Wikileaks, Anonymous and copyright law have in common? The answer is they have all been influenced by the Church of Scientology International (CSI), as it took on ex-members and critics who took their protests on to the internet. As the Church successfully removes another website, just how big an influence has Scientology had on the internet we all use?

Last month digital rights activists at the influential Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF) placed the Church of Scientology into their hall of shame over what it says were repeated acts against internet freedoms.

It was just the latest twist in the Church’s long-running feud with “negative” Scientology content online, one that has lasted almost two decades.

Back in May 1994, at a time when most major organisations were yet to figure out how exactly to deal with the relatively unknown power of the internet, the Church’s Elaine Siegel had a few ideas, outlined in a leaked email to “all Scientologists on the internet”.

Read the rest
Continue Reading