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> Wikipedia Vandal Study - US Senate
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thekohser
post Thu 2nd October 2008, 3:35am
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(Edit: now posted at Wikipedia Review.com.)

Several months ago, a number of Wikipedia Review members joined me in a project to methodically enumerate one calendar quarter's worth (4Q 2007) of edit data underlying the 100 Wikipedia articles about the (then) current United States Senators.

What we found was alarming at times. While most vandalized edits were brief in duration and clearly juvenile in content, a substantial portion of edits were plainly intended to be hurtful and defamatory against the Senators -- and they lasted for not just minutes, but hours, days, even weeks at a time.

Using the Wikipedia page traffic tool, we attempted to interpolate the number of "page views" that each Senator's article likely witnessed during the damaged edit. The damaged edit that saw the greatest number of page views before correction regarded Senator John McCain: "McCain was born in Florida in the then American-controlled Panama Canal Zone", which lasted for over 3 days, under about 93,000 views where nobody noticed or bothered to correct this obvious error.

In all, the median duration of a damaged edit was 6 minutes, but the mean duration was 1,440 minutes (exactly 24 hours). These 100 articles were viewed approximately 12.8 million times in the fourth quarter of 2007. Over 378,000 of those views could be considered "damaged", yielding a 2.96% rate of damaged views. There were about 13.2 million article-minutes during the quarter, and over 901,000 of those article-minutes were in a damaged state -- 6.80%.

But, please, don't get lost in the net "damaged" versus "acceptable" rates. Rather, keep in mind that the Wikimedia Foundation allows anonymous editors to append the article about Hillary Clinton with "hillary needs to die and chop of her penis"; or to modify the article about Bob Menendez to say "Menendez and Jacobsen have since divorced because he was cheating on her"; all without any meaningful effort to change the parameters of editing to disallow this kind of drive-by hatred and libel.

The team behind this study invites you to see for yourself:

http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=psAWteTSyixEB98YcV-5VEw

We encourage you to find for yourselves the "worst of the worst" and react according to your conscience. Blog about it. E-mail your friends about it. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Contact your state's two Senators to let them know about the damage that not only existed on Wikipedia, but continues on.

Ask yourself why this level of inaccuracy and defamation is tolerated on what purports to be a reliable, free encyclopedia. Why is it even legal? Learn more about what constitutes an "attractive nuisance" and what entities Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act was intended by the framers of that law to protect. Is Wikipedia merely an "interactive computer service"?

We hope that this database will be educational for all who take the time to review it.

Sincerely,

Gregory Kohs

This post has been edited by thekohser: Wed 9th February 2011, 7:48pm
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Piperdown
post Thu 2nd October 2008, 3:47am
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i believe that Jimbo Wales believes that the success of his site, as he sees success, is that it remain as controversial as possible, attract as many people as possible to read and edit it (which makes them emotionally captured users), and he really has absolutely no concern for what Wikipedia actually contains.

As long as he can't be held legally liable for it.

So far he hasn't.

And he's going to get very very rich from Wikipedia someday soon. He might play the idiot very well (too well sometimes..hmm..), but so far his Wikpedia has been a stroke of genius. Possibly evil genius, but genius nonetheless. Or just blind luck. The genius vs blind luck will take some time to see if he does manage to avoid having his future riches yanked back from him in a court of law by one of WP's many BLP victims.

Politically related BLPs are, during election cycles especially, the most "successfull" pages on Wikipedia using this criteria. Along with recently dead celebrities. Who are then relegated to some bizarre non-BLP status, since dead people are fair game to be fucked by Jimmy's Wikipedia even more so than the living.

This post has been edited by Piperdown: Thu 2nd October 2008, 3:51am
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Kato
post Thu 2nd October 2008, 3:48am
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This edit, which announced a Senator's youthful experience with kinky sex (later with donkeys) had an estimated 3,100 people view the article before it was sorted out. Follow the edits.

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=...oldid=168486242
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the fieryangel
post Thu 2nd October 2008, 8:46am
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For 3399 minutes, the Wikipedia article about Senator Harry Reid of Nevada said that he was "married to his right hand". About 1383 people saw the article like this.

This post has been edited by the fieryangel: Thu 2nd October 2008, 8:47am
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Kato
post Thu 2nd October 2008, 8:56am
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Someone wrote that Senator Chris Dodd's parents were "crap-heads" which was changed to the gobbledygook "Boratains", then a (presumably) well-meaning anon decided that was a misspelling of "Britains". None of which were correct.

This went on for a month with an estimated 30,000 views of the article.
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Jon Awbrey
post Thu 2nd October 2008, 12:32pm
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QUOTE(thekohser @ Wed 1st October 2008, 11:35pm) *

Ask yourself why this level of inaccuracy and defamation is tolerated on what purports to be a reliable, free encyclopedia.


I have asked this question uncounted times before — but do feel free to count up the stats — and I have repeatedly suggested a number of plausible answers, hypotheses based on long experience with Wikipedia and even longer experience with similar Psycho-Social-Technical Universes (PSTU's).

It is of course not really possible to have a coherent discussion of these orders of complex issues while yet in the midst of the very same PSTU.

Jon cool.gif

This post has been edited by Jon Awbrey: Thu 2nd October 2008, 1:36pm
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thekohser
post Thu 2nd October 2008, 6:33pm
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Please bump this story on Digg.
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the fieryangel
post Fri 3rd October 2008, 8:02am
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QUOTE(thekohser @ Thu 2nd October 2008, 6:33pm) *

Please bump this story on Digg.


Hey Somey! Doesn't this deserve a blog post?
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Meringue
post Fri 3rd October 2008, 10:01am
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I wonder if it would be helpful to split this list into obvious childish vandalism and more subtle, possibly dangerous stuff. I realise that any such split will be somewhat subjective, but there is a danger that the stuff that would really alarm senators will get buried by "Replace whole page by HA! HA! YOUVE BEEN PWNED" type rubbish.
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JohnA
post Fri 3rd October 2008, 10:24am
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What are the Senators meant to do with this information?
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the fieryangel
post Fri 3rd October 2008, 10:44am
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QUOTE(JohnA @ Fri 3rd October 2008, 10:24am) *

What are the Senators meant to do with this information?


Perhaps they might take notice that this is not just a personal issue but one which many people are having to deal with on a personal level. And hopefully, they might decide that new legislation is needed to address these kinds of issues.


QUOTE(Meringue @ Fri 3rd October 2008, 10:01am) *

I wonder if it would be helpful to split this list into obvious childish vandalism and more subtle, possibly dangerous stuff. I realise that any such split will be somewhat subjective, but there is a danger that the stuff that would really alarm senators will get buried by "Replace whole page by HA! HA! YOUVE BEEN PWNED" type rubbish.


Much of the extremely childish vandalism has been edited out. Greg tried to keep only edits which he felt did real damage. There was actually much more vandalism than this, but most it was just nonsense which couldn't be called "harmful".
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Meringue
post Fri 3rd October 2008, 12:36pm
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QUOTE(the" fieryangel @ Fri 3rd October 2008, 11:44am) *

Much of the extremely childish vandalism has been edited out. Greg tried to keep only edits which he felt did real damage. There was actually much more vandalism than this, but most it was just nonsense which couldn't be called "harmful".

Just from Ted Stevens - who'd take either of these seriously?

"Ted Stevens was born under a bridge, as are all trolls. Because he was a particularly ugly little troll, he wasn't allowed to stay under the bridge, but had to run for elected office instead"

"Their are many goon thing about this goon. He seems to be queer in the way he likes to suck cock. On occasion he is said to Fuck Dogs but in other words i would not lock this guy in a closet with my child."
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the fieryangel
post Fri 3rd October 2008, 12:58pm
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QUOTE(Meringue @ Fri 3rd October 2008, 12:36pm) *

QUOTE(the" fieryangel @ Fri 3rd October 2008, 11:44am) *

Much of the extremely childish vandalism has been edited out. Greg tried to keep only edits which he felt did real damage. There was actually much more vandalism than this, but most it was just nonsense which couldn't be called "harmful".

Just from Ted Stevens - who'd take either of these seriously?

"Ted Stevens was born under a bridge, as are all trolls. Because he was a particularly ugly little troll, he wasn't allowed to stay under the bridge, but had to run for elected office instead"

"Their are many goon thing about this goon. He seems to be queer in the way he likes to suck cock. On occasion he is said to Fuck Dogs but in other words i would not lock this guy in a closet with my child."


Um, the second statement seems to say that Mr. Stevens is a pedophile. I think that this kind of thing should be taken seriously in any context. The other one is perhaps less damaging, but it still says that Mr. Stevens is 1. ugly, 2. a "troll" and 3. a bum.

In any case, it's not so much the individual statements themselves that matter: it's the fact that they could be made, that they were not reverted and that they stayed on the articles much longer than would be expected.
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Jon Awbrey
post Fri 3rd October 2008, 12:58pm
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Thu 2nd October 2008, 8:32am) *

QUOTE(thekohser @ Wed 1st October 2008, 11:35pm) *

Ask yourself why this level of inaccuracy and defamation is tolerated on what purports to be a reliable, free encyclopedia.


I have asked this question uncounted times before — but do feel free to count up the stats — and I have repeatedly suggested a number of plausible answers, hypotheses based on long experience with Wikipedia and even longer experience with similar Psycho-Social-Technical Universes (PSTU's).

It is of course not really possible to have a coherent discussion of these orders of complex issues while yet in the midst of the very same PSTU.

Jon cool.gif


Just by way of a follow-up question —

One of the things that the Public needs to ask is — not just why this level of deception and defamation is tolerated in Wikipedia — but why that segment of the population who finds it "entertaining" is actually preferred to more mature and responsible demographics.

When you can answer that question, then you will have a clue to the previous array of puzzles.

For those of you who want a clue …

Jon cool.gif

This post has been edited by Jon Awbrey: Fri 3rd October 2008, 1:00pm
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Somey
post Tue 14th October 2008, 4:58pm
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Fri 3rd October 2008, 7:58am) *
One of the things that the Public needs to ask is — not just why this level of deception and defamation is tolerated in Wikipedia — but why that segment of the population who finds it "entertaining" is actually preferred to more mature and responsible demographics.

When you can answer that question, then you will have a clue to the previous array of puzzles.

This may seem like a poor analogy, and maybe it is, but they asked the same kinds of questions back in the 1960's, particularly in the UK, during the rise of "pop stars" and other types of media celebrities. The adult population was completely dismayed that kids, as well as some of the more culturally-literate, "hip" adults, were turning their collective backs on traditional culture and social mores in favor of what they saw as a primitive, uncivilized, "wild in the streets" mentality that eventually came to be known as "counter-culture," once it got to be reasonably well established.

There was nothing particularly wrong with the idea of shaking up the traditional culture, but many people saw very clearly how large groups of younger, politically inexperienced people could be manipulated by corrupt elements working within the (now widely-hated) "establishment" to turn them into what might ultimately amount to a fascist mob.

Movies were made about this. Most of them, such as Privilege (1967), were terrible, and lacked subtlety as well as decent plots. But at that time, mass media was in its infancy, still limited by technology we would now see as hopelessly primitive, and most people were only beginning to understand its potential. Anyone trying this today would certainly take advantage of the internet, with its promise of relatively safe anonymity and attendant lack of accountability, to build up a base of followers among people of all ages whose feelings of disenfranchisement and disempowerment have been brewing for years, during a period in which the rich have gotten richer than ever before, and everyone else has been left out.

And now that it has finally become clear that the "establishment" has been almost completely corrupt all along, has practically bankrupted the world economy with their short-term, greed-obsessed thinking, has stolen elections, and has pursued dangerous, even imperialistic military adventurism to no good purpose, what better time for the leadership (assuming there is any) of such groups to make their move?

Mind you, Wikipedia and its sister sites are only a small part of the overall picture, and it has yet to be proven that internet-based communities can actually wield political power. But if they can, I think we just have to hope that those who dominate the current Wikipedia community are clearly in the minority within the larger framework of the groups weilding such power, because if they aren't, we might actually be in worse trouble than we are now. (Assuming that's even possible!)
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Jon Awbrey
post Tue 14th October 2008, 5:56pm
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QUOTE(Somey @ Tue 14th October 2008, 12:58pm) *

QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Fri 3rd October 2008, 7:58am) *

One of the things that the Public needs to ask is — not just why this level of deception and defamation is tolerated in Wikipedia — but why that segment of the population who finds it "entertaining" is actually preferred to more mature and responsible demographics.

When you can answer that question, then you will have a clue to the previous array of puzzles.


This may seem like a poor analogy, and maybe it is, but they asked the same kinds of questions back in the 1960's, particularly in the UK, during the rise of "pop stars" and other types of media celebrities. The adult population was completely dismayed that kids, as well as some of the more culturally-literate, "hip" adults, were turning their collective backs on traditional culture and social mores in favor of what they saw as a primitive, uncivilized, "wild in the streets" mentality that eventually came to be known as "counter-culture," once it got to be reasonably well established.

There was nothing particularly wrong with the idea of shaking up the traditional culture, but many people saw very clearly how large groups of younger, politically inexperienced people could be manipulated by corrupt elements working within the (now widely-hated) "establishment" to turn them into what might ultimately amount to a fascist mob.

Movies were made about this. Most of them, such as Privilege (1967), were terrible, and lacked subtlety as well as decent plots. But at that time, mass media was in its infancy, still limited by technology we would now see as hopelessly primitive, and most people were only beginning to understand its potential. Anyone trying this today would certainly take advantage of the internet, with its promise of relatively safe anonymity and attendant lack of accountability, to build up a base of followers among people of all ages whose feelings of disenfranchisement and disempowerment have been brewing for years, during a period in which the rich have gotten richer than ever before, and everyone else has been left out.

And now that it has finally become clear that the "establishment" has been almost completely corrupt all along, has practically bankrupted the world economy with their short-term, greed-obsessed thinking, has stolen elections, and has pursued dangerous, even imperialistic military adventurism to no good purpose, what better time for the leadership (assuming there is any) of such groups to make their move?

Mind you, Wikipedia and its sister sites are only a small part of the overall picture, and it has yet to be proven that internet-based communities can actually wield political power. But if they can, I think we just have to hope that those who dominate the current Wikipedia community are clearly in the minority within the larger framework of the groups weilding such power, because if they aren't, we might actually be in worse trouble than we are now. (Assuming that's even possible!)


I did have a film in mind as The Best Illustration Of The Thematic Question

It was of course A Clockwork Orange.

Jon cool.gif
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Jon Awbrey
post Fri 17th October 2008, 12:56pm
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Tue 14th October 2008, 1:56pm) *

QUOTE(Somey @ Tue 14th October 2008, 12:58pm) *

QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Fri 3rd October 2008, 7:58am) *

One of the things that the Public needs to ask is — not just why this level of deception and defamation is tolerated in Wikipedia — but why that segment of the population who finds it "entertaining" is actually preferred to more mature and responsible demographics.

When you can answer that question, then you will have a clue to the previous array of puzzles.


This may seem like a poor analogy, and maybe it is, but they asked the same kinds of questions back in the 1960's, particularly in the UK, during the rise of "pop stars" and other types of media celebrities. The adult population was completely dismayed that kids, as well as some of the more culturally-literate, "hip" adults, were turning their collective backs on traditional culture and social mores in favor of what they saw as a primitive, uncivilized, "wild in the streets" mentality that eventually came to be known as "counter-culture," once it got to be reasonably well established.

There was nothing particularly wrong with the idea of shaking up the traditional culture, but many people saw very clearly how large groups of younger, politically inexperienced people could be manipulated by corrupt elements working within the (now widely-hated) "establishment" to turn them into what might ultimately amount to a fascist mob.

Movies were made about this. Most of them, such as Privilege (1967), were terrible, and lacked subtlety as well as decent plots. But at that time, mass media was in its infancy, still limited by technology we would now see as hopelessly primitive, and most people were only beginning to understand its potential. Anyone trying this today would certainly take advantage of the internet, with its promise of relatively safe anonymity and attendant lack of accountability, to build up a base of followers among people of all ages whose feelings of disenfranchisement and disempowerment have been brewing for years, during a period in which the rich have gotten richer than ever before, and everyone else has been left out.

And now that it has finally become clear that the "establishment" has been almost completely corrupt all along, has practically bankrupted the world economy with their short-term, greed-obsessed thinking, has stolen elections, and has pursued dangerous, even imperialistic military adventurism to no good purpose, what better time for the leadership (assuming there is any) of such groups to make their move?

Mind you, Wikipedia and its sister sites are only a small part of the overall picture, and it has yet to be proven that internet-based communities can actually wield political power. But if they can, I think we just have to hope that those who dominate the current Wikipedia community are clearly in the minority within the larger framework of the groups weilding such power, because if they aren't, we might actually be in worse trouble than we are now. (Assuming that's even possible!)


I did have a film in mind as The Best Illustration Of The Thematic Question

It was of course A Clockwork Orange.

Jon cool.gif


The point being — There is no greater boon to Establishment and E-Stablishment alike than a Multitude, a Gang, or a Bunch Of Obliviously Naive Idealists (MOONI's, GOONI's, or BOONI's) who can be led around by the nose simply by parroting a few words of their own idealism back at them.

With a little bit of luck, but mostly a lot of skill in manipulation, you can even get them to attack the No Longer Naive But Still Idealistic Folks who have been questing all along in Pre-Established Harmony with those Very Ideals.

Now Ain't That Ironic …

Jon cool.gif
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Prisoner 7635317
post Fri 5th December 2008, 5:00am
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There was one politician who there was a mention of lesbian sex (along with a citation!) and that lasted a few weeks. I kept debating whether to fix it but then decided that administrators can fix it.

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thekohser
post Wed 11th August 2010, 1:25pm
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I guess Ted Stevens won't be having any more kinky sex adventures.
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carbuncle
post Wed 11th August 2010, 1:45pm
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QUOTE(thekohser @ Wed 11th August 2010, 1:25pm) *

I guess Ted Stevens won't be having any more kinky sex adventures.

Well, not as an active participant. wink.gif
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