Screen shots of Wikipedia vandalism
An encyclopedia? Or a casino?
On November 9, 2005, a childish prankster edited the Wikipedia article on Norway's prime minister. The IP address of the perpetrator came from a regional network in southern Norway that services a large number of schools. The most serious of the several changes is seen here in the last sentence, taken from MSN's cache copy:
It took Wikipedia 22.5 hours to detect and correct this prank. Meanwhile, an unknown number of surfers downloaded and saved the page. It ranks number one in MSN, Google, and Yahoo for a search on the prime minister's name.
The problem with Wikipedia is that this sort of occurrence is built into the system. Vandalism is commonplace. The major variable is the length of time between the crime and its detection. If you click on a Wikipedia entry, are you looking at a vandalized article, or a corrected article? No one knows, and no one is responsible when a vandal remains undetected.
Now then, how would you, if you were a Google critic, like to have your very own article in Wikipedia? Keep in mind that the teenagers who think Wikipedia is cool tend to be the same teenagers who think Google is cool. What are the chances that the article on you will get sabotaged? When it is, how quickly will it get corrected? Place your bets.
Another Wikipedia character assassination
Remember that Nature study that Jimbo always brags about?
This 20-page report says it should be retracted. ( PDF, 856K bytes )
University president Nancy Zimpher
( this March 23 vandalism lasted 19 hours until it was written up in Cleveland's Plain Dealer )
Captain Sir Alan McIlwraith, decorated for bravery
( from a Wikipedia mirror site )
Once upon a time, Wikipedia had its very own island
( screen shots taken on October 2, 2006 )
A Wikipedia vandal creates an incident in Parliament
( March 2007 )
We googled George Washington on May 16, 2007 ...
... and Barack Obama on February 17, 2009