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See Who Is Whitewashing Wikipedia 478

Decius6i5 writes "Caltech grad student Virgil Griffith has launched a search tool that uncovers whitewashing and other self-interested editing of Wikipedia. Users can generate lists of every edit to Wikipedia which has been made from a particular IP address range. The tool has already uncovered a number of interesting edits, such as one from the corporate offices of Diebold which removed large sections of content critical of their electronic voting machines. A Wired story provides more detail and Threat Level is running a contest to see who can come up with the most interesting Wikipedia spin job."
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See Who Is Whitewashing Wikipedia

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  • by Stanistani ( 808333 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @11:55AM (#20225641) Homepage Journal
    I was fascinated by the CIA's edits... mostly adding details... and this:

    "One CIA entry deals with the details of lyrics sung in a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode."

    • Re:TFA Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

      by UbuntuDupe ( 970646 ) * on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:02PM (#20225751) Journal
      As much as it may astound us, even CIA agents are real people with real feelings and interests. (Well, to the extent that Buffy epsidoe music lyrics can count as a "real interest"...)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kingduct ( 144865 )
        Even evil people are human. That's what makes humanity so scary.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Even evil people are human

          Evil is a crutch to avoid understanding. Why did person X do deed A? Because their evil. See, no need to think about what their motivations are, why they might see their deeds as beneficial to society. As a citizen of "The Great Satan" you would think we would understand that more than we do.

          If Bush had taken the time to understand Al Queda's and Hussien's motivations instead of just declaring them insane and evil, we might not be mired as an occupying force in Iraq today. Surpr

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Evil is a crutch to avoid understanding

            "Evil is a crutch to avoid understanding" is a crutch to avoid understanding.
            The term "Evil" can be such a crutch, but it is something much more. It is a simple way of describing a particular person or activity in shorthand. (And that's the context in which it was intended here, I believe)

            I'd go nuts if I couldn't say "Evil people drink milk too", and instead had to say "Among the people who drink milk are those whose childhoods were so difficult they never learned
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by heinousjay ( 683506 )
              The problem is, everyone has a personal definition of evil, and it looks ridiculous to people who don't agree. You can't just use a shorthand if it isn't completely common. This isn't to argue about your particular definition, I'm just saying it's a touchy thing on a site where the term is applied equally to George Bush, Google, and anyone who thinks RMS is a cosmic joke.
          • Mod Parent Up (Score:4, Insightful)

            by TheVelvetFlamebait ( 986083 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @10:48PM (#20232633) Journal
            Not for his partisan political opinions, but for his explanation of "evil". He's perfectly correct. Evil is basically a religious construct, and deserves just as much of a place in our understanding of our world as other religious concepts, like creationism, and the will of God, etc, etc.
      • by Nexus7 ( 2919 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @02:18PM (#20227579)
        So you're saying CIA agents can get mod points too?
    • Re:TFA Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NickCatal ( 865805 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:03PM (#20225767)
      Uhh, we should also remember that there are some people at these places that make legitimate edits to Wikipedia. Just because an IP changes one or two things controversial, doesn't mean that all of their edits are BS. Also it is reason for someone to watch that users edits in the future to check for NPOV
      • Re:TFA Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

        by badasscat ( 563442 ) <basscadet75@yahoMOSCOWo.com minus city> on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @03:25PM (#20228707)
        Uhh, we should also remember that there are some people at these places that make legitimate edits to Wikipedia. Just because an IP changes one or two things controversial, doesn't mean that all of their edits are BS.

        Not to mention that one IP can cover a LOT of people.

        My work IP is currently banned from wikipedia for vandalism. I've investigated this, and it was apparently some idiot in another building that's not even in the same zip code but who happens to work at another subsidiary under the same parent company that shares my IP. There are probably more than 10,000 people that share this same IP spread across New York City. Some of us work at the same company he does, some of us don't.

        You really cannot take any of the IP's on this list and directly connect it to anyone at any company or organization, any more than the RIAA can take an IP of an alleged music pirate and say they individually are the ones that did it.

        My IP, for example, says I work at a completely different company than the one that signs my paychecks. That's the way it is in the age of conglomerates.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      tinfoil hat on - Well of anyone doing self interested edits, you would imagine the CIA would be covering their ones with a lot of noise. That is what those innocent edits are.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by SDF-7 ( 556604 )
      But of course they did... the lyric "They got the Mustard out" is Joss Whedon's attempt to reveal that it was, in fact, the CIA that got Colonel Mustard out of this country to cover up their complicity in his war profiteering and the murder of witnesses to it.

      Communism was just a red herring.
    • Re:TFA Interesting (Score:5, Informative)

      by CaptainZapp ( 182233 ) * on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:49PM (#20226445) Homepage
      Disclaimer: I certainly don't want to turn the CIA as an entity into a bunch of nice guys, but

      have you checked out there Factbook? [cia.gov]

      It's arguably one of the best country resources for years, alas with an US slant (i.e. illicit drugs are very mymy in just about every country).

      Nevertheless, it would be a shame if such a resource was to be pulled for "security reasons").

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I'm not only familiar with the Factbook, it was the source I consulted upon hearing that we were invading Iraq. It took about 5 minutes of reading to realize that the best possible outcome of the war was to turn Iraq into a mirror image of Iran, thus destroying the only check (other than Israel) on Iranian power in the Middle East. In other words, according to the CIA, Iraq war=dumb.

        And yes, I'm a conservative.
    • I'm not surprised that the character traits of people who would make good CIA employees would also be attracted to Wikipedia.
    • by ksd1337 ( 1029386 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @02:56PM (#20228237)

      One CIA entry deals with the details of lyrics sung in a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode.
      [citation needed]
  • by InvisblePinkUnicorn ( 1126837 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @11:56AM (#20225651)
    Mediawiki has already added the capability to look at the Special:Contributions for an IP range. I'm not sure if it's been enabled yet on EN.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Guy Harris ( 3803 )

      Mediawiki has already added the capability to look at the Special:Contributions for an IP range. I'm not sure if it's been enabled yet on EN.

      If you click on the IP address in an anonymous change in a history, it takes you to a list of that IP address's changes. The URL it takes you to is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions /IP-address [wikipedia.org], where "IP-address" is the dotted-quad form of the IP address.

  • by MoneyT ( 548795 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @11:56AM (#20225657) Journal
    What did you expect? Everyone has different truths.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      There is one truth, many perceptions to a truth, but only one truth. Some perceptions are closer to the truth than others, but they are still perceptions.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TheWoozle ( 984500 )
      But as this guy's project goes to show, in an open, transparent environment it doesn't matter... as a bonus it also serves to show who you can and can't trust.
      • That's ridiculous (Score:4, Interesting)

        by blueZ3 ( 744446 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:22PM (#20226049) Homepage
        Or, more politely, I think you're mistaken.

        There's no magical incantation that makes an "open, transparent" information editing environment inheirently better. You just get a different bias, and it's more difficult to figure out where that bias is coming into play.

        With Brittanica, you have a (known) establishment bias. With a Boeing sales brochure, you have a (known) "areospace is the ultimate industry" bias. What you generally see on Wikipedia are astounding examples of groupthink. Wikipedia's NPOV is a bias, make no mistake. And just because you can "see" the bias of article editors, that doesn't mean that the bias of the "Wikipedians" is easier to find, define, or overcome. All this does is make one type of bias more obvious. That doesn't solve the problem.

        All content contains a bias. Knowing that is a good starting point for interpreting the content. This project is fine, as far as it goes. But implying (as you seem to) that somehow Wikipedia wonks are more trustworthy and less biased than other editors is, well, silly.

        There's no "bonus" here
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by plague3106 ( 71849 )
          All content contains a bias. Knowing that is a good starting point for interpreting the content. This project is fine, as far as it goes. But implying (as you seem to) that somehow Wikipedia wonks are more trustworthy and less biased than other editors is, well, silly.

          I don't buy that. I can say "the Chinese government killed student protesters at Tiananmen Square in 1989." There is no bias in that statement, its just a fact. Much of Wikipedia conforms to listing of dry facts, and areas that are speculat
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            the Chinese government killed student protesters at Tiananmen Square in 1989.

            actually, it can be said that statement has bias in it. first, you're implicating "the chinese government". who is that? the communist party as a whole? the military? the soldiers themselves who fired on the protesters?

            which brings me to the second point: student protesters. what were they protesting? you only protest if something is wrong, right?

            your "bias-free" sentence, which states nothing but the facts, absolutely has the underlying message: the chinese government [which is controlled by the opressive

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              What if someone was part of the perpetrating "Chinese government"? Could they not interpret the same sentence as follows?

              "the chinese government [which is controlled by the glorious people's communist party] killed [treasonous and criminal] student protesters [who wanted to undermine and likely overthrow our glorious leaders] at Tiananmen Square in 1989 [and they were entirely justified and indeed heroic for doing so]."

              While you and the GP (and I, and the vast majority on /.as well) read the original

        • by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <<aussie_bob> <at> <hotmail.com>> on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:32PM (#20226201) Journal
          You just get a different bias, and it's more difficult to figure out where that bias is coming into play.

          Do you understand what TFA is about?

          The whole point of a community resource like Wikipedia is to allow for multiple points of view, and by implication, multiple biases. As long as that's transparent and understood, it IS a bonus.

    • by StefanJ ( 88986 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:19PM (#20225989) Homepage Journal
      . . . their own truthiness?
  • TOR (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ArcadeX ( 866171 )
    How long before the savy ones start hiding? On another note I could also see this as a tool companies use to find wiki whistleblowers.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) *
      They don't need Tor, they could just create sockpuppet accounts like everyone else who trolls Wikipedia, and hide their IP that way.

      Also, most of the Tor endpoints are banned from editing Wikipedia (anonymously) due to abuse anyway.
    • A tool that allows you to edit from work ... but uses your home (probably dynamic) IP address.

      Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know it's easy. :)

      And that's the point. The smarter groups have probably already taken steps to hide their edits.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Call me cynical, but I fully expected companies to edit wiki entries that affect their public image.

      IMHO, the scary part is how pathetically stupid this particular company goes about it. One would hope that a company like Diebold knows a bit more about IT security. Just send an employee with a laptop to your local wifi coffee shop already. Jeez.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by click2005 ( 921437 )
        I think the ease with which their voting machines can be altered/hacked proves they don't know anything about IT security.
      • Re:TOR (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @01:25PM (#20226893)
        I don't call you cynical, I call you honest. Of course companies are expected to edit anything that affects their image. It's called "mitigation". If someone libels you by entering garbage about you into a wiki, if you are going to sue them effectively, you need to show how you mitigated the damage. If you don't do something simple that you can do, it looks like you really didn't care.

        Before wiki-anything can be considered more than just another biased source of info, the attitude that it is unethical for people to edit information about themselves (including companies) will have to change.

  • BS (Score:5, Funny)

    by kamapuaa ( 555446 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:00PM (#20225707) Homepage
    Yet another case of anti-Wikipedia prejudice. Diebold has been editing the content of Encyclopedia Britannica since at least the 7th edition, but the mainstream press never even bothers to report on *that* kind of thing!
  • by swid27 ( 869237 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:02PM (#20225753) Homepage

    One of the pages on my watchlist is Adrian Smith [wikipedia.org] (R - Nebraska, third district). About once a month, an anon IP or recently-created user account tries to whitewash his WP article by removing unflattering sourced details about his campaign contributors.

    If you want to follow along in the fun, view the article history [wikipedia.org].

  • Well that didn't take long... and I was just starting to enjoy myself.
  • by pzs ( 857406 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:04PM (#20225789)
    It's a bit of a pity that the more successful a source of information like Wikipedia becomes, the more likely it is that some twat is going to try and adopt it for their own ends.

  • Corporate IPs are too distinctive, so I must use the home IP, proxies or Tor. Oh wait, I'm not important enough to have anything to whitewash.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Oh wait, I'm not important enough to have anything to whitewash.

      Yeah, only the really important people are allowed to have picket fences...
  • open (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SolusSD ( 680489 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:10PM (#20225879) Homepage
    in many ways the wikipedia vs britannica debate is a lot like open vs closed source. One you know what changes are being made and can decipher intent, the other is anyone's guess. Wikipedia may have its shortcomings-- but at least we can see them.
  • by MSTCrow5429 ( 642744 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:13PM (#20225901)
    How about instead of going after corporate IP addresses, a study of the corrupted power structure, administrator abuses, and Linda Mack/Jayjg? The problems are not from IP address on the outside. The problem is that there are not and have never been any objective criteria for delegating power to accounts, and while I don't know if it's a majority or not, a very good plurality of administrators believe their purpose is to use their power to ensure articles reflect only their point of view, and anyone that tries to change that, even with multiple citations and sources, find themselves personally attacked wikilawyered, and often blocked. There is no system separate from the administrators to handle this kind of abuse, so it almost never is addressed. Sure, edits from organizational IP addresses can be annoying, but they wield no power in the system, and cannot hurt anyone. Administrators and bureaucrats, they have a bad habit of supporting vandals and trolls that are later banned by Wikipedia, and harassing users that have not been able to protect themselves by becoming administrators, as being elevated to administrator largely depends on the desires of the current administrators, who are very adept at gaming the system. It is almost impossible to become an administrator unless you have the same character flaws as those in power. It's the iron law of bureaucracy; those that seek power and only power, to the detriment of the organization, seize and hold power. Wikipedia is a failed experiment, it failed a long time ago due to structural deficiencies, and the attention it continues to receive is like a bad addiction on the part of internet users.
    • Failed? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by weston ( 16146 ) <<westonsd> <at> <canncentral.org>> on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:48PM (#20226429) Homepage
      By what standard?

      It has, in fact, become a generally useful source of information. It's useful as a starting point for real research. It is, in short, not at all a bad encyclopedia.

      It's influenced by its own organizational culture and editorial bias. Welcome to the story of every publication on the planet.
    • by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @09:40PM (#20232205) Journal

      For those who are interested, the author of the above comment (MSTCrow5429) has been blocked several times [wikipedia.org] on Wikipedia for making personal attacks on other editors.

      His current project appears to be shilling for Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma)'s [wikipedia.org] position denying anthropogenic climate change by citing out-of-date and rejected journal articles [wikipedia.org]. By so doing, he appears to be neglecting important Wikipedia policies demanding reliable sources [wikipedia.org] and requiring material be presented from a neutral point of view [wikipedia.org].

      Sour grapes much? While I certainly agree that there are aspects of Wikipedia that deserve both criticism and scrutiny, I am somewhat disinclined to trust the judgement of MSTCrow on this.

  • I suspect many of these edits are made by employees not acting on official instructions. Many of these people like where they work, or otherwise feel the need to defend their employer when the opportunity arises. These could just be well-intentioned but short-sighted employees acting unilaterally. If your company is large enough, you're bound to have at least one person able and willing to do something like this. You can't entirely fault the company for it.

    Though I imagine there will be some Wikipedia g
  • Having suffered through edit wars on Wikipedia with the hordes of partisans chopping out anything that could be remotely considered "uncomplimentary" (even when 100% true and backed up by references), I can attest to this wholeheartedly.

    What REALLY disheartened me though, was the fact that the PTBs watching these actions regarded the whitewashing as "NPOV"

    Wikipedia's okay until it comes to real, living people.

    Then everything goes completely out the window with regards to factuality and referential reliabili
  • by Skadet ( 528657 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:24PM (#20226065) Homepage
    Warning: mysql_connect() [function.mysql-connect]: Too many connections in /jizz4/web/wikipedia/docs/name2ip.php on line 154

  • Meta-encyclopedia (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bziman ( 223162 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:28PM (#20226117) Homepage Journal

    When I was in college, I took a history course in which we read three different books on slavery in the United States — one from the 1860s, one from the 1950s, and another from the 1990s. Obviously, they all had completely different spins on the reality of slavery. The goal of the assignment wasn't so much to learn about slavery as it was to learn about the three different time periods perception of slavery.

    I think that these "edits" can provide us an interesting insight into the real issues, and how the public perceives them, and how various invested parties would like the public to perceive them. As long as there is transparency to the edits (and clearly, there is), I think a lot can be learned from the edits themselves.


    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rbanffy ( 584143 )
      Maybe there should be some visible element depicting the last few significant changes. It's not enough that the data is available. It must be obvious to get and easy to understand.
  • by Peter Trepan ( 572016 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:31PM (#20226171)

    I'm glad someone added the slashdotliberalwhining tag.

    I can't tell you how much it bothers me when some whiny liberal drags out another tinfoil-hat theory about how "Big Business" is trying to manipulate public opinion by obfuscating facts, or how some (ooh!) big, scary police state is abusing its powers.

    We're an established first-world country with a tradition of freedom, and it's not as if we're ever going to slip into fascism like the Germany or Italy of last century, or into a police state like modern China or Russia, or into a gilded age aristocracy like every country in the Americas except the United States and Canada.

    So relax, whiny liberals. Such dangers are unheard of. If we seem to be slipping in any of those directions, just shut up and take it like a conservative - silently and complacently, without a doubt in your mind that no matter how badly things seem to be going, our superiors have things well in hand. Only losers whine about truth and decency. If you're a winner, you'll cheer for the winning side, no matter how repugnant its aims.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Reality has a liberal bias. -Steven Colbert
    • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:47PM (#20226411)

      I'm glad someone added the slashdotliberalwhining tag.

      I can't tell you how much it bothers me when some whiny liberal drags out another tinfoil-hat theory about how "Big Business" is trying to manipulate public opinion by obfuscating facts, or how some (ooh!) big, scary police state is abusing its powers.
      The scary thing is I'm not 100% convinced this is satire.
  • by Raul654 ( 453029 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:32PM (#20226187) Homepage
    I submitted it to the Wired blog, but it's worth sharing here: in March, I caught two SCO editors whitewashing Wikipedia. One did a massive chop-and-run [wikipedia.org] on the SCO article. The other was complaining [wikipedia.org] about the article on SCO's CEO, Darl McBride. I have checkuser - the ability to find the IP addressed used by logged in users. I found out that both of those users originated from SCO corporate IP addresses.
  • by TheGreatOrangePeel ( 618581 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:32PM (#20226189) Homepage
    ...and for the record, everyone in Germany from 1939-1945 was out on holiday.
  • by The Angry Mick ( 632931 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:37PM (#20226253) Homepage

    Now this was just silly . . .

    Someone deep inside the National Security Agency helpfully adds a line to the disambiguation page for "NSA." The addition: "National Softball Association".
  • Discovery Institute (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Raul654 ( 453029 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:53PM (#20226491) Homepage
    Does anyone happen to know the IP address range used by the Discovery Institute? They're constantly complaining about Wikipedia's Intelligent Design article, and related articles. I'd love to find out if they've been editing.
    • by Chapter80 ( 926879 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @01:24PM (#20226887)
      Why don't you ping their web server (Ping resolves the name to an IP address immediately). And do a NSLOOKUP on their mail server (MX record for the domain). Use dnsstuff.com to show the IPs that way. Then you'll get an idea of some of their IP's although they can be offsite, too.

      then do a tracrt to the IP addresses found. Add and subtract one, and see if it tracert's to approximately the same place. You may be able to get a good idea that way of the names and locations with reverse DNS being returned on the tracert. You should be able to compile a good guess at the range(s) that way. Then use the article in question to see if you can find any correlation.

  • It is all spin. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @01:05PM (#20226625) Homepage Journal
    Just about every Wikipedia article has a spin to it. People feel that it is unbiased only when it shares their bias. Even if it is 100% factual odds are that the author will present those facts the way that he or she sees them.
  • Company Pride (Score:5, Insightful)

    by superstick58 ( 809423 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @01:05PM (#20226629)
    It's possible that many of the edits are NOT deliberate corporate acts. Rather, I would imagine a prideful employee may see some controversial items in the article and would rather see them removed. I can see a situation where I uncover a defamatory comment about my company in wikipedia. I would likely interpret it as sensationalism or determine it to be minor compared to the accomplishments of my company. After all, why focus on a few minor negatives when the positives should shine through? Some may call it spin, but I could argue the "controversy" sections fit into the same category. So how does this relate to the article? Even dedicated employees need 15 min. break to browse wikipedia once in a while. So a random employee edits at work without any real company input and voila, slashdot labels the company as corrupt for having whitewashed the article.
    • A company consists of its employees. The thing about wikipedia of course is that it would treat any worker at the same level. A disgruntled programmer has the same level as the person responsible for the PR.

      Please do not edit articles about the company though. You might think of them as defamatory. Maybe it would be better to show somebody else the problem and ask them to look into it. Or, even better, show it to the PR department and let them contact an editor about it. If you change the article, be honest
  • by thue ( 121682 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @01:49PM (#20227163) Homepage
    Diploma mills [wikipedia.org] are frauds who give out realist looking university diplomas, complete with grade and course itemization, to anyone who will pay for them. No need to have any real knowledge or take any real courses, just as long as you can pay.

    Many of them try to justify it by saying that they evaluate the persons "life experience" to judge whether the person is worthy of the diploma, but in reality most of them just give the diplomas to anyone who pays the fees [wikipedia.org].

    It is pretty obvious that the diplomas are used by their buyers to get jobs for lying about their abilities, i.e. pretty much plain fraud.

    I noticed that the articles of diploma mills are frequent targets of whitewash (see fx this [wikipedia.org]). I don't know for certain who the whitewashers are, but I assume it is either the diploma mills themselves (most like), or people holding the diplomas and afraid to be exposed. Many of Wikipedia's articles rank highly in Google, so they are an important target.

    I have a number of diploma mills in my watchlist, and sometimes I have to revert whitewashing every day...
  • by molo ( 94384 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @01:53PM (#20227207) Journal
    Here's one that I found a while back. Brown Brothers Harriman, an investment bank, removed information linking them to Nazi Germany around 1940. They also removed information linking them to Prescott Bush, grandfather of G.W.Bush.

    edit 1 [wikipedia.org]
    edit 2 [wikipedia.org]

    The IP addresses can be confirmed to be from BBH with whois:

    OrgName: Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.
    OrgID: BBH
    NetRange: -
    NetName: BBHNET
  • by kinglink ( 195330 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @02:20PM (#20227603)
    Ok let's think about this for a minute. I edit Wikipedia. I'm editing an article on ... which is a likely title

    A. Legend of Zelda

    B. The mating habits of beetles.

    C. The list of solar systems that begin with B discovered in 1945.

    Well A. is the most likely, and that's my point. The people editing these articles HAVE interest in them. So Diebold got caught? No let's look at the edit and decide if it was acceptable (and likely it wasn't) but just because someone removes something that is related to them doesn't mean it's not a correct edit.

    It's not ok for Diebold to remove the offensive article's text, but if an employee of Diebold who got fired "unfairly" put it there that's ok? Are we now going to decide that a person having an interest in a topic is wrong. If all I edit is information about lockpicking does that mean I work at a lock manufacturer and thus can't be trusted?

    The whole point I'm trying to make is we need to look at the EDIT not the editor to decide if changes are fair. Wikipedia is community edited and some people are trying to say that if you're involved with the article's target you're not able to edit. So really should wikipedia be "community edited except for people who work with the article" or should we reevaluate the standards by which we point out "partisanship".

    Btw if you choose the second choice above that means we can't have any experienced people talk about the article which is the problem. If I own an iPhone I can't write about in wikipedia so all we then have is second hand experience with products and PR postings. Like I said the solution is to stop worrying about WHO edits wikipedia and instead focus on edits being done to wikipedia.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      That's a good point, but there is such a thing as being too close to a subject to provide proper NPOV, especially with controversial subjects such as most of those in TFA. A good contributor will recognize this and either distance themselves from the article, propose their edits or new sources on the talk page for someone else to go over and possibly add into the article (or at least start a discussion,) or - and this is the big one - at least make the edits from home or from a named account or something s

The trouble with computers is that they do what you tell them, not what you want. -- D. Cohen