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Wiki wars
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wikipedia may be a convenient place on-line to look up some certain topics and get a start on your research, it probably isn't the best resource for facts pertaining to current politicians.

Today, for example, we have some apparent proof that members of the New York Times staff have been editing the profile of George W. Bush and Condi Rice. OTOH we have apparent proof that members of Fox News have been found to be editing Al Franken's biography (why they'd bother remains a mystery).

All of this proof is a result of Wiki Scanner, a search engine developed to find out who or what organizations have been editing the particular Wiki entry. Of course you can get around that by not signing in and editing anonymously. The point however is believe only what you can verify through other sources on political profiles and any subject for which there is partisan contention. And, yes, that would include any Wiki entry for John Kerry.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

What children all of them are.

Some people just need to be slapped.
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Just a thought, here:

I’ve done some homework, on this last night, and this morning. (Yes, another late night for me)

Uniformly, the IP addresses listed as being the editors in these attacks, are forward facing firewalls, with, as you might expect, no INTERNAL ID. Say, a MAC address, for example.

Spoofing IP addresses... IE; making the receiving end think that you are on a network you are not on, is not all that unusual a trick. Being in information technology myself, I can tell you that I have seen it in play more than once... in particular in the banking environment. (The attempts at access in that case were not successful. ) The possibility of one or more people spoofing such addresses in an effort to stir up a little trouble seems rather good.

But that that raises the question of what third party would be interested in causing all this uproar? The patterns of attack, thus far, would seem to suggest that the first targets for editing, were conservatives. They were also the most numerous. The more recent attacks on Al Franken’s entry... allegedly from inside the network at Fox news, could be taken as an attempt to muddy the water. My guess, based on those reported patterns, is some independent agent, or agents, with a leftist lean .

In reality, who knows? Not I.

Given that most IT departments, including the more knowledgeable ones, don’t have a hope in hell of understanding the security data that their firewall is giving them, I suppose we never will know, either.
Written By: Bithead
Bithead is right about the IP spoofing. Of course that assumes someone would want to go to the trouble. But just because I can’t believe it’s worth the effort means nothing. Someone else may feel that it’s well worth the time wastage.

As for me - wiki’s are the last place I look for information about a politician - even one I don’t like. I’m not sure that any of the information is good. I prefer to use other sources.
Written By: Teresa
As someone who spends a little time editing biographies of controversial living people I can tell you it is definitely the weakest part of the wikipedia. They either read like the canonization of a saint or a litany of terrible evils.

Also I think you are a little off on the purpose of the wikipedia scanner.

You say "Of course you can get around that by not signing in and editing anonymously"

The point is that this matches anonymous IPs with IP ranges of known entities. It is specifically to find out who the anonymous edits are coming from. In actuality if you log in and register it no longer displays your IP making the wikiscanner unable to do a lookup of your IP.

Basically its a cool trick and has probably exposed random people at work making "whitewashes." Anyone who really wants to systematically bias the wikipedia would be more sophisticated.

Also you would have to look at how long these edits remain. If someone adds erroneous information to a politicians site it gets removed pretty da+n quick. The half life for a lot of these deletions, insertions, and whitewashes is probably pretty short. Anonymous edits are seen with a sort of jaundiced eye by most veteran editors.
Written By: Afischer
URL: http://
. Of course that assumes someone would want to go to the trouble
I think that’s a fair assumption, given what we understand about the hacker mindset, and about liberal politics in general.

Otherwise unmotivated hackers, would consider the idea fun. Liberal hackers would consider it a moral imperative.
Written By: Bithead

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