Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Editing Wikipedia

One of the best features of the web, in my opinion, has been Wikipedia. A free, non-profit repository of information that's editable by the public -- that's revolutionary. It allows access to information to anyone with access to the Web, which is quite a powerful thing.

Wired has just published an article about a Cal Tech grad student who has been trying to track anonymous changes -- "Wikipedia Scanner -- the brainchild of Cal Tech computation and neural-systems graduate student Virgil Griffith -- offers users a searchable database that ties millions of anonymous Wikipedia edits to organizations where those edits apparently originated, by cross-referencing the edits with data on who owns the associated block of internet IP addresses."

This is brilliant! An example: " [Someone at] Voting-machine company Diebold ... apparently deleting long paragraphs detailing the security industry's concerns over the integrity of their voting machines, and information about the company's CEO's fund-raising for President Bush."

This is great because it adds some accountability and makes it more difficult to control the flow of information without having people know that you're trying to do it. Well done!

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