Diebold deletes Diebold-critical material from Wikipedia

Story here, in Wired.

But it took almost two years for anybody to catch on. Thanx is due to CalTech grad student Virgil Griffith, who built the Wikipedia scanner to track this kind of edits via their originating IP.

Of course, it occurs to me that this could still be done undetected – an exec would just have to make the desired edits from an anonymous terminal at a public library or cybercafe.

The endless struggle between defensive and offensive capabilities continues.

While I don’t doubt that businesses and politicians do edits to make themselves look good (or less bad), they are also the targets of garbage postings by enemies with axes to grind.

Awhile back on GD I noted a case where the head of a anti-medical fraud website was the subject of a largely unflattering Wikipedia bio, which (it turned out) had been heavily edited by an opponent involved in a bitter lawsuit with this man.

Wikipedia’s system of anonymous editing makes it a highly suspect source when it comes to controversial subjects. Lots of people apparently want to create alternate realities to suit themselves.


Coming up after the break, bear reported shitting in the woods, we send our channel 12 investigative team to get the INSIDE STORY. :rolleyes:

Wikipedia periodically has to block congressional addresses from editing Wiki pages b/c of the partisan bullshit that congressional offices pull on each other. Linky-loo.

So? They have the same right to edit wiki as we do. They likely thought the material was not factual or backed with cites (and that could well be true), so they edited it.

More like asshole fraudulent corporation vandalizes.

Tomorrow’s news story?

“Controversial Edits to Wikipedia Entries Made Through Anonymous Proxy Servers”

IIRC, doesn’t Wiki keep a copy of the edited versions and such?

They keep all kinds of older versions; you can go back through them and look at the changes. I’m not sure if they have a limit on how many changes are archived.

Quite a few. In fact, you can take a look at the edits in question. Interestingly, it looks like the Wikipeople were on the ball, the timeline goes something like:
10:20 PM: Someone from Diebold deletes criticism.
10:21 PM: The same Diebold person deletes more unflattering material.
10:21 PM: A Wikipedian restores the deleted material.
10:21 PM: The same Diebold person deletes more unflattering material.
10:22 PM: The same Wikipedian restores the deleted material.
10:24 PM: The same Diebold person re-deletes all the unflattering material.
10:25 PM: The same Wikipedian restores the deleted material.
10:30 PM: Someone else (probably the same Diebold person, now with a username) re-deletes all the unflattering material.
10:40 PM: Another Wikipedian restores the deleted material.

…And then, apparently, the Diebold person gives up. So we’re talking about a twenty-minute span here, after which everything was exactly like it was before.

OK we have Dems targetting Limbaugh, the CIA cleaning up Reagan’s article and Diebold trying to make themselves look good. And high school students wonder why their teachers won’t let them use Wikipedia as a reference in the bibliography of their reports? As long as anyone can edit an article then you can never have [del]Fair and Balanced[/del] objective and accurate information. I could probably get better facts from The Onion.

Woo! That’s my buddy, Virgil, who wrote that. He also got in trouble for blowing a hole in Blackboard a few years back and exposing some serious security vulnerabilities. Glad to see he’s doing great things.

Penny Arcade says it all.



Unspeakable Vault

Update: Fox News caught editing Al Franken’s Wikipedia entry.

Well, bear in mind that many reports are done on non-controversial topics, not current politics. I daresay that someone writing about One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest would be able to rely on Wikipedia for some information. Iran-Contra, maybe not so much.

It appears some journalist at the NY Times changed “pianist” to “penis” here.


And it appears a journalist at the BBC changed Bush’s middle name to “wanker” here.


Looks like somebody from the UN called the late Orianna Falacci a “racist whore”.


I ask this out of honest curiosity, but based on the phrasing of what you posted, do you feel outrage at the Democratic Party insultingly editing Limbaugh’s entry, and calling his listeners “legally retarded?”

Yes. (But, in all honesty, outrage mixed with smirking . . . )