Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Look whose making edits now

This BBC story discusses a tool called Wikipedia Scanner, which harvests some of the traffic on the site and sources edits by their IP address. Of course, there are ways around leaving these kinds of tracks (e.g. spoofing) but I'm willing to be there's a fair amount of accurate data out there.

So my favorite highlight was that an entry on Rush Limbaugh's audience reads
Most of them are legally retarted

I think this story is interesting on a couple of levels. For one, it's probable that CIA employees, someone in the Vatican, and folks in the private sector have edited Wikipedia entries that do things like impact their public image or relate to their work (with notable exceptions like CIA-sourced edits on Oprah Winfrey, unless . . . . nah couldn't be). So if there were any doubts before about the quality, importance, and relevance of Wikipedia then they've got to be diminishing by now.

The other thing that's interesting is peer review for topics that are steeped in controversy. Who do you pick to manage the page on Rush Limbaugh for instance? Clearly I would be a poor choice, as I do tune into the show sometimes (in spite of my mediocre mental faculties) for the comedic value--but I don't tend to laugh with Rush, more at him. At the same time I can think of several friends who would be an equally poor choice for the opposite reason, they love the show and nod right along with him when he talks about the environment being "just a political issue". And let me tell you he's spot on because Ralph Nader has ridden that horse all the way to the White House.

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