Sunday, August 19, 2007


Wikipedia Scanner

Virgil Griffith a graduate student from Caltech wrote a program that reveals who edits Wikipedia articles, via a system where it scans the I.P address and cross-references it with the I.P. directory. Here is how the reported it.

As soon as the software was launched on the internet, chaos erupted. Among many revelations, Wikipedia Scanner reported that:

- Microsoft tried to cover up the XBOX 360 failure rate

- Apple edit Microsoft entries, adding more negative comments about its rival

- Bill Gates revenge? Microsoft edits Apple entries, adding more negative comments about its rival

- The Vatican edits Irish Catholic politician Gerry Adams page

- In the 9/11 Wikipedia article, the NRA added that “Iraq was involved in 9/11”

- Exxon Mobil edits spillages and eco-system destruction from oil spillages article

- FBI edits Guantanamo Bay, removing numerous pictures

- Oil company ChevronTexaco removes informative biodiesel article and deletes a paragraph regarding fines against the company

- Scientology removes criticism and negatives article from Scientology page.

In the Wikipedia entry on the scanner Jimmy Wales commented:

"It's awesome -- I love it...It brings an additional level of transparency to what's going on at Wikipedia...[Wikipedia Scanner] uses information we've been making publicly available forever, hoping someone would do something like this."


Fine more about the Wikipedia scanner

Virgil Griffith's homepage

Wired article

wikipedia entry


Anonymous said...

This is pretty interesting staff, especially about the Exxon and Biodiesel (you probably know, I'm quite interested in Biodiesel). Some interesting ideas spring to mind -- what is there was a widget that could tell you who added this particular sentence as you mouseover it (of course I'm talking about wiki pages).

Wiki is a great concept, but it has some flaws, which need to be perfected. I'm thinking about what Nietzsche and Foucault said about Authorship and Authority. I mean Wiki pages can only be factual and they simulate 2objectivity", but there it cannot question factuality and objectivity as such, precisely because a wiki does not allow for theoretical knowledge -- it effect it participated in what Foucault called "episteme" of the epoch and in effect participates in the production of both knowledge AND the reification of the notions of factuality and objectivity.
Wiki is definitely a new step in the mode of content production -- and therefore a new step in the mode of production of knowledge, but given it's structurality it is incapable of a subversive inversion of the episteme.
What I'm thinking about at the moment (and this thinking is very technical in a sense of "what kind of code and grammar could I use") is a how could a Wiki be rethought in a way that it would expand into theoretical knowledges and in time subvert the discursive continuum of the episteme.
The problems that I 'm encountering along the way are more philosophical questions about sovereignty, grammatology and the confines of langauage. As well as a whole bunch of psychoanalitic questions. But I have some great hopes for a kind of communication that leaps into praxis an praxeology... maybe some kind of communication that is more "dynamic"... This last statement is probably very confusing, and maybe doesn't make much sense... so I better stop here.


MatthewWilliams said...

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