Mknac’s Weblog

Diving into the shallow pool of Web 2.0 and Social Media head first!

WikiScanner Report: Baltimore Ravens

WikiScanner is a relatively new tool, released in August 2007, that is a database of the millions of anonymous Wikipedia edits and where those edits originated. WikiScanner allows you to see the IP address of who is editing pages of any Wikipedia article. Essentially with WikiScanner you can tell where the IP address of editor is.

Knowing the IP address allows you to have an idea if that glowing/rabid article was written by the manufacturer, author or a disenfranchised psycho. I believe that ultimately WikiScanner will help to improve Wikipedia Articles by increasing the Neutral Point of View of Wikipedia articles. For example if positive remarks about an organization in an article is traced to the organization the article is about then that Wikipedia entry won’t have much merit.

I was thinking about the upcoming NFL season and how my Baltimore Ravens would do, so I thought why not do my Wiki Scanner report on the Ravens. As you might expect, with a national sports team, the Wikipedia Baltimore Ravens article had hundreds of changes. I focused on looking at the three users who combined for 66 edits to Wikipedia’s Ravens article.

Comcast Cable Communications Inc (Huntingtown, Maryland) – 34

Comcast Cable Communications Inc (Arlington, Virginia) – 18

Verizon Internet Services Inc (Baltimore, Maryland) – 14

At the Huntington, Md site where 34 edits were made there are only two listed IP addresses. I’m guessing the same person made all those edits using two different computers. At the Arlington and Baltimore sites there were multiple IPs listed so its unlikely that it the same person as at Huntington.

The vast majority of changes where the type of changes you would expect on a sports team. There were edits to the team’s season/individual statistics, head coaches, players, history etc. The vast majority of the changes to the Ravens site were stright forward. With NFL statistics there isn’t much room for interpretation. It is what it is. You ran for 100 yards or threw 2 touchdown passes no more no less.

Where it gets a little sticky is history sections about the Ravens or predictions about future seasons and the quality of drafts etc. Generally I thought these sections were well balanced. I could see where these users had removed vandalism to the article in these less factual areas. Can you believe somebody would say something bad about the Ravens? Must be those damn shittsburgh stealers fans or the pumpkin heads again!!!! (The pumpkins still haven’t gotten over it but they did steal my favorite xRaven, Jamal Lewis, last year!)

Although there are edits to page from all over the U.S. the vast majority of the changes were all made from the local area here in the MD/VA/DC area. With the NFL increasing its presence in overseas markets I thought I would see some edits from IP addresses outside the U.S. I expected at the least that perhaps some military NFL fans stationed overseas might have made edits. However there no obvious overseas IP addresses.

I did notice that WikiScanner didn’t show any 2008 changes. For example the Ravens hired a new head coach in 2008 and the article has the correct coach and our number 1 draft pick from the April 2008, QB Joe Flacco, is also listed as being on the team roster. I did make an edit myself to the Ravens article but was unable to find it with Wikiscanner. So I’m not sure why recent edits are not showing up because the site seems up to date.

I didn’t find any smoking guns in the Ravens article. Although the editors were most likely Ravens fans it doesn’t appear as though the NFL or the Ravens are trying to manipulate Wikipedia articles about the Ravens to make them positive. There were some vandalism attempts but I guess that any national level sports team with a Wikipedia article may have fans from rival teams try to add negative comments. I wonder what the Red Sox fans try to add to the Yankee’s page and vice versa?

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July 6, 2008 - Posted by | social media | ,

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