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 | , | Leave a comment

I’m a Wikipedia contributor; I think

I’ve made a contribution to Wikipedia.  I wrote an article about the book “Naked Conversations” by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel.

Naked Conversations Wikipedia Page

Now I need your help For some unknown reason Wikipedia has posted my article for “Speedy Deletion” for notability reasons… I’m appalled.  So please go to wikipedia article for “Naked Conversations” and go to discussion page and argue for keeping this wikipedia page for this insightful book on business communications in the age of the blogosphere!  Don’t let my first post to wikipedia get shot down in flames, that would be a shame; to be shot down in flames.

Thanks for you help!!!

I must admit that even after reading all the Wikipedia help pages about posting etc I found it to be a very confusing process to create and post to Wikipedia.  I eventually, after much frustration, on a slow wifi connection, finished the post.  Perhaps posting to wikipedia is one of those things where you get better the more you do it.

 

 

Thanks

July 1, 2008 Posted by | social media | , , , , | 1 Comment

Wikis, powered by people; The more the merrier

During class last week we talked about Wikis and focused predominantly on Wikipedia. We did discuss some other wikis in class and our readings. But the question is; do you trust the information on a wiki; how could a wiki be set up to be more accurate; should a wiki be open to everyone or just “experts?” Today you can find wikis on many subjects. For example there is even one about “Star Wars” called Wookiepedia.

wookiepedia

I believe at some time President Ronald Regan said “trust but verify” as it related to the SALT II negotiations with the then Soviet Union. I actually like Wikipedia. However you need to verify the information in any given article. If you are relying on one source of primary or secondary research for a paper or article you’re most likely not going to produce a document of much depth. Wikipedia is certainly a great resource and it provides many links to other information on any given topic. So by all means go to Wikipedia, but like anything else verify what information you choose to use or believe. I went to Wikipedia and looked up the organization I work for. I was amazed that somebody had gone in and submitted articles, over a hundred, about many aspects of the organization. But he or she did very little secondary research about my organization. They basically just cut and pasted things from our website into the articles. Perhaps I should ask for another employee whose job would be to rewrite all those Wikipedia entries? Lol

I think that anybody should be able to edit a wiki, not just “experts.” The whole point of a wiki is that the information of hundreds is greater than that of one so-called “expert.” The great thing about a wiki is that is the contributions of all who are interested in any given subject makes the greater article better. For example an “expert” who writes a great technical article may not be a good writer. A non-expert in the subject but who understands grammar my edit the article to make it a better read without changing the content of the expert. Would you rather read a technically accurate article that is poorly written or well written? So yes there is opportunity for everyone to contribute to a wiki not just “experts.”

To be honest I don’t at this time have any ideas to make wikis better or to make the articles more accurate. It seems that the community of wiki content providers for Wikipedia is doing a good job of providing accurate articles and keeping the site safe from vandals. The story that Clay Shirky mentions in his book “Here Comes Everybody” about the “Los Angeles Times” and their attempt to create a wikitorial was funny. First because it was the “Los Angeles Times,” a windbag newspaper if there ever was one, and second that nobody cared enough about the “Times” or their editorials to delete the clearly malicious posts vandals made to the site. The Wikipedia community cares and doesn’t allow such vandalism to be on Wikipedia.

I’m generally amazed at how technically correct and more in depth Wikipedia articles are compared to traditional hard copy encyclopedias. People care enough about Wikipedia to write good articles and to remove incorrect, biased and mean spirited posts. As long as the Wikipedia maintains the current level of dedication in protecting the site I don’t think any new systems need to be added. Hopefully the Wikipedia community will continue to grow.

June 23, 2008 Posted by | social media | , , , , , | 1 Comment