Fun with Wiki Scanner! Senate and Congress wiki revisions

Thu, 2007-08-23 13:19Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

Fun with Wiki Scanner! Senate and Congress wiki revisions

Last week I highlighted a brilliant piece of programming called Wiki Scanner, which cross-reference known IP addresses with revisions to Wikipedia entries.

For example, an astute Wiki Scanner found that someone using a computer with an ExxonMobil IP address revised the entry for the Valdez oil spill. Whoever was using the ExxonMobil IP address edited the Valdez entry in a way that downplayed the environmental devastation it caused.

So here's some interesting things we've been able to find so far using Wiki Scanner:

Someone using an US Senate IP address made the following edit to the Wikipedia entry for “global warming:” (deleted text in red)

However, [[list of scientists opposing global warming consensus|qualified scientists]] contest the view that humanity's actions have played a significant role in increasing recent temperatures. Uncertainties do exist regarding how much climate change should be expected in the future, as well as how much natural cycles and solar variability play a role. There is a hotly contested political and public debate exists over what actions, if any, should be taken in light of global warming and economic costs associated with such actions.

Someone using an US Senate IP address changed the entry for Senator Ted Stevens to say:

“Stevens, once an avowed skeptic of [[anthropogenic climate change]], since the beginning of 2007 has been actively supporting legislation to combat climate change

Instead of:

Stevens, once an avowed skeptic of [[anthropogenic global warming]], since the beginning of 2007 has been actively supporting legislation to combat global warming.

Someone using an IP address registered to the US House of Representatives added the following line to the Wiki entry for “battery electric vehicle” and uses the auto-industry funded Competitive Enterprise Institute as the source:

“Some critics, however, contend that lack of consumer response and protection of copyrights were the reasons why the cars were destroyed and taken off the market. [See http://www.cei.org/gencon/003,05415.cfm]

While there weren't many revisions to terms relating to global warming and climate, someone with a Congress IP address spent an inordinate amount of time revising the Wikipedia entries for “dimples” and “cleft chin.”

On a more scandalous (and explicit) note, Congress IP addresses have been recorded making edits to the Wikipedia entries for “pegging,” “fluffing” and “Dick Nasty.”

Comments

I hadn’t heard of this. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

Ted Stevens, one of the longest serving senators of all time, from Alaska, was convicted last year on corruption charges, amidst several high profile corruption arrests of government officials.  He was accused of taking cash advance loans, home renovations, and other things and not reporting them on his tax information.  However, after the revealing of severe prosecutorial misconduct, Attorney General Eric Holder dropped the charges and nullified the conviction.  Federal Prosecutors involved with the scandal will doubtless need cash advance loans and a new job after dropping the ball big time with Ted Stevens.

[x]
Disruption

This is a guest post by Zach Roberts.

As a documentary producer, I watch more than my fair share of environmental protest documentaries — probably about 20 a year. And almost all of them have the same, vague message: we need to do something!

Their scenes re-play like a bad video montage in my mind: earnest young people speaking at podiums, boring climatologists rambling on about the coming end of the world, forest fires, melting ice shelves, you know how it goes. In the lefty journalism world, we call this “preaching to the choir.”

Then there's Disruption,...

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