Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wiki Scanner

There's been lots of press recently about this young German guy, Virgil Griffith, who created a program to figure out where anonymous wikipedia edits come from, Wiki Scanner. The results reveal many corporate and individual attempts to slant articles one way or another. For example, someone at Wal-Mart changed the line "Wages at Wal-Mart are about 20 percent less than at other retail stores" to "The average wage at Wal-Mart is almost double the federal minimum wage."

Examples are listed from a Wired article linked off the Wiki Scanner page. There is also a link to a Stephen Colbert segment talking about Wiki Scanner, in which he calles Wikipedia "Second Life for corporations," i.e. corporations can create their fantasy of reality there.

Wouldn't this make a great lesson in critical thinking about wikipedia articles?!

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