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Wikipedia Gets More Transparent

Posted on 8.15.2007

Wikipedia is a wonderful thing. Scads of information is available on any given topic - from the elusive Tasmanian Devil to historical corporate information. However, Wikipedia is also rife with manipulation. And, unfortunately many take the information presented in Wikipedia as cold, hard fact. There's an old tongue-in-cheek saying in the magazine industry, "It must be true. I read it in a magazine." And that applies to the Interenet as well. But for Wikipedia users, a new tool allows a look into the edits and editors of the site.

Wikipedia Scanner, created by CalTech grad student Virgil Griffith, allows for users to search Wikipedia edits, past or present and discover who made the edits and when. In essence, you can edit, but you can't hide. So companies manipulating their information (or their competitors') can be exposed. It's a long time coming - with so many users reading, editing and relying on information from Wikipedia, it's only right that everyone should be able to run a sort of background check on the editor - all 2.6 million of them catalogued by Wikipedia.

Another tool in the accountability department is Wired's WikiWatch - a tool to identify and vote on the most glaring Wikipedia spin jobs.

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