John Borland, Wired, See Who’s Editing Wikipedia – Diebold, the CIA, a Campaign: “On November 17th, 2005, an anonymous Wikipedia user deleted 15 paragraphs from an article on e-voting machine-vendor Diebold, excising an entire section critical of the company’s machines. While anonymous, such changes typically leave behind digital fingerprints offering hints about the contributor, such as the location of the computer used to make the edits.”
The data is available to search at List anonymous wikipedia edits from interesting organizations.
How do you properly attribute authorship to a collective work? Or does that go against the wiki-ethos, even if it means that articles are less likely to have a “neutal viewpoint.” If the Wikimedia Foundation ever needs to raise money, it could auction the rights “last edits” for articles for a certain period of time to the highest bidder. If such biased edits were published with attribution, those astroturf articles might be more honest and attributable sources than the more subtly biased “neutral viewpoint” articles.
This anecdote from law student blogger Above Supra perfectly captures the problem with Wikipedia as a source. DIY Sources:
“The other day I was working on my draft of an amicus brief. I had to begin by explaining some fundamentals of the internet, such as describing the difference between a static and dynamic IP address (I’ve changed the facts to protect the innocent). I’ve read cases where the judge footnoted to a Wikipedia article, so I checked out the Wiki definition of the terms I wanted to use. As it happened, the definitions didn’t adequately cover the issue.
“What did I do? Naturally, I signed into my Wiki account and edited the entry. Only then did the absurdity of citing to a ‘customizable source’ hit home.
“Needless to say, I didn’t use Wikipedia as a source for the brief.”
In a 2006 paper, Ken Myers discusses fitting Wikipedia into the §230 safe harbor, Wikimmunity: Fitting the Communications Decency Act to Wikipedia: “In the wake of the Seigenthaler biography controversy, many commentators suggested that Wikipedia should be able to escape liability for defamatory content pursuant to the immunity provided for in 47 U.S.C. Section 230(c)(1), enacted by Congress as part of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Unfortunately, those commentators do not provide a detailed roadmap to that conclusion.”