Difference between revisions of "Submissions:2015/Vandalism"

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Revision as of 09:05, 20 August 2015

What is Vandalism?
Outreach Community
Type of submission
Workshop inclusion
Joseph L. Russell, Jr.
E-mail address
West Regal

On Wikipedia, vandalism is the act of editing the project in a malicious manner that is intentionally disruptive. Vandalism includes the addition, removal, or other modification of the text or other material that is either humorous, nonsensical, a hoax, or that is of an offensive, humiliating, or otherwise degrading nature.

Throughout its history, Wikipedia has struggled to maintain a balance between allowing the freedom of open editing and protecting the truth and accuracy of its information when false information can be potentially damaging to its subjects.[1] Vandalism is easy to commit on Wikipedia because anyone can edit the site,[2][3] with the exception of articles that are currently semi-protected, which means that new and unregistered users cannot edit them.[4]

Vandalism can be committed by either guest editors or those with registered accounts; however, a semi-protected or protected page can only be edited by auto-confirmed or registered Wikipedia editors, or administrators, respectively.[3] Frequent targets of vandalism include articles on hot and controversial topics, famous celebrities and current events.[5][6] In some cases, people have been falsely reported as having died. This has notably occurred to United States Senators Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd (both of whom are now deceased), and American rapper Kanye West (who is not deceased).[7]

The challenge from vandalism in Wikipedia was once characterized by the former Encyclopædia Britannica editor-in-chief Robert McHenry:[8][9] "The user who visits Wikipedia...is rather in the position of a visitor to a public restroom. It may be obviously dirty, so that he knows to exercise great care, or it may seem fairly clean, so that he may be lulled into a false sense of security. What he certainly does not know is who has used the facilities before him."

Fighting vandalism

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Other notable acts of vandalism

  • In 2006, Rolling Stone printed a story about Halle Berry based on false information from an act of Wikipedia vandalism.[10]
  • A person from Łódź was attacking Polish Wikipedia throughout 2006 and early 2007, inserting profanity and pictures of penises and anuses into pages (especially ones related with Catholicism or Polish politicians), without any reaction from his internet provider, Neostrada. The vandal's activity finished when he was deprived of his internet connection, but not before the entire city of Łódź had to be blocked from editing Wikipedia for three days.[11]
  • Professional golfer Fuzzy Zoeller sued a Miami company whose IP-based edits to the Wikipedia site included negative information about him.[12]
  • In May 2012, media critic Anita Sarkeesian created a Kickstarter project, intending to raise money to make a series of videos exploring sexism in digital gaming culture.[13] The idea evoked a hostile, misogynous response,[14] which included repeated vandalism of Sarkeesian's Wikipedia article with pornographic imagery, defamatory statements, and threats of sexual violence.[15] More than 12 anonymous editors contributed to the ongoing vandalism campaign before editing privileges were revoked for the page.[14]
  • In November 2012, the Leveson report—published in the UK by Lord Justice Leveson—incorrectly listed a "Brett Straub" as one of the founders of The Independent newspaper. The name originated from one of several erroneous edits by one of Straub's friends as a prank to Wikipedia by falsely including his name in several articles across the site. The name's inclusion in the report suggested that that part of the report relating to that newspaper had been cut and pasted from Wikipedia without sources first being checked.[16][17] The Straub issue was also humorously referenced in broadcasts of BBC entertainment current affairs TV programme Have I Got News for You (and extended edition Have I Got a Bit More News for You),[18][19] with The Economist also making passing comment on the issue: "The Leveson report...Parts of it are a scissors-and-paste job culled from Wikipedia".[20]
  • In July 2015, presidential candidate Donald Trump's entire Wikipedia page was deleted and replaced with the solitary sentence "Let's be fair, nobody cares about him."[21][22][23]

See also





Length of presentation
30-75 minute workshops with interactive examples and facilitation
Special schedule requests
Early in Sessions when contributors are fresh
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Interested attendees

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  1. Tokyogirl79 (talk) 05:04, 20 August 2015 (EDT)
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