Can Wikipedia Solve the Vandalism Problem?

Update: Hi Wikipedians. This post was cited as a reason for an “indefinite block” and now has taken top spot on my blog for most read page. In the few hours it was up, I’ve had over 100 hits from Wikipedia alone.

Update 2: Hi Tosh Fans. If you’re here to help fix the Daniel Tosh page, this post is for you.

Today, I engaged in one of my favorite leisure activites: wikipedia vandalism.

Wikipedia has a fairly strict policy against vandals – you get banned by account name first, then by hostname, then my IP. The obvious thing to do, since most of the wikipedia people have no idea how the world wide waste works, is to simply keep registering accounts. Combined with Gmail’s M4 support (try adding +1 to the end of your mail address, as in and it defeats all the automatic multiple registration protections. This works well for awhile if you enjoy vandalizing casual, back woods articles but it’s important to make changes stick, especially when going for the holy trolling grail of getting on the wikipedia-on-DVD. HOW CAN WE USE THE POWER OF THE ANDROID FOR EVIL?

Well, the obvious thing to do is to grab a proxy list and get into an edit war. People who take wikipedia seriously as an authoratative source tend to avoid 3 revert violations. All you need to do is get them into a situation where they would be the third revert and they tend to just leave it go. Remember, each time you revert an article from a new IP, it’s a fresh revert count. Each time they revert the article from their account, it’s a strike against them. They could ask for mediation, but pop culture articles and the like tend to simply be let go. The problem is that most proxy lists which would enable three anonymous edits and thus brick out a “real” identity are banned since wikipedia has those lists too. Wikipedia doesn’t care about if they actually work, they just scape the lists every so often and ban the entries wholecloth. We need some other way of getting new IPs without having 100 cable modems at our disposal. Enter the skyhook. It’s a google service, the rest of you can use Wigle but it’s the same thing. If you’re using skyhook on the droid it’s as simple as hitting the checkbox and it’ll use skyhook data to connect to wifi. Wigle gives you a more manual process but it shows you the same thing.

Pop open that browser, hit the link at the bottom for “full site” and revert away!

Things get slightly stickier when you’re going for semi-protected articles. Recently I tried to vandalize Daniel Tosh. I’m not sure why he’s semi protected but whatever. Here’s where patience counts. Make a legit account, make a few helpful edits, and then forget about it for a month. Do this about five times from your skyhooked or Wigle’d device and forget about them for a month. You’ll end up autoconfirmed when you come back. Pick a page and vandalize the life out of it. Your changes will be rolled back, but get into an edit war with a user. Eventually your user will be banned. From different IPs be sure you keep up editing it, but from the same IPs be sure to appeal your block. Remember, it’s Wikipedia and common opinion always wins, even if it’s wrong. If enough people say something, substantiated or not, it becomes the truth. In Staegenthaller’s case there, the valdalism was widely regarded as truthy, and cited in the news, which made it citeable in Wikipedia, and thus the truth is made by popular opinion.

The truth is out there.


3 thoughts on “Can Wikipedia Solve the Vandalism Problem?

  1. Skyhook is just a service used by Android (and other mobile OS’s) to provide location data based on WiFi SSIDs. Infact, they are currently suing Google, so not sure for how long it will be available on your phone. Are you sure it allows you to connect to random, unsecured networks as well?

  2. Yeah the option is under “wireless networks”. I’m sure if they sue google into removing it, I’ll toss it into the “stuff to re-enable” list. The default is just to notify you of open networks, with skyhook enabled it seems to just connect automatically. Sometimes this is a bad thing, it seems like more often than not supermarkets and other places with a mobile cash register have wifi, but it only talks to their credit card gateway. On a mobile phone this isn’t particularly useful.

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