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Wikipedia Infiltrated by Intelligence Agents?

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the super-seekrit-spy-stuff dept.

The Internet 428

An anonymous reader writes "International Humanitarian Law professor Ludwig Braeckeleer thinks so. In an article published yesterday in the Korean newspaper OhMyNews, he reveals a discovery he made while researching a story on the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland. It turns out that a Wikipedia administrator named SlimVirgin is actually Linda Mack, a woman who as a young graduate in the 1980s was hired by investigative reporter Pierre Salinger of ABC News to help with the investigation. Salinger later came to believe that Mack was actually working for Britain's MI5 on a mission to investigate the bombing and to infiltrate and monitor the news agency. Shortly after her Wikipedia identity was uncovered, many of her edits to articles related to the bombing were permanently removed from the database in an attempt to conceal her identity. This discovery comes only months after another Wikipedia admin was caught lying about his credentials to the press. What can Wikipedia do about those who would use it for their own purposes?"

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Transparency (3, Interesting)

RunFatBoy.net (960072) | about 7 years ago | (#20016543)

So maybe the question becomes, should those who contribute more (I don't know what the threshold would be) be required to reveal more personal identification details in order to ensure some level of transparency?

Jim
http://www.runfatboy.net/ [runfatboy.net] - A workout plan for beginners.

Anonymous Cowards unite (0, Troll)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | about 7 years ago | (#20016563)

I'm sure that, if you all gang up on this Ludwig the way you gang up on me, you can convince him that he's just a conspiracy theorist hiding his own personal failings.

Where the FUCK is iLife '07??? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20016601)

Come ON you homosexual deviants in Cupertino. QUIT FUCKING AROUND and update your fucking software every so often. You mincing faggots are worse than Debian...

Re:Anonymous Cowards unite (-1, Troll)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | about 7 years ago | (#20016627)

How is pointing out the Slashdot solution to Mr. Ludwig's obvious conspiracy paranoia considered a "troll"?

Is the mod suggesting that I haven't had at least two, if not five, people following up nearly each and every one of my posts over the last six months with "you're just a conspiracy nutcase!" and "it's all your own fault!" without providing any real information, or even original ideas, of their own?

Wake up and smell the damn coffee. This is _*REAL*_.

Dude, You are a nutcase. (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 7 years ago | (#20016667)

Anybody who has any doubt should look at his posting history.

BTW do you do anything besides hanging on /. all day?

Re:Anonymous Cowards unite (1)

doombringerltx (1109389) | about 7 years ago | (#20016671)

There is obviously a huge, slashdot-wide conspiracy against you!

Re:Anonymous Cowards unite (-1, Troll)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | about 7 years ago | (#20016725)

Oh, see, now you're just being silly. I said two to five people. You're just exaggerating for the purpose of making the point seem ridiculous. A "slashdot-wide" conspiracy would, obviously, be ridiculous. Two to five people, however, is not.

But that's how the ACs have done it all along. Take everything I say, exaggerate it to enormous proportions, and then ridicule the exaggeration. Works every time.

Glad to see you took the time out to use an account, though.

Re:Anonymous Cowards unite (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20016793)

It's a three to six person campaign now.

SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Re:Anonymous Cowards unite (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20017009)

Make that a four to seven campaign.

Re:Anonymous Cowards unite (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20017023)

make that a five to eight person campaign, now.
  BAN THE BUM!

Re:Anonymous Cowards unite (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20017135)

As a prominent AC poster, I am wondering how many of you are actually him trying to prove a point that only exists in his mind. I mean could he really just think he is spreading a conspiracy in order to advance his own conversation with himself.

Is there a name for someone who thinks everyone is out to get them and have everyone be multiple instances of him? How do we know he isn't me and I'm asking the same? Maybe we should check his credentials to make sure he isn't an AC too.

-- When I sleep I do amazing things. Or that is what I have been told by some unamazing people.

Re:Anonymous Cowards unite (1)

poopdeville (841677) | about 7 years ago | (#20017257)

Is there a name for someone who thinks everyone is out to get them and have everyone be multiple instances of him? /b/

Re:Anonymous Cowards unite (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20017551)

That's just Will Smith with a T3 connection.

Re:Anonymous Cowards unite (1)

gr3kgr33n (824960) | about 7 years ago | (#20016749)

how is pointing out that pointing out the Slashdot solution to Mr. Ludwig's paranoia considered a "troll"? My head hurts now

Re:Transparency (4, Funny)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 7 years ago | (#20016813)

So maybe the question becomes, should those who contribute more (I don't know what the threshold would be) be required to reveal more personal identification details in order to ensure some level of transparency?


I have a better idea. Rather than an appeal-to-personal-authority based approach, maybe Wikipedia could adopt some policies regarding verifiability of claims, so as not to rely on the personal credibility of the submitter.

Re:Transparency (5, Informative)

sepluv (641107) | about 7 years ago | (#20016943)

I have a better idea. Rather than an appeal-to-personal-authority based approach, maybe Wikipedia could adopt some policies regarding verifiability of claims, so as not to rely on the personal credibility of the submitter.
Which, in case you weren't been sarcastic, is exactly how Wikipedia does work. Stuff that isn't common knowledge having to be referenced is the cardinal rule of Wikipedia. See the Wikipedia:Verifiability (WP:V) [wikipedia.org] policy.

Also, the founder, Jimmy Wales, has commented many a time on the fact that Wikipedians should just remove unreferenced statements that are potentially controversial or that someone disagrees with.

In Wikipedia, appeals to personal authority don't work at all, unlike Britannica, which bases its entire approach on these. They are at either end of these extremes, andf both work to some extent. Being in the middle would like not work at all.

Re:Transparency (3, Interesting)

Richard Steiner (1585) | about 7 years ago | (#20017261)

How does Wikipedia handle topics (like certain forms of proprietary technology) where the only published data sources might only exist in non-public forms (e.g., vendor manuals), or may not exist in published form at all anymore (e.g., out of print vendor manuals)?

Re:Transparency (3, Informative)

networkBoy (774728) | about 7 years ago | (#20017305)

I would assume you could still reference the manual, even though it isn't widely available, others may have access and could verify. Similar to me referencing Nature, Lancet, or Science News.
-nB

Re:Transparency (3, Interesting)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 7 years ago | (#20017455)

Which, in case you weren't been sarcastic, is exactly how Wikipedia does work. Stuff that isn't common knowledge having to be referenced is the cardinal rule of Wikipedia.

And that's been one of the key problems I've had with the Wikipedia from the beginning... Common knowledge to who ? Just because it's not common knowledge J. Random User, doesn't mean it's not common knowledge to a smaller more specialized community.
 
Heck, I was reading some articles on Pokemon last night (watched the cartoon out of boredom, decided to learn more), and very few statements presented as facts had any references - maybe they are common knowledge to Pokemon fans, but not to me. On the flip side, numerous edits I made to specialized articles that contained material that was common knowledge among folks active in that field were reverted because I couldn't provide a reference. Others were reverted because my reference was an extremely specialized $120 book - which contradicts the material available on the web.

Bending Transparency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20017499)

"In Wikipedia, appeals to personal authority don't work at all, unlike Britannica, which bases its entire approach on these. They are at either end of these extremes, andf both work to some extent. Being in the middle would like not work at all."

Maybe because a lot of Britannica articles are written by the expert authorities themselves, so an appeal to personal authority wouldn't be out of line. And for those that aren't they do reference (or consult with) the authority just like any academic device would.

Multiplicity through Freedom yeilds Truth. (1)

twitter (104583) | about 7 years ago | (#20017087)

should those who contribute more (I don't know what the threshold would be) be required to reveal more personal identification details in order to ensure some level of transparency?

Freedom yields truth. There is great incentive for contributors to identify themselves. Part of the reward for editing is recognition. Truth, however, requires anonymity and multiplicity. Freedom gives you as much truth as is possible and restrictions, licenses and all that reduce it.

Just as there need to be multiple, independent news organizations, there needs to be multiple independent organizations providing what Wiki does. The reason ABC, BBC and others broadcasters are suspect is because there are so few of them. It's easy to corrupt a small number of organizations. Imagine every University in the world, every high school even, running it's own Wikipedia. That kind of network would be impossible to corrupt.

How do you do that? That's where freedom comes in again. Wikipedia is free, so everyone can copy what they want. University departments and news organizations can independently decide who they trust and who to copy. In a system like that, bad eggs can be tossed out and MI5, North Korean Communists and other bully boys will have more than they can do.

Re:Transparency (2, Funny)

Monchanger (637670) | about 7 years ago | (#20017481)

How do you see that working? Do you think there's any kind of "personal identification detail" that Wikipedia would use that MI5 couldn't forge for such an operation?

>> What can Wikipedia do about those who would use it for their own purposes?

The answer to the question is very simple: Infiltrate MI5.

I'm sorry to bring up the old fighting fire cliche, but that's how counter-intelligence works. Well, using that and disinformation. Which do you think is more in line with Wikipedia's goal?

Re:Transparency (1)

nthwaver (1019400) | about 7 years ago | (#20017549)

So maybe the question becomes, should those who contribute more (I don't know what the threshold would be) be required to reveal more personal identification details in order to ensure some level of transparency?
This might apply to simple misinformation, but not when previous edits are actually removed from the database. In the first case, their data loses credibility, but in this case even their metadata can't be trusted. It's much worse.

The reason wikipedia works despite rogue users is the odds that vandalism will be corrected because the whole world is watching. That model can't compensate for mischief by administrators with direct database access.

A better question... (4, Insightful)

nevali (942731) | about 7 years ago | (#20016559)

...would be "is there a major web-site which doesn't have a presence from at least one intelligence agency?"

Comment 20016559 has been deleted. (4, Funny)

bdesham (533897) | about 7 years ago | (#20016647)

Nothing to see here, please move along.

Mod parent up. (1)

wanderingknight (1103573) | about 7 years ago | (#20017383)

I laughed.

Re:A better question... (1)

toddhisattva (127032) | about 7 years ago | (#20016651)

A better question would be "is there a major web-site which doesn't have a presence from at least one intelligence agency?"

And that's just accounting for those in the open!

Re:A better question... (4, Funny)

Qaa (53417) | about 7 years ago | (#20017113)

No, we can't be everyw... No wait: Nothing, you know nothing!

Re:A better question... (1)

rk (6314) | about 7 years ago | (#20017153)

I can neither confirm nor deny that.

I sure hope not (3, Insightful)

Quadraginta (902985) | about 7 years ago | (#20017473)

Good golly, if my country's intelligence services are not monitoring every major web site (plus a lot of obscure minor web sites of which I've never heard), then they're incompetent idiots and I want them all shot, or at least fired.

If they want to contribute true information to Wikipedia out of their own knowledge, well that's nice. If they want to contribute false information to Wikipedia for some obscure reason -- to fox the opposition, I guess, who are clueless newbs who believe anything they read on the 'net -- then that's an annoying waste of my tax dollars, but hardly seems worth raising a fuss over. If the Wikipedia has to rely on the honesty of every last J. Random Web User -- if they can't easily detect a nontrivial campaign of deliberate falsehood -- then they're clearly doomed. Because I can think of many groups other than "intelligence services" who would be very interested in easily spreading disinformation via a trusted source.

I read it on wikipedia (4, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | about 7 years ago | (#20016579)

This discovery comes only months after another Wikipedia admin was caught lying about his credentials to the press.

This sort of thing is a compounding issue. In fact, this sort of activity has tripled in the last six months. I read that on wikipedia somewhere.

Don't be confused. (1)

twitter (104583) | about 7 years ago | (#20017163)

this sort of activity has tripled in the last six months. I read that on wikipedia somewhere.

I think you are remembering a CNN, CW, or M$NBC story. You know, the people who continue to tell you free software, free encyclopedias, free textbooks, and freedom itself are unpossible.

Re:I read it on wikipedia (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | about 7 years ago | (#20017365)

this sort of activity has tripled in the last six months.

Clearly you are referring to the Elephants [wikiality.com] .

This sort of thing is a pounding issue. In fact, this sort of activity has been trampled in the last few months, not tripled. It's truthy. I saw that on TV somewhere.

Re:I read it on wikipedia (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | about 7 years ago | (#20017391)


This sort of thing is a compounding issue. In fact, this sort of activity has tripled in the last six months. I read that on wikipedia somewhere.
Wikipedia should really rethink their policy of having elephants as admins.

- RG>

Uh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20016583)

What can Wikipedia do about those who would use it for their own purposes?"

Uh, doesn't that include almost every admin?

Thank God this won't affect Wiki's primary market (4, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 7 years ago | (#20016585)

I can't see why spooks would be editing entries about or favorite tv shows, comic book characters, science/fantasy books, technology entries, etc. Us geeks is safe.

Re:Thank God this won't affect Wiki's primary mark (1)

Haeleth (414428) | about 7 years ago | (#20017269)

I can't see why spooks would be editing entries about or favorite tv shows
That really depends on whether this [wikipedia.org] is one of your favourites or not... :)

consider the source (1)

Paktu (1103861) | about 7 years ago | (#20016593)

Are we really going to take an article seriously when it comes from a site called "OhMyNews.com"?

Might as well just link directly to infowars...

plus, Salinger is involved (2, Funny)

wsanders (114993) | about 7 years ago | (#20016769)

A nutbag if ever there was one.

Wikipedia is perfectly welcome to sap and impurify my bodily fluids, although there are probably other web sites that are much more likely to actually do so.

Re:plus, Salinger is involved (1)

sepluv (641107) | about 7 years ago | (#20017179)

You haven't seen the Porn article [wikipedia.org] ? There's even an Ogg Theora video on there...more geek porn than anything, but hey...

Its a highly visible site... (3, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 7 years ago | (#20016643)

...that influences popular perceptions, and anyone can contribute to it. Of course government agents are using it.

OTOH, compared to what covert agents do outside of Wikipedia, I can hardly see much reason for alarm.

Re:Its a highly visible site... (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | about 7 years ago | (#20016915)

To be perfectly honest, I'd be a little annoyed if the brain surgeons in our intelligence agencies -- who I, along with the rest of the taxpayers, bankroll -- weren't at least aware of Wikipedia.

Okay, so in this case they get zero points for subtlety (and when your cover gets blown editing an encyclopedia that anyone can edit, that's not a good sign...), but they're not doing anything I wouldn't expect them to be doing.

I fully expect that the Chinese, Russians, Iranians, etc., probably have propaganda agencies astroturfing Wikipedia and other web sites to their own advantage. This is what countries do.

Annoying Indeed. (4, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | about 7 years ago | (#20017275)

I'd be a little annoyed if the brain surgeons in our intelligence agencies -- who I, along with the rest of the taxpayers, bankroll -- weren't at least aware of Wikipedia. ... they're not doing anything I wouldn't expect them to be doing.

I do NOT want my government spending my money on disinformation. It's bad enough when they publish it openly, but lying about who you are while you vandalize a public resource is much worse. Freely elected governments are supposed to represent the opinions of their people, not brainwash them.

I fully expect that the Chinese, Russians, Iranians, etc., probably have propaganda agencies astroturfing Wikipedia and other web sites to their own advantage. This is what countries do.

No, that is what tyrants do. They also murder those who oppose them. They do both of these things because they are fucking everyone. They have placed their self interest above yours and do what it takes to keep that position.

Re:Its a highly visible site... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 7 years ago | (#20017201)

OR better yet, Why isn't anyone upset that a covert agent got outed based on untruthful information?

We are boned (1)

megaditto (982598) | about 7 years ago | (#20017281)

There is no telling what kind of a sick twisted deception scheme the CIA/MI5 are cooking up next. I mean, they already had a woman pose as a 42 year old bolding fat male administrator:

Wikipedia administrator named SlimVirgin is actually Linda Mack, a woman [...]

"What can Wikipedia do...?" (5, Insightful)

Paxton (24233) | about 7 years ago | (#20016655)

It can do what it's designed to do: self-edit.

Wouldn't you rather have someone writing stuff that can be corrected by anyone than have a publisher infiltrated and subsequently print untrue (yet unchangeable) information?

Of course, through ignorance or apathy or downright malevolence, any source produces at least some erroneous information anyway...

Re:"What can Wikipedia do...?" (1)

blowdart (31458) | about 7 years ago | (#20016937)

But if it's true the problem is not editing, it's another example of wikipedia deleting edits by mods and others who have embarrassed them. And that, to my mind, is worse than having a bad moderator, it's against everything Jimbo says he, and wikipedia stands for.

Re:"What can Wikipedia do...?" (1)

rohead (560334) | about 7 years ago | (#20017527)

Wouldn't you rather have someone writing stuff that can be corrected by anyone than have a publisher infiltrated and subsequently print untrue (yet unchangeable) information?
Actually, that is apparently exactly what has happened in this case. FTFA:

To my surprise, I found that all references to the alleged collaboration between the PFLP and the Shin Bet had been suppressed. Moreover, it is no longer possible to edit the page
.

why SHOULD widipedia do anything? (4, Insightful)

superwiz (655733) | about 7 years ago | (#20016665)

It's a site that's meant to inform. Does it matter if information is contributed under false identity? Information is either true or not. Judging whether it's true or not by who contributes is setting a very low standard for fact finding. Claims about knowledge that is outside of the expertise of layman have to have references to well-established sources (which can be checked) anyway. Otherwise, it's just rumors.

Re:why SHOULD widipedia do anything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20016875)

Or that is the How It Should Work(TM), and we know how that works don't we.

The reality is that Wikipedia is a Cabal-at-every-corner. And administrators are frequently taking sides. Just look at RFAR's involving administrators and you will know what's going to be in the next case.

Re:why SHOULD widipedia do anything? (1)

lixee (863589) | about 7 years ago | (#20017313)

Information is either true or not.
Wow! How does such crap get modded +5? The Wiki isn't just about maths. It includes a variety of political articles, and anyone remotely familiar with them knows that the English Wiki is biased (if not downright propaganda) on several articles. The most notorious being articles dealing with Israel whose wording is evidently pro-Zionist.

Re:why SHOULD widipedia do anything? (1)

superwiz (655733) | about 7 years ago | (#20017373)

Great, should start debating Zionism right now? I'll just state from the start. Reality exists. We can try to figure out what it is by discussing it. The fact that I or someone else works for a flower shop or CIA does not change that the Sun came up today.

License (0)

nighty5 (615965) | about 7 years ago | (#20016679)

You can take the comments offline, but as part of the GNU Free Documentation License which all articles are written under I demand to see the diffs.

The fact is the government need only put this under a flag of "protecting national security" and all bets on civil liberty and rights are white washed.

God bless America!!

The land of the free!!

Pierre Salinger (3, Informative)

MontyApollo (849862) | about 7 years ago | (#20016685)

Pierre Salinger was kind of a crackpot at this point in his career, so just because he believed somebody was an MI-5 operative doesn't mean much. He was a laughing stock because of all of his conspiracy theories at the time.

Re: Pierre Salinger (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20016803)

I agree. That dude is nuts. You should just ignore him.

Linda Mack

Re: Pierre Salinger (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20017221)

Mind you, if you were to truthfully describe some actual documented conspiracies and events to a person off the street, they'd think you were crazy too.

(Putin murdering people with radioactive isotopes, the French blowing up anti-nuclear vessels, Scientology break-ins at federal offices, acoustic kitty, LSD experiments on civilians, Tuskagee experiments, etc. etc.)

Lets face it, the world is an incredibly fucked up place - and the idea of someone being planted to infiltrate a newspaper investigation is not bizarre at all in comparison.

He had a few good years. (1)

twitter (104583) | about 7 years ago | (#20017393)

He said, "If Bush wins, I'm going to leave the country and spend the rest of my life in France," and then he did. In hindsight, this guy had great forsight. He missed the Department of Homeland Security, TSA, Freedom Fries and other red neck/Nazi stupidity.

Public Scrutiny (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20016715)

The same as it does now, but putting people under public scrutiny should they ever turn out to be a snake.

If you think of wikipedia as a credible source (1)

kaufmanmoore (930593) | about 7 years ago | (#20016729)

3 words for you: Dee Dee Dee

Like Amazon reviews... (2, Interesting)

loteck (533317) | about 7 years ago | (#20016739)

The wikipedia community might want to take it on themselves to promote a "Real Name" system that casts suspicion on and removes the benefit of the doubt from those who choose to post anonymously.

I remember when Amazon went to that system after it was discovered how many negative reviews were authored by competing writers attempting to anonymously besmirch eachother in the review comments. Now you really find the highest rated reviews are almost exclusively by people who have chosen to forego anonymity for the benefit of having a trackable reputation.

Re:Like Amazon reviews... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20017137)

I agree wholeheartedly.

Re:Like Amazon reviews... (4, Insightful)

Haeleth (414428) | about 7 years ago | (#20017363)

The wikipedia community might want to take it on themselves to promote a "Real Name" system that casts suspicion on and removes the benefit of the doubt from those who choose to post anonymously.
How exactly would these real names be verified? Amazon can do it because they can compare the name you give with the name on your credit card, but that really isn't an option for community projects for all sorts of reasons.

Depending on the purposes! (4, Insightful)

mi (197448) | about 7 years ago | (#20016753)

What can Wikipedia do about those who would use it for their own purposes?

What a retarded question... Don't we all use Wikipedia for our own purposes? The reaction — if any is needed at all — should depend on the purposes.

A covert agent of a reasonably democratic government investigating a crime is one thing. A pseudo-scientist lying about his credentials is another. A pranskter vandalizing pages is the third. An overt agent of a reasonably democratic government pushing their government's view [slashdot.org] is yet another. And so on... And then, of course, come the rest of us using the resource to learn, teach, and immortalize ourselves via contributions...

Re:Depending on the purposes! (1)

oGMo (379) | about 7 years ago | (#20017039)

Don't we all use Wikipedia for our own purposes?

I use it to look up documented information and references to canonical sources thereof. I use it for a reference. Most people who use it probably do.

However I don't edit it for my own purposes. The purpose of Wikipedia is as an information reference, with cited sources for some measure of integrity. Not a playground for pushing agendas. Not necessarily that this was what the alleged agent was doing---but some people do.

No one does anything without his own purpose. (2, Insightful)

Quadraginta (902985) | about 7 years ago | (#20017355)

However I don't edit it for my own purposes.

Oh come on, let's think this out. Are you suggesting people who do edit it do not edit it for their own purposes (fame, showing off, to feel part of a virtuous movement)? Or are you suggesting they're robots acting purely from instinct?

Surely imagining that anyone does anything without personal motivation is deluded. We're not insects. But just because you have a personal motivation doesn't mean what you do is suspect. I go to work primarily to get money to buy myself stuff. That is not the motivation of the company founder, but that doesn't mean my work is corrupt -- or even that it's of lower quality than the founder's. The fact that I'm there for different reasons doesn't mean we can't work together profitably. What's important is the result of one's work, not the motivation for it.

First the internet. Next the mainstream media! (5, Funny)

Torgo's Pizza (547926) | about 7 years ago | (#20016795)

If this is happening on Wikipedia, the next logical step is the rest of the Internet and the rest of the mainstream media. I know it seems impossible now, but can you imagine if a far-left wing liberal editor was in charge of the editorial page of the New York Times? Or what if a neocon tycoon owned a 24-hour news network! If Wikipedia is having problems, our mainstream media is going to be next and lose the objectivity that it's currently known for.

Re:First the internet. Next the mainstream media! (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 7 years ago | (#20016997)

Toay Wikipedia, tomorrow... the World! Mouhahahahahahahahahahaahahaaa.

I think I'll just nip over to Wikipedia and write this up, self-fulfilling prophecies don't fulfil themselves you know :)

Here's an example of a problem: Gillberg affair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20016799)

Lots of people manipulate Wikipedia for their own purposes, and sometimes these are highly dishonorable. As an example, check out the Wikipedia article for Christopher Gillberg [wikipedia.org] . Then compare it to what you find googling for Gillberg affair [google.com] , especially this review [informath.org] .

Gillberg appears to have been a highly dishonorable medical researcher, but his supporters, aided by an administrator, repeatedly changed the article to make it seem like he is a hero.

From her wikipedia userpage: (1)

HexRei (515117) | about 7 years ago | (#20016815)

"Beyond right and wrong, there is a field.
I'll meet you there."

Interesting.

Re:From her wikipedia userpage: (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | about 7 years ago | (#20017077)

I'll meet you there.
It's a trap!

Re:From her wikipedia userpage: (2, Interesting)

HexRei (515117) | about 7 years ago | (#20017159)

Wow, I was just banned from editing by Crum375 for posting a question to her talk page, asking if she was Linda Mack/Sarah McEwan and part of an intelligence agency. I guess Crum375 doesn't feel that is relevant to an editor's NPOV considerations so my reason for banning was "Harassment and attempted outing of a fellow editor".

It might qualify as harassment if it wasn't totally relevant to her NPOV and should be known by fellow editors but as far as I can find, "attempted outing of a fellow editor" isn't even in the policy guidelines. I really do believe this is just a sockpuppet of hers.

Re:From her wikipedia userpage: (1)

dtobias (262347) | about 7 years ago | (#20017475)

Slim, Crum, and a number of others are part of a clique which has attained a high degree of power on Wikipedia, and which has been using it in a very pushy way, such as in insisting on enforcing an alleged "policy" (which has never come near getting a consensus of Wikipedians) banning links to so-called "attack sites" which do things like "outing" Slim (so I guess Slashdot is an "attack site" now). See my essay [wikipedia.org] on this.

Re:From her wikipedia userpage: (1)

HexRei (515117) | about 7 years ago | (#20017521)

That's what I figured he was on me in seconds, I can only assume he was expecting this response and was prepared to deal with it, I see he's taken the same action with other users before and since.

And conveniently, banning me has prevented me from even discussing the situation on the various WP talk channels. He not only censors the wikipedia but then prevents the censored from presenting their case until 24 hours later, and a lot can happen in that time.

I wrote an email to jimbo but my hopes are not high. I'd at least like to see the policy guidelines wherein "outing an editor" is defined as harassment, especially in the context that the editor is a government spy slinging her agenda in the WP.

Ok, vented, now I'll read your essay.

So Prove it Already (3, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 7 years ago | (#20016817)

OK, maybe Wikipedia is a tool of the Man, and it's deleting edits to cover the tracks of an intelligence agent.

So, show me the 'before' and 'after' of the edits. Surely Google cache or Archive.org or any of the other search engines have that page from some point in the past, no? How about even a locally cached copy (certainly not tamper proof)?

Or... have all of the people who might have a cached copy also been infiltrated? We know how that story goes.

Spy? Assassin, I bet! (1)

Pedrito (94783) | about 7 years ago | (#20016819)

She sure looks [andrews.edu] like a spook!

How to thwart Wikipedia miscreants (1)

Mentifex (187202) | about 7 years ago | (#20016829)


John Young's Cryptome site [cryptome.org] already blew the lid off this stale but frightening story about Wikipedia.

Your own fake Wikipedia article [scn.org] is the best way to thwart the No-Such-Agency spooks and other miscreants who secretly control Wikipedia and push their own evil agenda to the detriment of truth and knowledge.

The Wayne Madsen Report [waynemadsenreport.com] is currently the best source of out-the-spooks reportage.

Carry On (2, Insightful)

DynaSoar (714234) | about 7 years ago | (#20016869)

> What can Wikipedia do about those who would use it for their own purposes?"

Carry on exactly as they are, because that is precisely what every contributor is doing. Their purpose may be an attempt at the truth, which is noble, but also subjective, and some will disagree. They too will contribute if they care enough. With enough of that, any other "purposes" will be, if not buried, then at least illuminated. Where that could fail is if there are not enough who care enough to contribute.

So what are you still here for?

Shameful this made it to the front page (5, Informative)

Snowspinner (627098) | about 7 years ago | (#20016883)

It's shameful that this made it to the front page. The OhMyNews story that is cited isn't linked to. A quick glance at it (It's at http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_vi ew.asp?menu=c10400&no=374006&rel_no=1 [ohmynews.com] ) shows why - the writer's only source for his claims about Slim Virgin is the evidence collected by Daniel Brandt, who cyberstalked her publicly on The Wikipedia Review, a board populated by the banned trolls of Wikipedia. The article makes clear the degree to which this "investigation" is based on rumors and lies, and proceeds to publicly state the alleged name and city of residence of this person.

I am appalled that Slashdot decided to participate in this public character assassination of a private citizen.

Re:Shameful this made it to the front page (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | about 7 years ago | (#20017097)

The spies are at slashdot too!!111

Re:Shameful this made it to the front page (2, Insightful)

dtobias (262347) | about 7 years ago | (#20017509)

"Banned troll" = anybody who dares to criticize the power clique of Wikipedia. (I like Wikipedia... I hate some of the people and cliques with power there.)

What do you do when a fraudster is caught IRL ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 7 years ago | (#20016887)

You jail him/her, and go on with your life. thats whats gonna happen with wikipedia.

I experienced this as well on Wikipedia (5, Interesting)

br00tus (528477) | about 7 years ago | (#20016903)

Here is an edit by someone coming from the IP 214.13.216.142 [wikipedia.org] on Wikipedia. His or her edits are focused on diminishing the massacre at No Gun Ri during the Korean War, as well as related atrocities during the Korean war.

Well, where is that IP from? At the time I did an nslookup and I resolved to n-mnstci-142.mnstci.iraq.centcom.mil (the IP now resolves to a different CENTCOM host, host216-142.iraq.centcom.mil). CentCom I remember from the film "Control Room", they are the people trying to spin the Iraq war for the world (and especially the US) media. But MNSTCI? A little checking around showed me MNSTCI stood for the United States Central Command's Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq.

I brought this up at the time, but everyone I brought it up to dismissed it. This is CENTCOM's job - US taxpayer's dollars to rewrite history, so that the US can keep going overseas militarily. It particularly annoyed me that I was paying the salary of the person trying to rewrite history. I kind of felt like I was battling someone in the bowels of the US's Orwellian version of "Minitru".

In the mid-1990s, I got a strange SNMP request from an army intelligence outfit in Quantico, Virginia after reading Australian web sites which discussed possible CIA involvement in overthrowing Australia's government in the 1970's (the Whitlam/Kerr thing). This was back in the (usually) non-NAT'ed days - I had just assigned this IP and had an unusual amount of monitoring set up, I'm sure most people would have noticed the query. With the PATRIOT act, split fibers at the major telcos going to who knows where and so forth, I guess this is normal nowadays. The next step for those who support all of this is to just to either dismiss it, or attack the people who complain about.

Re:I experienced this as well on Wikipedia (4, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 7 years ago | (#20016959)

CentCom I remember from the film "Control Room", they are the people trying to spin the Iraq war for the world (and especially the US) media.


While, certainly, there are people in the PR arm of Centcom (and the Pentagon itself, and the White House) doing that, Centcom is the United States "Central Command", the regional combatant command in whose area of operations both the Iraq war and the war in Afghanistan are being fought, not simply a special-purpose spin shop.

This is CENTCOM's job - US taxpayer's dollars to rewrite history, so that the US can keep going overseas militarily.
being the part of the US military that is (in one particular area) overseas. Their job is fighting and winning wars, and preventing wars by having the capacity to fight and win them. Propaganda is part of that, of course, and no doubt they engage in some practices in the course of that against which there are legitiamte objections.

Re:I experienced this as well on Wikipedia (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20017361)

How is propaganda from any democratic government ever legal? Proper decision-making in a democracy requires access to the truth. When the elected lie to the electorate they become despots.

Re:I experienced this as well on Wikipedia (1)

tom's a-cold (253195) | about 7 years ago | (#20017019)

CENTCOM is the US military's Central Command. They cover the middle east, so spinning the Iraq War is part of what they do. But the main thing is that they also fight that war. The Security Transition Command is responsible for handing off security to the Iraqi police. Looks like your person is some military-can-do-no-wrong fanboy (or -girl) attached to CENTCOM. May or may not be their day job-- there are a lot of nutcases in the military who will do things like that just because they believe in it.

Quantico: that's something more likely to be a real cause for concern.

Authoritative Sources (1, Interesting)

Compulawyer (318018) | about 7 years ago | (#20016913)

This is only a problem if you consider Wikipedia to be an authoritative source. IMHO, any source that is not peer-reviewed by identified experts and can be edited by anyone at a moment's notice is not authoritative. Wikipedia may be a decent general information source or even a starting point for more serious research, but until these fundamental issues are addressed, it will never be a reliable, authoritative source of information.

Because I know it will come up ....

  1. I know "authoritative sources have errors and both can and have been manipulated;
  2. I know that no source is 100% accurate; and
  3. I have nothing against Wikipedia.

Re:Authoritative Sources (2, Informative)

sepluv (641107) | about 7 years ago | (#20017079)

IMHO, any source that is not peer-reviewed by identified experts and can be edited by anyone at a moment's notice is not authoritative.

By your definition of "authoritative", no encyclopedia can be authoritative because an encyclopedia is, by definition, a tertiary source.

An encyclopedia is a large work that attempts to summarise the entirety of human knowledge through a number of articles on distinct topics. Each article gives a concise summary of the current state of knowledge on that topic by referencing secondary sources, which are themselves based on original research (and in part the results of any peer reviewing of said research).

Wikipedia may be a decent general information source or even a starting point for more serious research
That is all an encyclopedia is supposed to do. If you are doing serious research (for, say an academic thesis, something relating to a decision of grave importance to you) you should always refer to the original sources such as those referenced by the encyclopedia article.

Flogging! (1)

msimm (580077) | about 7 years ago | (#20016949)

You kids and you're fancy toys. In my day there was nothing like a good old fashioned flogging to set things right.

And we liked it that way!

Not all that surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20016993)

Almost anybody who has ever read the talk page of a Wikipedia article dealing with politics knows what a passive agressive far-right propagandist Slimvirgin is. Not really surprising that it's somebody working for the government.

People outside the US has probably noticed how systematically each and every article on US history is constantly whitewashed to remove any trace of US wrongdoings. How many US government agents are on the job? Probably not a lot, my guess is that most of it is done by patriotic citizens. Stalin would've been proud.

Indeed (4, Insightful)

chazzf (188092) | about 7 years ago | (#20017029)

Obviously the fact that a twenty-something was caught posing as a Catholic theology professor lends credence to the accusation by a former Kennedy administration official that MI5 has penetrated Wikipedia.

...

Don't you fools see? Kennedy was Catholic, and Essjay claimed to be Catholic! TELL THE WIKIT$&$^^$^&NO CARRIER

Actions, not motives (5, Insightful)

SamP2 (1097897) | about 7 years ago | (#20017041)

Question people's actions, not their motives -- Cicero

As long as their contributions are valid, it does not matter why they contribute. If you wouldn't delete a given contribution from a PHD, you shouldn't delete it from a highschool student either, because it's the contribution itself that is either good or bad, not the source. The validitity of contributions should be derived from itself (including references provided, which is explicitly required by Wikipedia policies), and it has nothing to do with who actually contributes, because you may not use yourself or your reputation as a reference.

Likewise, it's wrong to censor someone's contributions just because you think he has a political agenda. As long as (and only as long as) the content submitted is valid and conforms to all policies (neutrality, references, no original research), it should make no difference whatsoever what agenda the contributor has.

SlimVirgin's user page (1)

micpp (818596) | about 7 years ago | (#20017053)

SlimVirgin, the administrator accused of being a spy, has her user page here [wikipedia.org] .
Interestingly, if one looks at the edit list for her talk page, any questions about whether she is a spy are being swiftly reverted. Now isn't that interesting.

Information honeypot (1)

snowwrestler (896305) | about 7 years ago | (#20017061)

What can Wikipedia do about those who would use it for their own purposes?"
Exactly what this guy did--investigate and find the truth. I don't like the implication that this should somehow be prevented from happening. I doubt that's possible, so it's better to keep things open and to think that it's always happening--and be on the lookout for evidence. Web servers provide data, but they also collect data.

Deleted revisions confirmed (1)

kenb215 (984963) | about 7 years ago | (#20017067)

Though they don't say why, it is clear from the logs that some revisions were deleted. It could be for the reason given, because Wikipedia will generally remove personal information on request. Relevant page logs:

Let me get this straight... (4, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 7 years ago | (#20017095)

The evidence that Wikipedia has been infiltrated by Intelligence Agencies is that a woman who was a major contributor on the Lockerbie Pan Am bombing was a graduate student who investigated it for Pierre Salinger, but he came to suspect that she worked for MI-5. Note: not that he discovered that she worked for MI-5, just that he thought she did. Pierre Salinger is a man who in his later years demonstrated a gullibility for conspiracy theories.

Self interest (1)

samuel4242 (630369) | about 7 years ago | (#20017167)

Hint: Everyone contributes out of their self-interest. Some people like to talk and others just get their grins out of editing. The good news is that this still produces something of value. But even the most selfless librarian from Kansas is not going to go against self-interest. The real problem is your definition is not the same as my definition. Naturally I like mine better. But what if I like the fact that the intelligence agencies are protecting our country and you like the unvarnished truth. Both seem like good ideas within limits. Who chooses? Answer: the last one to edit a wikipedia piece.

Jayjg anyone? (1)

lixee (863589) | about 7 years ago | (#20017193)

If that guy isn't a Mossad agent, then I don't who is!

While a caricaturization, there is some truth to the EncyclopiaDramatica article that follows (Note that SlimVirgin as part of the cabal)

http://www.encyclopediadramatica.com/index.php/T he_Wikipedia_Jews


I got repeatedly threatened by the guy and called an apologist for trying to wanting to include Tehran official response to the mistranslation of the infamous "wipe off the map" Ahmadinejad speech. They wanted to block my account for adding the conciliatory words of the Ayatollah (the guys who actually has a say on Iran's foreign policy) in the article.

What does this mean? (1)

pjp6259 (142654) | about 7 years ago | (#20017371)

many of her edits to articles related to the bombing were permanently removed from the database in an attempt to conceal her identity.
AFAIK, the only way to permanently remove edits from the database is if you had some sort of admin privileges. If there is evidence of this happening doesn't this imply a cover up by some one high up at wikipedia?

Ajax? (1)

Catil (1063380) | about 7 years ago | (#20017487)

What can Wikipedia do about those who would use it for their own purposes?
Although articles written for a conventional encyclopedia should perhaps try to avoid controverse information and focus on common knowledge, this does not necessarily apply to Wikipedia. Since it's a website as dynamic and developing as knowledge itself, there shouldn't be a problem to provide all information currently available on any given topic, even if it's mutually contradictory. Most of the time, there is no absolute truth anyway - A believes X is true while B thinks Y is true.

Fortunately, web-technologies today provide many interesting ways to organize content, e.g. two different "facts" that, however, cancel each other out, can be shown on the same page without breaking the overall picture too much. They could show the stuff that's "more common" by default, but maybe paint the background of that text passage slightly grey with a small button somewhere, which, when pushed, reveals what other people and groups (or in this case, people with faked backgrounds and intelligent agencies) believe to be true. Using some fancy Ajax or even only DHMTL this could be made very elegant.
On the downside though, that might be a feature begging for to be abused and should maybe only allowed to be added by admins and not be "crowdsourced" because we all know how an article would look like if people could vote for the text passage that's shown by default ;-)

SlimVirgin's credibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20017493)

She's a graduate from the eighties and she is posting as "SlimVirgin"? Well, there goes her credibility indeed. She could be a nun of course...
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