Virgil Griffith, a graduate of Mobile's own Math and Science High School has made big news this week by developing a piece of software that points to who is doing anonymous editing of Wikipedia articles on government or corporate entities. Sorry FBI, FEMA, EXXON and other biggies--you are going to have to work harder to hide your positive spins.
"How does WikiScanner work?
When you make an edit to Wikipedia, you have two choices. First, you can register and leave your username, or you can edit anonymously. But, when you edit anonymously, it uses your IP address, a number which identifies what computer network are you from, in lieu of a username. Wikipedia does this for convenience to distinguish your anonymous edits from someone else's anonymous edits. In essence, WikiScanner combines two databases: (1) The list of all IP adresses that have made edits to Wikipedia, and (2) What IP addresses belong to which companies. So with WikiScanner you can type a company name, and it shows you what edits have come from IP addresses owned by that company."
Virgil Griffith says,
". . . I've found three common kinds of vandalism.
Wholesale removal of entire paragraphs of critical information. (common for both political figures and corporations)
White-washing -- replacing negative/neutral adjectives with positive adjectives that mean something similar. (common for political figures)
Adding negative information to a competitor's page. (common for corporations)"
Try it this weekend. Great fun being a detective.