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Wiki also-rans Vol. 1

Posted by: | December 8, 2008 | 49 Comments |

In the opening pages of Neuromancer Gibson describes Night City – the dystopian criminal enclave his protagonist finds himself in at the beginning of the story – as, “a deranged experiment in social Darwinism, designed by a bored researcher who kept one thumb permanently on the fast-forward button.” Wikipedia is the same way, a fast-forward experiment in the social selection of information, the processes of inscription and deletion that Derrida tells us build the Archive running at hyper-speed. Along the way things are lost, and often these losses are for the best. Nonetheless, some of the deleted material is funny, charming, even thought-provoking. Deletionpedia documents many of these lost pages. In the course of my research, I’ve stumbled upon other bits of deleted commentary and even vandalism that struck me as funny or interesting. Just for fun, I’d like to share some of them here:

I’ll be blogging more of these as I come across them…

under: Uncategorized

Drive-by wikipedia fun fact

Posted by: | November 22, 2008 | No Comment |

Hillary Clinton’s wikipedia article has been protected for about 22 of the last 24 months.

under: Uncategorized

And apparently, nobody can figure out if you are Jewish. Since being named Obama’s likely pick for treasury secretary – the wikipedia entry for Timothy F. Geithner has predictably become a riot of editing activity. One major point of contention: some editors want Geithner’s article to list his religion as Judaism, while others do not. Apparently, the only source for the notion that Geithner is Jewish anyone can find online is a column in a Pakistani news website. The column reads as what would be called an opinion piece in the states and puts forth the notion that Obama will not substantially change the US position on the Palestine/Israeli conflict because he has surrounded himself with Jewish advisers. It closes with this little gem: “Given that only about three percent of the American population are Jewish, their heavy concentration in the corridors of power is, of course, purely coincidental!”

The whole thing is a fascinating intersection of class, race, and national bias. The Pakistani piece has strong anti-Semitic overtones, to be sure, but some wikipedia editors (those sympathetic to the article) believe it is being dismissed simply because it is not a “Western” source. One writes, “Since when are Pakistani sources banned? Stop being discriminatory.” Others discuss whether wikipedia should be “assigning” a religion to public figures (“outing” them, one might say) who are notable for a reason not immediately connected to their religious background. Yet others advance a “model minority” thesis as to why Jewish people attract negative attention. While advancing that links to the Pakistani piece should be removed from the article, one offers, “What are they — the anti-Semites — so upset about? Is it the Jews’ fault that they succeed and rise to the top? The anti-Semites have to get over their jealousies. The Jews have always done well, no matter where they live — as long as they’re not being physically attacked.”

I’m not sure what the takeway is yet, but the whole thing puts the contours of Race, Class, and Nationality on wikipedia into stark relief.

under: Uncategorized

The prose of Wikipedia Vol. 1

Posted by: | November 13, 2008 | 3,931 Comments |

Some folks I’ve been talking to recently have mentioned wikipedia’s “dry prose.” I think that is generally true, but there are some interesting (if not always elegant) turns of language on the free encyclopedia. Take this example from the article on Unicron:

“Unicron is a prodigiously large robot whose scale reaches planetary proportions, and he is also able to transform into a mechanical planet. He travels the galaxy as a sort of vagabond, seeking worlds to consume for nourishment.”

Tortured and awkward: yes! Boring: no!

under: prose of wikipedia
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Wikipedia Snapshot 5

Posted by: | October 27, 2008 | No Comment |

Edit rate only.

Edits per second: 2.47

under: Uncategorized

wikipedia snapshot 4

Posted by: | October 8, 2008 | 3 Comments |

Time: 18:00 EDT
Edits per Second: 3.57
Recent Changes Cloud:
recent ed 1800100708

New Pages Cloud:
new pgs 1800100708

under: Methods, Wikipedia edits
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Wikipedia Snapshot 3

Posted by: | October 8, 2008 | 6 Comments |

Time: 15:00 EDT
Edits per Second: 2.60

Recent Changes Cloud:
recent ed 1500100708

New Pages Cloud:
new pgs 1500100708

under: Methods
Tags: ,

Wikipedia Snapshot 2

Posted by: | October 7, 2008 | 12 Comments |

Time: 12:00EDT
Edits per Second: 3.08

Recent Changes cloud:
recent ed 1200100708

New Pages cloud:
new pgs 1200100708

under: Methods, Wikipedia edits
Tags: ,

Wikipedia Snapshot 1

Posted by: | October 7, 2008 | No Comment |

Ok, so I’m going to start posting “snapshots” of wikipedia here. Mostly for fun, but maybe they will have some research value. Each snapshot will include the time it was taken, the average number of wikipedia edits per second being made at that time (computed by dividing the time needed to make the last 500 edits as given by the “recent changes” page by 500) and two word clouds, generated by the wordle.net software using the wikipedia recent changes and new article RSS feeds as input.

Time: 09:00 EDT
Edits Per Second: 2.17

Recent Changes Cloud:
recent ed 0900100708

New Articles Cloud:
new pgs 0900100708

under: Uncategorized
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Data Blog

Posted by: | October 2, 2008 | 8 Comments |

I’ve started another blog to hold data for part of my research project. I will let me sort through a set of new pages people have tried to add to wikipedia. All the data there is wikipedia derived and thus available to all under the terms of the GFDL. Enjoy!

under: Methods
Tags: , ,

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