WikiScanning India

In the privacy-cherishing geek Internet populace, a monitoring tool for tracing changes to Wikipedia entries is gaining notorious popularity. WikiScanner, a tool created a few weeks back, maps millions of Wikipedia edits to the IP address of the computer used to make those edits. By referencing public databases that map sets of IP addresses to the organizations owning them, WikiScanner is able to tell you which organization’s computer was used to make a certain edit.

There have been innumerable number of interesting discoveries so far. They range from the religious (Vatican, The Church of Scientology) and media (BBC, New York Times), to companies (Walmart, Sony) and governments (Australia, Canada). Wired magazine, which first broke the story, runs an updated list of salacious edits.

So, I decided to run WikiScanner on a few Indian organizations. As would be expected, there did not appear to be any serious objectionable edits, since the awareness of Wikipedia in our one-billion plus country is negligible enough to deter any unwarranted changes. Scans of educational institutes showed the educated elite’s fondness of the different branches of mathematics and computer science. Searches for edits from the top Indian IT companies revealed massive number of edits. They showed the passion of our software professionals for Bollywood (with one from Cognizant insisting via multiple edits that Celina Jaitley has ‘big ones’), Cricket (World Cup 2007 being one of the most edited entry), and of course, IT.

This was reassuring in a certain way, especially if you see how Western businesses are tainting their competitors’ edits and censoring true criticism of themselves. After spending a couple of hours or so, I could find only one objectionable entry, made by The Times of India, Chandigarh. Someone at The Times of India, decided to try and act smart:

They wrote in the Indian Express entry: “Long considered probably the most intrepid newspaper, it is also regarded as a perfect launching pad for young journalists, especially reporters, for the sheer independence they are offered by the organization. Of late, however, marketing forces combined with some poor editors at some editions have undermined the very values like unearthing the skeletons hidden in the cupboard of the powerful the paper stood for. Instead, sensationalism seems to overshadow investigation at times, its critics say.”

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3 thoughts on “WikiScanning India

  1. wow, a great post!
    I think I might try wikiscanner myself!
    did you know that someone had put mutiny on the wiki…i wonder who. the page is there but an administrator deleted it. Naturally. blogs are not supposed to be on the wiki…in fact the wiki doesn’t like blogs.

  2. Priyank: yes, I’m sure that in spite of such tools being available, there will be more such incidents as Wiki’s popularity grows in India!

    Nita: thanks! Please do try it, you might find some more gems! It is a little geeky and user-unfriendly, but works like magic. I wasn’t aware wiki doesn’t like blogs…hmm…that’s interesting.

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