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back to article Wikipedia sockpuppetry probe puts a sock in hundreds of accounts

Wikipedia has blocked or banned over 250 user accounts as it investigates "suspicious edits and sockpuppetry" – the latter being the use of fictitious identities for the express purpose of bullshitting deceiving readers, usually for commercial or promotional purposes. "It looks like a number of user accounts — perhaps as many as …

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>>"but they also know that it has their best interests at heart, and is never trying to sell them a product or propagandize them in any way. "

He went on to say

"By the way, I hear the weather is nice in Gibraltar"

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Anonymous Coward

well perhaps

..all those glowing reports of renewable technology, and the fanboi appreciation of the IPCC and the dripping condemnation of nuclear energy will now vanish along with the shills who created them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: well perhaps

Or, conversely, all the astroturf commentary by oil-soaked industry apologists denying climate change will evaporate instead.

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Anonymous Coward

The odour of corporate spin

Its certainly noticeable that many entries covering businesses - its pretty predictable which ones - have a glossy PR look they wouldn't have had even a couple of years ago, and more importantly a complete omission of any controversies, protests or fuckups. You'd think the Gibraltarian sun shone out of their collective arses.

While its always been wise to take wikipedia with a pinch of salt for anything beyond general interest, it does often serve as a good starting point for the basics in an unfamiliar subject and a starting point for further searches, or (more frequently for me) a reminder of a half-remembered past controversy. But it's becoming far less useful for the purpose as more and more corporate reputations are given the bleach 'n' whitewash treatment by the cut & paste online PR and 'reputation management' firms that used to stick to astroturfing Amazon reviews for substandard products. Companies and sometimes business areas that instinct tells you are bound to have a closet full of skeletons somehow - miraculously - just don't. A dig through the edits is often informative and frequently amusing, but it also makes it clear how much effort (and therefore money) is taken to turn toxic waste dumping into gardens of community engagement. And unlike the wider web, doing it rarely seems to invoke any sort of Streisand effect.

It's the wiki, does it matter? Given the esteem in which the wikipedia is generally held - and the often misplaced authority ascribed to it among the wider public - I think it does matter, because censorship of any sort is antithetical to any democracy we may have, and using corporate financial clout and legal muscle to achieve it and suppress fact and opinion is becoming far, far too prevalent on and offline.

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The page to watch...

Obviously, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki-PR

Not exciting so far...

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Happy

Well obviously

They might edit other pages for money, but they are not going to edit their own wiki page, now are they?

That would just be too much!

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Encyclopaedia Britannica

At least sockpuppet self promotional edits were a damn sight harder on paper!

The internet used to be a nice place before fucking marketeers came along with their insincerity and cockpills.

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Re: Encyclopaedia Britannica/marketeers

Advertisers of any description if you ask me. Putting ourselves in the hands of a profession that is basically about a sort of sanitised deceit was not a smart move.

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Pint

Re: Encyclopaedia Britannica

Nice? One word: USENET

By 1998, it was not a very nice place at.

I guess it was the harbinger, though the cause was somewhat different and yet somewhat the same: insincerity and pills who were cocks.

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Re: Encyclopaedia Britannica

"...at all."

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Apple wiki

Put some critique about login bypasses in the Apple wiki and see how long it survives :)

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Holmes

This undermining of Wikipedia's otherwise high standards must stop

Without all this nonsense it would be a reliable, respectable source of information. Such a tragedy.

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Re: This undermining of Wikipedia's otherwise high standards must stop

Well played sir. Well played.

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Re: This undermining of Wikipedia's otherwise high standards must stop

@Stilted Banter like ecofeco said, nicely played, but I actually agree with the letter of your post not the spirit. Wiki has been & is a hugely valuable resource to me and I don't understand why people are determined to dis and piss on what IMO is one of the best things on the modern interwebs.

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Wiki-PR a "misnomer"

A PR firm that thinks it got their own name wrong?

So either they are very bad at PR or they are lying.

Or both of course.

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Shocked I tell

shocked

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Trollface

Re: Shocked I tell

I love having fans, even if they ARE stalkers.

Judging by the 2 down votes, I'm guessing one is still upset by my cloud comments and the other my XP comments.

I'll bet you're fun at parties too!

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Might be interesting to look at statistics on the genre of the pages that were subjected to the "sockpuppetery".

Lemmi guess: Religeon and Politics.

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Go

A suggestion

ANY article found to have been edited by one of these PR style firms gets an immediate unremovable tag at the top warning the consumer that a PR firm attempted to modify this page to provide the subject with a biased review.

That sort of thing would automatically put suspicion into the readers mind about that firm (lets face it most of these would be about whitewashing a firm or perhaps tarnished individual) and act as bad PR. Not too many companies would then be willing to risk getting permanently branded as deceitful on the most read encylopedia in the world.

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Re: A suggestion

...except that they're smart enough to establish plausible deniability i.e proxy reviewers.

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WTF?

part of the fabric of Wikipedia

Yes, the part that gets made into socks.

Wait a minute, I can get cockpills on the internet?

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Unhappy

Not new, unfortunately

There are many sites offering to boost books on Amazon and on Goodreads by "gaming the system", translation: we can sell your product by using nothing more than lying, fraud, and deceit. Aren't they good?

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