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Episode 19: Vandalism and Stabbing Polonius
Released: 5 May 2007

WikipediaWeekly Episode 19.

The link to all versions of Wikipedia Weekly is at wikipedia

Proposed time[edit]

Saturday, April 28, 2007, 0500 UTC

This is Wikipedia Weekly, Episode 19, for the week of April thirtieth two thousand and seven.

The Panel[edit]

Using Skype to record the conversation - can handle up to 10 people simultaniously.



The Mission and Vision statement of WMF have been officially updated after the recent community discussions:

  • in the MS a focus on "neutral educational content" instead of simply "knowledge" and the use of "free content license" instead of the possibly confusing "free license". New Mission
  • in VS, replace "free access" with the broader "share in the sum of all knowledge". New Vision

Jimmy gets sprung by The Chaser in Australia. See also The Chaser.

Toolserver "CatGraph". User:Dapete has made a tool that makes a visualization of categories on the wikis. You enter the name of a category page (not an article) and it makes a graphical presentation of the entire categorization tree. Thanks to Wikizine.

Catfishing - Finally a use for categories. Think wikipedia crossed with Scategories. Noted by User:Snowspinner in mailing list.

Vandalism Studies finished their first study. From the Signpost ep. 23/04/07

  • The first study analyzed a randomly sampled pool of 100 random articles. Within these 100 articles there were a total of 668 edits during the months of November 2004, 2005, and 2006. Of those 668 edits, 31 (or 4.64%) were a vandalism of some type. The study's salient findings suggest that in a given month approximately 5% of edits are vandalism and 97% of that vandalism is done by anonymous editors. Obvious vandalism is the vast majority of vandalism used. From the data gathered within this study it is also found that roughly 25% of vandalism reverting is done by anonymous editors and roughly 75% is done by wikipedians with user accounts. The mean average time for vandalism reverting is 758 minutes - 12 and a half hours - a figure that is positively skewed (i.e. skewed higher) - by outliers. The median time for vandalism reverting is 14 minutes.

Password policy change from BRION - No longer allowing same password as username.

  • "Due to an attacker mass-abusing accounts with weak passwords, passwords that are the same as the username can no longer be used. Affected accounts can reset their password by e-mail to something more secure. Please report the change back to your various communities in case

someone needs help..."


CZ v. WP - CZ:dog Dog v. Dog

Our proposal for Wikimania - Wikimania Lounge

  • Please send in your comments and ideas! from Danny Hillis - structured data wiki, and comparison with semantic Mediawiki.

"Stabbing Polonius", a blog post by Nicholas Carr, expresses his opinions on Citizendium, Larry Sanger and Wikipedia.

    • 'Whatever happens between Wikipedia and Citizendium, here's what Wales and Sanger cannot be forgiven for: They have taken the encyclopedia out of the high school library, where it belongs, and turned it into some kind of totem of "human knowledge." Who the hell goes to an encyclopedia looking for "truth," anyway? You go to an encyclopedia when you can't remember whether it was Cortez or Balboa who killed Montezuma or when you want to find out which countries border Turkey. What normal people want from an encyclopedia is not truth but accuracy. And figuring out whether something is accurate or not does not require thousands of words of epistemological hand-wringing. If it jibes with the facts, it's accurate. If it doesn't, it ain't. One of the reasons Wikipedia so often gets a free pass is that it pretends it's in the truth business rather than the accuracy business. That's bullshit, but people seem to buy it.

Messedrocker's Unreferenced Biographies of Living People project.


Podcaster's Pick

Cultural moment

Preceded by
Episode 18
Episode 19: Vandalism and Stabbing Polonius Succeeded by
Episode 20: Return of the Podcast