Anonymous revenge editing on Wikipedia: “Shocked, just shocked!”

A little bit of news, courtesy of Salon.

I read this one in light of the recent antics in the Japan-side expat blogosphere. With Wikipedia, it was one author who was attacking a rival (deceased) author over some long-ago gripe. For those who follow the Japan-side issue, it’s the incessant use of sock puppets and sock blogs to attack individuals for which a small group of ex-pats and ex-citizens feel they should not be able to use the internet without harassment.

Where Robert Clark Young went wrong, is that no one introduced him to Tor. (I guess he didn’t hang out with enough app development techies.) Had Young used Tor, no one would have been able to trace his Wikipedia edits back to IPs that were connected to him. They would have had to rely on the messages themselves that were conveyed via Tor, which would have been evidence, but more circumstantial (less direct.)

Bad deeds over the internet is a budding field. It amazes me that people approach these ever-greater number of incidents and stories with the same amazement. “Oh my! Wikipedia has its share of soft corruption! Who would have thought??”

What’s shameful in the story is how cowardly Robert Clark Young was. Although he claimed not to be “tech savvy”, a lie that was easily refuted, he did seem to be clueless about how sock puppetry is perceived by regular internet users here in America (and probably in Japan). Cowardly. If you can’t say it under your own name, or a pen name that’s well referenced, what does that say about you?

We all suspected that Wikipedia had its internal corruption. Now the stories are coming out to show who and how. It just takes time.

[Update 5/18/13: Wikipediocracy on the story.]

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