Monday, February 25, 2008
The Wikipedia Vandalism History of Sergey Brin
Sergey Brin’s entry on Wikipedia
dates back to 2002. Checking the Wikipedia history function, you can retrieve any state the page was in. Including its modest start with nothing but the words “One of the founders of Google internet search engine.”
Checking the history, you can also see all the temporary vandalized states of the entry. The history of Brin article vandalism, editorializing or other non-Wikipedia-approved approaches includes (with vandal writing often removed as swiftly as it’s introduced):
- “is he lucky or smart or both?”
- “As Google is nearing its IPO, Sergey is bound to become a billionaire soon. That is yet another testimony that with good brains, good attitude and hard work, the sky is the limit for a young man in the Internet economy.”
- “Died in Moscow, Russia, Sergey Brin received his Bachelor of Science in computer science and mathematics from ...”
- “He is sexy.”
- “Sergey Brin and Lari Page haves Gold Stars in e-Alley of Glori in Internet ...”
Vandals are often not logged in to Wikipedia, so only their IP address shows. Sometimes, vandalism is sneaked in as seemingly subtle edit. Using the version comparison functionality of Wikipedia, you can however still quickly locate the edit. Try to find the vandalism in this paragraph:
- “The defining moment for Sergey, however, was when he met future co-president of Google, Larry Page. Sergey was assigned to show Larry around the university on a weekend tour. Reportedly, they did not get on well to begin with, arguing about every topic they discussed and even throwing a number of pies at each other. However, they soon found a common interest: retrieving relevant information about pies from large data sets.
As another example, the sentence “Sergey was assigned to show Larry around the university on a weekend tour” was briefly changed to “Sergey was assigned to show Larry around his bedroom on a weekend tour.” Other edits are a little less subtle, like the following one:
- “In July of 2006, Sergey revealed that he is homosexual and dating with Jimmy Wales.”
Not all edits which get reverted are pure trolling. Some people just get carried away and become too subjective. In the following passage, statements which were added and then removed are shown in bold:
- “The paper has since gone on to become the tenth most accessed scientific paper at Stanford University, an achievement in itself!”
- “Although Sergey Brin himself graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, his company Google Inc. has a track record for hiring only ivy league or other elite school graduates. Some criticize Brin for not staying true to his state-school roots and recognizing the talent that can be found within state institutions.“
A lot of edits which are then undone by other editors are also just additions of URLs, like repeated tries to add “www.mysergeybrin.com” as the “homepage” of Sergey Brin. Sometimes, people also just confuse the entry with the Wikipedia talk page, where discussions should be moved. The entry “not right bub” below a paragraph was created at 0:22 on March 8, 2007, enjoying its time in the spotlight for roughly an hour before it was removed.
For some time in 2007, the entry was also protected, judging from certain Wikipedian comments. Not long after the protection was removed, the request “To all who love Sergey Brin – stop blocking him Please. MySergeyBrin.com” appeared, and was trashed 2 minutes later. The following entry appeared on Wikipedia a little longer, at around 46 minutes:
- “after larry and brin invented google they sold it to a better company names addictinggames.com and changes go a new web called froogle ... now google company gave all there money to a person named aweriucghdasfg now everyone died after that”
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