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.IP Ranges for TOI

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.

Edits from TOI

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:

TOI Changes to IE

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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  • haha i’m look­ing for­ward to more inter­est­ing wiki­wars!

  • 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.

  • 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.