For those that don’t know, Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that is editable by nearly anyone on the internet. It is a great resource – but, as with any information source, some skepticism must be applied.
A good reason for skepticism was published today via an AP story about wikiscan, a website that tracks the IP addresses for revisions to Wikipedia entries. Basically, the site makes it easier to find cases where a company, government agency, etc., may have edited a story in their own interest. Wired has a good list of some of the best finds – for example, one unusual edit of the Israel entry was made by a computer on Al-Jazeera’s network. Because Wikipedia is so popular these sorts of edits aren’t going to stop (people could just make changes via coffee shops or other networks for example) but it does make people aware that they can view the history of a page, especially if they are suspicious. Hopefully this will make it even less likely for these edits to remain hidden and improve the truthiness of the site.