April 24, 2008

Wikipedia as Google-Weapon

A huge hornet's nest has been stirred up with the posting of some private emails about supposed plans by a group, "isra-pedia", to use various tactics on Wikipedia to favor pro-Israel viewpoints in various disputes. There's alleged leaked group mail (the host website is untrustworthy, but Wikipedia administrative discussion provides some evidence that the group mail is authentic). My favorite part:

Every time you see a Hamas person makes an outragous statements (like Jews came from apes or kill the jews) you write a small article about that peroson (google his name to find more ) and bring the quote from memri.

why doing all that ?

because google is wikipedia friend - 3 days after you created the article google the person's name again and voila your article will be the #1 in google for that name.

It's by no means news that Wikipedia's Google rank can be used to go after people. But it's nice to have it stated so bluntly and with such obvious intent.

Now, the plans outlined seems to have been more somebody's idea of a good manipulation scheme than anything which they were able to do. But maybe this is merely amateurs who couldn't pull it off, and got caught.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in google , wikipedia | on April 24, 2008 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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Well, it's not just Wikipedia. There's a general moment of, shall I call it, Search Engine Oblectation, when you realize that a target article is suddenly ranked #1 in Google. (I reached this personal moment 4 years ago.)

There's also the regular mis-labelling of this as "GoogleBombing" (see
latest example). I'd say googlebombing is when you get a search result in a way Google hadn't probably intended (good ol' miserable failure): you've "conquered" mighty Google, at least temporarily. But getting a search result in a conventional fashion doesn't involve the same level of hack.

It's like timing a traffic light signal that you regularly pass. Yes, it feels pretty cool when you've figured out the timing, and can adjust your driving accordingly. That euphoria lasts until you realize that others may have figured it out as well.

Posted by: Jon Garfunkel at April 27, 2008 12:58 PM