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Wikipedia Hoax Author Confesses 377

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the fact-or-fiction dept.
cmholm writes "As reported in The Seattle Times, Nashville resident Brian Chase has publically admitted that he edited a Wikipedia entry for John Seigenthaler, making appear that Mr. Seigenthaler was involved in the assassination of JFK. Mr. Chase fessed up after a cyber-sleuth tracked down the business from which he had posted to Wikipedia."
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Wikipedia Hoax Author Confesses

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  • Since when... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Red Samurai (893134) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @11:59AM (#14233275)
    Has Wikipedia been a solid information resource? It shouldn't be taken THAT seriously...
    • Re:Since when... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jane_Dozey (759010) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @12:48PM (#14233492)
      How come this is modded as flamebait? Wikipedia is *not* a reliable source of information. It is a very good place to start researching a topic but any information needs to be confirmed with a second, external source.

      Wikipedia is very useful and I use it myself for papers and research projects but it shouldn't be considered solid due to it's changable nature (articles get updated all the time, people can post wrong information etc).

      By all means use wikipedia as an information resource, but also make sure that you another source that validates the information.
      • Re:Since when... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Because /.ers, while ridiculing people who are overly opinionated and dont write fact, are hypocrits. If its not pro-google, pro-linux, pro-wiki, pro-mac, then its flamebait.

        In a way its true though, since we all know this site is especially fanatic about those above topics, so any speech written against them *is* flamebait when you take audience into account. However this doesnt say much for fair and ubiased communication on slashdot, does it?

        I dont have karma to burn, so Im a coward ;) Think of it as

        • Clearly, not all Slashdotters are as hypocritical as you make them out to be. Many moderators are willing to give pro-Microsoft, anti-stuffpopularonslashdot ideas mod points, as long as they are interesting and well thought out. It just so happens that, because certain ideas are more popular, that 1) Linux, etc are praised more often and modded up, and 2) The frequency of high-quality posts on Linux, etc. is higher than with the others.

          And THEN you have the asshole moderators. That the GP got modded up is
  • Turnabout (Score:5, Informative)

    by AndroidCat (229562) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @12:00PM (#14233280) Homepage
    Here's his wiki entry [wikipedia.org].
    • this article has been created today about 3 hours ago. I bet that some of /. are feeling the urge to further modify it. Perhaps to make it more fun, or sth (eg. to write that the hoaxer killed JFK himself). Ello guys, it's not how the wikipedia is intended to work.
      • > this article has been created today about 3 hours ago. I bet that some of /. are feeling the urge to further modify it. Perhaps to make it more fun, or sth (eg. to write that the hoaxer killed JFK himself).

        How else would he have known that the original article was a hoax?
      • Even better...

        Histipedia!

        It's like wikipedia, but for history.

        Obviously, if there is something wrong with history we can fix it!
  • by kalpol (714519) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @12:00PM (#14233283) Homepage
    The guy did a whois on the IP address and he's made to sound like a regular Sherlock Holmes.
    • by Quinn_Inuit (760445) <Quinn_Inuit@@@yahoo...com> on Sunday December 11, 2005 @12:08PM (#14233314)
      As a comment noted in the previous story on this hoax, the guy would've been less trace-able if he'd posted as ILURVCONSPIRACIES or something instead of being anonymous and allowing a visible IP.
      • by spideyct (250045) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @02:50PM (#14234148)
        Here's my take:
        He did it as a joke. He thought it was inconsequential. He wasn't trying to construct some elaborate consipiracy to implicate the other guy for the assassination. He was basically doing the equivalent of changing the screensaver on computers at Best Buy to say "SpideyCT is cool". It is funny to be able to do something so simple, and because it reaches such a large audience, looks like you did something special.
        So yeah, he could have covered his tracks better, but I bet it never occurred to him to try. Why would it? In fact, if he had tried to cover it up more, it would have looked like he was trying to cover it up, suggesting that he thought he was doing something he could get in trouble for.
    • Funny how effective that was... and then Mr. Free Speech has the audacity to ask the employer to hire the guy back. ROFL!!!
  • Notable quote (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daveschroeder (516195) * on Sunday December 11, 2005 @12:02PM (#14233287)
    Seigenthaler, founder of the First Amendment Center, said that as a longtime advocate of free speech, he found it awkward to be tracking down someone who had exercised that right. "I still believe in free expression," he said. "What I want is accountability."

    Indeed.

    The problem is that many people believe that actions - including speech - shouldn't have consequences.
    • Re:Notable quote (Score:5, Insightful)

      by luvirini (753157) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @12:05PM (#14233300)
      Speech of many types has consequences.. everything from inciting to crime to slandering someone can have criminal or civil penalties however you do it.. be it on the street or the net.
    • Re:Notable quote (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pla (258480) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @12:13PM (#14233331) Journal
      The problem is that many people believe that actions - including speech - shouldn't have consequences.

      Freedom of speech, by necessity, includes freedom after speech. In the real world, that usually requires anonymity.


      In this particular situation, the speech involved counts as a stupid joke, or possibly a subtle political jab. If, instead, the relevant Wiki article had included concrete evidence that Bush and Blair lied to the world for the purpose of controlling the world Mango market, or a leaked internal memo showing the Diebold CEO deliberately made defective machines that gave extra votes to Libertarians - Would we still consider it an "abuse" of free speech, or exactly the reason we need free speech?


      Yes, with free speech comes a certain degree of responsibility... On the part of the AUDIENCE. Charlatans and outright liers will always exist, and would even if we didn't have a 1st amendment in the US. Anyone who accepts a single Wiki entry as "proof" of ANYTHING deserves the ridicule they get when more skeptical readers point out the real facts.
      • Yes, with free speech comes a certain degree of responsibility... On the part of the AUDIENCE. Charlatans and outright liers will always exist, and would even if we didn't have a 1st amendment in the US.

        That's clever, but fallacious.

        With free speech comes responsibility on the part of the speaker as well.

        All rights have associated responsibility - which includes things like accountability - that lies with the exerciser of the right, and it is the refusal to acknowledge this from which problems arise.
      • Re:Notable quote (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Leiterfluid (876193)
        I call shenanigans.

        You're attempting to shift responsibility of speech to the audience, not the speaker. That's blatantly wrong. No one has a right to say exactly what they want, when they want, and how they want 100% of the time without consequence . If I yell "Bomb" in an airport, can I tell the federal agents that have my neck in a knot that I was just trying to get to the front of the line?

        We have a duty to understand the effects of the speech we make. While I agree that anyone who reads a Wik

        • You're attempting to shift responsibility of speech to the audience, not the speaker. That's blatantly wrong.

          Not blatantly. Only in cases of fraud is there any reason to limit speech.

          No one has a right to say exactly what they want, when they want, and how they want 100% of the time without consequence.

          Yes, just 99% of the time, for most people.

          If I yell "Bomb" in an airport, can I tell the federal agents that have my neck in a knot that I was just trying to get to the front of the line?

          You bring up an int
          • Re:Notable quote (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Wavicle (181176)
            Only in cases of fraud is there any reason to limit speech.

            So if an anti-abortion groups publishes the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and time they normally arrive home after work of doctors performing abortions - that isn't fraud, it's just information. It should be protected speech, right? Google for the court's opinion. It doesn't match yours.

            Federal agents aren't required, any more than cops, to respond to you yelling "Bomb".

            Somewhat wrong. If you shout it in the middle of the woods and there
        • I think you are both right. This reminds me of something my grandfather used to say about driving. "The graveyard is full of people who have the right of way". Every driver is certainly responsible for his/her action on the road and for following the rules. However, if you as a driver assume that the other drivers are going to follow the rules and respect your right of way, someone's going to run a red light and kill you. It's called defensive driving

          The same goes in speech. You are responsible for
      • Re:Notable quote (Score:3, Insightful)

        by adaml75 (740279)
        Now how accusing someone of being a murderer counts as "subtle political jab"? It's slander and auhtor should be held responsible for it.
      • Strong Position (Score:2, Insightful)

        by mfh (56)
        pla;
        You have a very strong position here and I wanted to let you know that I found your statements on freedom of speech very compelling. The responsibility for freedom of speech is indeed on the part of the audience, and not the orator. Each human being is a liar once; nobody is perfect. Our mission is not to be perfect; it's to handle and understand why we are NOT perfect. When we can achieve that level of understanding, we can become truly evolved and perhaps then we could be within reach of the lofty uto
      • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @03:23PM (#14234302) Journal
        The problem is that many people believe that actions - including speech - shouldn't have consequences.

        Freedom of speech, by necessity, includes freedom after speech. In the real world, that usually requires anonymity.


        Let's see what happens with that claim if applied to other rights:

        "Freedom of religion, by necessity, includes freedom after sacrificing a captured non-believer. In the real world, that usually requires anonymity."

        "Freedom of the press, by necessity, includes freedom after deliberatiely publishing libelous stories that destroy a victim's livelyhood, family, and personal relations. In the real world, that usually requires anonymity."

        "The right to keep and bear arms, by necessity, includes freedom after fatally shooting unamred victims in the back. In the real world, that usually requires anonymity."

        "Freedom of association, by necessity, includes freedom after creating a criminal gang and leading in an ongoing pattern of criminal activity, including murders, robberies, and extortion. In the real world, that usually requires anonymity."

        And so on.

        Sorry, the only true part of your claim is that: "In the real world, that usually requires anonymity."

        Freedom of speech says the government can't make a law blocking you from speeking. It does not mean it can't make it a crime to deliberately or negligently cause harm others using false claims (that you KNOW to be false) as the instrument.

        If, instead, the relevant Wiki article had included concrete evidence that Bush and Blair lied to the world for the purpose of controlling the world Mango market, or a leaked internal memo showing the Diebold CEO deliberately made defective machines that gave extra votes to Libertarians - Would we still consider it an "abuse" of free speech, or exactly the reason we need free speech?

        IANAL, but as I understand it:
          - Truth is an absolute defense against claims of libel.
          - The standard to prove libel is higher for "public persons", such as celebrities (who voluntarily chose to make their living from their noteriety) or politicians, than for ordinary citizens. (In particular (if I have this right), negligence is no longer an issue and the plantif must show malace and/or deliberate falsehood.)
          - The standards are essentially insurmountable when discussing elected officials or political issues. (Thus pundits, and political opponents, can take cheap shots, repeat outrageous and provable lies for years, or accuse their opponents of their own (but not their opponents) sins, in complete immunity. The effectively only need to answer to the "court of public opinion", not to a court of law.)

        Yes, with free speech comes a certain degree of responsibility... On the part of the AUDIENCE. Charlatans and outright liers will always exist, and would even if we didn't have a 1st amendment in the US. Anyone who accepts a single Wiki entry as "proof" of ANYTHING deserves the ridicule they get when more skeptical readers point out the real facts.

        The same can be said of the news media, commercial encyclopedias, printed books, scholarly journals, and every human being whose opinions and stories you pay attention to. Different institutions and different individuals deserve different levels of trust. Even the SAME individual or institution deserves different levels of trust on different subjects (or even at different times in their lifetime or history).

        If you have a medical question, do you trust your doctor, your lawyer, the head of your IT department, or your auto mechanic when their opinions diverge? If you have a question regarding risk-benefit ratio of gun ownership, do you trust articles in a medical or a criminology journal when THEY diverge? And so on.

        But that in no way absoves the author or speaker of THEIR responsibility - especially when they deliberatly construct and publish falsehoods that harm some particular victim.
        • Let's see what happens with that claim if applied to other rights:

          Ironically, your examples do more to support my point than refute it. In every example you make, you provide outcomes that break other laws. And yes, to do so with impunity would require complete anonymity. But let's consider them individually:

          "Freedom of religion, by necessity, includes freedom after sacrificing a captured non-believer." - I have the right to believe anything I want. That right doesn't extend to breaking (most) othe
    • Free - as in "of consequences - to me".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 11, 2005 @12:03PM (#14233292)
    They really need to go after that guy who started that story about the guy who wakes up in a tub of ice without kidneys. That was too creepy. And that Kilroy guy has lied out his ass millions of times. Where exactly is "here?" No one seems to know. Let's hang him.
    • For the record, I woke up missing only 1 kidney. And, it was a large rubber-maid style tub, not a bath-tub as often reported. Also, I just found out they took a piece of my liver as well. Oh yeah, and while I was at Taco-Bell last week, I must have accidentally eaten some cockroach eggs, because the eggs are hatching inside an open sore in my mouth. Oh and lets not forget the thumb in my chili at Wendys. Then there is all the cow-eyeballs and worms that McDonalds uses as filler in their meat. All of t
  • by gasmonso (929871) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @12:05PM (#14233298) Homepage

    In a shocking discovery, it appears that the Wikipedia entry came from the sixth floor of the Dallas book repository.

    gasmonso http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]
  • by lawpoop (604919) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @12:06PM (#14233306) Homepage Journal
    About a year ago, I posted a discussion to some part of Wikipedia advocating digitally signing articles with GPG keys.

    The plan was that each author, editor, and reader signs off for or against part or the whole of an article. The fallout should be that some articles get nearly universal positive sign offs, some get nearly universal against votes, and some are recorded as controversial. With GPG keys, we can also start ranking authors and editors -- are they generally agreed with, are they controversial, are they trolls. This is a codification of the skepticism that proponents of Wikipedia claim that any internet user should employ.

    Something else I thought would be good would be to have branching articles. For instance, the entry for Hitler would have the main entry, which is the most agreed upon, a white-supremacist/neo-nazi version which stirs a lot of controversy, and maybe a David Icke version, which, while against Hitler, involves space reptiles and is therefore also controversial. Using the ranking and reputation system, a casual user can see how agreeable or controversial an article is.
    • FTFA: "In a letter to Seigenthaler, Chase said he thought that Wikipedia was a "gag" Web site and that he had written the assassination tale to shock a co-worker"

      So much so about the crediblity of wikipedia...

      On second thoughts, wouldn't wikipedia do well with a moderation system ?
    • Why would you need GPG keys for this? What would that add over just adding a forced login and tracking karma system.

      Slashdot seems to do reasonably well without GPG keys.

      • Slashdot seems to do reasonably well without GPG keys.

        and anarchy is reasonbly well organized ... for sufficiently low values of organized.

      • by lawpoop (604919) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @12:42PM (#14233459) Homepage Journal
        There are two reasons to use GPG technology:

        1. It's harder to steal someone's GPG identity.
        2. You're not putting all your eggs in one basket like you do with logins. If wikipedia had a catastrophic server failure, they might lose all the authentication data. Goodbye wikipedia community. With GPG keys, there isn't such a large risk.

        Here's a feature you may be overlooking: GPG keys are *universal* username/password credentials. Any bulliten board system could use GPG signed messages. That would do away with everybody re-inventing this authentication system and site security.

        I would argue that GPG authentication is actually simpler than a username/password over HTTP security system. If that's the case, how can you call it overengineering, especially if any other bulliten board can drop their lousy HTTP authentication mechanism and use this one? That reduces complexity for site admins all over the world.
        • "You're not putting all your eggs in one basket like you do with logins. If wikipedia had a catastrophic server failure, they might lose all the authentication data. Goodbye wikipedia community."

          My feeling is that if major banks, credit card providers, and brokerages get away with simple login/pass systems for account access with potentially billions of dollars at stake, then a login/pass system is good enough for an online collaborative encyclopedia. Yes, financial institutions have fucked up, but to my kn
          • "My feeling is that if major banks, credit card providers, and brokerages get away with simple login/pass systems for account access with potentially billions of dollars at stake..."

            This is good enough for financial institutions because they have other authentication mechanisms for fraud detection. Just for example, they have hueristics to examine whether this transaction makes sense given the history of the customer. And for non-personal accounts, they don't allow username/password web access for making t
            • "I would argue that what is a good idea is reputation. A GPG system creates a reputation system that *persists*...""

              I agree completely, but if you're proposing this system to an audience unfamiliar with GPG (as most people are, even perhaps on Slashdot, to say nothing of Wikipedia) it might help to start with something more easily digestible, just so the rest of us can wrap our heads around what you're talking about.

              There's just so many ideas out there that it doesn't take much to dismiss someone with a goo
    • Maybe I'm dense, but I fail to see how cryptographic digital sigures would do anything other than add technical complexity with no corresponding benefit. How exactly are GPG signatures better than user accounts with decent passwords? Is there really a history of Wikipedia accounts being compromised by password guessing? Is there any reason to think that password guessing would become a problem if some sort of article approval process were implemented?

      I just don't see it.

      • Read this post [slashdot.org] for my repsonse to someone else asking about the value of GPG.

        Boils down to this:

        . GPG authentication is *simpler* than the 1000 different crappy authentication-over-HTTP-sessions schemes going around.
        . Wikipedia isn't responsible for maintaining the authentication credentials for the entire community. It's good not to have all your eggs in one basket.
        . In the long run, GPG could replace any crappy authentication system in any bulliten board system anywhere. It would *simplify* the web
      • There's a history of Wikipedia admins revealing the passwords [slashdot.org] on random accounts, accidentally, in attempting to hunt down vandals, then, upon discovery of the security foul, insisting they've done nothing wrong. Regular (non-troll) contributors have had their passwords compromised [slashdot.org] for months without any notice.
    • That's not a bad idea in the general. I don't understand how GPG is relevant, though, since couldn't you implement the same system with a simple login and password?
      • Read this post [slashdot.org] for my reply to another poster who asks the same question. Basically, GPG is actually *simpler* than the crappy HTTP session authentication hacks going around. Also, wikipedia is not repsonsible for the creditials of the entire wikipedia community.
  • by core plexus (599119) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @12:06PM (#14233307) Homepage
    It used to be that one could tell the fake news, such as Weekly World News, National Enquirer, etc., but recently many reporters are either faking news or just regurgitating press releases.

    I know, because I was a reporter, then later an editor. With tightening margins, reporters get paid less and less (try $20 for a story), and staff is shrunk in the dead-tree press. It's hard to keep the passion up when Ramen is for dinner, again. Sometimes, though, the made up news is more interesting or entertaining than the 'real' news.

    Alaska's wildfires might be helping melt glaciers and sea ice [suvalleynews.com]

    • Sad truth of our times is the fact that real news often seem more stupid and fantastic than anything made up.
    • by AndroidCat (229562) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @12:20PM (#14233361) Homepage
      The September that never ended [wikipedia.org] has finally created a Silly Season [wikipedia.org] that never ends either.
    • > t used to be that one could tell the fake news, such as Weekly World News, National Enquirer, etc., but recently many reporters are either faking news or just regurgitating press releases. I know, because I was a reporter, then later an editor. With tightening margins, reporters get paid less and less (try $20 for a story), and staff is shrunk in the dead-tree press.

      As the Iraqi editor said, "If I had known it was from the US Army, I would have charged a lot more to publish it."
    • It used to be that one could tell the fake news, such as Weekly World News, National Enquirer, etc.

      Most of the tabloids, such as The National Enquirer, have switched to a celebrity gossip format. Weekly World News, on the other hand, still gives general interest news that is false in this world but true in the Weekly World.

    • It used to be that one could tell the fake news, such as Weekly World News, National Enquirer, etc., but recently many reporters are either faking news or just regurgitating press releases.

      Were things that much better in the old days, or did we just not know?

      I'm reminded of the War of the Worlds [wikipedia.org] radio show:

      H. G. Wells' novel is about a Martian invasion of Earth at the end of the 19th century, as related by a narrator seeing the events unfold in England.

      Contemporary newspapers reported panic ensued, wi

    • Yeah, kind of like how all the big networks showing video clips of rockets going off in Afghanistan, 2 hours after the WTC was hit! And people seem to think this war wasn't rigged. While CNN and MSNBC were showing those clips, the BBC was explaining that they were not live feeds and that they weren't even depicting the right time of day. They were also reading press releases from the Pentagon saying that they had not taken any actions whatsoever.
  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Sunday December 11, 2005 @12:09PM (#14233316)
    What tool did he use to trace the IP back to the delivery company?

    ARIN Whois only goes as far as Bellsouth for the IP address in question (65.81.97.208), as does pretty much every utility, geographic and otherwise, that I could find in a rudimentary search.

    So, what tool did he use to actually narrow it down to a specific business?
  • by adnonsense (826530) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @12:28PM (#14233386) Homepage Journal

    If Mr. Chase had spent the 30 seconds or required to create a Wikipedia account (valid email address not required!) he would have stopped the "cyber-sleuth" (hah) in his tracks. Wikipedia seems to laboring under the apprehension that IP addresses are somehow anonymous, whereas they provide far more information to third parties than an account name does (unless the poster is savvy enough to use a reasonably anonymous proxy not blocked by Wikipedia).

  • by nephridium (928664) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @12:31PM (#14233402)
    Wikipedia is one of the greatest resources for knowledge on the web. Not necessarily for the contents of the articles, which obviously range from 'exceptionally well done' to 'nothing but a troll post', but for the links and sources that are supplied at the end of the page that will get you started in getting the "real" information.

    In this respect Wikipedia is actually far more effient than any search engine, because ALL links will point to pages with information on the subject - filtering between 'good' and 'bad' webpages is quite straight forward. This approach will also give you a layer of redundancy which is required when doing good research on any topic.

  • Anonymity? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by headkase (533448) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @12:33PM (#14233420)
    I wonder if anonymity is just a passing phase for the Internet? A way to envision having a real network identity could the upbeat notion of a Citizen's card that allows you to participate virtually within the boundaries of accepted behavior. With wise regulation there's nothing bad about that.
    But outside of that ideal in the real world we can hardly agree on what even constitutes human rights internationally. So there does seem to be a need for some forms of anonymity like when something is leaked because it's in the public interest. Although, for libel and slander accountability would seem to be better overall. Pragmatically, something that satisfies both could be logged access that requires a warrant to associate id with identity.
  • Unfortunate (Score:4, Insightful)

    by meregistered (895132) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @12:45PM (#14233471) Journal
    While I agree that, on the surface, this seems like it shouldn't be illegal, if this where beleived it could cost Mr. Seigenthaler career opportunities. And, though unlikely, potentially even legal problems.

    My main dissapointment here, however, is that this will decrease the trust of the value of the information on Wikipedia. I have a few friends (these are geeks as well mind you) who don't trust Wikipedia because essentially, 'anyone can write there'. They beleive that there is not enough valid information there; Too much opinion. Of course my response is that even published encyclopedias can include bad information based on opinion. By giving a published encyclopedia no room for doubt we are opening ourselves up to beleif in error, just as we are by not using critical thought processes when reading a Wikipedia entry.

    So back to my dissapointment. Stunts like this while both funny & stupid are also devaluing the otherwise fairly valuable content of Wikipedia.

    -ME®
    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @01:27PM (#14233681) Journal
      Wich can be raided by police should it suddenly have a new version out denying the holocaust (an offense in much of europe).

      A new version takes years to come out and will have a lot of peer review and can be reviewed just once by the rest of the world and then either accepted or rejected. You do not have to keep a constant watch to check if some crackpot is not scribbling new entries in your encyclopedia and if they are you send your kid to bed without diner.

      Then again all the safety measures also tend to enforce a certain accepted thinking approach with no room for the more wild theories and ideas. I wonder if a wikipedia article in centuries past on the arrangeent of the heavenly bodies would have been a problem.

      After all I seem to conclude that the holocaust is real but how do I know? Only because that is what I have been told. Just like people were once told that the sun circled the earth. For both of wich I got no absolute proof. I don't even have proof WW2 really happened. Oh sure yeah there is a very big war cemetry were I grew up but who says they are real graves?

      That is the problem with the "true" version of an event not directly experienced by you. You got to take somebody's word for it and somehow I am not that willing to take the word of someone unwilling to show his/hers full credentials. Wikipedia is usefull but only for totally non-discussable things like say looking up what that the name NASA is an acronym (forgot the word a while ago).

  • Mr. Seigenthaler was involved in the assasination of JFK.

    Assassination
    n.
    The act of assassinating; a killing by treacherous violence.

    Assasination
    n.
    The act of writing a Wikipedia article with the purpose to insert the author into the topic falsely.

    See, he's fine.
  • TOR / I2P (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tdc_vga (787793)
    I don't see why this is a big deal. Anyone who wants to make it more difficult (while theoretically not impossible) to track them back through an IP address can

    1) use TOR,
    2) use I2P,
    3) use an open/free Wifi area (without camera mind you), or
    4) in the works of Lawerence Lessig (if any of you went to law school): "use a pay phone." (and yes this is possible if you have some old school gear and the patience to wait on the modem)

    While allowing accountability (IP request w/o subpoenas) would catch the ma

  • Wait a minute... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by teslatug (543527) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @01:08PM (#14233598)
    The guy did this as a prank, and then he left it there for months?? Either he's extremely forgetful, or he doesn't know when to end a prank, or this wasn't a prank at all and he's just covering his ass.
  • by bcrowell (177657) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @01:16PM (#14233631) Homepage
    Now we know who wrote it. However, we'll probably never know whether anybody ever read it before Seigenthaler noticed it. If you look at the "what links here" [wikipedia.org] page for the Seigenthaler article, it looks like 100% of the list is articles that are now linked to it because of the controversy. During the time between the perpetration of the hoax and Seigenthaler publicizing of it, it's quite possible that the article wasn't linked to from anywhere in WP, and nobody had ever read it besides Seigenthaler. After all, he's a pretty obscure person in the greater scheme of things. If Seigenthaler had wanted to sue for libel, it would have been tough, because there's no evidence anyone ever read it. If I go in the closet and whisper to myself, "Seigenthaler shot Kennedy," it doesn't exactly qualify as slander. If the hoaxer had wanted people to read the hoax, he could have linked to it from the Kennedy article, for example. But then guess what? -- people would have corrected the hoax.
  • by Everyman (197621) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @01:26PM (#14233678) Homepage
    There is a chronology of how it was traced at the bottom of this page [wikipedia-watch.org].

    I am no genius. There was one chance in 10,000 that there would be a server on that IP address, and that it would be up when I tried it on impulse (it timed out during nightime hours during all of last week).

    Mr. Seigenthaler is very gracious in complimenting me, but I am no genius. Anyone who knows the difference between an IP address and a hot-dog with mustard could have done the same thing. That includes dozens, or maybe hundreds, of Wikipedians. But they didn't bother now, did they?

    It was a pleasure to work with Mr. Seigenthaler on this trace. He is an amazing, accomplished person, and I have a huge amount of respect for him. Before his Wikipedia story came out, I wasn't aware of him.

    He's the genius, although it is true that I know more about Internet infrastructure than he does. But I know nothing that would impress all the clever Slashdotters reading this, I'm sure.
    • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @02:33PM (#14234059)
      Wow. So you're Danial Brandt? Mr Google-watch [google-watch.org]? I've always found you to be a rather facinating [google-watch-watch.org] character [aaronwall.com].

      Honestly - if you didn't have an axe to grind with Google, and then Wikipedia... would you have even bothered to do this?
      • by yukster (586300) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @03:18PM (#14234281)

        Yeah, interesting fellow... more nuggets here [google-watch-watch.org] and here [counterpunch.org] and here [outer-court.com]...

        The google-watch-watch one has a good quote from a Salon article:

        When you type "NameBase" into Google, Brandt's site comes up first, but Brandt is not satisfied with that. "My problem has been to get Google to go deep enough into my site," he says. In other words, Brandt wants Google to index the 100,000 names he has in his database, so that a Google search for "Donald Rumsfeld" will bring up NameBase's page for the secretary of defense.

        This also adds a little interesting twist to his disdain for wikipedia...

    • by Linuxbeak (938043) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @07:05PM (#14235215)
      You know something, Daniel, I thought somewhat higher of you. I didn't know that you were such a publicity hunter.

      I'm not saying that what Mr. Chase did is defendable. It's not. However, all things considered, it wasn't that big of a deal; you found Mr. Chase out, caused him to have enough inner conflict to apologize to Mr. Seigenthaler in person (not to mention resign from his job), and scored a point for your anti-defamation campaign. So far, so good.

      But wait! I thought you were a champion of privacy!

      I'm noticing a rather disturbing trend here. On your wikipedia-watch.org/hivemind.html page, you list several people (myself included; I'm sure you'll add another juicy tidbit to my section) which you want to get personal information (such as home addresses, age, schools, information about offspring, etc.) about. You also list several quotes which, if taken out of context, seem to be rather hostile towards you. However, those comments are in fact blatantly out of context. Additionally, when you yourself were an editor on Wikipedia, your contribution page (at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions /Daniel_Brandt [wikipedia.org]) shows that you were not only disruptive, but a full-blown troll! No WONDER why they banned you!

      I think you're the most dedicated hypocritical crackpot that the Internet has ever seen. I don't see your above post as "modest"; in fact, I find it quite disgusting. It's just *dripping* with brownnose comments ("It was a pleasure to work with Mr. Seigenthaler on this trace. He is an amazing, accomplished person, and I have a huge amount of respect for him." "He's the genius." "...all the clever Slashdotters...").

      Guess what, Daniel! The world doesn't revolve around you, and your self-righteous crusade against Wikipedia is misguided at best.

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