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Spanish TV Channels Vandalize Wikipedia 182

Posted by kdawson
from the setting-fire-to-a-house-to-see-how-quickly-the-firemen-arrive dept.
strider2004 writes to tell us that Barrapunto, a Spanish tech news site, has outed two TV stations in Spain, one public and the other private, for engaging in Wikipedia vandalism for the sake of a story. (The link is in Spanish; Google translation here.) The public station introduced falsehoods into the Wikipedia entry for John Lennon; the private one vandalized the Elvis Presley entry. Both stations said they were performing an "experiment" to check the reaction time of Wikipedia. Both articles were promptly corrected by other editors.
Update: 08/19 13:01 GMT by KD : Barrapunto is not affiliated with Slashdot.
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Spanish TV Channels Vandalize Wikipedia

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  • So.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grassy_knoll (412409) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @10:02PM (#20282481) Homepage
    Goofballs add bogus info to Wikipedia; said bogus info is promptly corrected.

    This is news?
  • Hold the phone here...

    "(Spanish Slashdot) has outed two TV stations in Spain..."

    How on Earth can two television stations be of homosexual leanings? Also since when was the Spanish Slashdot site an authority on these things? Guess those Spanish speaking nerds just know something we all don't...:)
    • by BinBoy (164798) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @11:04PM (#20282901) Homepage
      How on Earth can two television stations be of homosexual leanings?

      Vandalizing wikipedia is gay.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ArsenneLupin (766289)

        Vandalizing wikipedia is gay.

        Properly vandalizing wikipedia would be. But these TV stations are just wannabees!

        If you want your vandalism to stick, become smarter. Either pick lesser known subjects (John Lennon and Elvis Presley are just too high-profile: these are well-watched, and anyting funny will be corrected within minutes). Or, if you absolutely must pick well-known subjects, at leas be smarter about it:

        One way would be to make more than one change, using more than one username (I hope you made one of these? "Anonymous IP"

        • Isn't the whole point of vandalism to get attention? Wasn't there an article about this on slashdot awhile back having to do with filling a missing psychological void like getting a hard-on. People who vandalize lesser known articles, especially hidden vandalism, wooooo have some serious issues.
    • Well, from what I understand, people in Spain speak Spanish with a lithp. Hope that helps.
      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by Quino (613400)
        in case anyone cares:

        If you're taught Spanish in the US, you're likely taught Mexican (or Latin American -- not actually sure as some South American Spanish sounds a lot like Spanish -er Spanish to me) pronunciation.

        One of the biggest differences is that the letters 'c' and 'z' don't sound like the 's' in Spain though they do in Mexico; Spaniards pronounce them like the English "th". For instance, the Spanish word for shoe is "zapato".

        a Mexican person pronounces it sort of like: "saw-paw-toe"
        a Spanish pers
        • by Neko-kun (750955)
          This maybe regarded as off-topic since it may have been covered before, but I'd like to add to your post with the fact that Argentinians tend to also sound like Spaniards and that unless you've been exposed to, i.e. lived in places like L.A. and had the interactions in spanish with the spanish speaking folk, you won't understand the usage of the idioms spoken by another dialect.
          Neither do ways of saying nor sayings have any easy interchange between the dialects...

          Best example would be the comparison of Amer
        • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

          by kypper (446750)
          Granted, I did see something about Netcraft confirming FreeBSD as dead...
        • It must be noticed that there're some regions in Spain where people also exchanges the 's' for 'c' just as they do in Mexico (mainly in Canary islands and the south, Andalucia - pronounced 'Andalusia' in Mexico :). So It's not a issue, everybody in Spain is used to it, and Mexicans understand us aswell.
        • by Old Wolf (56093)
          Hey, it IS just like Slashdot, but in Spanish! :)

          Also, 'bar' could mean 'slash', and 'punt' sounds like 'point' (dot) .. hasta la XP!
  • by Vampyre_Dark (630787) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @10:20PM (#20282613)
    You open what is supposed to be all the world's knowledge combined in a site, except that the policy is to treat it like a public bathroom. That's fine, but why is it news every time someone gets caught taking a shit in it?

    It's fine to let people contribute, but most articles need to be locked down when they are completed, and then you submit stuff to be added for peer review or something. There is no reason why 8 year old Johnny needs to be editing the live version of a page on something he knows nothing about.

    Is there enough new information on Elvis arriving, that his page needs to be open to live submissions from anyone 24/7/365?
    • Is there enough new information on Elvis arriving, that his page needs to be open to live submissions from anyone 24/7/365?

      There will be as soon as I catch up to his spaceship!

      -:sigma.SB

      disclaimer: this post contains facetiousness, which is known by the state of California to cause miscarriages in lab giraffes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I've seen a few of my high schools students editing Wikipedia with bogus info just for kicks.
    • by abhi_beckert (785219) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @11:26PM (#20283025)
      The problem is if 8 year old Johnny can't edit the page, he won't bother. Anyone can fix a typo, but if it's too much work they won't do it.

      The openness is the reason wikipedia succeeded. Not because being open gives better content, but because being open gives more content, and more content makes it valuable to more people, and being valuable to more people gives them more editors, and more editors usually gives better content.

      Also, you're forgetting: any page with regular vandalism does get locked down.
      • I'm not forgetting anything. I realize that any page gets locked down after repeated vandalism. But one being page being vandalized a lot, and several pages getting vandalized should be treated the same way. I also don't argue with your open case.

        I think the default browsing mode of wikipedia for casual users should be pages that are known to be safe and factual. For those that want it, have the working copy that can be promoted to the default page when it's time.
        • You?

          Really, how do you decide? What do you reference to to decide?

          Keep it open and flat as it is now. The moment you start putting restrictions on you'll lose contributors.
        • by cashman73 (855518)
          Going along with that idea, Wikipedia's Proposed Flagged Revisions Policy [wikipedia.org] might be trying to solve that problem. It's not official yet, but essentially what they're aiming to do is to have responsible editors "sight" versions of the article that are generally free of vandalism, and these "sighted versions" will be the default view for users that are not logged in to the system. Users that are logged in, will continue, by default, to see the most recently edited version of the page. They're suggesting that i
    • by init100 (915886) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @04:09AM (#20284283)

      It's fine to let people contribute, but most articles need to be locked down when they are completed

      How would you define completed? Very few articles can claim to contain every piece of knowledge about the subject. There is always room for more, so locking down anything permanently would be a horribly bad idea.

    • by orasio (188021)

      You open what is supposed to be all the world's knowledge combined in a site, except that the policy is to treat it like a public bathroom. That's fine, but why is it news every time someone gets caught taking a shit in it?

      It's fine to let people contribute, but most articles need to be locked down when they are completed, and then you submit stuff to be added for peer review or something. There is no reason why 8 year old Johnny needs to be editing the live version of a page on something he knows nothing about.

      Is there enough new information on Elvis arriving, that his page needs to be open to live submissions from anyone 24/7/365?

      I don't understand why your post is modded as insightful.
      Everybody can have an idea of a good website. The merit of the Wikipedia is that it is very important for a lot of people, as is.
      There is nothing stopping you from creating a non editable wikipedia, you could even use the content that is already there.

      The power of the Wikipedia is that its rules are set by someone smarter than you, and with more vision. Anyone can make a comment like yours. The thing that is brilliant about the Wikipedia is that is h

  • by Manchot (847225) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @10:35PM (#20282735)
    I can't believe this is true! Why did no one tell me that Slashdot has a Spanish version? Seriously, looking at it is like looking at Bizarro Slashdot.
  • by ILuvRamen (1026668) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @11:10PM (#20282933)
    In case nobody remembers, Stephen Colbert's "experiment" proved the response time for fixing BS entries in wikipedia (that librarians are hiding something) in about 15 seconds. Why do they have to try the experiment otra ves? :P
  • Fair's fair (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cabalamat3 (1089523) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @11:27PM (#20283043) Homepage
    I think someone should write graffiti on big letters on the walls of these TV stations... purely as an experiment, you understand, to see how long it takes to remove it.
    • The equivalent would be to graffiti a wall using a few Post-It notes as those are easy to remove.
       
      • Yes, you're right. What I was really getting at is the arrongance and selfishness of those who think it is OK for them to vandalise other people's stuff for their silly and pathetic TV programmes.
    • That's a reasonable argument, but I think you're missing the fact that correcting entries is part and parcel of what wikipedia is all about. I applaud people for testing that system. If we had more journalists who actually investigated things, maybe the media wouldn't have let the voting system become compromised, and wouldn't have let thousands of people die in iraq without mentioning it much.

      Vandalising a wall with something relatively permanent is a different issue to this kind of investigation, though
      • by dkf (304284)

        Vandalising a wall with something relatively permanent is a different issue to this kind of investigation, though.
        Not if the vandals use water-soluble paints. (We are talking an exterior wall here, yes?) Not that I condone defacing buildings, but if the point is to make a point, the paint really doesn't have to last more than a few hours.
  • Don't you know I'm loco. --Wikipedia.
  • by MarkByers (770551) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @11:51PM (#20283163) Homepage Journal
    "We were just testing to see how fast the emergency services would react..."
  • by boguslinks (1117203) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @12:13AM (#20283275)
    Their slogan is not "News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters", but "La informacion que te interesa"...

    What does that make them, the spanish Drudge Report?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by UserGoogol (623581)
      Well, their top story is that Netbeans is switching to the GPLv2, whereas Daily Drudge's top story is that HISTORIC HELL STORM SET FOR JAMAICA.
    • by Flipao (903929) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @04:02AM (#20284253)
      There's no proper translation for terms like "nerd" or "geek" in spanish, so the only slogan that'd make sense would be "News for people who're good with computers, but socially inept", which doesn't quite have the same ring to it. As a proper nerd, I of course learned english just so I could read the original version of Slashdot. :P
      • There's no proper translation for terms like "nerd" or "geek" in spanish

        Er..."friqui" (probably an adaptation from the english 'freaky') it's a good substitute IMO.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Flipao (903929)
          nah, it's simply not a widely used term, and even if it were, the word is more associated with compulsion than mere interest (as in Freak).

          Not to mention it's also an anglicism for "Free Kick" in football.
      • by Nicolay77 (258497)
        "Es usted un Nerdo" comes to mind.
  • by JimboFBX (1097277) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @01:04AM (#20283549)
    Other "experiments" kept from us:

    Response time for vandalizing Sonic Hedgehog [wikipedia.org] - 8 days
    Response time for vandalizing Sonic the Hedgehog [wikipedia.org] - 8 seconds
    • by Arimus (198136)
      Not really.

      Sonic the hedgehog is an article a lot of people have enough info about to be able to pull it back into shape. On the other hand SHH isn't.

      Response time will depend on the depth of knowledge required to maintain an article, some are simple, some are still within the knowledge domain of the wider community who are interested in that field and some can only be edited by experts in their field. SHH being a good example of the latter.

      (Assuming the vandalism wasn't just sticking a very obvious bit of
  • Ah yes. (Score:4, Informative)

    by ta bu shi da yu (687699) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @01:18AM (#20283599) Homepage
    Vandalism by the media. I guess another entry for this article on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org].
  • Spanish Ads (Score:3, Funny)

    by AngryJim (1045256) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @03:22AM (#20284117)
    clicking on the Barrapunto link, I get an advertisement for something called "Dorkbot Madrid"

    I think it's the first time an advertisement has ever made me want to buy something, particularly when I have no clue what it is.
  • Why the outrage? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jparker (105202) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @04:41AM (#20284429) Homepage
    Most of the comments so far seem very upset that the TV channels did this, but it really doesn't seem like a big deal to me. Wikipedia is a community, a society like any other. It has its values, with accuracy being one of the most important, and someone did a social experiment to see how well that community adhered to its principles. Sure, it required being a little bit of a bad actor, but if Slashdot reported on a new study where researchers bumped into people while carrying several packages and found that Linux users were more likely to help them pick up their dropped items, I don't think the comments would be blasting them for assault.

    This was minor public vandalism, of a kind the community sees every day, and a kind that it was built to correct. If they had launched a systematic campaign to spread disinformation throughout many articles, that would be a serious problem, but changing the date of Lennon's death to 2007 instead of 1977? If edits like that caused Wikipedia any kind of damage, it would have died years ago.
  • They picked up two the most famous cultural icons in the world for their experiment. Supposedly, those pages should have been watched by "million eyes" (remember the open software motto?). Comparing that to the graffiti on the wall, which requires much more effort to fix, is plain vanilla exaggeration.

    I guess the public ran of the steam of the Wikipedia anonymous fixing by corporate bastards, and now feels the need to pick on whatever left of the story. That is what exactly what traditional media does by be
  • by a9bejo (828492) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @06:38AM (#20284835) Homepage

    "Both stations said they were performing an "experiment" to check the reaction time of Wikipedia."

    Maybe someone should perform an "experiment" to test the stability of that TV station's websites.

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