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The Internet Entertainment Games

ESA, EA Caught Editing Their Own Wikipedia Entries 86

Posted by Zonk
from the that's-a-no-no dept.
With the whitewashing of Wikipedia now an easily-reviewable record, it's been noted that games-related organizations are not above tweaking their public image online. Joystiq notes that EA, for example, is unabashed about removing founder Trip Hawkins from their entry. More ominous edits from the Entertainment Software Association are reported by GamePolitics. The organization, which you may recall backing the recent raids on mod chippers, has made a concerted effort to cast mod chips in a negative light. " In one paragraph, someone at ESA deleted a nuanced discussion of mod chip legality, replacing it with a flat assertion that mod chips are illegal. Less than a minute later, a lengthy section on the positive uses of mod chips was deleted, as was a notation that the US Supreme Court has not yet dealt with the DMCA. Finally, a sentence stating that mod chips are legal in Australia was removed."
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ESA, EA Caught Editing Their Own Wikipedia Entries

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  • ...I thought that we were now subject to any anti-modchipping clauses that might be present in the DMCA?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by base2_celtic (56328)
      Not that I'm in any way in favour of the act, of course. I think any device you own should be able to be modified in any way you see fit.
    • by QuantumG (50515)
      You mean because we're the unofficial 51st state of the US?

      Or were you just after first post?

      • by Belacgod (1103921) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @02:57AM (#20301561)
        54th. England is 51, Saudi Arabia is 52, Iraq is 53.
      • by mabinogi (74033)
        No, because the Australia - USA Free Trade Agreement brought in DMCA style anti-circumvention measures, as well as a bunch of other less than savoury copyright changes.
        Bizarrely enough, the same bill also made format shifting absolutely legal.
      • No, genuinely interested. Modchipping old XBOXen has become de riguer as a media centre machine for cash-strapped student organisations that run screenings of various materials.
        • So you show copyrighted material in front of an audience without a written permission from the copyright holders. That is illegal. ("screenings of various materials", yeah, like, only public domain and self-made? I'm so believing you.)
          • No, not correct. Because I was covering a variety of different organisations, I was trying to locate a generic enough term. Of course I can't speak for all university or student societies in Australia, but I can can tell you that the UTas Anime Society obtains written permission to screen all material before we do. We have an excellent relationship with our local distributors and copyright holders. They're very forward-thinking and only too happy to increase their audience base.

            Heck, they're even cool enoug
    • by bakana (918482)
      I personally do not give a fuck if some organization wants to spend its time in a wikiwar with people whom are anal about maintaining their beloved wiki. The action goes something like this: They erase something, someone puts it back, they erase something, someone puts it back, etc etc etc. Doesn't affect me in any way.
  • by pembo13 (770295) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @02:52AM (#20301533) Homepage
    listing all the individuals, organizations, and businesses who are caught doing this. The name of the individuals, along with whom they represent should be posted clearly on a wiki page.
    • by CypherOz (570528)
      So what? Revert!
      The point is that *anyone* can edit. Companies who do this will just get bad publicity - they will lose. The system will self heal. The joys of a community based technology.
    • That would be a very long list. Maybe you could get Sisyphus to maintain it. I hear he's getting tired of that rock and bird routine.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by 5E-0W2 (767094)
        The bird is Prometheus, Sisyphus is the one rolling the boulder up the hill (and Tantalus was the one with the pool of water and the grapes).
      • by Sproggit (18426)
        Sisyphus only has the rock and a hill.
        Prometheus got the bird
    • by faloi (738831)
      There is, but all the people that get caught keep removing themselves from the page!
    • so what? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Geoff-with-a-G (762688) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @01:26PM (#20307147)
      Why should someone try to list this? Who cares, and why?

      Of course people from various companies or organizations edit the Wikipedia entries for those organizations. They're likely to be more knowledgeable and more interested in the subject matter than the average contributor. That's normal.

      If someone created a Wikipedia page about me, and claimed that I cheated on a Geology paper at Harvard, I would probably edit the page and remove it - seeing as how I never went to Harvard or took Geology. Are you telling me that's unfair or unethical of me? That I should wait patiently for someone else knowledgeable and motivated to go make that correction for me? That principle seems absurd to me.

      If the edits they make are untrue, if they're trying to give a falsely positive impression of themselves, then fix it. Correct it. Revert it. The fact that they want to do so is neither surprising nor any worse than if some random third party wanted to post falsely positive (or negative) information about the organization in question. If I'm some random crazy jerk and I decide to vandalize Linus Torvalds' entry to say terrible things about him, how is that better than if he himself edited it to say untrue but positive things about himself? Either way it's just someone posting false information to Wikipedia, and either way you should just correct it to the best of your ability and move on.

      There shouldn't be some sort of blanket principle or policy that an organization can't update its own Wikipedia page. I'd imagine there are IBM employees who know more about IBM than you do. I'd expect there are EA employees who know a lot about EA. They should be free to contribute that knowledge. If they're lying, correct their lies like you would anyone else's.
    • should be posted clearly

      Well, if anyone wants to do so, it's easily done. Ergo, if a company wants to sneak around, it can quickly gain bad publicity. However, any company can also find itself discussed in an undeservedly positive or negative way due to the public nature of Wikipedia.

      Perhaps Wikipedia entries should have some reserved space that companies can use to make statements. Then we can really judge.
  • Change it back? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ludomancer (921940) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @03:05AM (#20301595)
    Now that we've caught these people exploiting the part of wikipedia that NO ONE should exploit simply because it undermines the very principle of this community-based system, who will change these entries back? WILL these entries be changed back?

    It seems kind of limp to blow the horn on them but not remove the erroneous edits they made. Even if this information is subjective, if a company edits this info to benefit said company, that doesn't seem fair. As a slave/consumer in this country, it makes me cringe every time a large corporation gets away with this kind of bullshit. When is enough, enough?
    • by rtb61 (674572)
      Generally speaking, with regards to consumer abusive corporations, immediately after a successful class action law suit ;). So come on you blood sucking sharks, here is an excellent opportunity to stick to a whole bunch of corporations for vandalising a community based system ;).
    • Re:Change it back? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Enlightenment (1073994) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @05:17AM (#20302191)
      Of course they were changed back. The whole point of this article is that people found out and weren't pleased with the disinformation being spread. Would they then allow those edits to remain? Besides, I've been checking, and I've found that yes, the redacted information has been restored. So don't worry. :)
    • by LKM (227954)
      As far as I can tell, at least some of the edits were reverted within minutes of being made, anyway.
    • by Random832 (694525)

      Now that we've caught these people exploiting the part of wikipedia that NO ONE should exploit simply because it undermines the very principle of this community-based system, who will change these entries back? WILL these entries be changed back?

      It seems kind of limp to blow the horn on them but not remove the erroneous edits they made. Even if this information is subjective, if a company edits this info to benefit said company, that doesn't seem fair. As a slave/consumer in this country, it makes me cringe every time a large corporation gets away with this kind of bullshit. When is enough, enough?

      sofixit

  • by GaryPatterson (852699) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @04:26AM (#20301981)
    This exposes an issue I have with Wikipedia - who edits last wins.

    If these people had used IP anonymisers, they'd never have been picked up and the edits would have looked just like arguments back and forth until someone gave up. The problem is that a company can be far more tenacious than any one person, even paying marketing people to make sure Wikipedia has the 'right' information.

    The answer I see from Wikipedia fans is "just edit the page when you see an error." That's great, but if someone's determined enough, they'll edit right afterwards, making the entire thing pointless.

    The greatest strength of Wikipedia is the reason I believe it must ultimately fail.
    • by iapetus (24050)
      In cases where that happens, isn't editing of the page often locked? That's certainly the case for some higher profile articles...
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by nlitement (1098451)
      Oh, really? Or then the dumb idiot pulls of a three-revert, or the good user brings it up on the talk page, or even better, notifies an admin of a badly behaving IP and gets someone to solve the whole issue. The greatest weakness of Wikipedia is the prejudiced approach that people often hold against it and how it handles vandalism/etc.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If these people had used IP anonymisers, they'd never have been picked up and the edits would have looked just like arguments back and forth until someone gave up.

      Or more likely, they would have just been presented with a page telling them they were blocked from editing - Wikipedia blocks all the public proxy servers it can find, for precisely this reason.
      • by peterpi (585134)
        Maybe the GP is talking about something like tor [eff.org].
        • Tor is blocked (Score:2, Informative)

          by tepples (727027)

          And if you use Tor, your exit node's IP address gets blocked unless you log in.

    • by LKM (227954) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @06:48AM (#20302521) Homepage
      Please check out the change history. In most of the cases, the changes were reverted within minutes. It doesn't matter who makes the edits, if the edits are wrong or uncalled for, they will be reverted.

      Constantly changing back would lead to the article being locked. Being tenacious does not matter one bit if the article can't just be changed anymore.

      If you doubt the information in a Wikipedia article, check out its history. It's there for a reason.
      • by Random832 (694525)

        Constantly changing back would lead to the article being locked. Being tenacious does not matter one bit if the article can't just be changed anymore.
        Right, but without the evidence that they have a conflict of interest, it's a crapshoot [wikimedia.org] whose changes get locked into place.
        • by LKM (227954)

          Constantly changing back would lead to the article being locked. Being tenacious does not matter one bit if the article can't just be changed anymore.

          Right, but without the evidence that they have a conflict of interest, it's a crapshoot [wikimedia.org] whose changes get locked into place.

          I've usually found the Wikipedia editors to be surprisingly objective and reasonable. Do you have examples of where the locked version was "The Wrong Version"?

          And again, the history and the discussions are there for a reason. Check them out, especially if the article is locked.

    • by gz718 (586910)
      I believe this kind of activity can be prevented or at least flagged. Couldn't the wikipedia software good a google search on the article title and if the person's ip was in the top XX hits, flag the edit. Certainly won't catch everything and will have false positives, but would at least do something.
    • Personally, I'm reminded of the incidents where people in Washington D.C. were caught editing the pages of their opponents with intent to detract from the opponent's public image. I think it was only a matter of time before someone came along and did it the other way around--of course, who knows for how long this sort of thing has been happening on Wikipedia; these incidents may have only exposed the issue. The chances of it going away in the near future are about nil, but as others have said, as members o
  • by advocate_one (662832) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @05:10AM (#20302175)
    to discover that companies edit their own wikipedia entries...
    • by Arabani (1127547)

      to discover that companies edit their own wikipedia entries...
      The problem arises, I think, when companies make edits that are either inaccurate or attempt to portray their actions in a more positive light.

      Of course, I probably missed the memo that stated that such edits are fine unless done as part of an "experiment" [slashdot.org].
    • I would like my Wiki info to be correct and thorough, and who knows more about a company than the employees themselves? So it's not inherently bad that employees edit their companies entry, it's the fact that these entries are starting to look like press releases.
  • Entity edits freely-editable online encyclopaedia. "News at 11" as I believe the cliche goes.
    • If anytime someone does this, people catch it and then we all make a big stink about it, maybe they'll stop doing it. And we'll have a better idea about which entities do or do not play well with others, which matters to some of us when making purchasing decisions. Perhaps you want us to just shut up and be good little consumers?
  • by JNighthawk (769575) <NihirNighthawk.aol@com> on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @08:11AM (#20302905)
    Just because the IP belongs to the company doesn't mean it's a company decision. I've made plenty of edits from school/work. It doesn't mean those edits were endorsed or even known to the company.

    With Wikipedia, you edit the topics you're interested in. If you work in a certain industry or a certain company, you'll most likely edit pages related to it.
    • Excellent point...I have done the same myself. Some of it is relevent to my company's line of work and some completely irrelevent. None of it was endorsed by my company.

      Along the same lines, I've browsed through this thread and have not seen a single acknolwedgement (and I may have missed them if there are any) that sometimes it may be completely OK to edit an entry relating to one's self, be it an individual or a company. There is nothing unethical about participating in a community discussion/posting/h
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sholden (12227)
        Since wikipedia itself says it's not a good idea, why would you be surprised to find that no one has acknowledges it is?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Business'_F AQ#Am_I_allowed_to_edit_articles_about_myself_or_m y_company.3F [wikipedia.org]

        It gives some ways to get your content into an article you have a conflict of interest over (via the talk page), but just editing the article is clearly not the way to do things.
      • I believe that is why the talk function exists. In most cases, writing an informative piece about an organization with which you are affiliated is looked upon as potentially disingenuous.

        Besides, how do we know those people are really knowledgeable about what is going on in their company, even if they *are* in it? I know some people that work for other organizations that are clearly drinking way too much of the corporate kool-aid and should under no circumstances be allowed to edit a wiki on their compan
    • by ckblackm (1137057)
      Oh, but then what would all the conspiracy theorists do?
    • There's a huge gray area. Obviously the EA edits are unethical. But what if, for example, EA had edited the entry for "Medal of Honor" to include detailed specs on the weapons used in the game? In some ways, I'd think Wikipedia would want to encourage edits by people involved as long as those edits aren't self-serving.
  • I see nothing inherently wrong with a company editing its own entries...in fact it could often help improve information. The problem is that they'll likely try to censor aspects of the entry. Still, that's what everybody else is for. I've considered proposing at the organization I work at that we edit our Wikipedia entry. Right now, it has a couple of paragraphs (and they are accurate), but we certainly could make it more informative.
  • by swordgeek (112599) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @10:46AM (#20304541) Journal
    ...also known as citizendium. [citizendium.org]

    Wikipedia is a great idea, and a great interface, but leads to exactly this sort of behaviour. If a company edits their entry to reflect their side of the story, is it editing or abuse?

    He who edits last, wins. Over the long run, that doesn't work. That's why one of the founders of wikipedia (Larry Sanger [citizendium.org]) decided to take the idea of wikipedia and add in some accountability. The project was named citizendium, and was started just about a year ago. It is based on three fundamental differences from wikipedia:
            * all contributors must apply for membership in the project under their real names, which are then visibly associated with all articles
            * all articles are reviewed by experts in their particular fields, offering suggestions and criticism as the articles evolve with the goal for each article to be "approved"
            * that vandals, trolls, and disruptive editors are quickly and permanently banned from further work on the project.

    It's MUCH smaller than wikipedia at present , but also not loaded with garbage and editorial pissing matches. Take a look, join the community, and help make the next generation online encyclopedia better.
    • I'm glad to see that Citizendium has adopted a more realistic policy on the expertise requirements by moving to approval instead of pre-vetting. I still think the barriers to entry for "trivial" editing are going to be a problem. Most of the barriers are a function of the MediaWiki software, which is really not well-suited for the type of workflow changes that would be needed to support it. I think something working like a distributed SCM system would be more appropriate, where diffs could be pushed upst
  • Wikipedia rules are lame, particularly rules about "experts" editing pages (including the person/entity who is the subject of the article). Not only does this often lead to dumbed down and incorrect articles, it can also lead to very one-sided articles. In cases where there is contention, such as this, why should biased outsiders be allowed to say whatever they want, while biased insiders are banned? Anyone should be able to edit, or everyone except actual professional/expert editors should be banned from e

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