Feeds

Wikipedia black helicopters circle Utah's Traverse Mountain

SlimVirgin, naked short selling, and the end of Web 2.0

Top three mobile application threats

Exclusive "We aren't democratic." That's how Wikipedia founder Jimmy "Jimbo" Wales described his famously-collaborative online encyclopedia in a recent puff piece from The New York Times Magazine. "The core community appreciates when someone is knowledgeable," he said, "and thinks some people are idiots and shouldn't be writing."

This is true. Despite its popular reputation as a Web 2.0 wonderland, Wikipedia is not a democracy. But the totalitarian attitudes of the site's ruling clique go much further than Jimbo cares to acknowledge.

In early September, the Wikipedia inner circle banned edits from 1,000 homes and one massive online retailer in an attempt to suppress the voice of one man.

His name is Judd Bagley, and when the ban came down, he hadn't edited Wikipedia in over a year. He was merely writing about the site, from his own domain. The Wikipedia elite blacklisted Judd Bagley because he accused them of using their powers to hijack reality.

Talk of Wikipedia admins trying to seize "the truth" may sound familiar. Famously, comedian Stephen Colbert has poked more than a few holes in the site's commitment to democratic consensus, making fun of its efforts to clamp down on edits deemed less than factual. And the web is still abuzz over the secret mailing list used by top administrators to silence inconvenient voices.

But what happens when, say, the Wikipedia elite decides to take a topic as weighty as the health of US financial markets under its control without informing the public of its decision?

How far will Wikipedia's arbiters of truth go? Come with us down the rabbit hole.

One thousand innocent bystanders

One sleepy evening this October, Cory Hogan stumbled onto Wikipedia while trawling the web for information on US Vice President Dick Cheney. He read the site's extensive screed on the curmudgeonly veep, and before he knew it, he was inclined to contribute his own thoughts to the discussion. But when he clicked on the "edit this page" tab, he was told he wasn't allowed.

A rather menacing message filled his web browser, announcing that Wikipedia edits were forbidden from his IP address. His address, the message said, was a favorite "open proxy" of Judd Bagley and Overstock.com.

Judd Bagley Wikipedia Block Warning

Wikipedia bans Traverse Mountain, Utah

Cory Hogan shares his IP range with about 1,000 other homes in Traverse Mountain, Utah, a neighborhood twenty miles south of Salt Lake City, and one of those homes belongs to Judd Bagley. The two men live within two blocks of each other, and they're members of the same church.

When that message turned up on Wikipedia, Hogan's first thought was that Bagley was some sort of shady political henchman for the Vice President of the United States. But the truth is far stranger.

That Traverse Mountain IP address is not an open proxy. It would seem that the address was banned because Judd Bagley has accused Wikipedia's uber-administrators of skewing the contents of four online articles. Yes, just four. But those four articles may sway the fate of billions of dollars spilling through America's stock markets.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.