Sunday, July 30, 2006

1 Millionth Wikipedia entry sabotaged

A railway station in Glasgow's west end has become the unlikely focus of a battle in cyberspace.

An online encyclopedia article about Jordanhill station has had to be given similar protection to entries about George Bush and Tony Blair, after cyber-vandals rushed to deluge the internet page with superfluous and even hoax information.

The entry, on the Wikipedia online encyclopedia, has been changed more than 1,000 times since being created by Ewan MacDonald - a Greenock-based computer expert - in March

The railway station became the one millionth Wikipedia page in English, a milestone in the information service, which is compiled and maintained by volunteers.

After it appeared, the entry was altered no fewer than 44 times within an hour of being created. While most of the changes added more information, including photographs, some were viewed as vandalism and were removed.

The alterations included a hoax paragraph, which claimed that the station had been a link to a magical world, had been used by Germanic tribes "for brewing liquer(sic)" and that it was smaller than a grapefruit.

The frenzy led to the entry having to be protected from changes - a move normally reserved for pages dealing with contentious subjects such as major politicians and religious controversies.

A spokesman for Wikipedia said: "We needed to protect the entry... from the rush of changes. We normally try to avoid closing pages to changes because we believe in making the Wikipedia as free as possible and encouraging contributors to make sure that entries are accurate and up to date."

Ewan MacDonald, 23, who created the page, said he was not surprised by the interest in the one millionth entry.

He said: "I had been about to write up the page anyway, but I heard in an internet chatroom that people expected the one millionth entry to be created later that evening. So when I wrote it, I hung around before finishing it off.

"I didn't engineer it that way but I was angling for it. As it happened there was a burst of new pages about the time I sent mine off, and I was later told mine was the millionth."

He added: "I became interested in the small railway stations around Glasgow because I was travelling round them when I was a student. I became curious about the history behind them all, so I began researching and writing about them."

2 comments:

yellowdog granny said...

i love wikipedia..that is where i get all the names of songs for each year...they rock..

dom said...

Wiki is great ! Did I tell you I was compiling ALL the UK No.1's since they started (Nov 1952) ? I use this site ..

British hit singles

and this one ..

The official charts