The Post’s Dan Steinberg brings us this screenshot of some kicking-them-when-they’re-down-style vandalism to the Redskins’ Wikipedia entry. The comparison of the Redskins’ on-field performance to certain sex acts has been repeatedly wiped out by automatic Wikipedia processes designed to thwart just such types of editing, and the IP address responsible for the edits, belonging to Comcast in Michigan, has been blocked from further edits, but it got me thinking about the cathartic value of slamming somebody on their Wikipedia page. DC is such a target-rich environment, full of high-profile types who have pissed off no small number of tech savvy users.
Without endorsing the sexist and homophobic nature of the slurs posted to the Redskins page, I have to admire the effort the vandal put into it. The most the Washington Nationals’ entry gets is the occasional assertion that they’re not a very good baseball team. Albert Haynesworth at least manages to get a fairly steady stream of vitriol- the editors there are constantly reverting little insults out of his entry.
Mayor Adrian Fenty’s Wikipedia page is edited frequently, most of which are fairly standard updates of statistics, addition of references, etc. But it also gets vadalized by both supporters and detractors. On September 27th, Fenty was “the best effin mayor fuck vince gray,” while on December 11th, he was “a lowe [sic] life bitch fuck him.”
And what of Fenty’s successor, Vince Gray? His Wikipedia entry is relatively sedate- most of the edits are Wikipedians correcting gun-jumping contributors by reminding them that he wasn’t technically mayor-elect until the November election, that he’s still Chairman of the Council and not Mayor of DC, etc. I can’t believe Ron Moten hasn’t found this page yet.
I expected Council Member Marion Barry’s Wikipedia revision history to be fairly entertaining. And it is, simply because of the straight-faced debate Wikipedia contributors must have around Barry’s more colorful public behavior. (Like whether to characterize one incident as being about “stalking” or about “personal benefit from contract to girlfriend“) Of course, the best stuff is obscured somewhat by the extremely diligent and attentive Wikipedian updating the entry regularly. But in terms of straight-up digital vandalism, my favorite is the one that lists his religion as “crack.” It was quickly changed back to Baptist.
What about you? Ever shared your opinion of a public figure on Wikipedia? How long did it last until the editors took it down?