[Air-l] vandalism

Mark Bell typewritermark at gmail.com
Mon Feb 19 19:30:03 PST 2007

Since I am working on my lit review for my thesis on wikpedia, I have only
seen one academic paper on vandalism.

Studying Cooperation and Conflict between Authors with history flow
Visualizations by Fernanda B. Viégas,  Martin Wattenberg, and  Kushal Dave.


It includes a simple categorization of vandalism:

"The variety of vandalism found in Wikipedia can be
astounding; five common types are listed below:
1. Mass deletion deletion of all contents on a page.
2. Offensive copy: insertion of vulgarities or slurs.
3. Phony copy: insertion of text unrelated to the page topic.
E.g. on the Chemistry page, a user inserted the full text from
the "Windows 98 readme" file."

It also has insights of how vandalism is shown visually in an aplication
called history flow.


On 2/19/07, Barry Wellman <wellman at chass.utoronto.ca> wrote:
> Is there any scholarship on why people vandalize Wikipedia and other
> public sites?
> I've been doing Wikip. entries and edits for about 6 months, and I
> amazed/dismayed at what I see.
> Really childish stuff about actress B having big breasts (less respectable
> word being used) and Actress S being "pie-faced". Plus a lot of people
> writing F--k on entries at random sites.
> (No, I am not being squeamish, but I thought that you or your filter might
> be.)
> Why this, especially when the Wiki police are so efficient on taking it
> down. But what social or psychological gratification does it serve?
> Naively, Barry Wellman
> _____________________________________________________________________
>   Barry Wellman   S.D. Clark Professor of Sociology   NetLab Director
>   Centre for Urban & Community Studies          University of Toronto
>   455 Spadina Avenue    Toronto Canada M5S 2G8    fax:+1-416-978-7162
>   wellman at chass.utoronto.ca  http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wellman
>         for fun: http://chass.utoronto.ca/oldnew/cybertimes.php
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Mark Bell
MA student in Ball State University's Digital Storytelling program (
"The future is here...it's just not widely distributed." - Tim O'Reilly

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