My Experiment Vandalizing Wikipedia

I was talking to a friend about Wikipedia. And, you know, a lot of people believe it's always being vandalized and is therefore unreliable. I'd had a few times when I'd actually seen vandalizm get fixed soon after. At the time, Hillary Clinton and a few other political people were having their pages vandalized. So my friend rightly said, OK, so someone famous gets vandalized, but how about a more obscure article? Say like Kafka (one of his favorite authors). What if Kafka's biography was modified to say that Ivan the Impaler (the original Count Dracula from Romania) was his grandfather or something? Most people would have no way of knowing so it wouldn't get corrected for a long time.

OK, so I'm doing this at a coffeehouse so they can't trace it back to me, and I'm using a different browser, and on Linux, and the browser is set to SAY that it's Internet Explorer on Windows XP, even though it's Konqueror on Linux. Links take you to pages on Wikipedia or to pages I saved, on this site.

Step 1

Look up Kafka on Wikipedia. Check.

Step 2

Look up Ivan the Impaler just to make sure he isn't real. Nothing on wikipedia but there's a list of Nicknames of Royalty and Nobility. Hmmm... Here he is, it's really Vlad the Impaler, I forgot. 1400's ... Prince of Whicheveria.... now part of Romania... cruel punishments ... inspiration for Dracula. ...he often captured birds and mice which he proceeded to torture and mutilate...nice guy. ok.

Step 3

Find place to make modification. I found this sentence about Franz Kafka's father: "Hermann was the fourth child of Jacob Kafka, a butcher, and came to Prague from Osek, a Czech-speaking Jewish village near Písek in southern Bohemia." So I'm gonna change "butcher" to "butcher and direct descendant of [Vlad the Impaler]". Where the [brackets] are a hotlink to Vlad's article.

Wait, before, make a copy of the unmodified page. Hmmm... looks totally different taken off the website. Oh, I know what's wrong, I didn't get the styles. Oh well, close enough, it's got the text.

Step 4

OK, paste in the new phrase..., ... Preview, to make sure it looks right and the link works, yeah. OK, save.

Step 5

collect more evidence. OK now take screen shot, and save the page as edited.

looked like:

And just to be obsessive, check out the History page. Hmm... seems I'm not the first one to edit this page today.

Here's the edits to 'Franz Kafka' in August so far:

(cur) (last) 152116637152116637 21:47, 18 August 2007 (Talk) (43,800 bytes) (-->Family) (undo)
(cur) (last) 152034882152034882 13:22, 18 August 2007 Fpsduck (Talk | contribs) m (43,754 bytes) (-->Legacy - - Added link to Mexico Wikipedia) (undo)
(cur) (last) 151816481151816481 13:11, 17 August 2007 SmackBot (Talk | contribs) (43,750 bytes) (Set up birth date/death date template (test run)) (undo)
(cur) (last) 151655623151655623 18:45, 16 August 2007 (Talk) (43,726 bytes) (undo)
(cur) (last) 151490341151490341 23:08, 15 August 2007 (Talk) (43,704 bytes) (undo)
(cur) (last) 150394717150394717 14:00, 10 August 2007 (Talk) (43,684 bytes) (-->External links - one of franz kafka most popular website) (undo)
(cur) (last) 150067433150067433 22:35, 8 August 2007 Exiledone (Talk | contribs) (43,570 bytes) (undo)
(cur) (last) 149207538149207538 20:38, 4 August 2007 (Talk) (43,551 bytes) (-->Kafka's Life - Added credit for Lem Dobbs, who wrote the original screenplay.) (undo)
(cur) (last) 149173572149173572 17:16, 4 August 2007 (Talk) (43,521 bytes) (undo)
(cur) (last) 148760448148760448 17:48, 2 August 2007 (Talk) (43,716 bytes) (-->References in popular culture) (undo)

I'm the top line, my IP address was apparenetly, probably the same for everybody here at the coffeehouse. (None of whom have edited the Franz Kafka page this month.) I apparently hit SAVE at 9:47pm GMT which must have been 2:47pm pacific time, cuz that was like 10 minutes ago. I edited the "Family" section. And now they have undo buttons, probably because of so much vandalism on Wikipedia. Here was the Change history immediately after the change. Oh and the differences between before and after.

Step 6

cover my tracks. Erase the 'cookies' - in fact all of em.

Step 7

Make this page and post it. Of course undoing all of the 'cover my tracks' stuff.

Step 8

Go back to work! And stop fucking with Wikipedia. I'm supposed to be getting something done.

So, just 12 hours later, gome guy in Germany went and did an Undo on my edit, saying it's 'Nonsense'. Boy why didn't i get a snapshot of that.