Well, most of us knew of it for long, expect for Wikipedia I guess. Now that it has conducted a “through investigation” into the unscrupulous editing of Wikipedia articles, it has finally blocked the editors who bluntly indulged in the activity.
Dubbed ‘black hat’ editors, these 381 users who voluntarily edited articles for money and added publicity info into the articles are blocked as of today. However, what took so long for Wikipedia to realize the black hat activity of these users is still a dwindling question.
Though Wikipedia has stringent Terms and Conditions for editors, some have passed and exploited the system for quite some time. It is speculated that the ‘sockpuppet’ account holders charged a sum of $30 for protecting their clients pages from being deleted.
Many who used to refer Wikipedia as a reliable source found it hard to trust thanks to these editors who promoted certain organizations, personalities and the like for money. Wikipedia is still a open environment with thousands of editors updating its content on diverse topics every second.
But wherever there is open source model, a few learn with time on how to exploit the system that promotes freedom of expression and net neutrality like none other.
The black hat editors supposedly passed into the system by hiding their interests and monetary affiliations with certain organizations and personalities who used Wikipedia to promote themselves. Not only have the accounts been blocked but also the articles that these users put up on the website.
About 210 articles have been taken out from Wikipedia to ensure continuity of its reliable and trustworthy information. Unsurprisingly the articles were put up for various business organizations and their proprietors and the like — to promote their agendas.
The information posted on these pages was not sourced to any other reliable site, with missing citations. The ‘Orangemoody’ investigation has also revealed that the act may have been accomplished by a group of people who worked together. The black hat editing first surfaced in 2004 when Wikipedia issued new guidelines to its editors.
In 2013, the community of Wikipedia editors blocked 300 accounts related to Wiki-PR. This community of editors is further supported by Wikimedia Foundation to make the site easily accessible and trustworthy.