The WikiWar of 2008: Fred or Freddie?

September 17th, 2007

wikipedia semi-protection padlock The Washington Post has an article, On Wikipedia, Debating 2008 Hopefuls’ Every Facet, about the Wikipedia editing wars going on in the pages for the 2008 candidates in the US presidential election. A current battle is over Republican candidate .

“On Sen. John McCain’s Wikipedia entry, the argument has been over whether he is a conservative, moderate or liberal Republican. A heated exchange on former senator John Edwards’s page has centered on deleting any reference to his $400 haircuts. And perhaps the most contentious dispute of all — at least last week — was over Fred Thompson’s proper name: Is it Freddie, the name he was born with? Or Fred, as he’s called now? ” ‘Freddie’ makes Thompson sound ridiculous,” a user argued. “It’s not about making Thompson look silly,” another responded. “It’s about having accurate information.”” (link)

Wikipedia is a marvel of transparency, all in all. Check out the Fred VS Freddie discussion. I am surprised that the pages of all of the top candidates are not protected to some degree. Here’s my brief survey:

  • Democratic candidates
    • Semi-protected: Clinton, Edwards (temporary), Obama (temporary)
    • Unprotected: Biden, Dodd, Gravel, Kucinich, Richardson
  • Republican candidates
    • Semi-protected: Giuliani, Romney (temporary)
    • Unprotected: Brownback, Huckabee, Hunter, Keyes, Paul, Tancredo, Thompson, McCain
  • Others
    • Unprotected: Gillmore, Gingrich, Gore, Nader, Tommy Thompson, Vilsack

Note: Wikipedia’s semi-protection disables editing from anonymous users and registered accounts less than four days old.

We don’t need an SVM to pick out the distinguishing feature — it’s the currently top-ranked candidates who are locked, not the ones who are most controversial.