The Wiki Problem

February 16, 2009

This blog post is *ancient*, and preserved only for historical record.

I love collaborative websites. Wikipedia, Blogs, community oriented stuff like Stack Overflow and ServerFault

There is however, the lingering problem of vandalism, and it’s one that seems to crop up on pretty much ever collaborative website i’ve ever seen. Wikipedia has a lot of newbies contribs which are utter nonsense, advertising, spam, page blanking and so on. There’s a hefty team of people on Wikipedia however who go around reverting this kind of stuff. I’m one of them. I use mediawiki at work also, so I’m pretty confident around the entire wiki platform, and IMHO, mediawiki is the best wiki software out there.

Anyway, on Saturday, I was quite pleased to discover that the Science Museum in London has now got a collaborative object wiki.

I love the idea of having visitors add their own memories of stuff that is on exhibition. It seems that it’s mostly household items that are well commented on, for example Frigidare Refridgerators.

It was on this site, on saturday that I discovered that they had fallen to the terrible plague of edit vandalism, and the homepage of the wiki was now some statement about some girl called Louise and her love of turkey and cannock. It seemed she had also discovered her User Page, and decided to spread the nonsense to the public home page.

I created an account, reverted her edit, left her a message on her talk page (Sometimes these passive-aggressive things are all you can do!), and then had a rather nice thank you message from one of the administrators.

I think that might have been my 8 or 9th visit to the science museum. I’m forever discovering new stuff there.. That, and they keep adding new stuff :-). I’m quite looking forward to the future “Biker Tribes” exhibition, as I’m rather mad about motorbikes these days (more on that soon! [Sidenote: Anyone following me on Flickr might be interested in my Motorbikes Collection]).
There’s much more I could say in praise of the Science Museum, but I haven’t time, or pixels left.

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Written by Tom O'Connor, an AWS Technical Specialist, with background in DevOps and scalability. You should follow them on Twitter