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Betsy Devine: "Schoedinger's Wiki: The quantum challenge of media attention"

(Dave Winer in the audience again.) Active contributor to en.WP. Refers to how if you observe an event, it changes the event. (Could have called it the "Paris Hilton Effect") Showed original outline of the talk.

  • Media attention
  • Challenge: Vandal wave
  • Challenge: Spin wave
  • Metrics & solution

Challenge of the "Swiftboating" edit war. 4 examples of different interpretations of the meaning of "swiftboating".

Vandalism: including potboiling, editwarring, contentious edits, POV-pushing. Provides various examples.

"Swiftboating": the edit history. Originally little interest, a backwater until 29 Nov 2005 15:29. Excel diagram of a vandal wave 125 edits in 3 hours. Issue of edit conflict - affects thoughtful editors more than vandals.

What happened? talkingpointsmemo.com linked to the article & the vandal boasted of it on a right-wing forum.

Vandal wave: set off by a "media event"; if block one IP, others arrive in its place; stakes are much higher. Changes what you can do, not just what you can see - makes making the change more difficult & degrades the experience.

Compared the edit history to swiftboated.

Media event sends a wave of anon editors, new editors w/o user pages. Proceeds to the examples of Podcasting, Adam Curry, John Siegenthaler. Siegenthaler article attracted established users in response, who not only created a spike but returned to continue to improve the article.

  • Learning from pgkbot -- bot monitoring edits, & new names, allows Admin to block. Use code to detect, use code to deflect in a low, level manner.
  • Need to act fast: not one IP stayed to make further edits. News cycle ebbs away within 36 hours.
  • Vandal wave vs. "spin wave" Respond to media vs. Influence media; amateur vs. paid professionals (PaidToComment.com -- astroturfing).

Q: How did Siegienthaler event differ from the Swiftboat event? A: There was a hyperlink involved in this matter.

Q: But these people don't show any interest in becoming a member of the community. A: Interesting point. I need to research this further.

Q: What is the conjugate variable involved? A (from Llywrch in audience): Cluefulness