Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Hacking Wikipedia

Here is an interesting way to play with Wikipedia. Since anyone can edit the encyclopedia at any time, it lures "hackers" to edit the page that is the "Main Page of the Day" on the encyclopedia's home page.

Today's entry on the Cat's Eye Nebula has two short sentences inserted in the "General Information" section that are clearly not part of the definition of the nebula. It says:

"F*****g and s*****g is a very well studied planetary phenomena. It is relatively enjoyable by people of all ages at magnitude 8.1" (no stars in the original posting)

Since the web page can be edited instantly by anyone, this sentence will probably be erased almost immediately. But, it does provide a little notoriety to the hacker-of-the-Wiki-day.

Wiki programmers might address this problem by making the main page entries non-editable while they are on the feature page. Or they might do nothing. It will be interesting to see how much they are willing to tolerate.

Screenshot of the Hacked Article (grainy)
The Hacked Article on Wiki: Cat's Eye Nebula - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia