TechCrunch Resolution on Wikipedia

As of this afternoon, the Wikipedia mediation over the TechCrunch edit war on Wikipedia has been closed, hopefully for good.

A Brief History

The edit war was prompted by the now famous scandal in which Microsoft paid a Wikipedian to favorably edit Microsoft articles on Wikipedia. Michael Arrington of TechCrunch covered the Microsoft story in a post that was largely sympathetic.

Perceiving unfairness in the issue, Microsoft employee Dare Obasanjo, aka Carnage4Life, retaliated against TechCrunch by adding an extensive criticism section to Wikipedia’s TechCrunch article. He then wrote about his “experiment” on his blog,

Ensuing Uproar

Michael Arrington was not happy to be slandered by a Microsoft employee, in response to Microsoft coverage. Obasanjo expressed surprise at Arrington’s response, but did not apologize. I blogged this chapter of the Microsoft controversy.

Judging from his blog comments, Dare does not seem to have a high respect for Wikipedia. He has previously violated Wikipedia rules by anonymously writing his own Dare Obasanjo article on Wikipedia. Humorously, it appears to include inside jokes with other Microsoft employees, such as:

Dare has lunch once a month with Don Box to rinse the SOAP off of Don while Don simultaneously attempts to lather up Dare.

Edit War

With traffic pouring into Wikipeda through TechCrunch and Digg, an all-out edit war ensued between long-time Wikipedians and anonymous vandals. The vandals began attacking the userpages of Wikipedians trying to protect the TechCrunch article. It finally escalated to a point where this anti-TechCrunch user was banned for repeatedly blocking out user pages with disturbing death threats.


Wikidemo came to the rescue by establishing a Wikipedia Mediation. She invited all editors involved to the discussion, even going so far as to invite me on this blog, and Dare Obasanjo on his blog.

Anthony cfc handled the mediation. Notably, none of the controversial IP’s showed up to state their case. With help from Anthony cfc and Computerjoe, we have now restored the Wikipedia TechCrunch article, and hopefully made a few minor improvements as well.

In the process, I earned my first Wikipedia Barnstar for Civility from Anthony cfc. Kind of neat to see Wikipedia in action.

Update: In response to a skeptical reader, I should note that Rick Jeliffe was and is a Wikipedian, Jeliffe did accept payment from Microsoft for three days (even after the scandal), and he continues to work to change the wording of Microsoft articles on Wikipedia. To Jeliffe’s credit, I believe he has always acted above the board and with full honesty and disclosure. For anyone curious, I provide the full account in Microsoft Employee Vandalizes Wikipedia Article.


9 Responses to TechCrunch Resolution on Wikipedia

  1. Anthony cfc says:

    For the record, this user is long-overdue a little recognition, and I am honoured to both be the one able to award it, and be able to award it for such a notable cause.


  2. Jon says:

    Thank you, Anthony. Very much appreciated.


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