How To Get Publicity From the Wikipedia Scandal

I just found out about the Wikipedia “scandal” recently (by reading a webcomic), and somehow my thoughts turned immediately to how this could be exploited.

Monetary rewards are unlikely, but one could get a good bit of publicity/backlinks… if they found a way to attract the attention of the same people who voted the aforementioned “scandal” to the frontpage of Digg. Here are some ideas on how to do just that.

Add nofollow to any links to Wikipedia

Wikipedia adds nofollow to all outgoing links, so why not retaliate by doing the same? The rel=”nofollow” tag indicates that the link should not pass any “link juice” and should be ignored by search engines (most notably Google). Obviously this would have no visible effect on the incredible Google rankings Wikipedia already has, but hey, it’s a philosophical statement (or something)!

Unfortunately there’s already a Wikipedia nofollow WordPress plugin that does just this, so you might not get much publicity if you create another one.

Make a Firefox plugin

Lots of possibilities here. Just a few ideas off the top of my head :

  • A plugin that displays a “For Entertainment Purposes Only” disclaimer on every Wikipedia page. Or maybe something like this :
    Wikipedia truthfulness disclaimer
  • Actually add the disclaimer to every page – program the plugin to automatically edit every page you visit. For hardcore Wiki-haters only! (Bonus points for “hardcore” and being somewhat illegal?)
  • Make a plugin that removes Wikipedia links from the search results on Google. Claim every student should use it to ensure that when they do research, they get accurate and unbiased results.

Filter Wikipedia referers

See where the visitor came from, and if it’s Wikipedia, redirect them to some page critical of Wikipedia (Wikipedia Watch and Wikipedia Review are prime candidates).

Okay, so this probably wouldn’t make much of a difference in the real world – most sites don’t get any traffic from Wikipedia. But it’s the thought that counts, right? All I can say is this approach worked out really well (or really bad, depends on how you look at it) for WhyDiggIsBlocked.com (at least it got to the first page of Digg!).

This idea can be further extended to use the browser history CSS hack to determine if the user has visited Wikipedia sometime in the past and react accordingly.

Disclaimers & Conclusions

I don’t hate Wikipedia. Everything discussed above is purely for entertainment purposes, et cetera. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if someone actually did something like this (after all, it is great linkbait material) :)

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2 Responses to “How To Get Publicity From the Wikipedia Scandal”

  1. vector says:

    Very funny ,personal grudge is it? I found your blog an hour ago and I just can’t seem to get off it,very entertaining!
    You may or may not know , Mr Tony Blair , former dictator of the UK, forcibly advised , that all students should use wilk as the main reference for any reseach they needed doing ,homework , what have you . And then proceeded to dismantle the library system in the UK( removing up to 90% of the books on shelves) .Consequently , libraries now only have books a couple of years old on their shelves!
    For example , I recently went to the lib to get some books, for a history of the Roman Empire , and found only 2 adult books , 2 tourist guides and 2 childrens books , the assistant directed me to one of the many pc’s on show , I could have done that at home!
    Look on wilk , what for, hardly articles by some persons life work !
    Oh yes , I studied History at uni so that I could write 3 articles for wilk ! Now what shall I do with the rest of my life!
    V.M.

  2. White Shadow says:

    It’s not really “personal”, I just dislike the behind-the-curtain drama that seems to be going on at Wikipedia, and the wiki-favoritism that Google engages in (no matter what you search for, Wikipedia will often be one of the first results). Nevertheless, I still consider Wikipedia useful.

    I don’t know much about UK educational system, but if what you say is true, the idea really sounds ridiculous. As I said above, the wiki is useful, but it is by no means reliable or completely accurate.

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