Wikipedia Entry by Bláthnaid King

Introduction

My experience writing and editing a Wikipedia entry proved to be both interesting and useful. For this assignment, I focused on editing an entry on the term ‘doxing’. My reason for choosing this particular entry was that it directly relates to my chosen research interests, being that of mass negative reaction and the recipient on social media. As a great part of my research for this topic entails learning about the reasons for negative mass reaction and about the types of negative online behaviour that people engage in when participating in mass reaction, it seemed natural to edit and research this particular entry for this assignment.

According to the Wikipedia entry, (at the time of writing), doxing is defined as “the Internet-based practice of researching and broadcasting personally identifiable information about an individual.”[1] From reading the entry at the time of this assignment, I found that while it provided a satisfactory definition of what doxing is, it lacked a more rounded perspective, particularly in regards to the motivations for doxing, the common techniques a hacker may use in doxing, and the ethics concerning doxing in journalism.

Considering the purpose of this entry was to inform the reader in an unbiased manner of the topic at hand, I focused on clarifying and expanding upon the already available information. Keeping in mind that the audience of this article may not belong to any particular demographic, I felt it necessary that my addition to this entry aid in providing a comprehensive resource of information for a range of potential audiences.

[1] See: Wikipedia, Doxing, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doxing, accessed on 30/11/15

Part 1: Getting Started

Having no prior experience editing or writing in Wikipedia, I began the process by following the directions outlined in the Ten Simple Rules for Editing Wikipedia post on the PLOS website.[1] Firstly, I set up an account on the website, where I was then prompted to edit an article that was currently in need of minor work. The article in question was on Irish television network TV3.[2] I used this as an opportunity to acquaint myself with Wiki Markup Language and the elements of HTML used in writing and editing Wikipedia entries. I started simply by adding some spacing between words, as you can see in figure 1:

wiki test 1

Figure 1 displays the before and after screenshots of the spacing between words School Run, Diary of…, and Modern Ireland.

Wiki Markup was remarkably user friendly, and, as a result, I was confident enough to proceed with editing the doxing entry, after spending a short amount of time reading the lines of text and code in the sandbox.

[1] See: Logan DW, Sandal M, Gardner PP, Manske M, Bateman A (2010) Ten Simple Rules for Editing Wikipedia, PLoS Comput Biol 6(9): e1000941. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000941, accessed on 30/11/15
[2] Wikipedia, TV3, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TV3_(Ireland), accessed on 30/11/15

Part 2: Editing

While the importance of clear and valid citations and referencing on Wikipedia is instrumental to how it functions and remains a source of information online, I found that this was one of the most difficult factors which impacted upon the editing process.

Due to copyright issues[1], I was unable to use many of the sources that I had previously obtained in my dissertation research. This, forced me to search for other digital sources that Wikipedia would approve.

While the availability of open content coupled with the stringency of rules in place for valid citations is essential for ensuring that content is reliable, it also makes providing additional information on newer content significantly more difficult. As the term ‘doxing’ is relatively new, there were few available sources online that were useful to add to this entry. This, in turn, lead in making only minor changes to the entry.

wikidox before

Figure 2 displays the Common Techniques section prior to any editing

doxxingwikiafter3

Figure 3 displays the Common Techniques section after editing. (edited sections surrounded by green box)

journalistsdoxxingbefore

Figure 4 displays the Journalist section prior to editing

journalistdoxxingafter

Figure 5 displays the Journalist section after editing, (edited sections surrounded by green box)

doxxingbefore

Figure 6 displays the doxing entry prior to editing

doxingafter

Figure 7 displays the doxing entry post editing, (edited sections surrounded by green box)

As seen from figures 2 – 7, I was able to expand on the topic considerably by adding some clearly referenced information. Expanding upon the areas of this entry that needed work allowed me to create a comprehensive resource of information for any user who may search this entry.

[1] See: Logan DW, Sandal M, Gardner PP, Manske M, Bateman A (2010), Rule 5: Do Not Infringe On Copyright, Ten Simple Rules for Editing Wikipedia. PLoS Comput Biol 6(9): e1000941. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000941, accessed on 30/11/15

Conclusions

I found the role of copy editor central to the editing experience, as I consistently revised and re-edited errors in grammar, vocabulary and referencing. At times, I felt the system of referencing and citation to be flawed as I outlined in Part 2. This was in relation to the difficulties I encountered concerning copyright, and in relation to clicking referenced URLs which unfortunately linked to unavailable websites.

However, what I found most exciting in my experience of editing and contributing to content in Wikipedia, was its user-friendly nature. The comprehensible style of Wiki Markup and HTML allows users from a wide variety of backgrounds and a range of different knowledge levels to edit and contribute as they please. The application of this style of coding language could allow for interesting results in other digital avenues or platforms.


 

References

Boyd, Danah, Truth, Lies, And ‘Doxxing’: The Real Moral Of The Gawker/Reddit Story, http://www.wired.com/2012/10/truth-lies-doxxing-internet-vigilanteism/, Wired, accessed on 30/11/15

Holmes, Julia. “Copy Editors Are the Proletariat of the Publishing World.” New Republic. N.p., 3 2015. https://newrepublic.com/article/121182/between-you-me-confessions-comma-queen-mary-norris-review, accessed on 20/10/15

Honan, Mat, What Is Doxing?, http://www.wired.com/2014/03/doxing/, Wired, accessed on 30/11/15

Ingram, Mathew, Of Bitcoin and doxxing: Is revealing Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity okay because it was Newsweek and not Reddit?, https://gigaom.com/2014/03/06/of-bitcoin-and-doxxing-is-revealing-sakamotos-identity-okay-because-it-was-newsweek-and-not-reddit/, accessed on 30/11/15

Ramesh, Srikanth, What is Doxing and How it is Done? http://www.gohacking.com/what-is-doxing-and-how-it-is-done/, accessed on 30/11/15

Reinhardt, Damion, Rethinking The Ethics Of Doxing, http://www.skepticink.com/backgroundprobability/2014/12/14/rethinking-the-ethics-of-doxing/, accessed on 30/11/15

Logan DW, Sandal M, Gardner PP, Manske M, Bateman A (2010) Ten Simple Rules for Editing Wikipedia. PLoS Comput Biol 6(9): e1000941. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000941

Panda, Nutan, Doxing: The Dark Side of Reconnaissance, http://resources.infosecinstitute.com/doxing-the-dark-side-of-reconnaissance/, accessed on 30/11/15

Price, Kenneth M., Electronic Scholarly Editions, http://www.digitalhumanities.org/companion/view?docId=blackwell/9781405148641/9781405148641.xml&chunk.id=ss1-6-5&toc.depth=1&toc.id=ss1-6-5&brand=9781405148641_brand, accessed on 30/11/15

Tognotti, Chris, What is “Doxxing” And “Swatting”? You Should Know These Terms & Their Victims, http://www.bustle.com/articles/64275-what-is-doxxing-and-swatting-you-should-know-these-terms-their-victims, Bustle, accessed on 30/11/15

Newsweek, Bitcoin and the ethics of ‘doxxing’, http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/the-stream/the-stream-officialblog/2014/3/7/newsweek-bitcoinandtheethicsofdoxxing.html, accessed on 30/11/15

Guide to doxing: Tracking identities across the web, https://blog.blechschmidt.saarland/doxing/, https://blog.blechschmidt.saarland/doxing/, Blog Blechschmidt.Saarland, accessed on 30/11/15

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