Global Game Industry News Blog

Monday, August 20, 2007

Punishing Wikipedia Violators?

Based on this recent news, combined with the numerous others listed on Wired. I think a nice little collected volume (yes, a real print book) widely publicized and distributed about what these companies are doing and why would be a fitting punishment.

Personally I'd be happy to look closely at what EA was attempting to remove, and expand and go into greater depth about why they're making those changes, and precisely what historical events they're attempting to distance themselves from.

I'd like to see my advisor Kim Fortun do an entry for Dow Chemical and their removal of the Bhopal incident.

Let's make it worse for companies doing this kind of thing. Publicize the hell out of it. Make it a new negative experience. Burn your fingers once and learn a lesson. Burn them a second time on the very same coil, prove your stupidity.


Dark Zero - EA Change Sections Of Their Own Wiki Page
Who is Trip Hawkins?

Thanks to a recent news item on Wired it has come to light that companies have made several changes to their own Wikipedia pages. However, the one that most interests us is the changes that EA have been made to thier own page late last year. Also, what interests us even more is that all those changes can be directly tracked back to their headquarters in Redwood City, California thanks to the ip address provided in the edit.

The changes to the article were numerous, but initially it seems one of the most notable was to remove the name of the company's Founder, Trip Hawkins from the article completely. In fact, his name was scrubbed from two separate sections, and all links to Trips new company, Digital Chocolate, were also no longer to be seen in the new edit. Following on from there the next big change was the removal of a whole section of text which was critical of the company which cited “The company has also been the subject of criticism, most notably for its business tactics and its employment policy.”

That's not all, even more changes were on show in the employment policy section, where it is highly noticeable that the whole paragraph was edited to paint the company in a better light. In fact, the phrase “Electronic Arts has from time to time been criticized for its employment policy of requiring employees to work extraordinarily long hours” was changed to the much better sounding “Electronic Arts has led the industry in reforming work/life balance issues that are endemic to the software industry.” Also in reference to the criticism brought upon the company by due to alleged unpaid overtime issues EA edited a brand new sentence into the section which read, “Since that time, many other game companies have been struck with similar lawsuits.”

You can check out all the changes yourself by heading over the difference between revisions page of the EA entry. That page shows the original entry on the left and the EA inspired revision on the right. The changes made are highlighted in a bold red font. Also, if you want to check the IP address you can copy and paste it into the Arin Whois Database Search and check it out for yourself. Interestingly, thanks to the moderating staff on Wikipeida it seems the changes made lasted only five minutes and were quickly changed back.

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