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> Wikipedia's defining of Vandalism and the Law's
The Joy
post Wed 28th March 2007, 7:36pm
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The Zoe and NIU incident just a few months ago got me to thinking about what Wikipedia considers vandalism and the legal definition.

Zoe argued that Dr. Pierce's contributions constituted as vandalism and ordered the university to halt his activities. NIU took a different take on Zoe's vandalism definition by arguing that a site that allows anyone to edit and place anything on it could not be, by legal definition, vandalizing a site. When NIU's lawyers saw "vandalism", they likely thought of illegal hacking as opposed to a site's condemnation of edits.

Wikipedia's response to vandalism is typically blocking and if persistant vandalism continues, filing an abuse report to the vandal's ISP. The ISP can decide whether to discontinue the user's service due to their violation of their terms of service or ignore Wikipedia's request. The law does not force the ISP to stop the Wiki vandal unless it has done something blatantly criminal such as posting child pornography on the Wiki.

Now, I've also looked at Conserveapedia's (the crazy site that blocks people for writing the Queen's english and using Common Era (CE) as opposed to AD) rules that state that vandalism can be reported to the police and criminal charges pressed against the vandal:

QUOTE
Minors under 16 years old use this site. Posting of obscenity here is punishable by up to 10 years in jail under 18 USC § 1470. Vandalism is punishable up to 10 years in jail per 18 USC § 1030. The IP addresses of vandals will be reported to authorities. That includes your employer and your local prosecutor.


I'm having a hard time seeing Wikipedia or any wiki going to court over editting or the police even getting involved. Will Jonny Cache be arrested for editting the Charles Peirce article? Would I be arrested for editting Conserveapedia's homosexuality article by providing evidence from moderate and liberal Christian groups that homosexuality may not be condemned by the Bible?

I would think judges and the police would have better things to do than deal with Wiki "vandals", even those that place the giant wangs on the main page.

Note: I personally don't believe in blatant vandalism such as adding giant wangs or purposely adding false information on the Wiki. But that's just me.
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gomi
post Wed 28th March 2007, 8:04pm
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QUOTE(The Joy @ Wed 28th March 2007, 12:36pm) *

Will Jonny Cache be arrested for editting the Charles Peirce article?

Doubtful. USC 1030 concerns "Fraud and related activity in connection with computers". There are a number of things that trigger it, notably penetration of government computers and access to nation defense information or financial records (broadly defined). The only section that would really seem to bear on Wikis would be:
QUOTE

(4) knowingly and with intent to defraud, accesses a protected computer without authorization, or exceeds authorized access, and by means of such conduct furthers the intended fraud and obtains anything of value, unless the object of the fraud and the thing obtained consists only of the use of the computer and the value of such use is not more than $5,000 in any 1-year period;

So the essence is "intent to defraud", along with "exceeds authorized access". Except for a vandal who bragged about it openly and loudly, intent is usually hard to prove. and on top of that it would be hard to say any access to Wikipedia (short of hacking an admin bit) would "exceed authorized access", and finally, they would have to show that the vandal had "obtained anything of value"! Not gonna happen.

(There is a related clause, mostly pertaining to medical records, but that includes loss to an individual in excess of $1000 in 1 year, and also includes physical harm, public safety, and extortion. For those interested, : here is the full text).

So, steer clear of outright vandalism that cannot be construed by any reasonable person as plausibly constructive, don't brag about your intent, don't extort anyone, and to be on the safe side, don't inject intentional errors into health-related articles, and the G-Men will stay away from your door.
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Alkivar
post Wed 28th March 2007, 11:20pm
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QUOTE(gomi @ Wed 28th March 2007, 4:04pm) *

QUOTE(The Joy @ Wed 28th March 2007, 12:36pm) *

Will Jonny Cache be arrested for editting the Charles Peirce article?

Doubtful. USC 1030 concerns "Fraud and related activity in connection with computers". There are a number of things that trigger it, notably penetration of government computers and access to nation defense information or financial records (broadly defined). The only section that would really seem to bear on Wikis would be:
QUOTE

(4) knowingly and with intent to defraud, accesses a protected computer without authorization, or exceeds authorized access, and by means of such conduct furthers the intended fraud and obtains anything of value, unless the object of the fraud and the thing obtained consists only of the use of the computer and the value of such use is not more than $5,000 in any 1-year period;

So the essence is "intent to defraud", along with "exceeds authorized access". Except for a vandal who bragged about it openly and loudly, intent is usually hard to prove. and on top of that it would be hard to say any access to Wikipedia (short of hacking an admin bit) would "exceed authorized access", and finally, they would have to show that the vandal had "obtained anything of value"! Not gonna happen.

(There is a related clause, mostly pertaining to medical records, but that includes loss to an individual in excess of $1000 in 1 year, and also includes physical harm, public safety, and extortion. For those interested, : here is the full text).

So, steer clear of outright vandalism that cannot be construed by any reasonable person as plausibly constructive, don't brag about your intent, don't extort anyone, and to be on the safe side, don't inject intentional errors into health-related articles, and the G-Men will stay away from your door.


that puts a very interesting spin on a few incidents in wiki history... Greg Lloyd Smith and QuakeAID for example... a fraudulent charity trying to solicit donations by adding themselves to the list of carities associated with the 2005 Indian Ocean quake.

Or what about companies who potentially cause fraud by removal of information stating questionable business tactics thats sourced?
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gomi
post Thu 29th March 2007, 1:06am
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QUOTE(Alkivar @ Wed 28th March 2007, 4:20pm) *

Or what about companies who potentially cause fraud by removal of information stating questionable business tactics thats sourced?
In order to litigate civil fraud, you need a "tort" -- i.e. someone has to have been harmed. Proving you were harmed through reliance on information from a fundamentally unreliable source is a hard way to go.
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lolwut
post Mon 9th February 2009, 4:16pm
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One thing that is misleading about the term 'vandalism' as applied to Wikipedia is that it really is quite insulting to those who experience the effects of IRL vandalism, which is much more serious and difficult to repair. Anything on a wiki can be reverted instantly and for free, but if you have your car windscreen smashed by a juvenile delinquent it's a whole different story.

But then, the Wikipedos like to live in a fantasy world that's out of touch with reality like that where they make up their own words with their own meanings and everything.

This post has been edited by lolwut: Mon 9th February 2009, 4:17pm
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GlassBeadGame
post Mon 9th February 2009, 4:42pm
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QUOTE(lolwut @ Mon 9th February 2009, 11:16am) *

One thing that is misleading about the term 'vandalism' as applied to Wikipedia is that it really is quite insulting to those who experience the effects of IRL vandalism, which is much more serious and difficult to repair. Anything on a wiki can be reverted instantly and for free, but if you have your car windscreen smashed by a juvenile delinquent it's a whole different story.

But then, the Wikipedos like to live in a fantasy world that's out of touch with reality like that where they make up their own words with their own meanings and everything.


The total cost of repairing vandalism on Wikipedia is only "free" because the work is done for free. The total value of the effort expended repairing vandalism is doubtlessly huge as it occupies thousands of hours of human labor.

On the other hand vandalism violates neither open source licensing nor Wikipedia's Terms of Service (because they have none.) Simply put vandals are behaving in a perfectly acceptable manner on Wikipedia. They only run afoul some "rules" placed on the site by "community members" who are nothing more than users of site, no better nor worse, than any vandal. There "rules, ' "guidelines" and "processes" are just another type of user generated content of no greater dignity than penis vandalism. It is only the distribution of permissions, buttons and privileges relating to the control of the software that gives "the community" any control at all.
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Sylar
post Mon 9th February 2009, 8:58pm
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QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Mon 9th February 2009, 4:42pm) *

The total cost of repairing vandalism on Wikipedia is only "free" because the work is done for free. The total value of the effort expended repairing vandalism is doubtlessly huge as it occupies thousands of hours of human labor.


That's total bullshit. It's takes a split second to revert a single revision of vandalism, and the people doing the reverting have nothing better to do. If Wikipedia didn't exist, the so-called "vandal fighters" would probably be doing homework, sitting around watching TV all day, or be working on leveling up their naked gnome wizard in World of Warcraft.
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GlassBeadGame
post Mon 9th February 2009, 11:25pm
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QUOTE(Sylar @ Mon 9th February 2009, 3:58pm) *

QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Mon 9th February 2009, 4:42pm) *

The total cost of repairing vandalism on Wikipedia is only "free" because the work is done for free. The total value of the effort expended repairing vandalism is doubtlessly huge as it occupies thousands of hours of human labor.


That's total bullshit. It's takes a split second to revert a single revision of vandalism, and the people doing the reverting have nothing better to do. If Wikipedia didn't exist, the so-called "vandal fighters" would probably be doing homework, sitting around watching TV all day, or be working on leveling up their naked gnome wizard in World of Warcraft.


Yes they are losers and exploited kids, but it not for you to say whether their time is worthless or not. I mean most of them could at least grow hair for cancer patient wigs or something. I thought you might take some support from the second paragraph of my post but you seem to want to argue about something instead.
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lolwut
post Tue 10th February 2009, 12:00am
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QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Mon 9th February 2009, 4:42pm) *

QUOTE(lolwut @ Mon 9th February 2009, 11:16am) *

One thing that is misleading about the term 'vandalism' as applied to Wikipedia is that it really is quite insulting to those who experience the effects of IRL vandalism, which is much more serious and difficult to repair. Anything on a wiki can be reverted instantly and for free, but if you have your car windscreen smashed by a juvenile delinquent it's a whole different story.

But then, the Wikipedos like to live in a fantasy world that's out of touch with reality like that where they make up their own words with their own meanings and everything.


The total cost of repairing vandalism on Wikipedia is only "free" because the work is done for free. The total value of the effort expended repairing vandalism is doubtlessly huge as it occupies thousands of hours of human labor.

On the other hand vandalism violates neither open source licensing nor Wikipedia's Terms of Service (because they have none.) Simply put vandals are behaving in a perfectly acceptable manner on Wikipedia. They only run afoul some "rules" placed on the site by "community members" who are nothing more than users of site, no better nor worse, than any vandal. There "rules, ' "guidelines" and "processes" are just another type of user generated content of no greater dignity than penis vandalism. It is only the distribution of permissions, buttons and privileges relating to the control of the software that gives "the community" any control at all.


Agree with you on the second paragraph, largely.
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Tex
post Tue 10th February 2009, 12:43am
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Finding why certain users spend hours reverting massive quantities of vandalism could be interesting.

Do they find it relaxing, funny, entertaining?
Do they do it because it is an addiction?
Do they do it to claim superiority in quantity of edits?
Do they do it believing they are an asset to human knowledge?
Do they do it because they can cheat better to gain their way to power?

Also, someone convinced Urban Rose to stop reverting, did she explain why she was willing to revert vandalism in the first place?
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Sylar
post Tue 10th February 2009, 1:27am
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QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Mon 9th February 2009, 11:25pm) *

QUOTE(Sylar @ Mon 9th February 2009, 3:58pm) *

QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Mon 9th February 2009, 4:42pm) *

The total cost of repairing vandalism on Wikipedia is only "free" because the work is done for free. The total value of the effort expended repairing vandalism is doubtlessly huge as it occupies thousands of hours of human labor.


That's total bullshit. It's takes a split second to revert a single revision of vandalism, and the people doing the reverting have nothing better to do. If Wikipedia didn't exist, the so-called "vandal fighters" would probably be doing homework, sitting around watching TV all day, or be working on leveling up their naked gnome wizard in World of Warcraft.


Yes they are losers and exploited kids, but it not for you to say whether their time is worthless or not. I mean most of them could at least grow hair for cancer patient wigs or something. I thought you might take some support from the second paragraph of my post but you seem to want to argue about something instead.


I do agree with your second paragraph but didn't see the point of saying "Yeah, I agree."
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UseOnceAndDestroy
post Tue 10th February 2009, 1:44am
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QUOTE(Tex @ Tue 10th February 2009, 12:43am) *
Also, someone convinced Urban Rose to stop reverting, did she explain why she was willing to revert vandalism in the first place?

Odd example to pick, but yes. Pretty good reason for stopping, too.

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Somey
post Tue 10th February 2009, 1:48am
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QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Mon 9th February 2009, 5:25pm) *
QUOTE
If Wikipedia didn't exist, the so-called "vandal fighters" would probably be doing homework, sitting around watching TV all day, or be working on leveling up their naked gnome wizard in World of Warcraft...
Yes they are losers and exploited kids, but it not for you to say whether their time is worthless or not. I mean most of them could at least grow hair for cancer patient wigs or something.

It's actually a very interesting question - what are the opportunity costs for society of Wikipedia vandal-fighting? There are a lot of aspects to this - lost work productivity, time that might otherwise be spent doing something innovative or creative, or even just healthy, like physical exercise, or simply something non-stressful (assuming vandal-fighting causes stress, as it might not for some people). But it's potentially a red herring too, if (as Sylar suggests) it could be fairly assumed that the people doing it wouldn't contribute anything worthwhile to society otherwise.

Opportunity costs are one of the most misunderstood things about business... The WMF and the WP inner circle probably shouldn't feel so bad about their own lack of understanding of them. Still, they could probably benefit from a properly-done analysis of their time-management and operational efficiency.
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Milton Roe
post Tue 10th February 2009, 2:20am
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QUOTE(Somey @ Mon 9th February 2009, 6:48pm) *

Opportunity costs are one of the most misunderstood things about business... The WMF and the WP inner circle probably shouldn't feel so bad about their own lack of understanding of them. Still, they could probably benefit from a properly-done analysis of their time-management and operational efficiency.

The same in economics. Bastiat's tale of the broken window is basically one of opportunity costs. As are all fantasies of "government-created jobs" using tax dollars (which otherwise would inevitably be spent in the private sector to create equal numbers of private jobs). You see the jobs that ARE created by jobs programs, but not the ones that never come to be, because of money lost in taxation. This is particularly true of defense jobs, where the loss is double, like those associated with repairing the broken window (we pay for the DoD, then we pay again for Halliburton to clean up after the DoD... and the end result resembles digging holes and filling them in again, in a really high-tech way)

The same with the FDA holding up a new drug. If they guess wrong, you see the people who die of drug side effects, but if they guess wrong the other way, you don't see the people die for lack of the drug. Their death certificates don't read "Sclerosis of the Government", but instead some "natural" cause.

My very favorite of ermm.gif hmmm.gif sad.gif opportunity costs are those associated with watching TV dramas and other non-informative crap. You lose not only the time, but my guess is that we all have only so much social-information-processing power, and what you spend on American Idol, you lose in everyday life. Same goes for internet drawma, too, of course. And society very possibly suffers from it in ways we can't imagine and never measure. You have to look at the Amish to even guess at it.
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luke
post Sat 28th February 2009, 3:08pm
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QUOTE(Sylar @ Tue 10th February 2009, 1:27am) *
I do agree with your second paragraph but didn't see the point of saying "Yeah, I agree."


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Son of a Yeti
post Sun 1st March 2009, 8:45am
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QUOTE(gomi @ Wed 28th March 2007, 1:04pm) *

The only section that would really seem to bear on Wikis would be:
QUOTE

(4) knowingly and with intent to defraud, accesses a protected computer without authorization, or exceeds authorized access, and by means of such conduct furthers the intended fraud and obtains anything of value, unless the object of the fraud and the thing obtained consists only of the use of the computer and the value of such use is not more than $5,000 in any 1-year period;



A protected computer? By editing only? What kind of protection "an encyclopedia anyone can edit" can claim?

And what actually is the value to be stolen? Collected postings of SlimVirgin?

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No, the whole law is not applicable to Wikipedia.
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DoctorHver
post Thu 5th March 2009, 12:42am
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Vandal a page that explain or has somthing do do with Vandal policy you can get ban in a few minute.
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