A busy day at Wikipedia

Sarah Palin was announced as John McCain’s running mate on August 29, 2008. Shortly before the announcement, her Wikipedia page looked like this.

About nine hours and 1100 edits after the announcement, the article was vastly different, and much, much better.

The example comes from an enjoyable talk by David Weinberger that I attended last night. Weinberger also runs a good blog, but note that, like many blogs, you need to look at the back catalogue to see what it’s like outside American election season.

Incidentally, I wonder what a graph of the frequency of edits to Palin’s page would show before the announcement, as compared with other contenders for the VP slot? Her page does seem to get a remarkable amount of editing attention in the runup to the announcement.


  1. The intense “scrubbing” of Palin’s Wikipedia entry just before she was nominated has been documented pretty well:




    This Washington Post article has some of the data you’re seeking on the other potential candidates and the number of edits they saw in comparison:

  2. Thanks David – those are great articles in the Post and the IHT. The NPR and BoingBoing articles look like partisan sniping to me. Looking over the version change history in the runup, I think it’s wrong to say that the article was “intensely scrubbed”. More like a light wash. A pretty interesting event, all around. I never would have guessed that Wikipedia’s version history would be related to political transparency.

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