Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Things not to do in Wikipedia

Edit entries that are about you specifically - or even allow the mere appearance of such to occur. A recent example (potentially):

I did notice that the edits in question (from April 10 and 11, 2018) were corrected by another Wikipedian. A fellow Wikipedian by the handle FuriouslySerene offered this kind note to the user only known by an IP address,

I agree that this is a very odd coincidence that someone would edit out information considered compromising (easily documented info about a retraction involving a grad student he supervised) and add what amounted to some CV-like language to the entry, and that particular someone would be located in Columbus, OH, where Bushman lives and is employed. We can also guess, based on a cursory Google search, that the person editing Bushman's Wikipedia page was using an AT&T account. That's probably more information than one would want to give away. Hopefully it was merely someone completely unconnected thinking they were doing something kind and Bushman was in no way involved in this bit of Wikipedia mischief. There are some definite issues with that entry as it is now, even corrected as of this writing. A resourceful Wikipedian, I trust, can sort those particular issues out without my assistance (as I have had past dealings with Bushman, and cannot be objective, I would much prefer to keep it that way).

I do edit Wikipedia entries every so often. I do so under a username that is probably pretty identifiable, and I do not edit except under that username. I would never let my IP address show up in an edit. That's sloppy. I would make sure I was logged in first, and then edit. In this social media era, any slip-up, and any attempt to cover up a slip-up, will be uncovered - especially by those with something to gain by doing so.

Update: Please note that I am not convinced that Bushman edited his own Wikipedia entry (which from a conflict of interest standpoint is a big no-no) nor am I convinced that he didn't. What I do know is that he has anonymously or semi-anonymously commented on public forums (like pubpeer) in the past, and so this incident is not entirely out of character. The time-stamps of the entries are fairly late night, and from what I know of Bushman's character, he's very much an early-to-rise and early-to-bed sort of person. It is a bit out of character for him to try to make Wikipedia edits, or do much of anything else, after the early evening. I am not saying it's impossible. After all, enough stress can cause a few sleepless nights. I am saying that so far I am not yet convinced he would stoop to editing his own Wikipedia entry. I really want to believe that he wouldn't, and I also want to believe that he would not instigate someone close to him to do so on his behalf. However, I cannot rule that out, based on the evidence I have at my own disposal. That is, to say the least, troubling.

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