Wikipedia closes Wii, PS3, Sony entries

Virtual vandalism the latest weapon in the next-generation console wars.

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Web encyclopedia Wikipedia--which allows anyone to write or edit its entries--has locked down its pages relating to Sony and Nintendo's next-generation consoles after continued vandalism.

A series of less-than-impartial edits over the last few weeks has led to the temporary lockdown to "protect" the entries, in the hope that the virtual vandals will lose interest by the time the pages are reopened to changes.

Users have been hijacking the site's entries to add what Wikipedia refers to as "funny" edits. Top of the list is the Nintendo Wii--a name that pranksters seem to find especially entertaining.

Last week the complete Nintendo company page was replaced with the phrase "Nintendo Sucks!!!!!!!!!" briefly before the Web site reloaded the original entry. Previous vandalism efforts include someone doodling on a Hitler moustache and horns on the photograph for the entry for Bill Gates, and the sentence "Microsoft is Zomg T3h Suck0r!!!!!!" briefly replacing the computer software company's page.

All of the next-generation consoles make it into the company's top 40 list of most revised pages, with the Nintendo Wii at number 10 (12,780 revisions), the PS3 at number 21 (9,894 revisions), and the Xbox 360 at 25 (9,481 revisions.) Interestingly, the Wii seems to attract more conflicts of opinion on the site than the subjects of Scientology (8,475 revisions), God (7,537 revisions), and even Britney Spears (9,886 revisions.)

A spokesperson for Wikimedia told GameSpot that this was likely because those who use the site and the Internet in general are statistically likely to be into gaming as well. "Wikipedia has many users who are interested in computer and video gaming (in fact, many of our "featured" articles--the project's best work--are about games and gaming), and so many people who use the site will have something to add to these articles," the spokesperson said.

Wikipedia was set up in 2001, and initially there was much skepticism that an encyclopedia wholly written, edited, and peer-edited by the general public would be a reliable source of information, but it is now in common usage. Even Web pages like the official Number 10 Downing Street Site link to its pages--although some university professors refuse to accept citations from Wikipedia in student essays and dissertations. Wikipedia now has more than 1.4 million entries in English, and has 250 different language versions.

The original version of Wikipedia made the Web site completely open to changes and edits from anyone, but in 2005 the site's founders chose to introduce a number of features to protect content, including preventing new and unregistered users from amending controversial entries, and blocking individual users who cause trouble on the site by username or IP address.

The top three articles with the most revisions are the United States at three (16,677 revisions), Wikipedia itself at two (21,832 revisions), and George W. Bush at one (32,649 revisions).

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