Wiseclerk mentioned the fighting over the Wikipedia article on Prosper. (The disagreement can be seen on the Wikipedia talk page. ) This reminded me of the wikipedia scanner. The wikipedia scanner checks Wikipedia edits versus the IP address of the editor and looks up the domain to find out possibly what company or governemnt agency made the change. Some interesting examples of Wikipedia Scanner usage include:
BBC shows the CIA edited the page for the President of Iran
Diebold axed a section of a page which included criticisms of its voting machines
Someone in the Democratic Party HQ modified Rush Limbaugh’s page
So what did Wikipedia users with Prosper Marketplace IP addresses edit on the Prosper wikipedia page?
Since all the following edits came from Prosper Marketplace IP addresses, the implication is that someone from within Prosper’s offices made the following changes. Here is the link to the Prosper.com edits of all Wikipedia pages. The changes include a few of edits of self promotion such as adding Prosper.com to the Wikipedia page on loans, businesses in San Francisco, and Peer to Peer Lending. I don’t consider those edits much of an issue, but technically businesses are not supposed to use Wikipeida to promote themselves.
On the Prosper Wikipedia page itself, Prosper employees likely made several changes:
Whitewashing: Someone turned the first paragraph into almost into marketing but they did leave a few criticisms to keep the changes from being too obvious.
More whitewashing: Someone removed criticisms of the abuse of the group system and of licensing and rate caps. (Note that the removal of the group system criticism was about the time that the group system was removed due to the abuse so while no longer valid complete deletion of the criticism is still whitewashing.)
Squashing Competition: Someone at Prosper.com removed a reference to Zopa. The removed note said Zopa was a similar website in the UK which is factual.
The most obviously inappropriate edit — someone with a Prosper Marketplace IP address removed the entire criticism section.
By the way, someone at Prosper is also a huge fan P2PNoBank and RateLadder. They added links to those sites One, Two, Three, Four, and Five times. The first edit was actually made to Kiva’s web page! Why is someone at Prosper so fascinated with those websites?
Also, Prosper.com is not unique in making changes to their Wikipedia web page. Someone at Kiva removed negative information about their web servers crashing. I checked for Zopa edits and found none.
Of course, we’ll never know if any Prosper employees knew about the Wikipedia scanner and made other edits from home…
Disclaimer: I am relying on the Wikipeida Scanner to accurately reverse look up IP addresses of edits. If those lookups are incorrect, my data is also incorrect. I used only the IP addresss alloted to “Prosper Marketplace.” Additionally, there is now way of knowing if an employee made these edits on their own initiative and were not directed by Prosper Marketplace management. However, these Wikipeida edits taken together with removing the old forums and moderating the new forums may indicate pattern. Of course, they were dealing with rebellion in the forums, but it seems like they may be deleting criticisms rather than dealing with the root causes.
What do you think users from Prosper Marketplace IP addresses editing Wikipedia? Do you consider it abuse or vandalism? Or was Prosper making some minor corrections?