Anatomy of a Wikipedia Hijacking

This morning, Joe Andrew was Wikitaged . On a conference call, the former DNC chair and superdelegate announced his switch from Clinton to Obama but said he was worried about a smear campaign against him after some people fiddled with his Wikipedia page.

Naturally, we wondered what exactly these Wikiteurs were saying about him. Here’s a quick timeline from the page’s history:

At 5:57 this morning, someone added the information that

During the 2008 Democratic Presidential Nomination battle [Andrew] was on [ sic ] of the first to endorse Senator Hillary Clinton, on May 1, 2008, however, he decided to switch his allegiance to Senator Barack Obama. He becomes one of a growing number of former Clinton officials or appointees to switch to Barack Obama.

Later, at 11:20, the entire entry disappeared, to be replaced with

Joe Andrew (born March 1 , 1960 ) is a stupid faggot, and an Obama zombie.

It took less than a minute for another user, “NawlinWiki,” to revert the page to its old version. But two hours later, some added this bit:

He will be remembered when the party is unable to retake the White House. He will be remembered as a traitor to his friends and the party.

Six minutes later, it was gone. But soon the pro-Obama forces (or, really, one user going by the creative handle ””) started to rally, posting at the bottom of the page:


A minute later, the same user copied and pasted this phrase a few hundred times.

Just after noon, the page was locked: “Editing of this article by new or unregistered users is currently disabled .”

Hardly the craziest online political battle , but, still—don’t Phil Singer and Bill Burton have anything better to do with their time?