The Wikipedia page for Hudson periodically comes under attack by various cranks and historical revisionists. Most recently, it’s become a target of gay-bashing.
Since Wikipedia pages can be edited by anyone, and with a fair amount of anonymity, so the accuracy of such entries depends on the vigilance of other users. The theory is that over time, an entry becomes increasingly useful and accurate as many different people offer info and corrections—eventually producing a result as good or better than an old-fashioned encyclopedia.
The downside to this otherwise powerful model is that it opens up entries to the whim of irresponsible or even hateful individuals, whose identities are pretty well cloaked.
Most recently, an anonymous contributor added this to the Hudson page:
This city is also home to a sub culture of free spirited homosexuals that look like they came straight out of a gay pride parade and are proud to show you their genitals[.]
And also this:
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,524 people, 2,951 households, and 1,590 families residing in the city, about 50% of this population is homosexual and enjoy dildos especially big black/pink ones,all of these people can be found in pictures on GayHudson.com and they love to hang out near Mexican Radio and M[---] P[-----], who by the way gentlemen, is single. You can find him on eharmony.com.
The name above has been redacted, as it appears someone is either trying to “out” or play a prank on him, but the unredacted entry can be found via the page’s edit history.
While Wikipedia entries can be made anonymously, a little sleuthing turns up a few clues which at least might point eventually to the perpetrator. Anonymous contributors to Wikipedia are tracked by their Internet Protocol (“IP”) number, which gives clues as to what internet service they use, and sometimes their location.
The homophobic posts above were made by someone with the IP number 188.8.131.52. Using various web tools, I’ve determined that this is someone using Time Warner’s Road Runner service. That Road Runner internet traffic is routed through Saugerties, but the user could in theory be somewhere nearby in the region.
Taking a look at 184.108.40.206’s other recent postings on Wikipedia shows that s/he has also recently made edits pages for several other towns in Ulster and Greene counties much in the same gay-bashing vein, along with some racist content as well:
[Freehold] has the ZIP Code 12431, and it is also the home of the sexual predator R--- C---------- and its own fire district.
[Glasco] The people who edit wikipedia suck major dick and don't understand when people are trying to have fun and they are trying to compensate for their small penises and/or smelly vaginas
[Kingston] It has recently been taken over by monkeys who like to steal peoples cars and shoot each other.
[Saugerties] The population was 19,868 at the 2000 census this includes F---- G-------, a Brett Favre lover who is actually quite beastly.
Again, the names above have been redacted, but are archived in Wikipedia’s page edit history. The general tone of these posts suggest that the author(s) may be young, maybe teenaged. Searches on the names targeted in his/her/their Wikipedia spree may provide further clues as to the online vandal’s identity, as two of the three names mentioned correspond to relatively recent attendees of the public high school in Greenville. (Anyone with further information about these events should contact me via email.)
The good news is that Wikipedia’s self-policing policy works. Other registered users, such as Vipinhari, have undone the homophobic vandal’s posts, and blocked his/her IP address. Unfortunately, someone committed to such hate speech can continue their activities by switching to another computer at a different location, so continued monitoring of these pages is crucial to Wikipedia continuing to offer helpful and accurate entries.