VAST 2008 Challenge
Mini Challenge 1: Wiki Editors

Authors and Affiliations:

 Mario Beric, University of Zagreb, Croatia mario.beric@fer.hr [student]
Tomislav Lipic, University of Zagreb, Croatia tomislav.lipic@fer.hr [student]
     Ranko Miklin,
University of Zagreb, Croatia ranko.miklin@fer.hr [student]
     Wolfgang Freiler,
VRVis Research Center, Vienna, Austria freiler@VRVis.at[PhD student]
     Zoltan Konyha,
VRVis Research Center, Vienna, Austria konyha@VRVis.at [PhD student]
Kresimir Matkovic, VRVis Research Center, Vienna, Austria matkovic@VRVis.at [Faculty advisor] [PRIMARY contact]
Denis Gracanin, Virginia Tech., Blacksburg, USA gracanin@vt.edu [Faculty advisor]   

Student team: YES


1.     A custom C# application for parsing the edits text file into a .csv file containing all the relevant information, such as time of the edits, usernames, page size, page size change, elapsed time, etc.

2.     ComVis application, used to visualize data in the .csv file, mostly user edits frequency and size change.

ComVis was developed at VRVis research center (http://www.vrvis.at). ComVis reads the dataset from a csv file. Once read and stored user can select one of more views (2D or 3D scatter plot, histogram, pie charts and myriad of others) to represent attributes of the dataset. Besides scalar attributes as usual in information visualization, ComVis supports function graphs as attributes as well. All views are linked and simple and composite brushing is supported. Sessions can be saved to avoid re-reading of the dataset, to store view set-up, and to easily exchange analysis steps with peers or create reports for end customers.

3.     A text editor (Notepad++) for parsing edits for legibility and reading the comments


Two Page Summary:   NO 


Wiki-1: What are the factions represented in the edit pages and who are its members? In other words, describe the groups and their members based on their editing changes.  



Paraiso protestors

Absalon; Alejandrosanchez; Alejo; Honoratas; Molotover; Rosamaria

Paraiso critics

 DailosTamanca; Rm99

 Paraiso apologists

 RyogaNica; VictoriaV; Amado; Sara; Agustin



Detailed Answer:

As a starting point, we used ComVis to visualize page size change through time (Link). While most edits were approximately the same size, there were some that stuck out. We could see there were periods of drastic reduction in page size, followed by return to the state before the change. When extracting those edits in text format, and comparing them to the original edits file, those edits were identified as vandalizing attempts. When reverting those edits, users would usually refer to them as such. Also, reading the comments in those edits, we could get the iead of what the article was changed to say, e.g.: 'Paraiso believes that humans were no better than crap', 'Paraiso: A made up religion that celbrities use to get attention.', 'is stupid you idiots', etc. There are more protestors than those named here, but they are identified only by their IP address, which aren't very useful in this analysis, as they provide no true identity.

Some changes were harder to identify as negative. Following more active users, it was noticed that some of them make edits which are often identified as "POV pushing". They have a negative opinion of Paraiso, but express it more subtly. Their changes aren't big, but reading comments following them, it is apparent they are constantly expressing their opinion. There are also intervals where they participate in an "edit war" with other users, making changes to a certain topic, back and forth. Heavily edited topics are mostly regarding home-schooling for girls, and recognizing Paraiso as a religion. Rm99 was very active in discussions, criticizing Paraiso's religious aspect and Catalano's leadership, even making a comparison to Scientology.

Looking at the histogram of number of changes per user (Link), those most active, but not already identified as protestors nor critics, do not show any explicit signs of support or criticism of Paraiso. In their comments, they often cite the lack of evidence, reference, or objectivity when making changes to the article, or reverting other's edits. While it's a stretch calling them apologists, when they reference others by name, some calling their changes ridiculous, it does look like they don't share their opinion, even it's their duty to be unbiased. Reading their edits, it was noticed that they not only make the most changes, but also add a lot of content and sources, which makes it look like they're very familiar with the subject matter, especially when invoking Catalano's speeches and Manifesto's content ("F did mention his influences in plenty of times, specialy during the Miami lectures", "Home schooling for girls - details added, there is clear rationale stated in the Manifesto"). If we suppose that some of those are members of Paraiso, it is easy for them to hide behind the cover of objectivity (which they often claim to enforce), as there are very little (if any) evidence of Paraiso's immorality or illegality. Also, there are a lot of wiki moderators who really are just trying to keep the article factual, but sometimes it's hard to tell who belongs where, because of the very nature of the problem and the medium used to express opinion.

Wiki-2:  Is the Paraiso movement involved in violent activities? 


List of wiki edits providing evidence

# (cur) (last) 03:16, 19 September 2006 Alphanzo (Talk | contribs) m (moved Paraiso to GUNNED DOWN SIX DOCTORS AND NURSES IN COLD BLOOD)

# (cur) (last) 11:58, 18 November 2006 Amado (Talk | contribs) (114,196 bytes) (Deleted false statement. A person can only be declared afther it has been proven in a Justicia Juicio that he commited a high crime. Intro to C. Ethics 1998 is no longer used refer to 2006 edition only)

# (cur) (last) 11:38, 18 November 2006 Amado (Talk | contribs) (114,411 bytes) (?Ethics in Paraiso - Created subsection for Criticisms of Paraiso Ethics)

Short Answer:

Though the first edits was recognized as article vandalism, there is no evidence making that statement true or false. However, the possibility exists, and if Paraiso is involved in violent activities, they wouldn't write about it on this page, and those who want to expose them have little option but to make these extreme and unprofessional edits.

The second edit doesn't mention what was stated, but even a possibility of crime shows that there could be a cause for alarm. Lack of evidence, however, prevents any conclusion.

Throughout the edits, sections were regularly added and removed, but those talking about ethics show that there was some suspicion about questionable acitvities and a possible crime. Nothing certain, but several people contributed to that section before removal, and until some proofs are found, this remains speculative.

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