Recently Google announced they are experimenting with including Wikipedia in Google News. Personally I’m not a fan of Wikipedia, so I think this is the perfect opportunity to share some tactics on how to make Wikipedia a whole lot more fun.
A key part of this strategy is knowing the rules better than most of the other people involved. Why … if you know the rules better than they do you can force them into doing things which may result in their short term gain, but an overall win for your strategy.
Threshold for Inclusion
This rule is a key part of you overall strategy, according to Wikipedia the threshold for inclusion is verifiability, not truth, really go check for yourself. So all this means is you have to find a reliable source with a history of fact checking to use as your source material for example CNN saying bigfoot isn’t a myth. Oh sure later on that story was proven to be a hoax, but CNN doesn’t say that on that page or even link to a later article, in fact finding a story with facts open to debate can even work to your advantage. The takeaway here is use good trusted verifiable sources as the basis for your entry.
Neutral Point of View
As wikipedia strives to be more encyclopedic in nature and contain more verifiable facts, entries are also supposed to have a neutral point of view. News sources are also supposed to have a neutral point of view, but as anyone who has compared CBS, FOX, and CNN can tell you media has a bias, and so should your entries in wikipedia. For example, if you were to edited the wikipedia entry for Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor saying “she has a racial bias”, your entry would get edited out for not having a Neutral Point of View (NPV). Instead go with “many conservatives have argued she has a racial bias” with a nice reputable verifiable source. The fact that you can find reputable sources news sources that state otherwise is irrelevant … unless you need to invoke the next rule …
Three Revert Rule
The rule basically states “Contributors must not perform more than three reverts on a single page within a 24-hour period”. There are some other subtleties so you really should acquaint yourself with some of the rules finer points and details. The rule was implemented and put into place to prevent edit wars. If the rule is invoked troublemakers accounts can be suspended or banned and pages can be locked, preventing further editing, which is what you want to happen. The key is of course getting it to be locked in place with the edit you want there, this requires a bit of timing, and “wasting” a move to get your opponent to move (in chess we call this zugzwang). Often times this requires a wingman to pull of properly as no one wants to appear to self interested. If there’s no wingman around using a Netbook on a Verizon air card IP, a disposable Gmail account, and cookie shredder works too (just sayin’ 🙂 ) . If you’ve ever attended a wikipedia session at a search conference, you’ve got a good idea what wikipedia administrators think are likely signs someone is a spammer (you know in case you intentionally wanted to give them a bone and divert them from your true course). The goal here is to use your zombie account to insert some inflammatory but cite able “facts” or NPV opinions, and engage the three revert rule at the right time getting your edits locked in while the admins sort it out. Those edits may not be permanent, but you just want to make the wikipedia article as dated and irrelevant to the general public for as long as possible.
The tactics work well in the short term, but what about a more long term solution that has a bit more sticking power, that you can use to deal with some pesky wikipedia result that Google always like to show first … read on …
Wikipedia is an Online Encyclopedia
While wikipedia fully admits it isn’t a paper encyclopedia, it does strive to be encyclopedic in nature, in some cases helping wikipedia on the path to being more encyclopedic, or correctly more academic, can be in your best interest. Generally speaking you try to make your copy easy to read and understand, with your keyword or variations built into the text naturally, but what if you didn’t. What if instead of trying to make sure the keywords were contained in the text, you made sure the keywords were absent from it. What if instead of a high keyword density you tried to get it as low as possible. What if instead of trying to be clear, concise and easy to understand, you strove to be over as many people’s heads as possible. What if you used this tactic of reverse optimization to “improve” that wikipedia article situated above you.
Even if you do an exceptional job and eliminate the keyword from the page everywhere except the title, the wikipedia result isn’t going to disappear, but it has a good chance of dropping to the #2 or #3 slot. So go out and find that writer you fired for using superflously excessive adjectives and having a writing style that meanders about like a 5 year old in a chuck e. cheese, and make wikipedia better, or at least more encyclopedic in nature.
PS to all you wikipedia editors talking about me over here, I’ve had comments turned off for a few months now so no I’m not afraid of you, don’t flatter yourselves, and secondly the links to you are nofollowed you know the same way you link to everyone else so don’t go congratulating yourselves on anything.
Here’s another little tip help destroy the value of internal links within wikipedia by removing, slowly and systematcially over time strive to create orphan page with very few or no internal links.