The Encyclopedia Game: A Quirky Film On Wikipedia Vandalism
The Encyclopedia Game: A Quirky Film On Wikipedia Vandalism
Discover shocking examples of Wikipedia vandalism, meet the vandals, and observe the inner world of the planet's most used info source.
Discover shocking examples of Wikipedia vandalism, meet the vandals, and observe the inner world of the planet's most used info source. Read more
About this project
Hello, and thanks for checking out our project!
Who are we?
We are Diotima Productions, an independent film production partnership of Philip Eldred, JJ Stein, and Ryan White. Joining us for this project are Kate Izor, Zeen Rachidi and Bruno Tore. Read more about the filmmakers here.
About the Film
Encyclopedia Game" (www.encyclopediagame.net) is a quirky, character-driven documentary
about Wikipedia vandalism.
As you may know, Wikipedia is the most used reference source in the world, a free online encyclopedia that is more comprehensive and complete than any encyclopedia that has ever been written. But it also is vulnerable to vandalism because of its open format. Anyone with internet access can edit almost any Wikipedia article, and this fact is regularly exploited by people with disruptive intentions.
Why a film about Wikipedia vandalism?
This film evolved from our encounters with a devoted Wikipedia vandal whom we got to know while attending college. He is an eccentric character, with a truly fascinating mixture of skills and motivations that combine to create elaborate acts of misinformation and disruption.
The fact that Wikipedia is vulnerable to vandalism is well known, but the vandals themselves, as well as their motives, and the true extent of their activities, remain almost completely unknown.
But we had the chance to get to know a notorious Wikipedia vandal named "Cognition" (click for video) very well, and what we learned from him gave us a special perspective that we felt compelled to share. We had become accidental experts on aspects of Wikipedia that go largely unnoticed by the millions of people who use it every day as a handy reference source.
So, we decided to make this film...
We wanted to tell the stories of the people who vandalize Wikipedia.
Why do they do it?
How do they do it?
How often do they get away with it?
And, by getting to know these characters and their stories, we wanted to share a glimpse of the inner world of Wikipedia, a distinct community with its own peculiar culture, that most Wikipedia users don’t even know exists.
We knew one vandal already, but we wanted to get to know others, so that we could get a real sense of the world of Wikipedia vandalism.
We called out, through online communities that discuss Wikipedia, asking for vandals to share their stories with us.
Many were initially hesitant, as can be expected. But many were also very curious. Wikipedia vandals labor in anonymity, and for many, the chance to share their stories was appealing. Slowly, as we had the chance to prove ourselves, to show that we weren't just a bunch of Wikipedia insiders posing as filmmakers as a way to trick vandals into outing themselves, we received more and more cooperation.
Not all who are disruptive are vandals...
Although we will focus primarily on devoted and dedicated vandals, we will also get to know people who have been banned from Wikipedia merely for trying to tell the truth. Barry Kort is a retired MIT scientist who got banned after editing only 5 articles! Sometimes truth is the most disruptive force of all...
Now we are ready!
We have been researching vandalism for over a year now, and what we have learned is remarkable. We have discovered substantial acts of vandalism that have gone unnoticed for months and years, intense conflicts between rival Wikipedia editors, and even cases of journalists and academics reporting as fact assertions that were merely invented by vandals.
We have been in contact with scores of vandals, but the stories of a handful of highly intelligent Wikipedians with very unique perspectives stand out as particularly compelling.
Now we are ready to make this film a reality. We have all of the skills and most of the equipment we need.
However, we do need to raise at least $60,000 to proceed with production.
How do we plan to spend this money?
Some of our budget is devoted to expenses for additional equipment, but most of our funds will be used for travel/logistical expenses.
Although we want to focus on the stories of only a handful of disruptive Wikipedians, fully contextualizing their stories requires input from several other contributors. And, because anyone with an internet connection can use Wikipedia, those contributors are located all over the globe.
is why we must raise at least $60,000, which will allow us to film
the 12-15 contributors whose involvement is absolutely essential for
However, we have identified 53 contributors whose input would likely enhance the project. In order to film them all, we would have to raise at least $200,000. Although it is unlikely that all 53 contributors would make it into the final cut of the film, being able to include them all in the production would allow us to paint a more complete picture of the world of Wikipedia vandalism, and to make the film as interesting, compelling, and enjoyable as possible. The idea would be to put the best of the footage into the film, then edit and release the rest as bonus material. We want to tell as much of the story as possible, while keeping the main film to around 90 minutes or less.
How does Kickstarter work?
this is your first time supporting a Kickstarter project, it is
important that you know that we won’t get one penny for our project
unless we meet our $60,000 goal. If you make a contribution, your
money won’t leave your hands until the campaign is over and we have
successfully met our goal. If you make a pledge and we fail to make
our goal, then you will pay nothing.
This all or nothing system may seem strange, but what it means is that, if you end up supporting our project, you can rest assured that your support will not go to waste. If we get any of your money at all, it will be because our project has been fully funded, ensuring that we will have the resources to complete the film.
This is also what distinguishes Kickstarter from charitable fundraising. When you support our film, you are not merely funding a worthy project; you are actually paying for a finished product that you will be able to enjoy.
What do you get for your contribution?
We offer rewards for contributions of $5 or more:
$5 or more - You will receive a high definition digital download of the finished film.
$10 or more - You will receive a high definition digital download of the finished film, as well as a digital download of selected clips that did not make the final cut of the film.
$25 or more - In addition to receiving digital downloads of the finished film and select bonus clips, you will also receive your choice of a DVD or BluRay disc containing the finished film and bonus material.
$50 or more - You will receive a full-sized promotional poster, as well as all previous reward tiers.
$100 or more - You will receive a special thanks in the credits, as well as all previous reward tiers.
$500 or more - One of our contributors will write a Wikipedia article about you! We cannot guarantee that the article will last very long, but we will send you a screenshot of the finished article, as well as all previous reward tiers.
$1,000 or more - One of our contributors will creatively insert a reference to you into the Wikipedia article of your choice. We cannot guarantee that the edit will last very long, but we will send you a screenshot of the finished edit, as well as all previous reward tiers.
$2,500 or more - You will receive an Associate Producer Credit, as well as all previous reward tiers.
$5,000 or more - You and your guest will be given hotel accommodation for 2 nights in Sarasota, FL, as well as two tickets to a special party and screening of "The Encyclopedia Game" hosted by the filmmakers, plus all previous reward tiers. (Travel not included)
$10,000 or more - BE IN THE FILM! We will document your Wikipedia story! We will come to you and film you telling your story about Wikipedia for one day. This is your chance to come clean about your own acts of vandalism, to offer your critique of Wikipedia, or simply to rant on film about whatever you want. Your footage may not make it into the film (although it may), but it will be released as part of the bonus materials packaged with the film. (Offer only for residents of North America. If you are outside of North America, we will fly you to the United States to be filmed.) Plus all previous reward tiers.
What other ways can you help?
In addition to making a pledge, you can help out by letting all of your friends know about “The Encyclopedia Game.”
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are a good way to spread the word, and we would very much appreciate if you would link your friends to our Kickstarter page at kickstarter.encylopediagame.net.
And don’t forget about all those people you actually see in real life. Make sure to tell them about our project as well. Anyone who relies on Wikipedia as a handy reference source will find "The Encyclopedia Game" to be interesting and enjoyable.
With your help, we are going to make a film that will be zany, smart, entertaining, and important.
Thanks again for checking out our project!
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