Anonymous users behind Maria Butina Wikipedia article (and how to enumerate them)

At 24.07.2018, 5:08 AM ET The Daily Beast published an article concerning the “anonymous people behind Maria Butina” page in Wikipedia.  In the article they describe that they’ve found an anonymous user that has been editing the article from IP address that belongs to the American University.

Anonymous users in Wikipedia are unregistered users that leave only their IP address in the edit/revision log instead of the usernames.

Obviously that user isn’t the only “anonymous” editor in the English Wikipedia.  At of 25th July there has been at least 25 anonymous edits in the article and the last time I checked the article has been locked from any edits.

Statistics I’ve gathered reveal that edits have been also made from Rhode Island Courts (198.7.236.15 / ricourts.courts.ri.gov, 2018-07-18T19:34:59Z) with no comments. I’ve made the statistics available for download at Gitlab below these chapters.

One other interesting user is 204.14.236.215 too, because their autonomous system organization refers to Salesforce.com with comment “Donald Trump campaign” about Donald Trump having sex with Maria Butina.

To automate this information gathering I’ve made a script in less than a hour to use Wikipedia’s mediawiki API to produce a nice table containing at least the username,  rDNS, ASN, country, city, timestamp and the comment they made in the edit log.

How about other language versions of Wikipedia?

Yes. Obviously the article about Maria Butina is available not in English but in Spanish, Chinese,  Portuguese and Russian languages.

In Russian Wikipedia there are only 32 edits and a few anonymous editors have their IP address in Moscow.

Chinese Wikipedia has only 2 edits an only one anonymous editor has an IP that points to Taiwan.

Portuguese Wikipedia has no anonymous editors and only 3 edits.

Spanish Wikipedia has only one edit in revision history.

How to reproduce this data?

It’s pretty straightforward. You can query mediawiki API and get json results from any article you desire. Either you can use my script or you can write your own.

The very limitation of  the script is that you can only query up to 500 latest edits from a certain article but you can easily get around this by downloading the entire Wikipedia revision history dump database.

In this case the Maria Butina article has less than 500 edits so we can reliably get all the usernames and IP addresses from the article.

To edit query parameters to your liking you can take a look at the Mediawiki documentation:  https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/API:Revisions

The script is available now at Gitlab and will be updated later https://gitlab.com/Alrahambra/mediawiki-revisions2table/

You can access example data about Maria Butina in CSV format here:

https://gitlab.com/Alrahambra/mediawiki-revisions2table/blob/master/examples/revisions_example_Maria_Butina.csv

CSV can be imported to a Excel worksheet easily.

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