Automatic Vandalism Detection in Wikipedia: Towards a Machine Learning Approach

Koen Smets, Bart Goethals, Brigitte Verdonk

Since the end of 2006 several autonomous bots are, or have been, running on Wikipedia to keep the encyclopedia free from vandalism and other damaging edits. These expert systems, however, are far from optimal and should be improved to relieve the human editors from the burden of manually reverting such edits. We investigate the possibility of using machine learning techniques to build an autonomous system capable to distinguish vandalism from legitimate edits. We highlight the results of a small but important step in this direction by applying commonly known machine learning algorithms using a straightforward feature representation. Despite the promising results, this study reveals that elementary features, which are also used by the current approaches to fight vandalism, are not sufficient to build such a system. They will need to be accompanied by additional information which, among other things, incorporates the semantics of a revision.

Subjects: 12. Machine Learning and Discovery; 1. Applications

Submitted: May 2, 2008

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