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Clinton's entry in Wikipedia has a watchdog

Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Star-Ledger Staff

When someone inserted the words "lesbian" and "communist" into Sen. Hillary Clinton's biography on the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, Jonathan Schilling was there to delete them.

When someone inserted a sentence describing how Clinton "murdered" White House counsel Vince Foster in the 1990s, Schilling was there to remove it.

When someone deleted an entire passage about Bill Clinton's affair with Gennifer Flowers, Schilling was there to put it back.

Schilling, a 53-year-old software developer from Monmouth County, isn't on the staff of the New York senator's campaign. But he has become the unofficial guardian of the Democratic presidential candidate's Wikipedia page.

He estimates he has made about 1,600 edits to the Clinton biography page, as well as 650 edits on Sen. John McCain's page, which have become some of the most visited -- and attacked -- Wikipedia entries.

The site has become such a large portion of his life that Schilling shrugged when asked how many hours a week he devotes to it.

"I honestly don't know," he said. "I do it in the morning when I get up. I do it in the evening when I get home. Sometimes I stay up late at night."

His devotion has brought Schilling some unexpected celebrity. In recent weeks he has been interviewed by National Public Radio, the BBC, Canadian radio, New Republic magazine and various blogs.

Schilling is part of the growing internet subculture that has evolved around Wikipedia since the site was founded in 2001.

Unlike traditional encyclopedias, Wikipedia lets anyone write and edit its 10 million entries in 253 languages. It relies on its army of users to find and quickly correct errors. Some editors voluntarily spend hours a day watching over their favorite pages and debating minor changes.

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