October 22, 2014

The Signpost Asks, “How Many More Hoaxes Will Wikipedia Find?

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The Signpost is a community written weekly newsletter covering Wikipedia and Wikimedia. It is an independent publication, not affiliated with the Wikimedia Foundation but hosted on Wikimedia servers.

From The Signpost:

Another hoax on the English Wikipedia was uncovered this week—not by any thorough investigation, but through the self-disclosure of an anonymous change made when the editors were in their sophomore year of college. The deliberate misinformation had been in the article for over five years with plenty of individuals noticing, but not one suspected its authenticity. This leads to one obvious question: how many more are there?

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The hoax was only revealed when EJ Dickson, a journalist and one of the two original hoax editors, noticed a series of tweets including one from Jay Caspian Kang, an editor for the New Yorker, that highlighted the text Dickson wrote five years earlier. In her words, “It was total bullshit … It was the kind of ridiculous, vaguely humorous prank stoned college students pull, without any expectation that anyone would ever take it seriously.” Her co-editor Evan continued, “I feel like we sort of did it with the intention of seeing how fast it would take to get it taken down [by Wikipedia editors]“.

Read more about this hoax and a review of other notes hoaxes in Wikipedia history.

See Also: I accidentally started a Wikipedia hoax (via The Daily Dot)

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.