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Wikipedia’s New Year begins with a hoax

By Andreas Kolbe and Tippi Hadron

[To view or participate in a forum discussion on this topic, please click here.]

On New Year’s Day, The Daily Dot reported that a “massive Wikipedia hoax” had finally been exposed, after more than five years. Wikipedia’s article on the “Bicholim Conflict”, listed as a “Good Article” for the past half-decade, had turned out to be a complete invention, the key sources cited in it non-existent.

As The Daily Dot put it:

Up until a week ago, here is something you could have learned from Wikipedia:

From 1640 to 1641 the might of colonial Portugal clashed with India’s massive Maratha Empire in an undeclared war that would later be known as the Bicholim Conflict. Named after the northern Indian region where most of the fighting took place, the conflict ended with a peace treaty that would later help cement Goa as an independent Indian state.

Except none of this ever actually happened. The Bicholim Conflict is a figment of a creative Wikipedian’s imagination. It’s a huge, laborious, 4,500 word hoax. And it fooled Wikipedia editors for more than 5 years.

The Bicholim Conflict article was the creation of a Wikipedian known only as A-b-a-a-a-a-a-a-b-a. The user had succeeded in having his piece listed as a Good Article in 2007, a quality award given to no more than about 1 out of every 250 Wikipedia entries. Shortly after, he had even submitted his work for Featured Article status, Wikipedia’s highest quality award. That attempt failed – the reviewers’ opinion was that the entry relied too heavily on a small number of sources, and the review petered out.

However, the Featured Article reviewers did not spot that the key sources cited in the piece were entirely made up. Nor did they spot that the Maratha Empire

…continue reading Wikipedia’s New Year begins with a hoax

Jimmy Wales, Kazakhstan, Tony Blair and Wikipedia: A Timeline

For an overview of this story, please see last week’s post, Jimmy Wales in: The Dictator and I.

The following timeline, compiled by a group of Wikipediocracy site trustees, chronicles some less-well-known facts about the development of the Kazakh-language Wikipedia, its ties to the Kazakhstan government, the Wikimedia Foundation, Jimmy Wales, Tony Blair, and other related persons and entities. We hope that this raw data will aid further discussion of this topic in the New Year. To view or participate in a forum discussion on this topic, please click here. If you have additional relevant information not included here, please contact us at media@wikipediocracy.com.

2007 16 January 2007 – Jimmy Wales is named a Young Global Leader by The World Economic Forum in Davos, as is his eventual wife, Kate Garvey, formerly Tony Blair’s diary secretary. Tony Blair also speaks at the event, his third consecutive annual visit. (Blair will become co-chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in 2008, and Tony Blair Associates will later form deep business ties with the Kazakhstan government. Garvey will go on to a director role with Freud Communications, where she will count the Tony Blair Faith Foundation as a client. She will wed Jimmy Wales on 6 October 2012 – his third marriage.) 30 March 2007 – Oralgaisha Omarshanova disappears. She is a journalist working at Zakon i Pravosudiye (Kazakh: Закон и правосудие), a newspaper based in Almaty, Kazakhstan, investigating and publicizing government corruption. September 2007 – Jimmy Wales and other World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders attend the WEF “Summer Davos” summit (“Annual Meeting of the New Champions”) in Dalian, China. 2008 January 2008 – Tony Blair co-chairs the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. 14–16 March 2008 – Richard Branson assembles a meeting between Jimmy Wales, Tony Blair, Vinod

…continue reading Jimmy Wales, Kazakhstan, Tony Blair and Wikipedia: A Timeline