By Eric Barbour
“Civility”. It’s one of Wikipedia’s favorite words, and one of their favorite pretexts for keeping various people from editing Wikipedia (the “encyclopedia that anyone can edit”). Yet there is a well-known journalist who, despite having written scores of feature articles for outlets such as Slate, Ars Technica, and Wired, does not have a biography on Wikipedia — apparently because he made Wikipedians look bad. They bent the meanings of the words “civility” and “notability” into pretzels, specifically to be rid of him.
Almost forgotten today, a partly-unintentional hoax covered by Farivar made the Wikipedians look very silly indeed. Among the most snookered: the ever-annoying Philip “Snowspinner” Sandifer, a former Wikipedia administrator and frequent commenter on Arbitration Committee cases. Farivar only needed to discuss one small hoax article, plus a bio of himself, to start the wrecking ball swinging.
We reproduce here the August 2005
…continue reading Cyrus Farivar And His Hoaxes
by Gregory Kohs
A months-long experiment to deliberately insert misinformation into thirty different Wikipedia articles has been brought to an end, and the results may surprise you. In 63% of cases, the phony information persisted not for minutes or hours, but for weeks and months. Have you ever heard of Ecuadorian students dressed in formal three-piece suits, leading hiking tours of the Galapagos Islands? Did you know that during the testing of one of the first machines to make paper bags, two thumbs and a toe were lost to the cutting blade? And would it surprise you to learn that pain from inflammation is caused by the human body’s release of rhyolite, an igneous, volcanic rock?
None of these are true, but Wikipedia has been presenting these “facts” as truth now for more than six weeks. And the misinformation isn’t buried on seldom-viewed pages, either. Those three howlers alone have been viewed by over 125,000
…continue reading Experiment concludes: Most misinformation inserted into Wikipedia may persist
by Jar’edo Wens, Special Correspondent on Wikipedia hoaxes
The most viewed article on Wikipedia for the week ending 28 March was a short article about the passports of the tiny country of Bhutan. 1,771,673 page loads. The link to the article was widely shared on social media sites. Did the world develop a sudden interest in Bhutanese passports? No, the reason people were looking at that particular Wikipedia article was because the page included an audio file with what sounded like an auto-tuned racist caricature of an Asian accent reading the article text.
No Wikipedia admin had the sense to delete the audio file as the tasteless joke that it so clearly was. It was easy for people flooding in from Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and elsewhere to overwhelm the “consensus” and have the file remain on the page. Several people argued that because the uploader of the file, KuchenZimjah, claimed to be from Bhutan, it
…continue reading Bhutanese Passport – what does the hoax say?