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Long-lasting hoax (and "Good Article") deleted 
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Long-lasting hoax (and GA) deleted
Quote:
Some fine detective work by ShelfSkewed (talk · contribs) has determined that the article Bicholim conflict (T-H-L) was a hoax. This article was created in July 2007 and assessed as a GA two months later, though thankfully a FAC in October 2007 was unsuccessful. On checking the sources, ShelfSkewed determined that the main books cited in the article do not actually exist. The AfD is here and the summary I added to Wikipedia:List of hoaxes on Wikipedia may be of assistance [30] - this article is now the eighth longest-lasting hoax to be listed there. Nick-D (talk) 22:32, 29 December 2012 (UTC)


Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:32 am
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Anyone save a copy of it?

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Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:08 am
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And of course, they obliterated the edit history, so we can't see who did it.

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Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:22 am WWW
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The Joy wrote:
Anyone save a copy of it?

you can buy a hard copy.

EricBarbour wrote:
And of course, they obliterated the edit history, so we can't see who did it.

any admins out there want to give us a rundown on the main authors? thnks.

<edit>
I'm guessing it was A-b-a-a-a-a-a-a-b-a (T-C-L), though it's kinda hard to tell with all the history hone.

Hmmm, the logs don't show page creation.


Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:23 am
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TungstenCarbide wrote:
I'm guessing it was A-b-a-a-a-a-a-a-b-a (T-C-L), though it's kinda hard to tell with all the history hone.

Hmmm, the logs don't show page creation.


He proposed it for featured article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia: ... t/archive1

It even fooled dab...


Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:40 am
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I tossed it on the "hoax article" pile, although there are so many of them, I've given up keeping track.

Here's a serious suggestion for generating lots of hoaxes: create a website for statistics on nonexistent soccer or cricket teams,
perhaps in an obscure country like Palau or Western Sahara. Add in the names of large numbers of nonexistent players for
said teams, past or present. Then generate WP stubs for all said teams and players. No one will check them, if there's just
one website "reference" that backs each one up. WP contains 160,000 biographies of football players (all kinds of football),
most of them are stubs generated by bots with one reference, and no one has EVER checked most of them. Probably never will either.

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Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:48 am WWW
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EricBarbour wrote:
I tossed it on the "hoax article" pile, although there are so many of them, I've given up keeping track.

Here's a serious suggestion for generating lots of hoaxes: create a website for statistics on nonexistent soccer or cricket teams,
perhaps in an obscure country like Palau or Western Sahara. Add in the names of large numbers of nonexistent players for
said teams, past or present. Then generate WP stubs for all said teams and players. No one will check them, if there's just
one website "reference" that backs each one up. WP contains 160,000 biographies of football players (all kinds of football),
most of them are stubs generated by bots with one reference, and no one has EVER checked most of them. Probably never will either.

That sounds like the least interesting "hoax" in recorded history.


Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:58 am
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That's why they will last---they are "boring". Good enduring WP hoaxes are not obvious at all.

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Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:13 am WWW
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Praise be to the Wikipedia scraper sites!

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/ent ... m_conflict

Edit: Hmmm... the page history only goes back to 2009 though. Darn.

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Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:50 am
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It is good hoaxes are detected but because it's from Wikipedia, the 'damage has been done' long after the article is gone. There is a book on it as pointed out by TungstenCarbide (ISBN 9785510567311), that regurgitates that false information. Unfortunately some libraries are known to purchase these type of books so the myth gets perpetrated elsewhere.

The Free Dictionary has a 15th December 2012 copy of it:

http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.c ... m+conflict


Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:57 am
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The Joy wrote:
Praise be to the Wikipedia scraper sites!

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/ent ... m_conflict

Edit: Hmmm... the page history only goes back to 2009 though. Darn.


http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/p/index.php?title=Bicholim_conflict&action=history

Actually, the article was forked from enwiki in December 2007. The "New World Encyclopedia" is a wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=New_World_Encyclopedia&oldid=296020960

They didn't use "Special:Import", so it doesn't contain the original page history from enwiki.

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Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:41 am WWW
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Michaeldsuarez wrote:
The Joy wrote:
Praise be to the Wikipedia scraper sites!
http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/ent ... m_conflict
Edit: Hmmm... the page history only goes back to 2009 though. Darn.

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/p/index.php?title=Bicholim_conflict&action=history
Actually, it was forked from enwiki in December 2007.

Don't forget to thank the Moonies, for doing this--I doubt they were paid to do it.
Interesting to see how many embarrassing deleted articles they've captured. Might be the only traces left.

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Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:49 am WWW
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Michaeldsuarez wrote:
The Joy wrote:
Praise be to the Wikipedia scraper sites!

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/ent ... m_conflict

Edit: Hmmm... the page history only goes back to 2009 though. Darn.


http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/p/index.php?title=Bicholim_conflict&action=history

Actually, the article was forked from enwiki in December 2007. The "New World Encyclopedia" is a wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=New_World_Encyclopedia&oldid=296020960

They didn't use "Special:Import", so it doesn't contain the original page history from enwiki.


02:53, 4 December 2007 Dan Davies (contribs) (33,505 bytes) (imported, credited, claimed)

What does Davies mean by "credited, claimed"? That he wrote the original article on wikipedia or what?


Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:51 am
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EricBarbour wrote:
Don't forget to thank the Moonies, for doing this--I doubt they were paid to do it.


http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/p/index.php?title=Bicholim_conflict&diff=627951&oldid=607145

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Template:Contracted

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Category:Contracted:

Quote:
Contracts have been signed for these articles


http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/p/index.php?title=Bicholim_conflict&diff=660181&oldid=644557

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Template:Paid

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Category:Paid:

Quote:
Articles for which payment has been submitted.


Contracted and paid.

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Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:57 am WWW
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Versus wrote:
02:53, 4 December 2007 Dan Davies (contribs) (33,505 bytes) (imported, credited, claimed)

What does Davies mean by "credited, claimed"? That he wrote the original article on wikipedia or what?


"Credited" might mean giving enwiki credit via "Template:Credits":

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/p/index.php?title=Bicholim_conflict&oldid=595708#Credits

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Template:Credits

I'm not sure about "claimed":

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/p/index.php?title=Special%3ALog&page=Template%3AClaimed

"Claimed" might mean claiming a contract or a payment (i.e. "Look at this wonderful enwiki article that I've rewrote. I deserve payment for my hard work."):

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/p/index.php?title=Bicholim_conflict&diff=627951&oldid=607145

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/p/index.php?title=Bicholim_conflict&diff=660181&oldid=644557

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Last edited by Michaeldsuarez on Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:22 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:13 am WWW
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Michaeldsuarez wrote:
EricBarbour wrote:
Don't forget to thank the Moonies, for doing this--I doubt they were paid to do it.

Contracted and paid.

Ha ha ha. Well then, the Moonies got screwed.....the contractors don't care if the stuff they copy over is "accurate" or not, do they?
It's all just checked for material that the church finds "sinful". Like porn, babble about pedophilia being not-all-that-bad, and the like.

And of course, anything that casts Rev. Moon and his family in a bad light.
http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/ent ... Myung_Moon
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_myung_moon
Quite a difference.....

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Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:20 am WWW
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TungstenCarbide wrote:
The Joy wrote:
Anyone save a copy of it?

you can buy a hard copy.

EricBarbour wrote:
And of course, they obliterated the edit history, so we can't see who did it.

any admins out there want to give us a rundown on the main authors? thnks.

<edit>
I'm guessing it was A-b-a-a-a-a-a-a-b-a (T-C-L), though it's kinda hard to tell with all the history hone.

Hmmm, the logs don't show page creation.


The same author GA'd Huế Phật Đản shootings despite having very few edits under his belt. Odd. This was days before Bicholim conflict was GA'd.


Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:30 am
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TungstenCarbide wrote:
The Joy wrote:
Anyone save a copy of it?

you can buy a hard copy.

EricBarbour wrote:
And of course, they obliterated the edit history, so we can't see who did it.

any admins out there want to give us a rundown on the main authors? thnks.

<edit>
I'm guessing it was A-b-a-a-a-a-a-a-b-a (T-C-L), though it's kinda hard to tell with all the history hone.

Hmmm, the logs don't show page creation.

Yup, A-b-a-a-a-a-a-a-b-a (T-C-L) made the only substantial contributions (bunch of edits to bring it up to 3,500kb, then a whole bunch of bots, vandals, and copyeditors for the following 5+ years).

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Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:46 am
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EricBarbour wrote:
And of course, they obliterated the edit history, so we can't see who did it.


They!

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Anyway here you go

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Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:36 pm WWW
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Daily Dot: 'After a half-decade, massive Wikipedia hoax finally exposed':

http://www.dailydot.com/news/wikipedia- ... x-deleted/


Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:47 am
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Versus wrote:
Daily Dot: 'After a half-decade, massive Wikipedia hoax finally exposed':

http://www.dailydot.com/news/wikipedia- ... x-deleted/

And another press mention for us! :evilgrin:

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Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:59 am
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This appears to be the lede, based on the scam at Barnes and Noble:

Quote:
The Bicholim Conflict of 1640-1641 was a period of armed conflict between the Portuguese rulers of Goa and the Maratha Empire led by Shivaji Bhonsle in the northern regions of Goa, particularly in the Bicholim region. The conflict lasted from mid-1640 to early 1641, when the Maratha Confederacy and the Portuguese signed a treaty by which they would respect the pre-existing Maratha-North Goa boundary. However, the conflict continued to cause tension between the Maratha rulers and the Portuguese in Goa and the islands of Daman and Diu. While the conflict mainly remained localised to Northern Goa, at one point anti-Portuguese uprisings occurred in the neighbouring regions of Pernem and Bardez.


Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:07 am
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PC World: Fake Wikipedia entry on Bicholim Conflict finally deleted after five years
Quote:
Consider this another cautionary tale against believing everything you read on Wikipedia, or the Internet in general.


Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:16 pm
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Roger Pearse: Wikipedia and the hoax articles

Quote:
Now it would be easy to overreact. The criminal element is well and truly busy on the internet these days. Vandalism and hoaxes are normal now. Any crowd-sourced project must expect these, and must handle them.

But a delay of 6 years, before someone able to perform a 5 minute sanity check does so, just isn’t good enough. Wikipedia is too important a part of the web for this to be acceptable. In 2004, perhaps it would have been considered unavoidable. But now?

Wikipedia needs to have some professional reviewers. There seems no obvious reason why it couldn't hire a few. Most journals manage to do this. But professionals would probably volunteer; except that they are treated like dirt if they do. At the moment any professional will find himself run out of the project by "Randy from Boise" or some other child. The project needs to create a cadre of contributors who are named, and known, and valued, and who have the backing of the Wikipedia board if they find themselves being harassed by Randy or his chums. It's not hard to do this. But the will is lacking.


Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:58 pm
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This comment in that article: "Generally speaking I disregard the page that comes up - and go quickly down to the bibliography for some real sources." made me think of something - maybe it would be better to just have a source-o-pedia:

Article Title

Definition

Suggested sources your ass needs to look up your own damn self:
*Source 1
*Source 2
*Source 3

That's it. No "article" except the bare minimums, no folks writing crap and pontificating, no misuse of sources, just give the public what it really wants from Wikipedia, a useful bibliography. Of course got to have something like WP:RS and so on in there but this "less-is-better" approach might actually work... better.


Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:14 am
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Volunteer Marek wrote:
This comment in that article: "Generally speaking I disregard the page that comes up - and go quickly down to the bibliography for some real sources." made me think of something - maybe it would be better to just have a source-o-pedia:

Article Title

Definition

Suggested sources your ass needs to look up your own damn self:
*Source 1
*Source 2
*Source 3

That's it. No "article" except the bare minimums, no folks writing crap and pontificating, no misuse of sources, just give the public what it really wants from Wikipedia, a useful bibliography. Of course got to have something like WP:RS and so on in there but this "less-is-better" approach might actually work... better.


Personally, I just try to double-check when I am particularly curious about something regardless of where I start out looking for information. Anyone who just goes to a single source and trusts it implicitly is being foolish.

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Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:45 am
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Volunteer Marek wrote:
Article Title
Definition
Suggested sources your ass needs to look up your own damn self:
*Source 1
*Source 2
*Source 3

That's it. No "article" except the bare minimums, no folks writing crap and pontificating, no misuse of sources, just give the public what it really wants from Wikipedia, a useful bibliography. Of course got to have something like WP:RS and so on in there but this "less-is-better" approach might actually work... better.

That's a winner, and plenty of other people have said as much. But it will never happen, not with the present gang of POV-pushing assholes and
windbags, who just have to share their "genius" thoughts on Scientology, homeopathy, Jews and Arabs, their employers, themselves, etc. etc. with the world.
If you took away that "right" to be a blowhard, I suspect that 80-90% of the regular content editors would quit, along with the vast majority of the
administrators.

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Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:23 am WWW
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That story has become really big; it's all over Twitter, Facebook and Reddit. Now also in Yahoo News.
Quote:
A 17th Century international conflict has finally been laid to rest, nearly 400 years after it never happened. Wait a second. Are you feeling confused?


Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:52 am
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The Devil's Advocate wrote:
Personally, I just try to double-check when I am particularly curious about something regardless of where I start out looking for information. Anyone who just goes to a single source and trusts it implicitly is being foolish.


Particularly if that source is Wikipedia. I've been looking at the Tauroctony article and rescuing whatever seemed actually reliable. That means checking every reference, which, I have found, almost nobody does. When I used to give a reference, I quoted the source, so readers could see that I wasn't faking. After all, anyone can claim to have seen a reference; but word-for-word quotes are harder to fake, and easier to check.

A claim that a monument, CIMRM 593, dates to 100 AD caught my eye. That's a very precise date - monuments are often undateable. And the claim is given 4 references. I'm paranoid, so I looked up #1 (Clauss). The page number is wrong (nothing on p.118). When I search the book for CIMRM 593, he refers to it twice, both times as dating to "first quarter of 2nd century".

So I look up #2 (Beck). The page seems reasonable, but I don't see the statement there.

Somehow I didn't bother with the other 2 references, which even I don't have access to.

Yet how many people could do that checking? Funnily enough the editor who added that material gave the impression (to me anyway) of having some idea.

References seem increasingly to be used as a way to "pin" material in an article and deter edits, rather than to inform the reader.

All the best,

Roger Pearse


Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:04 am WWW
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Don't fret, the article was on the internet, it exists forever in the bowels of cyberspace. See below:



http://web.archive.org/web/20100822052739/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicholim_conflict


Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:33 am
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bboy1102 wrote:
Don't fret, the article was on the internet, it exists forever in the bowels of cyberspace. See below:



http://web.archive.org/web/20100822052739/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicholim_conflict

Welcome. :)

You can't see the edit history in archive.org (robots.txt exclusion), but Hex (see above) made it available here for those interested.


Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:45 am
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roger_pearse wrote:
...I've been looking at the Tauroctony article and rescuing whatever seemed actually reliable. That means checking every reference, which, I have found, almost nobody does. When I used to give a reference, I quoted the source, so readers could see that I wasn't faking. After all, anyone can claim to have seen a reference; but word-for-word quotes are harder to fake, and easier to check.

A claim that a monument, CIMRM 593, dates to 100 AD caught my eye. That's a very precise date - monuments are often undateable. And the claim is given 4 references. I'm paranoid, so I looked up #1 (Clauss). The page number is wrong (nothing on p.118). When I search the book for CIMRM 593, he refers to it twice, both times as dating to "first quarter of 2nd century".

So I look up #2 (Beck). The page seems reasonable, but I don't see the statement there.

Somehow I didn't bother with the other 2 references, which even I don't have access to.

Yet how many people could do that checking? Funnily enough the editor who added that material gave the impression (to me anyway) of having some idea.

References seem increasingly to be used as a way to "pin" material in an article and deter edits, rather than to inform the reader.


Dealing with Wikipedia, I generally find that the more references a statement has, the less likely it is to be true.


Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:39 am
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86Mookie wrote:
roger_pearse wrote:
...I've been looking at the Tauroctony article and rescuing whatever seemed actually reliable. That means checking every reference, which, I have found, almost nobody does. When I used to give a reference, I quoted the source, so readers could see that I wasn't faking. After all, anyone can claim to have seen a reference; but word-for-word quotes are harder to fake, and easier to check.

A claim that a monument, CIMRM 593, dates to 100 AD caught my eye. That's a very precise date - monuments are often undateable. And the claim is given 4 references. I'm paranoid, so I looked up #1 (Clauss). The page number is wrong (nothing on p.118). When I search the book for CIMRM 593, he refers to it twice, both times as dating to "first quarter of 2nd century".

So I look up #2 (Beck). The page seems reasonable, but I don't see the statement there.

Somehow I didn't bother with the other 2 references, which even I don't have access to.

Yet how many people could do that checking? Funnily enough the editor who added that material gave the impression (to me anyway) of having some idea.

References seem increasingly to be used as a way to "pin" material in an article and deter edits, rather than to inform the reader.


Dealing with Wikipedia, I generally find that the more references a statement has, the less likely it is to be true.


Agree, in fact a book in the Bicholim conflict article was used multiple times as a reference and footnoted as:

^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw Srinivasan Vasantakulan Bharatiya Struggles (1000 AD - 1700 AD), Voice of India, 1998. ISBN 9789132145612

This should have raised alarm bells to other editors.


Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:11 am
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This thread has been linked to in an article listed on Yahoo!'s front page (which I believe HRIP7 mentioned above). So, it will be interesting to see how many views we get from this.

Yahoo! readers, while you're here, I suggest you peruse some of the other threads on this site so you can get a better idea of Wikipedia's, Jimmy (Jimbo) Wales', and the Wikimedia Foundation's true nature and credibility. I suggest this one is a good place to start. Also, this blog post.


Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:03 am
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HRIP7 wrote:
That story has become really big; it's all over Twitter, Facebook and Reddit. Now also in Yahoo News.
Quote:
A 17th Century international conflict has finally been laid to rest, nearly 400 years after it never happened. Wait a second. Are you feeling confused?


What's bizarre are the 'that’s nothing' reactions on Jimmy's page.

Quote:
That's nothing, Gaius Flavius Antoninus was around for over 8 years! See Wikipedia:List of hoaxes on Wikipedia. In the case of Chen Fang, present for over 7 years, the author was a Harvard student attempting to expose the limitations of Wikipedia. There are many hoaxes on Wikipedia, both found and unfound, and we do our best to deal with them as we find them, but it is very difficult to combat a determined and smart hoax author, who is not above fabricating hard-to-access source materials. On the plus side, hoaxes generally do little harm, other than mislead people into thinking something exists when in fact it does not. The best way to fight hoaxes I think is just plain old fact-checking - experts read articles in their area and can smell when something is off. See for example this discussion about Bunaka, in which the claims of implausible water temperatures quickly drew suspicion from experts. Dcoetzee 00:05, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk: ... n_the_news


At all other times than this, it's praise for the way that mistakes are removed within seconds, Wikipedia is better than Britannica etc etc. And when there is a hoax, " hoaxes generally do little harm". You cannot win.

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Peter Damian wrote:
HRIP7 wrote:
That story has become really big; it's all over Twitter, Facebook and Reddit. Now also in Yahoo News.
Quote:
A 17th Century international conflict has finally been laid to rest, nearly 400 years after it never happened. Wait a second. Are you feeling confused?


What's bizarre are the 'that’s nothing' reactions on Jimmy's page.

Quote:
That's nothing, Gaius Flavius Antoninus was around for over 8 years! See Wikipedia:List of hoaxes on Wikipedia. In the case of Chen Fang, present for over 7 years, the author was a Harvard student attempting to expose the limitations of Wikipedia. There are many hoaxes on Wikipedia, both found and unfound, and we do our best to deal with them as we find them, but it is very difficult to combat a determined and smart hoax author, who is not above fabricating hard-to-access source materials. On the plus side, hoaxes generally do little harm, other than mislead people into thinking something exists when in fact it does not. The best way to fight hoaxes I think is just plain old fact-checking - experts read articles in their area and can smell when something is off. See for example this discussion about Bunaka, in which the claims of implausible water temperatures quickly drew suspicion from experts. Dcoetzee 00:05, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk: ... n_the_news


At all other times than this, it's praise for the way that mistakes are removed within seconds, Wikipedia is better than Britannica etc etc. And when there is a hoax, " hoaxes generally do little harm". You cannot win.

On Reddit's Wikipedia subreddit, the main thrust of the comments seemed to focus on the fact that relatively few people read the article, so therefore it was not "massive", and on the author's use of "half-decade" when, people opined, he could have said five years. :)

The rest of the world thought it was a shocking indictment of Wikipedia's article rating system and its content reliability, but that's okay, because they just don't understand Wikipedia. :boing: :P


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Peter Damian wrote:
At all other times than this, it's praise for the way that mistakes are removed within seconds, Wikipedia is better than Britannica etc etc. And when there is a hoax, " hoaxes generally do little harm". You cannot win.

Well, consider the source. Dcoetzee thought it was no big deal to thieve digital files from England, because he was safely in the United States. And Dcoetzee thinks it's okay for Wikipedia to welcome "avowed pedophiles" to edit Wikipedia, if they think they can control their impulses while on Wikipedia.

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Now in the Daily Mail: The war that never was: Most elaborate Wikipedia hoax ever as 4,500 word article on 'Bicholim Conflict' - a fictitious fight for Goan independence - fooled site for FIVE YEARS
Quote:
It was voted a 'good article' - a Wikipedia badge of honor - and sat happily on the online encyclopedia for more than half a decade. But editors have lately discovered a small issue with the site's meticulously written 4,500 word article detailing the 17th century Bicholim Conflict.
It was entirely made up.


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I'm surprised this delightful story from Borges has not been mentioned yet.

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I owe the discovery of Uqbar to the conjunction of a mirror and an encyclopedia. The mirror troubled the depths of a corridor in a country house on Gaona Street in Ramos Mejia; the encyclopedia is fallaciously called The Anglo-American Cyclopaedia (New York, 1917) and is a literal but delinquent reprint of the Encyclopedia Britannica of 1902. The event took place some five years ago. Bioy Casares had had dinner with me that evening and we became lengthily engaged in a vast polemic concerning the composition of a novel in the first person, whose narrator would omit or disfigure the facts and indulge in various contradictions which would permit a few readers - very few readers - to perceive an atrocious or banal reality. From the remote depths of the corridor, the mirror spied upon us. We discovered (such a discovery is inevitable in the late hours of the night) that mirrors hare something monstrous about them. Then Bioy Casares recalled that one of the heresiarchs of Uqbar had declared that mirrors and copulation are abominable, because they increase the number or men. I asked him the origin of this memorable observation and he answered that it was reproduced in The Anglo-American Cyclopaedia, in its article on Uqbar. The house (which we had rented furnished) had a set of this work. On the last pages of Volume XLVI we found an article on Upsala; on the first pages of Volume XLVII, one on Ural-Altaic Languages, but not a word about Uqbar. Bioy, a bit taken aback, consulted the volumes of the index. In vain he exhausted all of the imaginable spellings: Ukbar, Ucbar, Ooqbar, Ookbar, Oukbahr... Before leaving, he told me that it was a region of Iraq of or Asia Minor. I must confess that I agreed with some discomfort. I conjectured that this undocumented country and its anonymous heresiarch were a fiction devised by Bioy's modesty in order to justify a statement. The fruitless examination of one of Justus Perthes' atlases fortified my doubt.

... The contact and the habit of Tlön have disintegrated this world. Enchanted by its rigor, humanity forgets over and again that it is a rigor of chess masters, not of angels. Already the schools have been invaded by the (conjectural) "primitive language" of Tlön; already the teaching of its harmonious history (filled with moving episodes) has wiped out the one which governed in my childhood; already a fictitious past occupies in our memories the place of another, a past of which we know nothing with certainty - not even a that it is false. Numismatology, pharmacology and archeology have been reformed. I understand that biology and mathematics also await their avatars... A scattered dynasty of solitary men has changed the face of the world. Their task continues. If our forecasts are not in error, a hundred years from now someone will discover the hundred volumes of the Second Encyclopedia of Tlön.

Then English and French and mere Spanish will disappear from the globe. The world will be Tlön. I pay no attention to all this and go on revising, in the still days at the Adrogue hotel, an uncertain Quevedian translation (which I do not intend to publish) of Browne's Urn Burial.


Last edited by DanMurphy on Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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DanMurphy wrote:
I'm surprised this delightful story from Borges has not been mentioned yet.

Quote:
I owe the discovery of Uqbar to the conjunction of a mirror and an encyclopedia. The mirror troubled the depths of a corridor in a country house on Gaona Street in Ramos Mejia; the encyclopedia is fallaciously called The Anglo-American Cyclopaedia (New York, 1917) and is a literal but delinquent reprint of the Encyclopedia Britannica of 1902. The event took place some five years ago. Bioy Casares had had dinner with me that evening and we became lengthily engaged in a vast polemic concerning the composition of a novel in the first person, whose narrator would omit or disfigure the facts and indulge in various contradictions which would permit a few readers - very few readers - to perceive an atrocious or banal reality. From the remote depths of the corridor, the mirror spied upon us. We discovered (such a discovery is inevitable in the late hours of the night) that mirrors hare something monstrous about them. Then Bioy Casares recalled that one of the heresiarchs of Uqbar had declared that mirrors and copulation are abominable, because they increase the number or men. I asked him the origin of this memorable observation and he answered that it was reproduced in The Anglo-American Cyclopaedia, in its article on Uqbar. The house (which we had rented furnished) had a set of this work. On the last pages of Volume XLVI we found an article on Upsala; on the first pages of Volume XLVII, one on Ural-Altaic Languages, but not a word about Uqbar. Bioy, a bit taken aback, consulted the volumes of the index. In vain he exhausted all of the imaginable spellings: Ukbar, Ucbar, Ooqbar, Ookbar, Oukbahr... Before leaving, he told me that it was a region of Iraq of or Asia Minor. I must confess that I agreed with some discomfort. I conjectured that this undocumented country and its anonymous heresiarch were a fiction devised by Bioy's modesty in order to justify a statement. The fruitless examination of one of Justus Perthes' atlases fortified my doubt.
... The contact and the habit of Tlön have disintegrated this world. Enchanted by its rigor, humanity forgets over and again that it is a rigor of chess masters, not of angels. Already the schools have been invaded by the (conjectural) "primitive language" of Tlön; already the teaching of its harmonious history (filled with moving episodes) has wiped out the one which governed in my childhood; already a fictitious past occupies in our memories the place of another, a past of which we know nothing with certainty - not even a that it is false. Numismatology, pharmacology and archeology have been reformed. I understand that biology and mathematics also await their avatars... A scattered dynasty of solitary men has changed the face of the world. Their task continues. If our forecasts are not in error, a hundred years from now someone will discover the hundred volumes of the Second Encyclopedia of Tlön.

... The contact and the habit of Tlön have disintegrated this world. Enchanted by its rigor, humanity forgets over and again that it is a rigor of chess masters, not of angels. Already the schools have been invaded by the (conjectural) "primitive language" of Tlön; already the teaching of its harmonious history (filled with moving episodes) has wiped out the one which governed in my childhood; already a fictitious past occupies in our memories the place of another, a past of which we know nothing with certainty - not even a that it is false. Numismatology, pharmacology and archeology have been reformed. I understand that biology and mathematics also await their avatars... A scattered dynasty of solitary men has changed the face of the world. Their task continues. If our forecasts are not in error, a hundred years from now someone will discover the hundred volumes of the Second Encyclopedia of Tlön.

Then English and French and mere Spanish will disappear from the globe. The world will be Tlön. I pay no attention to all this and go on revising, in the still days at the Adrogue hotel, an uncertain Quevedian translation (which I do not intend to publish) of Browne's Urn Burial.


Excellent. A long time since I read that.

HRIP7 wrote:
Now in the Daily Mail: The war that never was: Most elaborate Wikipedia hoax ever as 4,500 word article on 'Bicholim Conflict' - a fictitious fight for Goan independence - fooled site for FIVE YEARS
Quote:
It was voted a 'good article' - a Wikipedia badge of honor - and sat happily on the online encyclopedia for more than half a decade. But editors have lately discovered a small issue with the site's meticulously written 4,500 word article detailing the 17th century Bicholim Conflict.
It was entirely made up.


I love the trashy stories on the Mail site. Plus an interesting one about the Redlands bust http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/artic ... s-ago.html . I had never heard the story about Nicky Cramer being dangled from his window by to East End gangsters. Bindon was the model for the gangster in 'Performance', if anyone remembers that film.

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This story still has legs ... it's now reached India and Indonesia, and has made an appearance in TechCrunch and The Daily Caller. Twitter is still ablaze with the thing.


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Peter Damian wrote:
At all other times than this, it's praise for the way that mistakes are removed within seconds, Wikipedia is better than Britannica etc etc. And when there is a hoax, " hoaxes generally do little harm". You cannot win.


One needs to remind them that the process that allows a notified mistake to be fixed in minutes, is the same process that allows 100 extra mistakes to be added in the same time frame.

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lilburne wrote:
Peter Damian wrote:
At all other times than this, it's praise for the way that mistakes are removed within seconds, Wikipedia is better than Britannica etc etc. And when there is a hoax, " hoaxes generally do little harm". You cannot win.


One needs to remind them that the process that allows a notified mistake to be fixed in minutes, is the same process that allows 100 extra mistakes to be added in the same time frame.

I suppose that it would logically be possible for Wikipedia to be better overall than Britannica by virtue of being more up to date and having more extensive coverage, sufficient to overcome its deficiencies. I don't say that that is the case of course!

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HRIP7 wrote:
This story still has legs ... it's now reached India and Indonesia, and has made an appearance in TechCrunch and The Daily Caller. Twitter is still ablaze with the thing.

Twitter is "ablaze" with people who seem to have even less grasp of scale than some of the commenters in here - "massive", "giant", "huge" are some of the ways this thing's being described.

Five years ago I helped identify and remove a nest of interwoven pseudoscience articles created by a single author using several sockpuppets to promote his own personal "theories". They skillfully blended a mix of convincing-sounding language with a wide variety of references that slyly misrepresented sources or were references to "books" self-published by the articles' author under his real name, propped up with fake awards from a vanity scammer. He'd been at it for three years before getting caught, slipping it in between a lot of valid work on science articles in the area surrounding his theories. You can read the grisly details at Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Sadi Carnot (T-H-L) and the AFDs Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Human chemistry (T-H-L) and Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Georgi Gladyshev (T-H-L), which triggered it. It was far larger, more insidious, difficult to detect and remove than this sophomoric let's-see-if-anyone-notices-my-fake-page crap, yet did it even get a single moment of attention from the outside world? No.

"Massive" my eye.

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Outsider wrote:
lilburne wrote:
Peter Damian wrote:
At all other times than this, it's praise for the way that mistakes are removed within seconds, Wikipedia is better than Britannica etc etc. And when there is a hoax, " hoaxes generally do little harm". You cannot win.


One needs to remind them that the process that allows a notified mistake to be fixed in minutes, is the same process that allows 100 extra mistakes to be added in the same time frame.

I suppose that it would logically be possible for Wikipedia to be better overall than Britannica by virtue of being more up to date and having more extensive coverage, sufficient to overcome its deficiencies. I don't say that that is the case of course!


Wikipedia has a built in tendency to fossilize. It cannot ever reflect the latest developments as it needs to have extensive tertiary sources, a work that is being written by a subject expert can reflect the latest research, and consensus of experts well before is covered sufficiently well in tertiary sources. Example would be Relativity, which supersede the Newtonian model very quickly in Physics, it was decades before sufficient tertiary sources were available, such that wikiepdia would be able to categorically acknowledge it as the dominant theory. Or take Evolution, which is still being fought and resisted by the Paleyites on wikipedia pages.

Yes wikipedia can change Richard II to Edward III or fix the date. But the suspect article is still based on two articles from the 1920s. Given the amount of additional material that has been discovered in archives and made available since then, it would be remarkable if those articles still reflected current expert opinion.

IOW wikipedia can never be as up to date as a real work written by experts.

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Hex wrote:
HRIP7 wrote:
This story still has legs ... it's now reached India and Indonesia, and has made an appearance in TechCrunch and The Daily Caller. Twitter is still ablaze with the thing.

Twitter is "ablaze" with people who seem to have even less grasp of scale than some of the commenters in here - "massive", "giant", "huge" are some of the ways this thing's being described.

Five years ago I helped identify and remove a nest of interwoven pseudoscience articles created by a single author using several sockpuppets to promote his own personal "theories". They skillfully blended a mix of convincing-sounding language with a wide variety of references that slyly misrepresented sources or were references to "books" self-published by the articles' author under his real name, propped up with fake awards from a vanity scammer. He'd been at it for three years before getting caught, slipping it in between a lot of valid work on science articles in the area surrounding his theories. You can read the grisly details at Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Sadi Carnot (T-H-L) and the AFDs Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Human chemistry (T-H-L) and Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Georgi Gladyshev (T-H-L), which triggered it. It was far larger, more insidious, difficult to detect and remove than this sophomoric let's-see-if-anyone-notices-my-fake-page crap, yet did it even get a single moment of attention from the outside world? No.

"Massive" my eye.

The problem is that you can't publicise a story like that. The evidence is too far-flung and spread out. People's eyes will glaze over as you delve into the detail, and they will wonder whether perhaps you are the problem, and a dangerous obsessive: after all – so they'll think to themselves – you seem to be very hung up about some pretty obscure stuff.

This story on the other hand – an article is made up, given a quality award, lasts for five years – is easy to understand. And it does illustrate the same weaknesses in the system that make what happened in your case possible. Only it does so in a way that is easy to grasp.


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HRIP7 wrote:
The problem is that you can't publicise a story like that. The evidence is too far-flung and spread out. People's eyes will glaze over as you delve into the detail, and they will wonder whether perhaps you are the problem, and a dangerous obsessive: after all – so they'll think to themselves – you seem to be very hung up about some pretty obscure stuff.

I take your point. It was hard enough for us to get a grasp on the story as it was happening. I still do think this particular story is being blown a bit out of proportion; I mean, in the pre-Wikipedia days when looking for information you got websites full of any old bullshit and they lasted forever without any way of being dealt with (or until their free webhost got abruptly shut down years later). There's plenty of crud on the 'pedia, as everyone here knows, but at least there is the possibility of it going away, and you get references to follow up for real research.

For me the real value of this is that it exposes how shoddy the article rating system can be. Looking at the (deleted) talk page, the GA review was conducted by just one guy (I don't know if that was common in 2007, or still is - it's not an area I've participated in) and includes this gem:

Quote:
Where books are cited as references, Cite ISBN numbers. [tick] Done
I guess actually checking the ISBNs against their titles was a bit too much work. :lookdownnose:

I wish there was a sort of Special:Whatlinkshere Wayback Machine; it would be interesting to see how many incoming links this article got. Maybe that could be deduced if anyone has an old database dump to study.

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Hex wrote:
HRIP7 wrote:
The problem is that you can't publicise a story like that. The evidence is too far-flung and spread out. People's eyes will glaze over as you delve into the detail, and they will wonder whether perhaps you are the problem, and a dangerous obsessive: after all – so they'll think to themselves – you seem to be very hung up about some pretty obscure stuff.

I take your point. It was hard enough for us to get a grasp on the story as it was happening. I still do think this particular story is being blown a bit out of proportion; I mean, in the pre-Wikipedia days when looking for information you got websites full of any old bullshit and they lasted forever without any way of being dealt with (or until their free webhost got abruptly shut down years later). There's plenty of crud on the 'pedia, as everyone here knows, but at least there is the possibility of it going away, and you get references to follow up for real research.


You are mistaken. In the past there were a whole raft of websites with 'good' information, from a variety of sources, that made you smile, or made you think, there still are if you look beyond the first google page. Unfortunately, those sites are buried way down the search engine listings. Wikipedia tends to push them way down, there is a growing acceptance that what the most vociferous, and what those with the most time on their hands think, is closer to the truth, than an expert on the subject.

If this were 350 years or so ago, wikipedia would have been part of the persecution of Galileo. We need individual voices, not a droning chant.

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lilburne wrote:
You are mistaken. In the past there were a whole raft of websites with 'good' information, from a variety of sources, that made you smile, or made you think, there still are if you look beyond the first google page.


I remember what the Web was like for finding information twenty years ago. If you want to go back there, knock yourself out, but I'll stick around with what we have today, including WP, thanks.

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Hex wrote:
lilburne wrote:
You are mistaken. In the past there were a whole raft of websites with 'good' information, from a variety of sources, that made you smile, or made you think, there still are if you look beyond the first google page.


I remember what the Web was like for finding information twenty years ago. If you want to go back there, knock yourself out, but I'll stick around with what we have today, including WP, thanks.


20 years ago there was no web. HTML markup and the protocols were basically limited to University comp-sci departments, and mostly ran on NeXT workstations.

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Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:43 pm
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