Wolf DeVoon

War at Wikipedia

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Here ya' go, Wolf.

You might like this:

I accidentally started a Wikipedia hoax
By EJ Dickson
July 29, 2014
The Daily Dot

After writing about a Wikipedia edit with false information in it that has been passed around as fact for a few years, Dikson continues:

I wrote that Amelia Bedelia edit in 2009, with my best friend Evan during our sophomore year of college. As he recalled when I called him later that evening, “we were stoned out of our minds” and had just come from the McDonald’s drive-thru to get chicken selects when we decided to edit Wikipedia pages for various semi-obscure children’s book authors. (I think we also did one for R.L. Stine, but Evan says no.)

It was total bullshit: We knew nothing about Amelia Bedelia or the author of the series, Peggy Parish, let alone that she’d been a maid in Cameroon or collected many hats. It was the kind of ridiculous, vaguely humorous prank stoned college students pull, without any expectation that anyone would ever take it seriously. “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’s legion of editors, Evan says.

But apparently, it hadn't been taken down at all. There it was, five and a half years later, being tweeted as fact by relatively well-known members of the New York City media establishment.

The comments are a hoot, too. A guy named John Mark said this:

I've done the very same thing, except I made my roommate the inventor of the napkin! If you google Madam Rebecca Waltemath she is now cited by restaurant supply company websites, blogs, e how articles and more. My old roommate Rebecca Waltemath thought it was hilarious and its staying power really surprises me!

I Googled it and Madam Rebecca Waltemath is all over the Internet as being the inventor of the napkin. But there is no reference to an original source.

Ironically, Dickson is writing a mea culpa here about how she started a hoax and feels guilty because she is a super-honest journalist, but she also said in the article:

Joseph Goebbels once said that if you tell a lie enough times, it makes it true. I always thought that was the bullshit self-justification of a sociopath and professional prevaricator, but now that I've seen the process of a lie becoming fact firsthand, I think there’s some credence to it.

Oh, the irony!

She's not only seen it, she's doing it right there!


Some commentators called her on this, too. It was Hitler, not Goebbels, who was supposed to have said this and, what's worse, nobody can find where he said it.

Regardless, you have to check EVERYTHING you read at Wikipedia if you are going to actually use the information.


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