Tuesday, January 8, 2013


How Do We Even Know That Children Are Real?

Take heart, children. Some of the Wikipedia articles that haunt your dreams and destroy your work output may be beautiful works of fiction.

19 Comments / Post A Comment


In the early days of Wikipedia, my friends and I created a fictional professional football player named Taco Jones that lived for several months. If I remember correctly, he was overly fond of hamburgers, despite his name.


very rare, thanks !@j

fondue with cheddar

...and that's why you always check the references at the bottom of the page. throws severed arm

Nicole Cliffe

@fondue with cheddar winnnn


I am sort of delighted by this?

The only way it could be better is if it included a collection of high school/college essays that describe the event and then go to great lengths to avoid citing wikipedia.

Elizabeth Switaj@twitter

@mlle.gateau They wouldn't have to go to very great lengths, just copy the made-up references and add additional made-up page references. I've seen lots of students do this.

Sella Turcica

My inner anarchist now has new life goal.


Ah wikipedia scams.... Are we sharing our stories here? I was part of a conspiracy to retell the origin of the turkey.

A few years ago my roommate, in some drunken rambling, told us a story of a talk he went to in which he learned that turkeys survived the K/T extinction event (when dinosaurs went extinct) by piling on top of each other in a massive TURKEY PILE. We were all graduate students in geology at the time, and this story was obviously completely false. Starting with: 1) it's ridiculous and 2) turkeys hadn't evolved yet. Nevertheless! My roommate was adamant that it was a well known fact that turkeys pile on top of each other during fires, and that "Turkey Pile!!!!" was something that people yelled when they piled up (like a dog pile, but with turkeys).

The next day, instead of doing any work or research, my friend and I entered a wikipedia hole. We altered articles on turkeys and the K/T event and created a new article about the "Turkey Pile." We fabricated false sources, linked to that did not have anything to do with this event. I sent out an email to everyone telling them that the "Turkey Pile" was actually real and we should have given my roommate credit! No one even questioned it.

The article lasted less than a week. The final straw that took it all down was that the article was claiming to have original research that had not been published yet.

Daisy Razor

@mooseketeer Oh my god, for some reason the phrase "turkey pile" is like a sledgehammer to my funny bone. The entire thing is just so absurd! I am sitting here laughing like a loon.


@Daisy Razor Right? ALSO, we couldn't even add a new entry into Urban Dictionary about the turkey pile, but Wikipedia let it sit there for days.


There better be no issues with the geography paper my young cousin just wrote based on the wikipedia article about Uqbar.


@leon s Not as long as he made sure to note that the lowlands of Tsai Khaldun and the Axa Delta mark its southern frontier.



@leon s BORGES!


Also, let me just say, that wikipedia is terrible for students. I have read so many undergraduate papers that cited or just outright copied straight from wikipedia. I tried to start off courses telling students that it was fine to read the article on wikipedia, but it was not a reference. I will never forget the paper I had to fail as a TA that still had the blue linked words from when it was directly copied and pasted from wikipedia. Plagiarism is so easy these days.


@mooseketeer I had one or two professors who told us that Wikipedia was okay to use as a starting point. Like, if you're trying to decide on subjects, even trying to decide what aspects of some topic to research/write about, it was fine. Also, one told us that the it was okay to use the sources as starters for research.


@pajamaralls ha, was I your professor?? I totally agree on that, it's the outright copying or using as a primary reference that is so common/inappropriate.

In my day (old lady voice), it was a lot harder to copy/paste from an encyclopedia.


A friend of mine inserted himself into the article on Peeps as their original inventor. The whole thing lasted for several years, and he was cited in the NYT a couple of times. It's not just undergrads who use Wikipedia as a primary source!


Someone I know edited the wikipedia page on bagel dogs to name a mutual friend as the inventor of the bagel dog, his deli was [his last name]'s Deli, Home of the Original Kosher Bagel Dog. I've googled it since and while most hits are ripped content wikipedia sites apparently some people have created false memories about visiting that deli.


@VDRE Okay, THAT is amazing.

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