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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The 4,500 word Wikipedia article on a conflict that never existed

The perpetrator of the hoax is a mystery. Wikipedia admins deleted the edit history along with the article. Users of the Wikipediocracy forum have pinned down a likely suspect, however, a Wikipedian who went by the handle “A-b-a-a-a-a-a-a-b-a.” He or she authored a big chunk of the article’s text, and also nominated it for “featured Article” standing in October 2007 … “Featured Article” status is a bit of a badge of honor on Wikipedia, a recognition bestowed to only the highest quality pieces on the site. Out of more than 4 million English Wikipedia articles, only 3,772 are “featured.” Thankfully the Bicholim Conflict didn’t pass muster—editors who reviewed it cited an overreliance on a few weak sources, never realizing that those sources never existed in the first place.
After a half-decade, massive Wikipedia hoax finally exposed
Monday, June 20, 2011
As an open source that is not subjected to traditional forms of peer review, Wikipedia must be considered only as reliable as the credibility of the footnotes it uses….But I also tell students that the information can be skewed in directions of ideology or other forms of bias, and so that is why it cannot be taken as a final authority. Maurice Hall, Associate Professor of Communication and Culture at Villanova UniversityWikipedia Gradually Accepted in College Classrooms