After over a decade, a fictitious article has finally been removed from the online site Wikipedia. The site’s editors say they have finally caught up with an article about a false Aboriginal spiritual figure named ‘Jar’Edo Wens’.
The entry for the fictitious god was created way back in 2005. “In Australian Aboriginal mythology, Jar’Edo Wens is a god of earthly knowledge and physical might, created by Altjira to oversee that the people did not get too big-headed, associated with victory and intelligence,” the once active Wikipedia article read.
Since 2005, the article has been sitting online patiently waiting to become Wikipedia’s longest running hoax. Created anonymously using an Aussie IP address, the article has lasted an amazing nine years and nine months without raising the attention of Wiki editors. It has since been removed from the English Wikipedia database, but remains in tact on several other international versions.
Critics from sites such as Wikipediocracy advocate for a more stringent application process. “Subtle vandalism of this type is very, very rarely caught,” Wikipediocracy moderator Eric Barbour told the Age. “I guarantee you that at least 60 per cent of those [Wikipedia articles] are garbage. Experts are not welcome [on Wikipedia],” he said. “And crazy people are welcome.”
Below is a list of the ten longest running Wikipedia hoaxes:
1. Jar’Edo Wens 9 years, 9 months (29/5/2005 – 3/3/2015)
2. Pikes on Cliffs 9 years, 8½ months (17/3/2005 – 5/12/2014)
3. Gregory Namoff 9 years, 6½ months (17/6/2005 – 13/1/2015)
4. Snappy & friends 9 years, 5 months (6/3/2005 – 22/8/2014)
5. Henry Vaughan 9 years, 1½ months (28/10/2005 – 11/12/2014)
6. Bodhi stones 8 years, 7 months (15/8/2006 – 16/3/2015)
7. Collins Slip 8 years, 3½ months (22/11/2006 – 8/3/2015)
8. Eric Heineman 8 years, 3 months (18/8/2006 – 29/11/2014)
9. Don Meme 8 years, 3 months (14/12/2006 – 21/3/2015)
10. Victor Escobar 8 years, 2½ months (11/10/2006 – 9/1/2015)
And in the latest stream of Wikipedia scandals, BuzzFeed News has discovered that people at CBS have been editing the Wikipedia pages of CBS television and radio networks and CBS employees. They have been removing controversial information and adding in more flattering details – all for the last few years.
The edits read exactly like PR material rather than the more objective and factual information we expect from Wikipedia. These scandals jeopardise our faith in the free, collaborative encyclopaedia and make many question the editing process.
Is the collaborative and anonymous nature of Wikipedia crucial to maintain its five pillars even though this paves the way for fake or PR material? Or should it have a more stringent editing system in place that would undermine its rule of having no firm rules? If only it could have both…
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