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An Accidental Wikipedia Hoax 189

Posted by Soulskill
from the isaac-newton-invented-the-apple dept.
Andreas Kolbe writes: The Daily Dot's EJ Dickson reports how she accidentally discovered that a hoax factoid she added over five years ago as a stoned sophomore to the Wikipedia article on "Amelia Bedelia, the protagonist of the eponymous children's book series about a 'literal-minded housekeeper' who misunderstands her employer's orders," had not just remained on Wikipedia all this time, but come to be cited by a Taiwanese English professor, in "innumerable blog posts and book reports", as well as a book on Jews and Jesus. It's a cautionary tale about the fundamental unreliability of Wikipedia. And as Wikipedia ages, more and more such stories are coming to light.
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An Accidental Wikipedia Hoax

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  • by oodaloop (1229816) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @10:40AM (#47565883)
    Has anyone verified that this actually happened, or are we taking the words from a blog literally true? You know, the way Amelia Bedelia would.
  • by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @10:42AM (#47565899)

    About five years ago, I had a friend who was in school getting his Master's in Topology. I haven't spoken with him since then (due to both of us being busy and losing contact) but my guess is that he's got his PhD by now. At the time, there was a Wikipedia page, which I can't seem to find today, that was a list of well-known eccentrics - by that I mean people displaying eccentric behavior, not painters or electricians or any of the other multitude of ways that term is used.

    I used to joke with this guy that he was becoming like John Nash, the schizophrenic game theorist (see: A Beautiful Mind) and writing math on his walls at night. He showed me the list of eccentrics, and I put him (his name is John Lynch) on there stating that he was known on the Boston University campus for covering his dorm walls in obscure mathematical formulas.

    That edit lasted at LEAST three years, but I hadn't thought about it until now. If someone can find that article (assuming it's still up somewhere) I'd like to see if his name is still on it.

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