*crumples up thesis on Kashin silver mine*
June 30, 2022 4:13 PM   Subscribe

Recently we learned that 折毛 spent a decade writing fake Russian history. Wikipedia just noticed. [English summary/translated Chinese summary] A good reminder to peruse the list of Wikipedia hoaxes, idly speculate if citogenesis has already occurred, and to pour one out for all the frustrated novelists out there...
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs (24 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
I see the Wikipedia list of hoaxes is arranged by length of time before deletion. I’m curious about number of page views. Most of these sound like pretty obscure things that people wouldn’t run into.
posted by Emmy Noether at 4:28 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


I mean, Russian history is pretty insane as it is, no need to make stuff up.
posted by maggiemaggie at 4:29 PM on June 30 [4 favorites]


I think Saramago would have loved this, and so I kind of love it too.
posted by os tuberoes at 4:33 PM on June 30


Wow. This transcends vandalism, and I think even calling it a hoax does not do it justice. It’s a novel that just happens to have Wikipedia as its medium.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 4:47 PM on June 30 [15 favorites]


Incredible story... From her apology:

"As the saying goes, in order to tell a lie, you must tell more lies. I was reluctant to delete the hundreds of thousands of words I wrote, but as a result, I wound up losing millions of words"

Yeah no kidding!
posted by subdee at 5:04 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Remember that time the Scots Wikipedia, not the entry, the Wikipedia, was written by somebody who doesn't speak the language?
posted by signal at 5:10 PM on June 30 [13 favorites]


A popular pastime among a certain subset of Extremely Online people in DC (so, not all that popular in the grand scheme of things) used to be arguing about neighborhood boundaries. This was not helped when Google Maps started drawing outlines using Wikipedia as a source, because whoever was crackpottedly making up new boundaries for well established neighborhoods* could then cite both Google Maps and Wikipedia as sources. Never mind the fine print that they were in effect just one unreliable source. Citogenesis indeed.

* Amusingly, when I first noticed this problem Wikipedia (and thus Google) had different wrong borders than it does now, so somebody must still be at the old pastime. Petworth was originally a platted subdivision bordered on the west by what is now Georgia Ave NW, and on the north by what is now Hamilton St NW. DC has a bunch of neighborhoods that correspond to landmarks and tend to expand and contract as popularity waxes and wanes (e.g. Dupont Circle), but Petworth actually had borders established by 1903. That the Petworth library is thus across the street from the Petworth neighborhood is left as a discussion.
posted by fedward at 5:22 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


Beyond hoax or vandalism, sometimes a little like opening up a garage and finding the Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millennium General Assembly.
posted by brachiopod at 5:55 PM on June 30 [10 favorites]


"My current knowledge is not enough to make a living, so in the future I will learn a craft, work honestly, and not do nebulous things like this any more."

love the word 'nebulous' here. would be very funny if America suddenly adopted this response as a norm for people who've been caught faking, cathartic to hear certain people admit they're useless hoaxers
posted by Hume at 6:17 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Based on a true story!
posted by rhizome at 6:24 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


I find all of these fascinating.

Who wakes up one morning, and says, “Today is the day!, I’m going to fuck with Wikipedia”?

And such obscure topics. Feels like a crazy challenge…
posted by Windopaene at 6:49 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


I think picking at exact word choice on an apology that was undoubtedly written originally in Chinese and then translated is kind of mean-spirited. Unless they're fluent, they're relying on either automatic translation or a translator to carry the meaning and it's subject to someone else's interpretation.
posted by Aleyn at 7:31 PM on June 30 [5 favorites]


That's totally unfair, my attempts to write fake histories for Cap'n Crunch and Charles Entertainment Cheese got deleted within a few hours.
posted by mmoncur at 7:42 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Who wakes up one morning, and says, “Today is the day!, I’m going to fuck with Wikipedia”?

Every morning. Every blessèd morning.

At least the Scots Wikipedia comment got me into a deep dive into "the Focurc guy", which was extremely very.
posted by scruss at 9:27 PM on June 30 [4 favorites]


Is this a safe place to admit that I’m a Warren Chaney truther?

Magic Mansion is real!

I want to believe.
posted by Kattullus at 11:54 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


I love it, Katullus—a project after my very own heart. Cool also to discover that Gawker maintained the subdomain deletedwikipedia, presumably just to support those pages referenced in Ashley's (brilliant) wiki trawling. Of course, it's all been consigned to the best dustbin of history ever created.
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 1:30 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Nothing to worry about until objects from imaginary countries begin to appear in the real world.
posted by nicolin at 2:28 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


But.. Why?
posted by Faintdreams at 4:46 AM on July 1


All of human history (current events included) is basically "bad actors exist, and therefore we can't have nice things".
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:03 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


They keep saying it’s been “deleted.” Can’t it be rescued from the Wayback Machine somehow?
posted by panama joe at 5:42 AM on July 1


The Wayback Machine doesn't archive every page on the web – only those that people submit for archival.

Edits to articles which still exist probably haven't even been deleted – merely removed from the current version of the article. Wikipedia keeps a history of every change to every article, which you can view by clicking on the "View history" tab at the top of the page. I'm not sure what happens if an article is removed entirely, though. Those pages are probably truly deleted (or at least inaccessible to the public).
posted by escape from the potato planet at 7:50 AM on July 1


I administer a MediaWiki (the software Wikipedia uses/created) server. It’s pretty hard to actually ever delete anything; you have to specifically run a command line maintenance script, there are no default cleanup intervals or anything. By default, MediaWiki keeps everything forever, including “deletions”. It can be a little annoying!
posted by thoroughburro at 7:57 PM on July 1


The Wayback Machine doesn't archive every page on the web – only those that people submit for archival.

That's incorrect. Wayback Machine crawls the web just like Google and other search engines. You can submit your site to guarantee inclusion, but as long as you got inbound links, you were probably in there anyway.

Maybe you're thinking of archive.today (or whatever their TLD is this week) which only archives snapshots on user request?
posted by ymgve at 12:01 AM on July 3


Yes, they're easily confused, apparently -‌- the Wayback Machine lives at archive.org, the Internet Archive, which has all kinds of stuff; whereas archive.today (and its mirrors at archive.vt, archive.is, etc) is for submitting and accessing web pages behind paywalls (pages which can also be accessed via the Wayback Machine, maybe).
posted by Rash at 2:34 PM on July 5


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