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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wiki Watch Me Quote You

By way of slashdot, this story from the IrishTimes.com of a young Irish college student who executed a social experiment. Upon the death of French composer Maurice Jarre, Shane Fitzgerald posted a fake quote in the Wikipedia article on Jarre. Some European, Indian and Australian dailies picked up the quote for their obituaries, including the Guardian (um, a frequent source for articles in this blog). Here is the fake quote:

“One could say my life itself has been one long soundtrack. Music was my life, music brought me to life, and music is how I will be remembered long after I leave this life. When I die there will be a final waltz playing in my head, that only I can hear."

Wikipedia is a great source when you want a quick overview of something without a lot of fuss. But as academics frequently warn, it is not a primary or reliable source. Fiction writers beware, too. From Wikipedia's own assessment:

  • However, citation of Wikipedia in research papers may not be considered acceptable, because Wikipedia is not considered a creditable source.

Some collections of (unconfirmed) Wikipedia hoaxes: 1 2 and a funny fake hoax report (very Star-Trekian).

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