I try not to encourage the link-bait over at BuzzFeed (even just for fun) but one “listicle” posted last Thursday got lots of attention among the UK people I follow. It is titled “12 Spectacular Acts Of Wikipedia Vandalism” and I have to admit it contains some pretty funny stuff. The list includes Ernest Hemingway as the author of a children’s book and the First Law of Thermodynamics reinterpreted through Fight Club.
People love to point out weird things that make it into Wikipedia. When it’s not being played for humor (as it is here) often the purpose is to call into question Wikipedia’s accuracy. But one thing that these posts often leave out – how long does vandalism like this hang around on Wikipedia? Some articles are constantly being edited, and if a piece of vandalism is removed immediately, how much damage can it do?
So just for fun, I decided to seek out each of the pieces of vandalism that BuzzFeed highlighted and find out. Just how likely were you to stumble on one of these pieces of vandalism unaware?