I did some harmless wikipedia vandalism - and it seems to have caught on!

A number of years ago, but not so many that we weren’t grown up ladies, my sister and I privately renamed the boss elf in Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer. You see, my husband had an inordinate love for the word “supervisor” and uses it alot. I think it comes from being a Social Worker. Anyway, we were decorating the tree and he handed me an ornament depicting this character and said, “Here’s the supervisor.” So my sister and I named him “Hermey’s Immediate Supervisor” and a few years after that I changed his old name to that in Wikipedia. Now there are references to him by that name all over the internet. It’s awesome. Go ahead and google it. It’s like my proudest moment ever.

Anyone else ever have this happen?

You’re the author of a meme! Caricci the Meme Meister. :wink:

Fortunately, the vandalism has been reverted today.


In fairness, though, it’s not as much a meme as propagation of misinformation. What you have discovered is the fact that when something is wrong on Wikipedia, then before long it’ll be wrong all over the Internet.

I’m surprised this works. I used to maintain a couple wiki pages over at the Sarah Connor Chronicles wiki. I know there’s a very nice history feature that shows exactly what was changed.

I used to check my pages once in awhile to make sure some prankster hadn’t done anything.

I guess the main Wikipedia is so large that no one necessarily checks the history unless the page gets reported.

Yup. I learned this just a few weeks ago when I came across a tidbit on a Wiki page that pinged my :dubious: meter. Upon googling the phrase, I found the same interesting-if-true factoid repeated verbatim all over the internet (I gave up after the first two pages of results). A little more research confirmed that it was indeed BS, so I deleted the sentence. Can’t do anything about the dozens of other web sites propogating this misinformation. :wink:

Curious, I checked the history of the Wiki page (I know, obsessive, right?). Apparently this sentence was added as a stand-alone paragraph over a year ago, and since then it had been edited to read more concisely, and fused on to the previous paragraph, but obviously no one ever thought to check its accuaracy.

The whole experience was a microcosm of what were already my beliefs about Wikipedia. Of course I still have the page on my watchlist, just waiting for the day that some editor replaces the factoid, using one of the “parrot” sites as a reference. I will then point and laugh.

Apparently during the Oscars some joker changed Russell Brand’s wiki page so that it said his mother’s name is Juliet. There were a few websites who captioned the pictures of the two of them on the red carpet with the incorrect name. Of course my source is Failbook so I’m about as reliable as Wikipedia!

Presumably you mean (a) it’s wrong about unimportant trivialities that no one cares about, and (b) it can propagate a harmless new meme.


Why would you brag about vandalism? You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

My 8th grade history textbook included a line about how native american mothers taught their children not to cry, because they were hiding from white people and the noise would attract them.

Shit like that would’ve been fixed on Wikipedia within minutes. Everything wrong with Wikipedia is at least a hundred and forty four times worse in print.

What’s the boss elf’s real name? This is bugging me now.

The thing is there are so many scraper sites, that use Wikipedia to get info and then put their own ads on the page.

So if you change Wikipedia and a scraper site comes along before it’s reverted the info gets picked up. Then Google comes along and indexes the scraper with the wrong info and it snowballs from there.

Wikipedia uses automated bots to weed out obvious vandalism. Try it with certain words, you won’t be able to do it. And if you’re really lucky you can hit a Google indexing the site and it’ll be stored in the cache, even if it’s reverted quickly

Didn’t Curtis LeMay get a warning or a suspension here for admitting to vandalizing Wiki?

Wait, I’m confused. Is he not Hermie’s Immediate Supervisor? The OP said he was the “boss elf.” It’s not vandalism if the information is correct, is it?

Though, I haven’t seen Santa’s org chart, so I can’t be sure.

All I know is he’s a rabid anti-dentite!

You’re bragging about internet graffiti?

Yes: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=546086 , http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=546008

Curtis was suspended for a whole array of problematical behavior, not just that one thing.

That said, vandalism isn’t cool. I’m not going to try to discipline someone for behavior on a site I’m not responsible for, but I will close this thread.

twickster, MPSIMS moderator