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LiteratEye #23: Did Wikipedia Call You Names and Pull Your Pigtails? Too Bad.

Filed under: Literary Hoaxes, Media Literacy

Here’s the twenty third installment of LiteratEye, a series found only on The Art of the Prank Blog, by W.J. Elvin III, editor and publisher of FIONA: Mysteries & Curiosities of Literary Fraud & Folly and the LitFraud blog.

LiteratEye #23: Did Wikipedia Call You Names and Pull Your Pigtails? Too Bad.
By W.J. Elvin III
July 24, 2009

wwlogo2-200So, you’ve become famous and you’re ego-tripping along, checking out all the fascinating write-ups on various web sites regarding your marvelousness. You come to the Wikipedia biography. What the heck?

It says you were raised by rainforest monkeys, did a prison stretch for bilking your grandma out of her life savings, and your favorite pastime involves unspeakable activities in some exotic foreign sin-city. And, let’s say, there’s not much truth to that. What do you do?

Apparently, not much. Wikipedia’s policy appears to be that you are an unreliable source for information regarding yourself. So you can’t correct an entry about you.

Well, you could sue. But, sue who? The Wikipedia Foundation slips off the hook almost instantly by claiming malicious or mischievous entries are acts of “vandalism.”

Most often, it appears, the suits go against whoever posted the slanderous, libelous or otherwise objectionable entry. Quite recently a story broke about two Michigan State University students facing a $25,000 suit for defaming a local politician. (more…)