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Lewis mention in Wikipedia

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  • WendellWag@aol.com
    I think you all completely missed my point when I said that this hoax was obscure and pointless. Of course it s simple to insert a joke in Wikipedia. It s
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 31, 2008
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      I think you all completely missed my point when I said that this hoax was
      obscure and pointless. Of course it's simple to insert a joke in Wikipedia.
      It's utterly trivial to create one, in fact, and utterly trivial to fix the
      entry. That wasn't my point. My point was that I can't figure out who this is
      supposed to be a joke on and at what point they are supposed to get it. The
      paragraph I quoted about the supposed article about Lewis written by the six
      professors wasn't caught till I saw it just a week ago. Even I didn't
      realize that it was a hoax until David Bratman pointed out that there's no other
      mention of it online.

      That hoax was put in the Wikipedia entry months ago. I'm not sure when
      exactly, sometime between March and October, but it's been there for months.
      What then would be the point of creating the joke since anyone whatever that it
      might conceivably be aimed at wouldn't see it for months, and anyone who it
      might be aimed at wouldn't even care that much?

      Is it aimed at the one of the professors? Why claim that the article was
      written by six professors then? Why would any professor care that he was
      listed as one of the authors of a hoax article, and why put the only mention of
      this article in the Wikipedia article where no one would think about it being a
      hoax for months? If someone had printed out six copies of that paragraph
      about the hoax article and taped it to each professor's office door, they might
      conceivably care but only for the few seconds it would take them to pull it
      down and throw it away. There's nothing offensive enough in the idea of the
      article for any of the professors to get angry about.

      Why would it be a joke on New College? What would it prove about the
      college if it were true? Who would care about attacking New College - one of its
      football rivals figuring that this is more fun that stealing its mascot's
      costume before the big football game? (Um, that was a joke on my part. New
      College doesn't have any sports teams at all and no mascot, so it's immune to the
      usual sorts of inter-college pranks. It doesn't have any rival colleges of
      any sort, so there's nobody who cares enough about the college to attack it.)

      Why would it be an attack on fans of C. S. Lewis? How are you attacking
      Lewis fans by putting a paragraph in a Wikipedia entry that won't be seen by any
      Lewis fans except perhaps randomly months later? In fact, you could argue
      that this was a joke on me, since I am apparently the only person in the world
      who is (a) a Lewis fan, (b) a New College graduate, and (c) geeky enough to
      check with other Lewis experts if such an article actually exists.

      I stand by my statement that this is the most obscure and pointless hoax
      I've ever seen.

      Wendell Wagner
      **************New year...new news. Be the first to know what is making
      headlines. (http://www.aol.com/?ncid=emlcntaolcom00000026)


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jason Fisher
      Hi, Wendell,   At the risk of making a mountain out of an almost off-topic molehill, let me try to clarify my own earlier comments, which I think (and hope)
      Message 2 of 6 , Dec 31, 2008
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        Hi, Wendell,

        At the risk of making a mountain out of an almost off-topic molehill, let me try to clarify my own earlier comments, which I think (and hope) will address yours as well. Others, please feel free to ignore this entire message, if you aren�t interested in the subject.

        > I think you all completely missed my point when I
        > said that this hoax was obscure and pointless.

        I don�t think we�re missing your point, but you did also ask *why* someone would bother. I was making a stab at answering that question � e.g., vanity, an axe to grind with those professors, the school, or literary theory, etc. It could even be a dislike for Lewis, although if so, then the hoaxer hid his criticism very carefully (but of course, it would have been unmasked as a hoax much more quickly had it been part of a more visible Lewis entry).

        > That wasn�t my point. My point was that I can�t figure
        > out who this is supposed to be a joke on and at what
        > point they are supposed to get it.

        I think you�re investing far too much thought in this � no doubt, to the enormous delight of the hoaxer, if he knew. Like most inside jokes, those on the outside rarely get it. It seems likely enough to me that the hoaxer just informed all his friends, cronies, and fellow information vandals about it, all of whom are having their private joke and counting off how long it takes to disappear. It could even be competitive. �My hoax was up longer than your hoax.� :) There�s no way to know, and IMO it�s kind of a waste of time wondering about it � though of course, we can hardly help ourselves, being the thoughtful people we are. But I also don�t lose any sleep over *why* the script kiddies out there keep writing new viruses every day. They just do, and as a software developer, I have to deal with them and move on. C�est la vie.

        > That hoax was put in the Wikipedia entry months ago.
        > I�m not sure when exactly, sometime between March
        > and October, but it�s been there for months.

        It first appeared on April 6, added by an anonymous user at IP address 131.247.152.4, with the note �added section on research.� This IP points to a server at the University of South Florida, in Tampa. Shades of collegiate rivalry after all, perhaps? Maybe that�s the motive you were looking for. If you like, you can also examine the other changes made on Wikipedia by this person. Perhaps you�ll unearth more misinformation.

        > Who would care about attacking New College [...]
        > New College doesn�t have any sports teams at all and
        > no mascot, so it�s immune to the usual sorts of
        > inter-college pranks.

        Immune, eh? Then perhaps this was somebody�s recourse to the �usual sorts of inter-college pranks�? Perhaps New College didn�t admit this guy, and he�s striking back in just the sort of way that would occur to the kind of guy New College didn�t think worth admitting.

        > Why would it be an attack on fans of C. S. Lewis?
        > How are you attacking Lewis fans by putting a
        > paragraph in a Wikipedia entry that won�t be seen by
        > any Lewis fans except perhaps randomly months later?�

        It could easily have come up on a Google search of Lewis or one of the professors. Not the first hit, perhaps, but searching for your alma mater isn�t the only way it could have been discovered (and potentially spread).

        > What then would be the point of creating the joke
        > since anyone whatever that it might conceivably be
        > aimed at wouldn�t see it for months, and anyone who
        > it might be aimed at wouldn�t even care that much?

        Sometimes the point is just to do it (and get away with it for as long as possible). The joke or insult doesn�t necessary have to be received and understood in order to satisfy the person who made it. He may have been hoping somebody would end up citing this bogus article somewhere in print, too. That could explain his �hiding it in plain sight� like this. Luckily, nobody was that dumb.

        And now, I suppose *I�ve* invested too much time in thinking about this, hahae. I will drop it with this final thought: sometimes people do dumb things, often without good reasons or clear aims. And they probably giggle (or swell up with �pride�) at the idea of others scratching their heads over it later. You�re absolutely right that it�s obscure and pretty pointless too, in the larger scheme of things. But the hoaxer might just as easily respond, �So? I still got you.�

        Jason

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • "Beregond, Anders Stenström"
        ... It seems that a reference to the same never-existing article was also put into the main entry about C.S. Lewis. It is not there now -- probably was deleted
        Message 3 of 6 , Dec 31, 2008
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          WendellWag@... wrote:

          > Why would it be an attack on fans of C. S. Lewis? How are you attacking
          > Lewis fans by putting a paragraph in a Wikipedia entry that won't be
          > seen by any
          > Lewis fans except perhaps randomly months later?

          It seems that a reference to the same never-existing article was
          also put into the main entry about C.S. Lewis. It is not there now --
          probably was deleted very promptly -- but in the entry on C.S. Lewis
          at www.bookyards.com the article is mentioned, and referenced with a
          link to the Lewis entry in Wikipedia.
          I guess that corresponding misinformation was planted in several
          Wikipedia entries (so that each mention would support the others),
          and that the mention in the New College entry was a last remnant of
          the hoax.

          Happy New Year!

          Beregond
        • David Bratman
          ... There s no longer even any bad sense in it. They cut down trees and let em lie, they burn houses and build no more. - Farmer Tom Cotton, Nov. 2, 3019
          Message 4 of 6 , Dec 31, 2008
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            Jason Fisher <visualweasel@...> wrote:

            >sometimes people do dumb things, often without good reasons or clear aims.

            "There's no longer even any bad sense in it. They cut down trees and let 'em lie, they burn houses and build no more." - Farmer Tom Cotton, Nov. 2, 3019

            Sometimes vandalism is its own reward, or is the result of factors too obscure to guess.
          • marywilt
            I sent this a few days ago but it apparently was not posted on the list (perhaps I m being moderated for bad behavior? Grin). If it was moderated, can the mods
            Message 5 of 6 , Dec 31, 2008
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              I sent this a few days ago but it apparently was not posted on the list
              (perhaps I'm being moderated for bad behavior? Grin).

              If it was moderated, can the mods just delete that previous post to
              avoid double posting? Thanks.

              I'll post it again, for what it's worth. My sole point (if I have one)
              being that perhaps there is a personal motivation for this hoax, not an
              "attack" on New College, per se.

              I'm not a Wikipedia contributor, so am not entirely sure how the
              behind-the-scenes talk goes on, but this entry has been discussed
              before. I can't really tell if the person who posted the response (which
              is noted as coming from "AlcockMarine") is or is not in reality Franck
              Alcock, who is listed as a co-author and is at New College.

              For what it's worth:


              On a "Wiki Talk" page at medlibrary (I'm not a Wiki contributor so am
              not entirely sure how that works!) there is a brief discussion of this
              entry <http://medlibrary.org/medwiki/Talk:Male_prostitution#cite_note-1>
              , in which "AlcockMarine" responds to questions about the citation for
              the Lewis article: I was mistaken in the second reference- the title
              is a book chapter not a journal article. I will reinsert the section
              with the correct reference. AlcockMarine
              <http://medlibrary.org/w/index.php?title=User:AlcockMarine&action=edit&r\
              edlink=1> (talk
              <http://medlibrary.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:AlcockMarine&action=e\
              dit&redlink=1> ) 23:22, 4 October 2008 (UTC) It still reads "Journal
              of AA of R" at the wikipedia site, though. Perhaps the AlcockMarine
              user who said he would reinsert the text with the correct citation is
              the same Frank Alcock who is listed as an author of the article (?book
              chapter?) in question--or is it? Frank Alcock is on staff at New College
              and is (or was) director of a "Marine Policy Institute".
              <http://131.247.154.17/PublicAffairs/Documents/Alcock.htm> Not sure
              what I think anyone wants to do with all this "intuition" and Googling
              on my part, though. Grin. mary


              --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Jason Fisher <visualweasel@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hi, Wendell,
              >
              > At the risk of making a mountain out of an almost off-topic molehill,
              let me try to clarify my own earlier comments, which I think (and hope)
              will address yours as well. Others, please feel free to ignore this
              entire message, if you aren't interested in the subject.
              >
              > > I think you all completely missed my point when I
              > > said that this hoax was obscure and pointless.
              >
              > I don't think we're missing your point, but you did also ask
              *why* someone would bother. I was making a stab at answering that
              question – e.g., vanity, an axe to grind with those professors, the
              school, or literary theory, etc.



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • scribbler@scribblerworks.us
              ... Excuse me, Wendell, but I would think that the professors would care very much that a bogus scholarly citation was out there on the internet with their
              Message 6 of 6 , Dec 31, 2008
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                > Is it aimed at the one of the professors? Why claim that the article was
                > written by six professors then? Why would any professor care that he was
                > listed as one of the authors of a hoax article, and why put the only
                > mention of
                > this article in the Wikipedia article where no one would think about it
                > being a
                > hoax for months?

                Excuse me, Wendell, but I would think that the professors would care very
                much that a bogus scholarly citation was out there on the internet with
                their names attached. Particularly (as seems likely given the somewhat
                insulting topic of "the paper") if the subject matter was quite contrary
                to their own opinions and beliefs.

                Someone somewhere could easily add this bit of joke-crap to a bibliography
                of one of those professors, which would then be picked up and repeated by
                anyone else referring to any of the professors.

                It is an unfortunate truth that there are MANY people who think that the
                more something is repeated on the internet, the truer it is. After 18
                years of being obliged to find *independant* second sources on facts, I've
                seen how easy it is to spread "information" on the net.

                So... again, I think the professors would indeed be concerned with
                something like this, which could easily turn into a professional mess for
                them. Maybe only an irritating one, but a mess none the less.
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