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A number of media personalities have edited, or encouraged people to edit, Wikipedia.




  • Technology journalist Aldis Ozols wrote about his editing of Wikipedia in the July 1, 2001 edition of the Australian PCWorld magazine[1][2]

Controversial editsEdit

A number of media personalities have edited Wikipedia, or encouraged people to edit, in a manner not in compliance with Wikipedia policies and guidelines. Cases most often center around vandalism, as defined in the Wikipedia policy on Vandalism, and issues with inappropriate material in Biographies, as defined in the Wikipedia policy on Biographies of living persons.


  • Sarah Lane, on the live June 12, 2003 episode of The Screen Savers, wrote on the Wikipedia page on monkeypox: "Sarah Lane is totally cool and does not have monkeypox."[3] She later wrote "Sarah Lane is a cool Screen Saver. Down with Monkeypox."
  • Eric Hellweg reported that he entered false text into "Tom Waits".[4]
  • Ivor Tossell, Globe and Mail journalist, wrote a news article on how he vandalised the human article, and then how a contributor provided a polite response asking him to stop. He wrote that the article "launch[es] into a 7,000-word list of things that most bipedal primates are already aware of" and roundly criticised it for making obvious statements. Tossell said that, "I snapped. I clicked the 'Edit' button, and anonymously revised that first line, so now it began, 'Humans -- hey! That's us!' And off I surfed, content that I'd given the self-righteous encyclopedians a poke in the ear."[5]


  • Eric Zorn, journalist for the Chicago Tribune, created the article Zorn's law (like a Godwin's law), but it was soon deleted.[6]
  • According to NBC-owned-and-operated television station WCAU in Philadelphia, network anchorman and reporter Vince DeMentri vandalized his own article to say he had 27 children. The WCAU article says that "his IP address was registered [by Wikipedia] for security purposes",[7] which is misleading: his IP address was recorded in the article's history page, as is always the case when an editor has not logged in with a Wikipedia account.
  • Stephen Colbert, television comedian, strongly encouraged viewers to vandalise the Elephants article, instructing them to write that the number of elephants has recently tripled, in order to confound liberal scientists.[8] He has also encouraged his fans to change the Wikipedia entry for reality to simply read: "Reality has become a commodity."
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic included a faux clip of him vandalising the article of Atlantic Records in the music video for his single "White & Nerdy"; this was probably intended to be realized as a "revenge" of sorts against the record label for blocking the release of the parody "You're Pitiful" on his album Straight Outta Lynwood. This "revenge" was then enacted on the Atlantic Records article by several editors.[9]
  • Ryan North, online web-comic writer, has twice been involved in Wikipedia vandalism. The first act occurred on July 25, 2006, when he changed the article on Evil to read "Irish Evil."[10] More recently, on November 8, 2006, he created a tongue-in-cheek webpage imploring people to "solve" the vandalism issue by restricting oneself to vandalizing only the article concerning chickens, thereby making Wikipedia completely factually reliable for "every topic in the universe except chickens".[11][12]
  • Tony Martin and Ed Kavalee, hosts of the Australian morning radio show Get This, regularly review their respective Wikipedia articles and that of their show, and discuss the latest vandalism that has occurred, encouraging their listeners to continue to vandalise the articles.
  • The Guardian newspaper's online football column, The Fiver, edited Chelsea F.C. winger Arjen Robben's profile to say that he "is an accomplished scuba diver, a model-submarine enthusiast and the owner of a pet parrot named Greg Louganis" to suggest that he dives, or simulates being fouled to con referees.[13]


  • Mark Hinson of the Tallahassee Democrat says that he vandalised Bay County, Florida by adding the text "In 1990, Bay County issued a fatwa condemning the film 'Pretty Woman' for its sunny portrayal of prostitution. Though, Bay County did add that Julia Roberts looked totally hot in that polka-dot dress." Also, he wrote that he vandalised Calhoun County with the text "Calhoun County was created in 1838 and was named for Rocky 'Raccoon' Calhoun. In 1999, Calhoun County was thoroughly disappointed with Thomas Harris' sequel 'Hannibal' and felt it pandered to readers." The final article he writes about vandalising is Liberty County, Florida, with the text "Liberty County was created in 1855. It was named for the popular American ideal, liberty. In 2006, Liberty County issued an edict questioning why Bob Dylan's 'Modern Times' album was so universally praised by critics. It was good, but Liberty County still thinks Dylan's 'Street Legal' is an overlooked gem." His article severely criticises Wikipedia for forcing students to use Wikipedia as gospel and not check their facts.[14]
  • The Sydney Morning Herald vandalised Wikipedia. Their "Stay In Touch" column vandalised Newspapers after noticing that Aspirin was in a vandalised state.[15]
  • On January 14, 2007, Craig Reucassel and Chris Taylor, hosts of Triple J's Bloody Sunday radio show, after commenting on inaccuracy of their own Wikipedia articles the previous week, encouraged listeners to vandalise the Tara Reid article, which resulted in that article's semi-protection.[16] The following week, they encouraged vandalism of Peter Overton, and were impressed at the swift actions of the "Wikipedia purists" to protect the article.
  • A January 25, 2007, entry on the U.S. political blog Wonkette reported on efforts by employees of the National Institute on Drug Abuse to sanitize the article on the agency, and then suggested readers retaliate by adding salacious and negative information about NIDA. Some vandalism along those lines, including bogus sources, did result but the article was not protected.[17] As well as inciting vandalism of wikipedia, Wonkette is also amused by vandalism of Eagle Forum's wiki conservapedia.[18]
  • On March 22, 2007, NBC Nightly News correspondent Lisa Daniels vandalized the article about herself.[19][20]
  • David Sarno, (Los Angeles Times Staff Writer, September 30, 2007):[21]
    • "(I did test this <that an article about a nonnotable restaurant is bound to be quickly deleted> by posting a three-sentence entry about a quirky pet store in my hometown. It was deleted after 27 hours -- not instantaneously, as in Wales' case, but still pretty quickly.)"
  • On May 17, 2007, hosts of the Chilean T.V. show Canal Copano, aired by Via X, wrote on the Spanish Wikipedia's article on Bolivia that "CANAL COPANO OTORGA MAR A BOLIVIA! VALIDO SOLO POR INBTERNET (sic)"[22] (CANAL COPANO GIVES SEA TO BOLIVIA, VALID ONLY BY INBTERNET (internet)).
  • On August 17, 2007, the Spanish TVE2 ("La 2") public T.V. channel vandalised the Spanish article on John Lennon in the 2:30 news program, just for the sake of making a story. Later, on the same date, the private T.V. channel Antena3 also vandalised the Spanish article on Elvis Presley "to test the reaction speed of Wikipedia administrators" in their news program.[23][24][25]

Editing by the BBCEdit


  • Comedian Daniel Tosh encouraged viewers of his program Tosh.0 to edit his page with funny comments, and he then aired several of them in a later show.[27]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Ozols, Aldis (July 1, 2001). "Roll-your-own fount of knowledge: (editor's choice)". Australian PCWorld. IDG Communications Pty. Ltd. Retrieved May 6, 2012. Rising to the challenge, I edited the page on which this statement was made, and behold, my contribution (all two words of it) became part of the Wikipedia.
  2. ^ Beutler, William (October 12, 2010). "The Earliest Known Record of Wikipedia Journalism". Retrieved May 6, 2012. And the winner appears to be a July 1, 2001 article in the Australian edition of PC World, by one Aldis Ozols.
  3. ^ Sarah Lane (June 19, 2003). "Sarah's Blog Report: June 2003". G4.
    Sarah's edit was made on 09:46, June 13, 2003 (diff)
  4. ^ The Wikipedia War, by Eric Hellweg, Technology Review, December 16, 2005
  5. ^ Ivor Tossell (June 24, 2006). "Here come the Wikipedia police". Globe and Mail, Globe and Mail update.
  6. ^ Eric Zorn (July 5, 2006). "There oughta be a law against stale retorts", Chicago Tribune
  7. ^ "How Accurate Is Information On Wikipedia?" (July 27, 2006), WCAU.
  8. ^ This was done in character from The Colbert Report, not as himself. Stephen Colbert v. Wikipedia at the Wayback Machine (archived May 16, 2008)
  9. ^ Adams, Cameron. "Weird Al Yankovic." Herald Sun, October 5, 2006.
  10. ^ North, Ryan "now folks can't get mad at me for tacitly endorsing funny wikipedia vandalism because fictional jimbo wales HIMSELF is all for it. good ol' fictional jimbo wales! he's the most accommodating instance of jimbo wales that i know of."; page history- [1]
  11. ^ North, Ryan " fictional jimbo wales, you old charmer! PS: CLICK TO SEE WHAT I DID YESTERDAY. I WROTE A MANIFESTO."
  12. ^ North, Ryan "Every Topic in the Universe Except Chickens"
  13. ^ Doyle, Paul. Glendenning, Barry. "The Fiver" July 6, 2006.
  14. ^ Mark Hinson, "Let county criticisms commence". Tallahassee Democrat, January 14, 2007.
  15. ^ Stay In Touch section, "Scandals: But it's true, surely". Sydney Morning Herald, January 16, 2007.
  16. ^ Triple J podcasts
  17. ^ Pareene, Alex (January 25, 2007). "National Institute of Health Division Bravely Edits Own Wikpedia Entry". Wonkette. Retrieved 2007-01-27.
  18. ^ Wikipedia is not always right The Guardian blog, February 27, 2007
  19. ^ [2][dead link]
  20. ^ "Lisa Daniels (TV presenter): Difference between revisions - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". Retrieved 2013-09-03.
  21. ^ "Wikipedia wars erupt"
  22. ^ "Bolivia", revisión de 13:07 17 may 2007
  23. ^ Slashdot article
  24. ^ Barrapunto article (spanish)
  25. ^ Antena 3 Youtube video
  26. ^ Andrew Orlowski (19th January, 2006). "Wikipedia editing hobby goes nationwide", The Register.
  27. ^ "Your Wikipedia Entries". Tosh.0 Blog. Retrieved 2013-07-25.