Wikipedia’s Criterion: Google

On: September 27, 2008
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About Arno de Natris
Finished the Master in New Media in august 2009. See for mor details about me on


Creating a hoax on Wikipedia isn’t that difficult. Just write it down and save it. But it won’t take long before the Wiki-officials will delete it. This afternoon, I created a fake ‘legend’ and wrote a Wiki about it. Four hours later, the Wiki was removed. Why? ‘Nonsense: there’s nothing about it on Google and there are no sources.’ So, if you’re not on Google, you have never excisted.

Later on, I’ll try to create an other hoax. This time, I’ll make sure I use (fake) sources and there will be something about it to be found on Google. I have to use an other computer, Wikipedia files your IP-address.

Here is the hoax text (in Dutch, the links I embedded are removed):

Schafter Scheerder

De Schafter Scheerder was een in het begin van de twintigste in de natuur rond het dorp Schaft levende man. Tot de dag van vandaag is het echter onbekend of de Schafter Scheerder echt bestaan heeft of een verzinsel was van lokale herders.

De naam heeft de man te danken aan de geruchten dat hij schapen die graasden op de heide rond het dorp voor de helft zou scheren. Herders zouden ’s ochtends bij het tellen van de schapen diverse keren schapen aantreffen die alleen aan de linkerkant van hun wol ontdaan waren.

In een dagboek dat na de Tweede Wereldoorlog door Amerikanen in het Belgische Neerpelt gevonden is, wordt bericht over een ‘wilde, ongeschoren en stinkende man die soms op de Malpie opduikt’. Het dagboek is bijgehouden door een jonge vrouw uit Schaft. Ze schreef dat het figuur ‘eng’ was, maar toch iets aantrekkelijks had.

In 1909 is een afgeslacht schaap gevonden vlakbij de gemeentegrens van Borkel en Schaft, toen een aparte gemeente. Dorpelingen durfden enkele dagen hun huis niet uit. Later deden de geruchten de ronde dat de Schafter Scheerder nooit bestaan heeft en een verzinsel was van de schapenhouders om meer sympathie te kweken bij de dorpelingen. Foto’s of andere bewijzen zijn nooit gevonden.

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7 Responses to “Wikipedia’s Criterion: Google”
  • September 27, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    We had exactly the same last year :) Have a look at our previous posts about it (in chronological order): Also, the nettime mailinglist has some more info.

  • September 27, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    So maybe we have to create the sources ourselves first and if they are being found by Google then the hoax has more chance on survival? I think there is so many knowledge that’s not to be found on Google as many websites are hardly indexed or could be secured. I like the argument ‘if it’s not on Google, it doesn’t exist’. So what about people who are not on Google? Do they still exist or are they just ghosts of our imagination?
    On the next hoax we should collaborate and edit the entry so it looks like many people believe in it…

  • September 28, 2008 at 11:59 am

    This is so frustrating. I agree with Hannah its insane for information to be deleted just because it doesn’t have an existence on Google!!

  • September 28, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Lets not jump to conclusions too fast here.
    The reason given was:
    There is nothing on it on Google
    the entry has no sources what so ever.
    Thats not the same as: Its not on Google so it doesnt exist.
    I think the entry was deleted rightfully. Altho the editor could have used the more appropriate qualification ‘unverifiable’ instead of ‘nonesense’. Anyway, congrats to the Wiki community, for now. But dont give up yet Arno. Fake some convincing sources and lets see what happends. Also you might want to consider using an other Wiki profile, maybe this otherwise affects the credibility of your next entries.

  • September 28, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Next time, I can do two things:
    a. Put down some information on sources that Google will see (other websites, blogs, communities, etc) and refer to these sources
    b. Use sources that excist, but that don’t include the information, books for example.

    a is a challenge b is more easy, but in some way illegal

  • September 28, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Could give insight into how wiki editors judge different internet sources. When do they judge an internet source worthy to extract date from for Wikipedia?

    Could give insight about how active the dutch wikicommunity is. How fast will they actualy verify sources that arent easy to access through the web?

    So i think both ways can lead to interesting insights.

  • May 4, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Chinese Qualification Verification…

    Need to check Records of University and College Entrance Examination from China? Verifile China provides an official verification report from the Chinese Ministry of Education….

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