Article hoax

Attempt to foist false article on Wikipedia revealed

For the past month, a small group of users has been closeted away, working hard at writing a faux article to sneak into Wikipedia. The joke was flushed out last Thursday when Ta bu shi da yu nominated it as a featured article candidate.

Those participating in the prank undoubtedly had to wipe the smirks from their faces when this activity was exposed. Upon its discovery, Bishonen, the initiator of the article, commented on being "caught with my pants down again". While the various authors had definitely been focused on satisfying the featured article criteria, they seemed to feel they still had their work cut out for them in that regard.

The article in question, originally titled Antique toilet paper holder, has been hidden privily away in Bishonen's user space since 9 January. The conspirators feared that if it was part of the article namespace, any old John could head straight for Votes for deletion and have it summarily ejected.

In terms of content, the article presents an incredible tissue of stories overflowing with connections to art, literature, religion, and politics. The participants seem to have scoured an impressive list of sources to compile this, all of them real publications, although Taxman expressed skepticism as to whether any of the content was based on these sources. But Giano contended, "A surprisingly large amount of the information in the article is confirmed in the references".

After Ta bu shi da yu's nomination, the article was awash in enthusiastic new contributors. It finally reached the point that the content was actually running over the limits of its original focus, including content about toilet paper holders into the 21st century. To solve this problem, it was renamed to "European toilet paper holder" and some now-extraneous content dealing with Asia was unloaded into a separate article, Asian toilet paper holder. While the project is commodious enough to entertain other sibling articles for the remaining continents, nobody has yet felt the need to relieve the project of its Eurocentric bias.

Bishonen had apparently been plotting to move the original composition into the article namespace on April Fool's Day, and was waiting to nominate it for featured article status until then. While this cunning plan went down the drain, the authors were still discussing how to scrape together enough support to have it featured on the Main Page on that date. However, Raul654, who serves as Featured Articles Director, informed Bishonen that he would not roll over and feature a hoax article, even on 1 April.

Others were more sympathetic, feeling that such creativity deserved better than to be banished to the outhouse of Bad jokes and other deleted nonsense. Mirv called it a brilliant article and said, "Hats off to all who worked on it, and I can't believe I didn't see it until it hit FAC." By the end of the week, the project even had a slogan: Wikipedia is not toilet paper!

The real news

Some efforts were taken more seriously, as eight articles were successful last week in their nominations to become featured articles. They included Windows XP, History of Russia, the Book of Kells, Hong Kong's Octopus card, Ugandan rebel group Lord's Resistance Army, the Beatles' song Get Back, Anne Frank, and a cricket article dealing with Test matches in the 19th century (to 1883). There were no new featured pictures last week.

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