Greenlighting Cyrus Farivar

Hoax exposé prompts attempt to delete author

A story in Slate relating the story of an internet hoax led to an attempt to have a Wikipedia article about the journalist who wrote the story deleted, after he indicated that he had started the article in question himself.

First, the hoax

The story, published 1 August, was called "Green-Collar Crime: How I stopped an Internet sex hoax". The author, freelance journalist Cyrus Farivar, told how a message board at the Something Awful website had created a rumor about "greenlighting", which supposedly referred to a practice of wearing green shirts with the collar up in order to arrange anonymous trysts. Farivar said the hoax was being organized at, and that he and others had been working to expose it as a hoax at places like Metafilter and Wikipedia itself.

Wikipedia did in fact have an article on greenlighting, created 5 July by Jlassoff. Within a day it had been nominated for deletion by Bmicomp, with Farivar himself following immediately behind to identify it as a hoax. The vote to delete the article was overwhelming, as the perpetrators of the hoax made surprisingly little effort to prevent this. However, the article has since been recreated to relate the story of the hoax itself.

Next, the vanity

In the course of his story, Farivar mentioned the Wikipedia article about himself, saying, "Yes, I added an entry on myself to Wikipedia. Why haven't you?" His parenthetical statement prompted Delfuego to nominate this article for deletion as well.

Farivar's article was originally created 30 January 2005 by the IP address Back in April, Refdoc attempted to have it speedily deleted as a vanity page, but Kappa intervened and submitted it to Votes for deletion instead, where the decision was to keep the article. However, with the fact that this was originally a vanity page now confirmed by the Slate article, the issue was revisited.

In contrast with the vote regarding Greenlighting, the VfD listing for Farivar actually attracted more controversy and saw a far greater influx of new users and IP addresses attempting to vote. Initial comments strongly supported deletion, until Snowspinner interjected to declare that the subject was notable, regardless of whether it was originally a vanity page, and that if the article was deleted he would undelete it unless forced to stop by the Arbitration Committee or Jimbo Wales.

This led GregNorc to complain to Wales, but Wales agreed that Snowspinner was correct and said, "Even if VfD _did_ produce a consensus that this article should be deleted, then VfD is broken and should be ignored". Afterwards, the trend of comments shifted to include many more editors who favored keeping the article. In the end, while a majority still favored deletion, it did not reach the 2/3 level normally considered the minimum to justify deleting an article, so it was kept.

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