No Big News Here -- The Internet = High School

Remember when you'd have to do some silly book report or whatever and end up in the school library, only to find that every schoolkids primary resource for research "The World Book Encyclopedia" has been ..shall we say annotated by another student (or yourself, depending on the situation) in ball point pen to include several kinda bad words, drawings of the Metallica logo, and circles around the boobs in all of the color prints of Renaissance art?

That tradition will probably never die, but as time marches on it's apparently spread beyond the dusty shelves in the back of your Alma Mater.

Case in point, the ongoing battle happening between those who are trying to maintain the underlying ideology of Wikipedia, and those who would prefer to replace pictures that are supposed to depict famous historical figures with MS paint drawings of penises.

While I'm well aware that it's not a 100% reliable source, I'm still among the many that consider Wikipedia a valuable resource when trying to find out more information about a given topic. Usually I'll drop in on it when I'm trying to get an idea of what something I'm not familiar with is, or if there's a better resource available on the web to read about whatever it is that I'm curious about.

At the same time, whenever I'm lucky enough to trip across one of these "edits" of the Internet encyclopedia it's hard not to laugh just a little bit at them, even if the whole practice seems kinda juvenile.

Wikipedia is so vast though that at least in my personal experience these incidents are far and few between. You hear about them all the time, but the Wiki faithful are apparently pretty quick about removing potentially offensive things from the site (which when you think about it might have something to do with it happening so much).

Anyways, today while looking for something else I came across a watchdog site of sorts that apparently was designed to track which pages on Wikipedia were getting the most views/updates (possibly for the purposes of trending current public interest) but has more often than not become a storehouse for tracking (and ranking) which pages are vandalized the most.

As an added bonus, it links to information regarding the vandalism -- which probably wasn't intended to become sort of an encyclopedia of the vandalism itself, but sorta becomes one anyways.

Long story short, if you weren't among the lucky ones to see the period of time where the entry in Wikepedia about Keanu Reeves included this piece of info:
"Reeves has one full sister named PENIS JEEVES (born 1966 in Beirut) who was diagnosed with erectile dysfunction in the early 1990s. Additionally, through his mother he has a half-sister named Karina Miller (born 1976 in Toronto) and through his father another half-sister named Emma Reeves (born 1980 in Hawaii)."
Well, now you can see what it was like.

I think I found this interesting because as a former middle school teacher, one of the things I had to be wary of was kids copying things verbatim from the web to use in reports I assigned. This was something I was guilty of myself (except that I was copying from The World Book) back in the day -- with the added advantage that I could easily tell that copying the things scribbled on the pages of the book in ball point pen probably wasn't a good idea.

A kid copying and pasting things from the web doesn't always have the same advantage. And while I can't say I've ever had a student hand in a report telling me that Keanu Reeve's sister was named PENIS, it's not that much of a stretch to believe that it could happen.
Anyways, an interesting time waster if you need it.
PS -- I also suspect these were the kinds of files that the principal was looking to dig up from the archives during that one scene from The Breakfast Club.

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