Talk:Shane Fitzgerald (hoaxer)

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  • This incident has now been commented on by the Columbia Journalism Review

( and the European Jounalism Centre ( As a sometime college teacher, I am confident that this incident will be referenced in Journalism classes for years to come. Even if the person himself turns out to be less than newsworthy, the incident itself is a flashpoint that crystalizes the widespread (but often undocumented) mistrust of the internet (and Wikipedia in particular) as a source of reliable information.

I am also disspointed that there is a sentence in the article "Shane Fitzgerald (hoaxer)" that claims that Fitzgerald used an IP that was used to vandalize other articles, but there is no citation to back up that statement. Cajunbill (talk) 22:24, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

Should this article be considered notable? I think it is a very interesting article, but do we want to document this sort of behavior? Are we going to encourage copycats? (talk) 20:39, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

It's not really a criticism of Wikipedia since editors have been quick at reverting the vandalism as mentioned in the different articles. It's more a criticism of journalism, but should we really make a general case out of it? As far as I understand, only one journalist at The Guardian used the quote, which has then been copied everywhere (since the Guardian is considered reliable). So the problem is not Wikipedia nor journalism in general but one journalist at the Guardian. Laurent (talk) 20:47, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
  • The "experiment" is notable in that it exemplifies that "once anything is printed enough times in the media without challenge, it becomes fact," (AP) as Shane describes. Also, it is interesting that a journalist at the Guardian deems Wikipedia a reliable enough source not to conduct further research or check the citations. RRG3rd 22:36, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
Very Notable, I say keep

this wasnt relatively small, this news made it worldwide, i saw this in at least 8 different channels, so it should be kept, i know wikipedia maybe doesnt like to get owned but it did LOL in the most beautiful way, by making its little credibility even smaller so keep it, at least show that you can lose fairly-- (talk) 22:46, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

I think it should stay because several newspapers picked up the false quote. This way it can always be traced back to the origins if someone in the future is unawware of the hoax. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:52, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

Removing Fitzgerald's entry would be a way of biasing Wikipedia (i.e. Wikipedia bans uncomfortable entries). I think that the "copycat menace" is alleviated by the very nature of Wikipedia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Albertogaona (talkcontribs) 15:28, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

removed info that was a false citation[edit]

I removed the following because it wasn't actually in the article that was cited. Kevin Rector (talk) 02:06, 13 May 2009 (UTC

  • In the wake of Fitzgerald's new-found notoriety, Dublin University has issued a public statement distancing itself from Fitzgerald and affirming its own journalism department's commitment to honest reporting. "Mr. Fitzgerald's actions in no way represent Dublin University's attitude toward news reporting." Administration is contemplating whether disciplinary actions should be pursued.[1]
    • I would be surprised if Dublin University had anything to say at all on the matter as Dublin University, aka Trinity College, Dublin is a completely different university to the one that the subject attends. I changed the article to that effect and referenced the change, using an Irish Times article (on the grounds that they do know the difference :)) FlowerpotmaN·(t) 17:58, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
    • Good, in my original article I said that he was a Dublin university student, meaning a university student in or from Dublin. I had no idea which school. I noticed that someone else wikified it to be Dublin University and your citation has helps settle it. Thanks for the good edit Flowerpotman. Kevin Rector (talk) 18:43, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Did Fitzgerald Commit Other Vandalism?[edit]

Take a look at Special:Contributions/ before anyone makes Shane Fitzgerald out to be some kind of great investigator. He appears to have edited Maurice Jarre, Blessington, and Guppy. I know an IP address can be shared by multiple users, but there is a similarity in the spelling and grammar of these edits, and in the general nature of the changes. It looks like three clear cases of childish vandalism to me. So the media got duped by his latest vandalism, Fitzgerald watched with glee for a month, and he eventually stepped forward to take credit and stoke his own ego. While there are lessons to be learned, let's not help him get famous over this! I propose deleting this article as utterly non-notable. Taquito1 (talk) 03:25, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

My previous article edit on other vandalism from the same IP was removed by PSWG1920 with the edit summary, "Removing original thought, WP:SYN prohibits putting sources together to reach a conclusion)". While I don't quite see the validity of classifying that as "Synthesis of published material that advances a position", I have restored only those portions of the removed material that seem most objectively true and verifiable. If you make edits to what I have added, please comment here as well. Thanks.
Taquito1 (talk) 02:08, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
Your most recent edit looks OK to me (and I probably should have scaled your previous paragraph down to something like that rather than just removing it.) I was concerned about the original thought regarding his motives. PSWG1920 (talk) 02:56, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Yeah you seriously need to look again at the edits. Saying they have similar spelling and grammar is completely false. Also the other edits were in 2008 so its obvious they were not the same person. Gune (talk) 18:56, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Don't delete![edit]

Wikipedia has an article for almost everyone who has made a name for themselves. Shane shocked the world with his "test." I believe this article should stay here.--I iz guy... so iz u (talk) 16:16, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Oh, I want to add this... Shane proved that wiki can be better than some newspapers! Why:

  • The admins tried to stop him.
  • He had to put his quote on thrice.
  • The media only used wiki, they didn't bother to check their facts.

--I iz guy... so iz u (talk) 16:21, 14 May 2009 (UTC) Note: Shane's Grammar and Caps were horrible, LOL!

Title of Page?[edit]

Is Hoaxer really NPOV? My guess is you would consider "social researcher" biased as well. Is there a slightly less loaded term that still identifies him? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:15, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

One act of uncontrolled "research" does not make someone a researcher.
Taquito1 (talk) 03:09, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Of course not. That was my point. "Social researcher" is unfairly positive. My question: is "hoaxer" unfairly negative? (talk) 21:42, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
Here is Wiktionary's definition of hoax as a noun and as a verb: [1]. In my opinion, this is unambiguous. There seems to be no innately negative connotation to the word. As you ask, is there a more suitable word? Fitzgerald is known for this single deliberate deception--a hoax.
Taquito1 (talk) 03:15, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
    • ^ Cite error: The named reference ap story was invoked but never defined (see the help page).