Wikipedia talk:Do not create hoaxes

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Official policy[edit]

Shouldn't this page have the "official policy" template on it? - Liberatore(T) 14:33, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

Following the Gunk land AFD I documented obvious things and things that could be derived from other policy. But yeah, I can't see anything here being controversial, might as well be a policy or guideline. Quarl (talk) 2006-01-11 20:01Z

I think this is a bad policy. How can we know if wikipedia is accurate if it is never tested for said accuracy? That being said, I don't think it would be good if we just allowed hoaxes willy-nilly. Grokmoo 16:19, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

The project page explains why you shouldn't add hoaxes to see if we find them: If you are interested in how accurate Wikipedia is, a more constructive test method is to try to find inaccurate statements that are already in Wikipedia, and then to check to see how long they have been in place and, if possible, correct them. It's like testing investment strategies: instead of buying stocks to test an experimental strategy, you could look into the past to see how it would have worked. Quarl (talk) 2006-02-03 16:47Z
See also Don't disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point. Feezo (Talk) 12:33, 5 April 2006 (UTC)


Obviously this sort of thing doesn't belong in the article, but I just wanted to mention that anyone who's feeling creative and mischievous, and gets a hankering to create some sort of hoax article, but doesn't want to disrupt Wikipedia, might find Uncyclopedia to be an appropriate outlet. - Ugliness Man 00:11, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Seems like a reasonable suggestion even in the main project page. Quarl (talk) 2006-04-13 01:01Z
I agree with this.--h i s s p a c e r e s e a r c h 10:27, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
Added.--h i s s p a c e r e s e a r c h 08:52, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Another suggestion[edit]

How about we put a default tag on every new article created that lasts for 7 days or so. It could say something to the effect of "This article is new and may not have been reviewed for complying with Wikipedia guidelines." Readers can judge the merits of the article accordingly. The tag could expire after time or an admin can remove it earlier if it is deemed worthy. Does this sound like a good idea? MrMurph101 17:20, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

I think it would have to be more complicated than that to work. You should ask on the Village Pump to get more input. Quarl (talk) 2006-07-06 20:38Z
Thanks, I'll do that. MrMurph101 21:20, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

U.S. Politics[edit]

Hm, I read the papers one day and found out that U.S. politicians have actually hired people to add in negative stuff about their enemies to defame them on Wikipedia. These negative stuff usually do not have any basis, and are added in small bits so no suspects anything. Recently, a politician attempted to sue Wikipedia when he found out about these stuff about him, but was unable to do anything, and his article remained there for 2 weeks before the Wikipedia admin deleted it. Is this true? --Terrancommander 09:00, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

For starters, that would be more like vandalism than a hoax. Second, it doesn't matter how "small" examples of vandalism (and outright lies) are, they'll get usually caught by experienced Wikipedians pretty quickly, especially when they're about people in the public eye. Third, why would an article on a politician be deleted? The most he could hope for would be for the article to be edited so that it was factual and neutral. Fourth, on Wikipedia, "I read in the papers one day" is pretty much the equivalent "I heard from a friend of a friend (of a friend of a friend...). This sounds like a very vague urban legend. - Ugliness Man 10:51, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

I believe you are referring to the 2006-01-30 incident, which did happen; see 2006-01-30/Congressional astroturfing, 2006-02-06/Politicians and Wikipedia, CNet "Congress caught making false entries in Wikipedia" Quarl (talk) 2006-07-10 07:48Z

Name change[edit]

In keeping with the best of Wikipedia's policy and guideline titles, I'd like to change the title of this page to active voice. I recommend Wikipedia:Don't create hoaxes. Rossami (talk) 22:44, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

I suppose that's fine. Quarl (talk) 2006-10-04 23:01Z

Speedy deletion of hoaxes[edit]

This guideline claims that hoaxes are not speediable. Howewer, this does not correspond with Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion (official policy) and Wikipedia:Vandalism (official policy). Hoaxes are classed as silly vandalism. Vandalism is speediable per CSD G3 ({{db-g3}}, {{db-vandalism}}). This results in many transparent hoaxes coming to AFD. Angus McLellan (Talk) 20:38, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion#Non-criteria. The idea is that ridiculously obvious hoaxes are speediable as vandalism, but in less clear-cut cases, one single admin shouldn't be entrusted to determine whether an article is a hoax or not. TacoDeposit 20:55, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
How is it any different from {{db-band}} or {{db-spam}} ? Anyway, it will generally be more than one editor: {{hoax}} → {{db-vandalism}} → /dev/null. Angus McLellan (Talk) 21:08, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
Missed your change to the text. Seems good to me. Angus McLellan (Talk) 21:25, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. I don't think anyone disagrees that if something is truly a hoax, it should be nuked ASAP. TacoDeposit 21:29, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, but this has been discussed extensively several times on WT:CSD (and is there again now). While deliberate creation of hoaxes is vandalism and can earn the perpetrator all the penalties of other forms of vandalism, identification of a hoax is rarely as easy or obvious as the original nominator thought it was. See the current discussion at WT:CSD for some examples of false positives. Because of the identification problem, hoaxes are explicitly listed as a "non-criterion" for speedy-deletion. Rossami (talk) 00:46, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
So, let me get this right. We're to ignore Wikipedia:Vandalism and Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion in favour of a discussion on a talk page ? That's certainly an interesting way to judge consensus. Angus McLellan (Talk) 01:47, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, since the Talk page was where we developed the consensus for what's actually on the CSD page and where everyone explained their intent in great detail, yes, I think you should go look at the policy's Talk page archives to see what the consensus really was. Rossami (talk)
There is nothing you have stated here, or in WP:CSD, that contradicts my edits to this page. I think we all agree here. TacoDeposit 03:34, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

For the purpose of the discussion, I'm copying your edit below.

Note that hoaxes are not speedy deletion candidates. Ridiculously obvious hoaxes are speediable as vandalism, but in less clear-cut cases, it is not enough for just one or two editors to investigate a hoax. There have been cases in the past where something has been thought to have been a hoax by several editors, but has turned out to be true, and merely obscure. Note that hoaxes are not speedy deletion candidates. It is not enough for just one or two editors to investigate a hoax. There have been cases in the past where something has been thought to have been a hoax by several editors, but has turned out to be true, and merely obscure.

While your revised statement is theoretically true, our experience here on Wikipedia has demonstrated that as individuals we do not have a very good track record for identifying hoaxes. You did qualify the edit with the phase "ridiculously obvious" but I have deep concerns that the softer wording will be interpreted in increasingly liberal light. When we have softened the wording before, we found that it did cause an increase in the number of good articles which were inappropriately tagged and/or deleted. The current wording sends all the questionable articles to AFD for a wider review. Experienced admins know that they can occasionally ignore all the rules but that when they do so their actions will be subject to greater scrutiny and review. For those few cases which truly are blatant vandalism, I believe that strikes the right balance.

The truth is that there are not very many cases where a hoax really is "ridiculously obvious" unless you are in the middle of reverting a large-scale pattern of vandalism by a single user. We've seen cases in the past where, for example, an article said "John Smith was the 35th President of the United States", tagged it as a hoax, then discovered that the page was a poorly written stub about a fictional character (who, in that novel, was the 35th President). Rossami (talk) 05:48, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Your 35th president example is not necessarily a case of an article being speedily deleted incorrectly, but of it being speedily deleted under the wrong CSD, which I believe is routine now in any case. Articles which lack enough context to be understood, and one which fails to explain that it is dealing with a fictional character falls into this category, might well be tagged with {{db-nocontext}} if the new page patrollers register it. If you look at what is tagged under G1, a lot of it clearly isn't "patent nonsense", which should be limited to word salad, but more plausibly A1, A7, G10, or G3 transparent hoaxes. Sir Charles Broccoli is tagged for speedy deletion under CSD G1 when it should clearly be deleted as a hoax: it's just the Cubby Broccoli invented broccoli joke redone to make it look more plausible. Is it not better to be open, and use G3 on hoaxes, than to pretend that hoaxes are "patent nonsense" ? Angus McLellan (Talk) 11:42, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

I understand and respect the concern regarding false positives. However, the consensus at CSD apparently was that obviously ridiculous hoaxes can, on occasion, be marked for speedy deletion. This guideline is not consistent with that, and I wasted a lot of energy trying to mentally reconcile that inconsistency before coming across this discussion. I strongly feel that CSD policy and this guideline should be consistent, one way or the other.--Kubigula (talk) 04:40, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

The discussion at CSD on this issue does not seem to have gone anywhere in particular. So, the fact remains that CSD says that obviously ridiculous hoaxes can be speedied, while this guideline says that hoaxes are not candidates for speedy deletion. Why not harmonize the two so that they say the same thing? Erroneously deleting valid articles as hoaxes is certainly a harm to Wikipedia. However, allowing obviously ridiculous hoaxes to linger long enough for a prod or AfD to run its course is also a harm. A user of the encylopedia is bound to lose confidence in the project if they encounter one of these articles, even if it is appropriately tagged.--Kubigula (talk) 04:11, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
I read the CSD page and all the supporting discussions and reach a different conclusion. CSD still explicitly lists hoaxes as a non-criterion. Obviously ridiculous hoaxes do occasionally get speedy-deleted but they do so under the auspices of WP:IAR, not as the result of a specific speedy-deletion case. A few admins admitted to stretching the rules by classifying a patently obvious hoax as vandalism. That position is not well supported. While proven hoaxes are vandalism, the act of confirming it (and sorting out the real hoaxes from the false positives) almost always requires the level of effort that essentially recreates the AFD process. As others have said better than I, there really aren't that many "obvious" hoax articles out there. AFD is the rule for hoax articles. Rossami (talk) 21:11, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Fair enough. At the risk of belaboring the point, I note that CSD says, "Occasionally these [i.e. hoaxes] can be deleted as vandalism if the article is obviously ridiculous, but remotely plausible articles should be subjected to further scrutiny in a wider forum." Having that language at CSD and the sterner language here leads to confusion. At least, I was confused. While I personally prefer the language at CSD, it ought to be removed if there really is a strong consensus against applying speedy deletion to obvious hoaxes. Otherwise, it seems as though we have a vague rule that you can sometimes ignore all rules in a specific situation, which seems paradoxic.--Kubigula (talk) 04:31, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
"However, allowing obviously ridiculous hoaxes to linger long enough for a prod or AfD to run its course is also a harm. A user of the encylopedia is bound to lose confidence in the project if they encounter one of these articles, even if it is appropriately tagged." This is the problem with allowing hoaxes, admins should run a quick check on the hoax taged for speedy, I don't see much of a problem being more relaxed on allowing hoaxes to get speedy deletes. Obviously hoaxes like "Bob Smith became president of the US in 2009." is not believable by 99% of people, its the slightly less obvious but still untrue articles that cause problems and make wikipedia seem unreliable.--Bhockey10 (talk) 17:29, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Rossami - would you object to simply adding the word "generally", as in, "Note that hoaxes are generally not speedy deletion candidates"? This would be just enough to satisfy concerns (at least mine) regarding the possible inconsistency between this and CSD, while not enough to open any floodgates.--Kubigula (talk) 20:28, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Policy tag?[edit]

Does anyone object to tagging this as a "Policy" rather than just a "Guideline"? It seems to be just common sense, and it seems unlikely (or at least I would hope it is unlikely) that there would be any real opposition to the statements on this page, notwithstanding the stray comment above from almost a year ago. It shouldn't be controversial to say that Wikipedia has an official policy against hoax articles, or hoax information in articles. 6SJ7 19:03, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

I think it should be policy too. It is also pretty strange to say that not creating hoaxes should be "treated with common sense and the occasional exception." Does that mean that it is sometimes alright to create hoaxes? Anyway, I agree with 6SJ7's comment above about it being common sense.--Grand Slam 7 | Talk 00:44, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
This should obviously be a policy. There are no reasonable exceptions to this rule. Croctotheface 04:56, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Merge to WP:VAN[edit]

It really seems like this guideline is creating a separate policy for something which doesn't need it. Hoaxes are vandalism, and should be treated as such. There is nothing in this guideline that the vandalism policy does not already say.--Aervanath 07:19, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

I would oppose merging to Wikipedia:Vandalism. There is more that needs to be said than would fit well there, though I agree the fundamentals of this page derive from other policies including WP:VAN and also WP:V and WP:RS. Quarl (talk) 2007-02-11 07:23Z
What is it exactly that you feel this guideline says that WP:VAN could not? I don't see it.--Aervanath 07:55, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
I agree the entire thing could be inserted into WP:VAN -- and so could a lot of pages, such as WP:SPAM -- but they wouldn't fit well; relevant text would have to be removed. Most of the things on this guideline page need to be said: It might seem obvious to you that there's a difference between an article documenting a hoax as a hoax and an article presenting the hoax as truth, but one of the most common "defenses" of hoax article writers is "but there are hoaxes in Wikipedia...". There are also specific instructions for dealing with hoaxes, which again would unbalance WP:VAN. Is there a particular reason you want to get rid of this page? Quarl (talk) 2007-02-11 08:06Z
The "particular reason" is that I think Wikipedia is really starting to suffer from severe policy creep. Does anyone really think that hoaxes are NOT vandalism? I do agree that some hoaxes should have articles written about them, but I believe that would be more properly belong in with Wikipedia's notability criteria, not as a stand-alone policy. If you could give me actual evidence of someone truly believing that hoaxing Wikipedia was OK, I would be more inclined to accept that this guideline is necessary. Anyone who is going to hoax Wikipedia is going to do it regardless of what the policies say.--Aervanath 09:30, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
I've seen many instances of people trying to use "hoaxes are okay" as a defense... it's obviously not a valid one, but sometimes you just have to state the obvious. For an example see Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Mini Mammoth or the hundreds of pages linking to this WP page [1]. If "people will do X regardless of rules against X" were a reason not to have rules against X, we wouldn't have rules against vandalism :) What exactly are you saying is policy creep -- "Don't create hoaxes"? Quarl (talk) 2007-02-11 10:36Z
  • Wow, after looking at some of those AfD's, I see your point. I will remove the merge tags. It is much easier to just say "violates WP:HOAX" in a discussion than have to explain to trolls and other assorted morons why their article violates WP:VAN and WP:N. I didn't realize that it was that much of a problem. I guess I keep overestimating my fellow humans.--Aervanath 14:16, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
    One more thought. Deliberate creation of a hoax is vandalism. But unlike other forms of vandalism, hoaxes are often not obvious. (By that, I mean not only that some hoaxes can be mistaken for real topics but, worse, that too many early contributions or stubs about real topics are mistaken for hoaxes.) Other forms of vandalism are speedy-deletable. Hoaxes explicitly are not. That alone has justified the more detailed discussion on hoaxes. Rossami (talk) 16:20, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
    Exactly, hoaxes are often premeditated - I guess you could call it "1st degree" vandalism vs the typical "2nd degree" vandalism. Quarl (talk) 2007-02-11 19:49Z

Does this article need to exist?[edit]

You don't think people already know not to create hoaxes on an encyclopedia..? Just calling fiction a 'hoax' gives it a negative connotation, so surely anyone who already knows what a 'hoax' is would know not to create one on a non-fiction wiki..

I'd usually provide more examples to bolster a statement, but.. what else is there to say?

MGlosenger 04:01, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Hah, good point. It's also covered already by Wikipedia:Vandalism#Types of vandalism. In the spirit of WP:BEANS and WP:CREEP, I suggest we deactivate it, possibly making it a redirect to Wikipedia:Vandalism. Feezo (Talk) 12:56, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I disagree. I think this page is important. People already know not to create hoaxes on an encyclopedia. However, people may not know that creating hoaxes will result in a block. Sections such as "Dealing with hoaxes" provide some useful information. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 12:30, 3 June 2008 (UTC)


(section courtesy blanked at request of subject, on OTRS ticket #2007120610001354) - Mark 09:12, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Hoaxes Mammuthus sungari ?[edit]

I put the hoax template/banner on an article. The article has no sources, other than one that cannot be found, and some questionable news articles, but nothing mainstream, nothing in google scholar. I could do an off-line search, which I intended, but do not have the time. Do I have to "nominate the article for deletion" in addition to the banner, or can I just put the banner and a request for references up for just that purpose, to request that the article be properly cited to verifiable sources? Thanks for the help. --Amaltheus (talk) 00:48, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

PS The question is about how to handle this. Do the writers of the article have a burden to verify it in a way that others can see it's from proper sources? Will other editors leap forward and do this should the article be nominated for deletion? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Amaltheus (talkcontribs) 00:49, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Your tagging of the page and the questions raised on the Talk page are the right way to go. The editors who first added the content are not required to preemptively source their contributions but if they remain unsourced for a reasonable period of time, it may become appropriate to nominate the article for deletion. With the tag on the page, it will get fair visibility. Some of the other tags on the page will also draw editors with knowledge and interest in the Pleistocene. The odds are good that if true, the article will be sourced in fairly short order.
Deletion really should be a last resort. AFD is not Cleanup. By the way, I assume that you've watchlisted it yourself so you can easily remember to come back to the page and review the subsequent edits. Rossami (talk) 02:27, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Okay. Would it be useful to post it to WP:Cleanup? It's not obvious what to do there. I watch-listed the article because I was not familiar with the species and thought it merited some research. The redirect from WP:Hoax to this page is useful as it is hard to find things on Wikipedia, but easy when they're obvious. Thanks for the response. --Amaltheus (talk) 03:39, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

What about hoax images, e.g. photoshops?[edit]

How do we tag images that we believe may be manipulated or otherwise unreal? CKCortez (talk) 15:48, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Wouldn't the {{hoax}} template work? The template does say "article" but I think it would reasonably be understood to mean "image contents". Rossami (talk) 19:06, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Speedy deletion for blatant and obvious hoaxes and misinformation[edit]

I added a sentence pointing out that speedy deletion may apply in these cases. Previously, this guide only discouraged speedy deletion handling for hoaxes, which was an entirely different emphasis from what WP:SPEEDY said. Chris the speller (talk) 02:20, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

And I'm pulling the sentence back out. While there are rare cases where the hoax is so obvious that WP:IAR is appropriate or where the page can clearly be traced to a user who is making contributions in an unambiguous pattern of vandalism, speedy-deletion of hoaxes are almost never appropriate. The problem is that we have too many false-positives to allow speedy-deletion. Too many pages are tagged as hoaxes but are really just poorly written first drafts of real, though obscure topics or misplaced drafts about in-universe characters where the reference to the fictional context is unclear.
Speedy-deletion of hoaxes is too risky. Putting a clause on this page which tacitly encourages any expansion of the use of speedy-deletion against hoaxes will be bad for the project. Every time we've tried it before, it did more harm than good. Rossami (talk) 14:09, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Then you should go over to WP:SPEEDY and remove its approval of speedy deletions for obvious hoaxes with misinformation. I got fairly beaten up for AFDing Timer Virus, because I should have been smart enough to speedy it instead of wasting everyone's time and effort in the cumbersome AFD process, but I wasn't smart enough, because I had read this guideline. These two guidelines are just about 179 degrees apart. It is completely unsatisfying to correct a problem only to have it reverted by an editor who does not propose another solution. "Take your finger out of that hole in the dike — it looks like you haven't washed your hands!" Chris the speller (talk) 16:08, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

The example[edit]

Dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, substance responsible for the deaths of thousands of people every year, mostly due to accidental inhalation. Prolonged exposure to its solid form causes severe tissue damage. Symptoms of DHMO ingestion can include excessive sweating and urination, and possibly nausea and vomiting...

This by itself does not spread any misinformation, ie. there are no non-factual claims in this sentence. For this to actually be a hoax it would need to be presented in a manner that is aimed at producing the impression that water is a dangerous substance. That is the hoax is in the context provided, not in the sentence itself. Taemyr (talk) 14:47, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Indeed, the entire piece about dihydrogen monoxide is only notable in that it is constructed in such a way that every word in it is technically true, not a hoax. That makes it a poor example. Perhaps Porchesia or Upper Peninsula War would be more apt? (talk) 18:01, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
I've suggested Piltdown Man (below), which I just dug up. Hopefully this will advance British science greatly. 2001:5C0:1000:A:0:0:0:5ED (talk) 00:06, 22 November 2014 (UTC)


This policy seems same with WP:MADEUP. The Junk Police (reports|works) 02:00, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Not exactly. I could invent a new widget to stop global warming. It's a real thing so it's not a hoax. But it's unproven and utterly non-notable until I actually take it the the market and get some independent press. A hoax, on the other hand, would be saying that someone else had invented the widget when no such thing exists.
Accusations that something is MADEUP usually have to be resolved by showing significant, independent coverage asserting that the thing meets Wikipedia's generally accepted inclusion criteria. Accusations that something is a HOAX are resolved merely by showing that the thing is true. Rossami (talk) 02:58, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Removal of hoax template[edit]

Suppose the editor who created an article removes the hoax template after only one day, with no other response to the hoax template. What is to be done now? Incidentally, I am not the editor who added the hoax template, but I am the editor who added the copyedit template, twice, and that has been removed, as well. --DThomsen8 (talk) 21:12, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Article talk page hoaxes[edit]

How should hoaxes that appear on the talk page of a legitimate talk page be dealt with? For the case in question, see the "Junk Astronomy" section in

Hoax Section[edit]

It says "...for example, a hoax may have received sustained media attention, been believed by thousands of people including academics, or been believed for many years." I guess we should put the hoax tab at the top of the macrevolution page. (P.S.- don't worry; I'm not entirely serious. Don't send me angry messages.) Invmog (talk) 17:23, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

MoS naming style[edit]

There is currently an ongoing discussion about the future of this and others MoS naming style. Please consider the issues raised in the discussion and vote if you wish GnevinAWB (talk) 20:51, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Hoax adding / breaching[edit]

Do we have a policy or guideline on "breaching" [Edit: (deliberately adding misinformation to test the system)]? I can't find one, and this is the closest I could find. Looking at the page, I can see a few different ideas here, not all of which are the same thing, and many of which, if refactored in the right way, could be redundant. Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 13:31, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

  • Deliberately adding untrue information to Wikipedia constitutes vandalism; and if it's done as a breaching experient in order to test the editors' ability to spot it, then it's also disruption to prove a point. - Mike Rosoft (talk) 15:13, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

Fan death is not a good example[edit]

The guideline lists fan death as an example of a "hoax" on which it is legitimate to write an article, making plain that it's a hoax.

But fan death is not a hoax. It's a mistaken belief. A hoax is a deliberately created mistaken belief; no evidence of such deliberate creation is mentioned in the article.

Dihydrogen monoxide is also a somewhat problematic example, for different reasons: While that one was deliberately instigated, the claims made were, on some literal reading, actually true. The overall impression created in the minds of naive observers was mistaken, so it's a close call, but it would be better to find an example that's more clearly a hoax. --Trovatore (talk) 04:33, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Agreed. The example needs to be an actual hoax intended to wilfully mislead the public or the scientific community, not merely a joke, meme, superstition or clearly-intended reductio ad absurdum of some sort. It also needs to be notable. I therefore suggest removing the existing example text and replacing it with the classic, well-known Piltdown Man scientific hoax, as follows:


For example, this is a hoax:

A memorable and crowded meeting of the Geological Society was held in Burlington House, London, on December 18, to hear a paper read "On the Discovery of a Paleolithic Human Skull and Mandible in a Flint-bearing Gravel overlying the Wealden (Hastings Beds) at Piltdown, Fletching (Sussex),)" by Charles Dawson, F.S.A., F.G.S., and Arthur Smith Woodward, LL.D... Professor G. Elliot Smith was called on to give an account of his investigation on the cast of the cranial cavity, and he pointed out that, while the general shape and size of the brain was human, the arrangement of the meningeal arteries was typically simian, as was a deep notch in the occipital region; he regarded it as the most ape-like human brain of which we have any knowledge... There can be no doubt that this is a discovery of the greatest importance and will give rise to much discussion. It is the nearest approach we have yet reached to a "missing link," for whatever may be the final verdict as to the systemic position of Pithecanthropus erectus, probably few will deny that Eoanthropus Dawsoni is almost if not quite as much human as simian. The recent discoveries of human remains in the Dordogne region and elsewhere are demonstrating that several races of man lived in paleolithic times, and we may confidently look forward to new finds which will throw fresh light upon the evolution of man. [Fan death is not a good example 1]

While this is the start of an article about a hoax:

The Piltdown Man was a paleoanthropological hoax in which bone fragments were presented as the fossilised remains of a previously unknown early human. These fragments consisted of parts of a skull and jawbone, said to have been collected in 1912 from a gravel pit at Piltdown, East Sussex, England. The Latin name Eoanthropus dawsoni ("Dawson's dawn-man", after the collector Charles Dawson) was given to the specimen. The significance of the specimen remained the subject of controversy until it was exposed in 1953 as a forgery, consisting of the lower jawbone of an orangutan deliberately combined with the cranium of a fully developed modern human.


The example should ideally reflect all three criteria which immediately follow:

  • a hoax may have received sustained media attention,
  • been believed by thousands of people including academics, or
  • been believed for many years

I believe Piltdown qualifies well. 2001:5C0:1000:A:0:0:0:5ED (talk) 23:58, 21 November 2014 (UTC)

Yellow check.svg Partly done: Added the bit about Piltdown; which hoax did you intend to replace the fan death superstition? K7L (talk) 14:18, 22 November 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Excerpted from "Eoanthropus dawsoni", A. G. Haddon, Science 1913, as archived at

Vouching for authenticity[edit]

If something is challenged as being a hoax, is it sufficient for an editor to vouch for the authenticity of the event by citing a personal association with that event. For example, somebody challenged the authenticity of a bank robbery committed in 1977. I definitely recall having read about it in the local newspapers at the time - it was headline stuff, but I do not have the references to hand, nor do I plan to do any work on the article. I have put my statements on the AfD page, vouching for authenticity, but leaving it up to the editor concerend to fight the notability battle.

I woudl like to add a comment in the section "Dealing with hoaxes" - " A statement by an editor vouching for the authenticity of a topic need only be backed up with a statement as to where a verifiable source may be found: a full citation is not neccessary to dispell the claim that the article might be a hoax." Martinvl (talk) 10:18, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

That would be a highly controversial addition. The problem is one of trust in a pseudonymous environment. Vandals will frequently attempt to "defend" their hoax by offering false testimony.
A personal testimony from an established and highly-respected editor with a long history of positive contributions and who has demonstrated expertise in the field will get some deference when making an unreferenced claim. The same comment by an anonymous editor or a recently created account will get no deference at all.
The current wording allows other established editors the leeway to judge the credibility of the person making the comment without worrying about the wikilawyering of exact policy wording (another common vandal tactic). I prefer that flexibility. Rossami (talk) 13:49, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Leibniz (unit) hoax, or mathematical humor, or possibly a serious concept[edit]

The Leibniz (unit) article does not sound right to me, but it is entirely possible that I don't know enough to make a judgment, and I am wrong about suspecting a hoax, when it is actually some kind of humor among mathematicians. The sources are not online sources, so I don't know where to look on Memorial Day when the libraries are closed. --DThomsen8 (talk) 22:13, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Since the article was deleted, I suppose I was right, it was a hoax, but it would be nice to have a confirmation. --DThomsen8 (talk) 04:17, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

This should be policy[edit]

Per a request for closure at WP:AN/RFC, this discussion is closed with the consensus that this page should not be marked as policy. -Nathan Johnson (talk) 18:22, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

This should be a policy rather than a mere guideline. While we are at it the work "deliberately" should be taken out of the nutshell. Editors should not even inadvertently create a page about a hoax (unless the hoax is the topic of course). We should be promoting a high standard of editorship. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 02:23, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

  • This should be fairly obvious to all, and anyone violating would be clearly trying to disrupt the project and wouldn't care whether they are violating a specific policy or not. No sensible editor can object to this as a guideline, but I'm not sure making it policy would actually change anything, thus WP:INSTRUCTIONCREEP-like arguments seem to enter here. --LukeSurl t c 00:16, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Absolutely unnecessary as policy. We shouldn't have to say blindingly obvious things. DreamGuy (talk) 18:37, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Already is policy. ~~ Lothar von Richthofen (talk) 03:21, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
Exactly. And theres WP:POINT too, as noted when this was discussed before, above. Close discussion?--Elvey (talk) 11:36, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Indeed, I believe this is well enough covered by common sense *and* by existing policy. --j⚛e deckertalk 00:27, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
  • No, this essay shouldn't be policy, for the reasons LukeSurl stated. I don't think Wikipedia:Vandalism#Page_creation.2C_illegitimate applies, since malice depends on content. Similarly, practical jokes are not (usually) felonies. I think existing processes and common sense will cover the bases. On the other hand, I'd like to see some datamining of our article database to detect possible hoax articles a) by a new editor or several new editors en gang b) citing real, but very new (whois) online sources only c) citing unlinked or offline sources, say books or journals whose existence can't be verified, or title doesn't match the isbn or author, etc. --Lexein (talk) 00:23, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
  • No, this should not be policy. Already covered via other policies and common sense. ScopeCreep; we already have far too many policy pages to be adding to their number for something as obvious as this. One puppy's opinion. KillerChihuahua 19:31, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
  • As has been stated above this already is a policy. This guideline exists to provide further information about a policy. And given that is the purpose this page serves I'd be in favour of it being an information page rather than a guideline, but that's a bit more bureaucracy than is necessary as far as I can see. Callanecc (talkcontribslogs) 23:53, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Existing policy seems to cover this concept sufficiently. Don't see the need to further emphasize this with yet another policy page. Vertium When all is said and done 14:34, 9 March 2013 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Fake Articles Made for Publicity[edit]

The following articles are all fake: Karl Atticus, Culture Shock (film), and Vernon Blake. They were created to trick people into thinking the movie Mortal Remains (2012) was actually a documentary. There is a page by that name (Mortal Remains), but it is primarily about the fake movie. I think any changes I make to the Mortal Remains page changing it to be about the actual movie will just be reversed by its creators. Galloping Gecko (talk) 19:25, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

  • Thank you. All deleted. NawlinWiki (talk) 19:42, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
    • Not to mention the references to Karl Atticus in no less than 10 other articles, all of which were added by IPs from the same range, early this year. Sheesh. NawlinWiki (talk) 19:54, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
  • You're welcome. Thank you for getting them so quickly. I was in the process of figuring out how to mark articles as hoaxes and start the deletion process when I saw you had already deleted them. I had not seen the references to Karl Atticus in other articles. Thank you for getting them as well. Galloping Gecko (talk) 20:07, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

Link To Uncyclopedia[edit]

This has been suggested above, but doesn't have a clear title. I think that this article should provide links to other websites where one can spew bullshit for fun, such as Uncyclopedia.

Glen is too quick to judge. Do a little research, Glen[edit]

Glen is very, very, wrong! Time will show this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by VincentDrakeSilvano (talkcontribs) 16:02, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 8 May 2015[edit]

I request that you take a look at the information provided not only from my resources but Wikipedia (see Binghamton Mets) as well. If you look up the Binghamton Mets, you will see that the organization was INDEED in existence and founded in 1962. Was a "double A" affiliate in 1981 and became part of the Eastern division NY Mets in 1987. Although I played for a double A organization, I like to believe that it would be proper to call it the NY Mets. If they weren't part of the NY Mets, in 1981, than I stand corrected and would go on to say that I played for a double a team in Binghamton, NY.

Thank You

Vincent Godino 05:24, 8 May 2015 (UTC)

  • You have to provide reliable sources that can be verified. Nothing that you provided in the article could be verified and a search brought up absolutely nothing to substantiate the claims. It also doesn't help that in the AfD someone pointed out that your name did not come up in a search in at Baseball Reference. Just saying that you did this isn't enough. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 05:27, 8 May 2015 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 12 September 2015[edit]

Please revert this edit to the bit about the Piltdown Man, which added the line ending "inserting this text into a Wikipedia article would be a violation of Wikipedia guidelines".

This addition changes the meaning of the text significantly. Wikipedia does not claim the Piltdown Man to be a valid paleontological specimen. Wikipedia does, however, have every right to quote the Dawson paper, the Science (1913) piece or other contemporaneous sources as evidence that Dawson presented the Piltdown artefact as if it were real, and as evidence that his contemporaries accepted this as science instead of questioning it diligently at the time. Of course, a comprehensive article would both cite the 1913 piece which swallowed this as fact and the later 1953 revelations of fossil tampering, a composite of more than one fossil or other indicia which exposed Piltdown as a hoax. We don't necessarily have to agree with the hoax, just acknowledge that the text fooled the scientific community of the day. Pulling the historic quote from the article (even if we later expose it as wrong, Dewey defeats Truman style) would leave it incomplete, and Wikipedia would be the lesser for it. 2001:5C0:1000:A:0:0:0:443 (talk) 23:36, 12 September 2015 (UTC)

X mark.svg Not done I think you are missing the point - if Wikipedia had existed in 1930, it would have been perfectly valid to include the first example, as it was not known, at the time, to be a hoax.
However, now it is known to have been a hoax, inserting the first example, "presents a hoax as if it was factual; as such, inserting this text into a Wikipedia article would be a violation of Wikipedia guidelines" - I can't see anything wrong with that analysis, it clearly "presents a hoax as if it was factual" and "would be a violation of Wikipedia guidelines" - the point is that the first example leaves it standing as fact, without any mention of a hoax, the second refers to the hoax - Arjayay (talk) 15:56, 13 September 2015 (UTC)

RfC at Talk:Drop bear[edit]

I've been off the radar for a while and forget the proper process to ask for comments.

Would like some additional input to Talk:Drop bear.

Aside from some general cleanup teh article could do with I really detest the phrasing of "fictitious marsupial" that has stood there quite a while. I have offered up legendary creature and hoax animal as more parse-able alternatives but have been contested that I am trying to hide the fact that these creatures are not real. To me legendary creatures (akin to jackalopes and hoop snakes) are not real, that is what that phrase means and should directly suggest to anyone with basic English reading skills.

"Fictitious" on the other hand suggests (to me) that they are a feature in fictional works (e.g. Blinky Bill or Gumnut babies) rather than a form of oral folklore tradition without any codified body of work (Tall tales).

Happy to work with consensus. Thanks in advance.--ZayZayEM (talk) 02:44, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

A necessary consequence?[edit]

The article reads: is indeed possible to insert hoaxes into Wikipedia, just as it is possible to insert profanity. This is a necessary consequence of being a free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.
The word "necessary" is ambiguous. It can be deleted or replaced by "inevitable" for emphasis. Is this correct? (talk) 21:47, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

Done. Callanecc (talkcontribslogs) 03:38, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
Thank You. (talk) 12:28, 13 July 2016 (UTC)

Yet another suggestion: add a 'confidence index' on each article[edit]

Since a hoax / bad contribution cannot be prevented, IMHO, it would be better to give the reader an idea about the quality of an article. A 'confidence index' could be easily be generated from the age of the article, the amount and diversity of the sources, the contributors, their own ancestry/history, etc. A big visual (e.g. with a note from 1 to 100 with a color read to green) would immediately show the reader how 'good' the article might be. Some article already contains some manually put warnings, other the get the star to indicate very good article. This can stay at it is now, the 'confidence index' shall be something on top of that. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:20, 13 February 2017 (UTC)