Wikipedia's 'Goan war' unmasked as elaborate hoax

Jan 08, 2013
It went undetected for five years on Wikipedia, but now a seemingly meticulous entry about a 17th century conflict between colonial Portugal and India's Maratha empire has been outed as a hoax.

It went undetected for five years on Wikipedia, but now a seemingly meticulous entry about a 17th century conflict between colonial Portugal and India's Maratha empire has been outed as a hoax.

"The Bicholim Conflict" of 1640-41, described in detail in the online piece assessed as a "good article", has been unearthed not as an episode of Goan history, but a tale by a mischievous user.

Added to the site in July 2007, the entry was only uncovered as a lie by another eagle-eyed user in December.

"After careful consideration and some research, I have come to the conclusion that this article is a —a clever and elaborate hoax," wrote user "ShelfSkewed", who found the sources cited also did not exist.

The fantasy conflict has been added to Wikipedia's list of hoaxes that have dogged the site since it was founded in 2001, such as non-existent Bunaka and Gaius Flavius Antoninus, supposed assassin of .

"Fictitious war between the Portuguese rulers of Goa and the Maratha Empire which supposedly took place from mid-1640 to early 1641," says the new reference.

Wikipedia, which has editions in 285 languages, is open for anyone to edit and therefore "can be abused to create hoaxes", according to the site.

"Hoaxes in are considered vandalism, and persistent perpetrators of hoaxes are subject to blocking and banning."

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User comments : 8

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alfie_null
not rated yet Jan 08, 2013
added to Wikipedia's list of hoaxes

It's a long list. Ranked by how long the page existed. It would be interesting if they could rank the list by the number of times each page had been viewed.
rah
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 08, 2013
OMG! Of Course! The Bicholim Conflict was in 1460-61! Duh.
phorbin
5 / 5 (1) Jan 08, 2013
I'm waiting for the Bollywood movie replete with heroes, villains and the comic clown.

Wikipedia however, should keep all the articles deemed hoaxes as a viewable part of the public record in an encyclopedia of wiki-hoaxes because it's just possible that a hoax can be perpetrated by a reviewer.
grondilu
5 / 5 (1) Jan 08, 2013
Makes me think about a blog writer who once wrote that the possibility to rewrite history was one of the ten most dangerous consequences of digital technologies.
kochevnik
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 08, 2013
That's nothing. Wikipedia maintains the absurd story that a goatherder living in a cave orchestrated a takeover of NORAD halfway around the world. Wikipedia simply copies Silverstien's [Mr. 'PULL IT'] POV as they do any victor of the spoils. Wikipedia is just another US propaganda tool playing poverty while rifling through their CIA slush fund behind closed doors.
Claudius
3 / 5 (4) Jan 08, 2013
"History is a set of lies agreed upon."

Napoleon Bonaparte
kochevnik
5 / 5 (1) Jan 09, 2013
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. - H. L. Mencken
VendicarD
5 / 5 (1) Jan 09, 2013
Pretty good as hoax's go, but no where near as impressive as the Hoax that was the Bush Presidency.