Wikipedia is the largest encyclopedia or “general reference work” in the history of humankind. With 13 million articles, it’s by far the largest single source of voluntarily compiled information in the known universe. It’s the best encyclopedia we’ve got. But it’s not always accurate.
Anyone with access to the site can edit its article. That means its entries can fall prey to foul play or just good old, innocuous mischief.
Often the most inaccurate articles are those whose content is most controversial. Good examples include articles whose subjects are passionately disputed like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or even Argentina’s Dirty War. In these cases, critics of one side or the other will login to Wikipedia and edit articles to reflect their particular point of view, often distorting the truth and altering the facts.
But sometimes the distortions are more playful. On Friday night, while writing up a story about the the Kirchner government and soccer, a colleague of mine checked Wikipedia for information about Club Atlético River Plate, one of Argentina’s largest soccer clubs. Here’s what he found in Wikipedia’s article on River Plate:
“River Plate is the rival of the BEST team in Argentina, BOCA JUNIORS. River Plate are known to cry like little Bitches every time they lose. Their fans are also known as the most gay in Argentina. FUCK river, BOCA es lo mas grande que hay!!!”
I’ll leave it up to you to determine the veracity of that statement.
By Saturday afternoon the issue had become a moot point. Wikipedia’s article had already been edited back to normal.
But for a few moments at least on Friday, Boca was ahead, way ahead, thanks to a point scored by one of its fans on the virtual world’s field of truth.