Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wikipedia Case Study: Jon Stewart, Batman, and the Battle of Nerds

Last night on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart admit to Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales that he is, in fact, Batman.

True Comic Book fans know this is nonsense; the Ragman is the REAL Jewish superhero stalking the steets of Gotham City at night.
"What a nerd."
Of course, this was all meant to raise the ongoing question of Wikipedia's accuracy; Jon Stewart was really posing the question: "How quickly and for how long will my article be 'updated' on Wikipedia after the Daily Show airs me saying that I'm Batman?"

Seeing as I was at my computer, I decided to investigate for myself.

Back in the Civil War, people would occasionally picnic near a battlefield to watch the spectacle of war. Morbid, but that's what happens when there's no TV.

I decided to have a modern picnic and click "refresh" repeatedly on Jon's page, watching the Battle of the Nerds play out!

On one side: those fighting to keep Wikipedia's factual integrity.
On the other side: People saying that Jon Stewart is not Batman. errr... yes...
It was truly nerd vs. brother nerd.

Now, YOU can watch the Wiki-Battle in real time too! On 1/25/2011, it all went like this....

11:24 PM
Jon Stewart jokes that he is Batman. Third Strike navigates to his Wikipedia page within seconds.

11:26 PM
Jon Stewart is Batman in both his picture and the first paragraph of his article.

11:28 PM
Jon Stewart is no longer Gotham City's Dark Knight anywhere on the Wiki page.

11:29 PM
Jon Stewart is" not to be confused with Batman".

11:29 PM
Jon Stewart is not... not to be confused with Batman; he IS Batman again.

11:32 PM
Jon Stewart's Wikipedia page is locked due to vandalism.

SO, in conclusion: the War of the Nerds ended in a quick eight minutes.
In under ten minutes, truth prevails. Yes... unless the truth is that Jon Stewart IS Batman.

Secondary findings: I am not the only person who needs a life.
But as I say... better to be watching the war from a picnic than to be fighting in it.