Woman Writes Fake Russian History on Wikipedia for Over a Decade before Being Caught

Woman Writes Fake Russian History on Wikipedia for Over a Decade before Being Caught

One of the more bizarre Wikipedia edit tales in recent memory is as follows: Over the period of a decade, someone has been adding wholly fictitious events and historical characters to the Chinese-language Wikipedia’s entry on Russian history. Even though it’s amusing to make fun of Wikipedia, the publicly editable online encyclopedia really seems to be rather accurate most of the time (99.5 percent accurate on the topic of drugs, according to one study). You may use your own investigation by following the citations even if you don’t believe a specific assertion, or you can use your own skepticism when you see the old “citation needed” indication.

A fantasy author named Yifan visited Wikipedia to get some historical inspiration while writing a book. He discovered a page on the 40,000-person Kashen Silver Mine, which he felt would be a goldmine of information for his book. He said on Zhihu, “I had an excellent eye to show it to a group of friends after finding this information, and then I identified the problem.

After some investigation, his buddies informed him that there was no such thing as the Kashen Silver Mine. They quickly learned by looking into the person who established the page that the Chinese language revisions of Russian history pages that she had modified were frequently far lengthier and more in-depth than their Russian language equivalents. This, it would soon be revealed, was due to the fact that she had made up many of the specifics, incidents, and characters. In order to attain authenticity, characters that do not appear in the English-Russian Wiki are placed into historical personalities on the Chinese Wiki, according to Yifan. “A protracted Moscow-Tver battle over the nonexistent Kashin Silver Mine” was one of them.

The pages, which have since been removed along with the editor’s accounts, were both factual and thorough. As she is known, Zhemao utilized many accounts to produce these bogus posts or embellish actual ones with false information, sometimes to give her false submissions a more credible appearance. Since at least January 17, 2010, the revisions have been ongoing for more than ten years. According to a Wikipedia inquiry into the hoax, “At this time, the community has confirmed that User: The studious rookie started to distort the history of the Qing Dynasty and modern Russian history in 2010.” It appears that she started to embellish the Russian Empire’s history in 2015.

Wikipedia writers have made a deliberate attempt to clean up the wreckage the hoax has left behind, but they are concerned that the fake material may have crept into other entries beyond the 200 that Zhemao authored or modified. She describes herself as a full-time homemaker who started by translating documents from Russian to Chinese before “blindly” making up material to fill in the blanks. Zhemao quoted page numbers from actual books as well as nonexistent publications to support her assertions.

“As the phrase goes, you have to tell more lies in order to tell a lie. I was hesitant to remove the hundreds of thousands of words I had written, which led to the loss of millions of words and the dissolution of a group of academic friends “Zhemao apologized to Wikipedia in English in the letter. She responded to the question of motivation and specifics by saying, “Responding to motivation and details: The biggest incentive is to truly want to learn, so to learn from other people.

“It’s difficult for me to make up for the harm I’ve created, so perhaps the only choice is a lifetime ban. My current skill set is insufficient to support myself, therefore in the future I’ll acquire a trade, work honestly, and stop engaging in pointless activities like this.” Zhemao stated that she wouldn’t use a VPN to circumvent the prohibition. She said that “I am about to give birth, and my family is under significant financial strain,” making it impossible to manage her time to amend Wikipedia with additional made-up information.