Wikipedia fudges the truth for April Fools' Day

Normally, Wikipedia doesn't have much tolerance for hijinks. April 1 is an exception.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia might not take too kindly to pranks any other day of the year , but the anyone-can-edit encyclopedia sure had some fun with April Fools' Day.

The site revamped its "On This Day" section with events that actually did happen on April 1, but with the wording cleverly tweaked to make them sound ridiculous. "(In 1969) The British-born model Hawker Siddeley Harrier was introduced at a Royal Air Force event, becoming the only one in the 1960s to successfully perform on a short runway," Wikipedia's front page read. The Hawker Siddeley Harrier is actually an airplane, not a vintage Derek Zoolander.

Another one: in 1970, "the first of over 670,000 gremlins was released into North America." That is, of course, referring to the AMC Gremlin, a subcompact car.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia also April Fool-ified its featured article of the day, the biography of "Ima Hogg." Typically, a few paragraphs of the featured article are displayed on the front page. "Raised in government housing, young Ima frolicked among a backyard menagerie of raccoons, possums, and a bear," the fanciful Wikipedia front page read. "Her father, 'Big Jim' Hogg, in an onslaught against fun itself, booby-trapped the banisters she loved to slide down, shut down her money-making schemes, and forced her to pry chewing gum from furniture. He was later thrown from his seat on a moving train and perished; the Hogg clan then struck black gold on land Big Jim had forbidden them from selling."

The Beverly Hillbillies-esque teaser is fake, but clicking on the "article of the day" link does go to the Wikipedia article for the real Ima Hogg, who managed to get past her embarrassing name to become a prominent Houston-based philanthropist and patron of the arts in the first half of the 20th century.

Whoever wrote the fake Ima Hogg bio might want to think about pursuing a career in screenwriting. It sounds more amusing than any of the movies I've seen recently...

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About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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