Bizarre details on Nadia Bartel's Wikipedia page remain unchanged for MONTHS despite being completely untrueBy…
There is a long history of vandalism on Wikipedia surrounding sporting events, but the last thing here seems particularly unusual as it has no real connection to the news or the obvious jokes. It would be a modification of the USC Trojans Football page, which listed former Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis (seen above left during his last Bengals press conference in 2019) as coach by acting USC for most of the day on Tuesday. (The actual interim coach is Donte Williams, seen right above, who took on the role on September 13 following the dismissal of Clay Helton. And he has a current record of 3-3, unlike the 2-1 shown on his page or the 2-1 listed for Lewis on the USC page.) Here’s a screenshot of that page from 5:30 p.m. Eastern Tuesday, more than three hours after the change took been carried out from Williams to Lewis (see more discussion on this below; you can also click to embiggen the screenshot):
Lewis is currently a special advisor to the head coach (Herm Edwards) at Arizona State. And while he did make some slight news on Monday (he and his former NFL head coach Jeff Fisher were named 2022 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl head coaches), it’s unclear why anyone would want the 2022 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl head coach. ” register as a current head coach with USC. He did not play for USC (he played at Idaho State), and while he coached at college from 1981 to 1991 at Idaho State, Long Beach State, N. Mexico and Pittsburgh, he never coached at USC. And he hasn’t really been around the coach-seeking rumors lately, especially not at the college level. But, in accordance with Wikipedia’s convenient change history feature, an anonymous user made this change at 2:19 p.m. Coordinated Universal Time (UTC, GMT-0, the time zone used by Wikipedia; this translates to 10:00 a.m. 19 EST), and unilaterally put Lewis in the interim role of HC at USC.
What’s also great about Wikipedia is that they provide the IP address even for those who edit without logging in, and you can see other posts from that address. In this particular case, this is the only item the person has touched (as an unconnected user from that specific IP address; IP addresses may change and people may use different IP addresses). And the WhoIs and WhatIsMyIPAddress searches both put this IP address in Southeast Virginia (one says Portsmouth, the other says Norfolk). IP geo-search is often not accurate, as these results indicate, but it at least gives an idea of where a person is from. It’s unclear why someone in Virginia felt the need to swap Lewis for Williams on the USC Football page, but they apparently did.
Interestingly enough, a much more regular Wikipedia editor also touched on this page later on Tuesday. But they haven’t changed the Lewis part of the page, maybe because they haven’t noticed. That editor is Pvmoutside, who does a lot of work moving “future opponents” to current CFB team pages, and that’s all they’ve done here (at 5:10 p.m. ET).
Of course, that’s not the most important thing in the world. As noted above, Wikipedia vandalism happens and usually doesn’t last too long before someone fixes it. And that’s not a particularly impactful change on Wikipedia; no one is going to think Lewis is the head coach of USC because of it, unless they have a legitimate idea of who is in that role and do no further research. Compared to some of the real giant issues that have surfaced on Wikipedia over the years, such as Joe Streater being falsely attached to the Boston College stitches shaving scandal and many news organizations going on to cite this as a fact, these are small potatoes.
But just like some of the fun that can come from tracking Wikipedia edits from government accounts (see some US, UK, and Canadian examples), it’s interesting to see what people care about changing on the site. And it’s fascinating that someone in Virginia took the time to go to the USC Football page and name Lewis as their interim coach, and apparently did so without any particular news about USC football (other than the former trainer Clay Helton getting the Georgia Southern job) or Lewis (other than news of his Collegiate Bowl gig on Monday).
At 5:50 p.m. EST, Lewis was still listed as USC’s interim coach on this page. We’ll update this post when someone corrects interim USC coach from Lewis to Williams.
Update: This was finally corrected at 3:04 a.m. UTC Wednesday, or 11:04 p.m. EST Tuesday night, by another anonymous user who appears to be in Guam. Our hats are pulling them.
[Wikipedia; Lewis photo from Cara Owsley, The Cincinnati Enquirer via USA Today Sports, Williams photo from Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports]