Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

News reports have said that British television and radio presenter Vernon Kay has been forced to state that he is not dead after an editor to the free content encyclopedia Wikipedia posted inaccurate claims that he was dead.

He said that “I am alive and kicking. A few friends rang to check that I was all right. I wish I was on a yacht in Greece,” in response to the claims.

After seeing these reports, Wikinews decided to investigate these edits further.

Wikinews learned that the first of these edits was made by a user contributing from the IP address The IP address was from the United Kingdom and used by a user of the Virgin Media internet service.

The IP address added the claim at 10:05 UTC on September, 13 2008. They claimed that “Vernon Kay sadly passed away after falling off a yacht on Holiday in Greece.”

The next user to add to the claims was contributing from the IP address, which was also from the United Kingdom and used by a user of the Virgin Media internet service. This user claimed that “his funeral will be held on Friday the 19th of September in Bolton,” in addition to expanding on the report of his death.

At 11:11 UTC, over one hour after the claim was initially made, a new user, who identified himself as Woody55, removed the claims that he was dead, saying that Kay is “not dead.”

Just six minutes later, however, the claims were re-added. An edit war then took place with several contributors adding and removing the complaints over the next few days. The article was protected by a Wikipedia administrator from editing by new and anonymous users.