back to article Independent bigs up the 'Wanky Balls festival'

It is a truthiness universally acknowledged that a single journalist should not use Wikipedia as a source without independently checking its veracity. Nevertheless, examples of howling wikifacts make it to print with unerring frequency, with the result that such errors are now largely ignored as "dog bites man" tales of the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A long time ago...

    ...way before there was a Wikipedia a journalist told me "the internet is a mine of information, much of it wrong". These days I think you could probably replace the word much with most. And yet many journos still treat anything they find on the net as gospel.

    The worst thing is the cyclic citation. Do research on some Wikipedia articles and you will find that the citations point to other online sources, which point to others and so on eventually back to the original Wikipedia article. I wonder what the lowest hop count is at the moment. Probably 2.

  2. TeeCee Gold badge

    @Whoever did that.

    Thank you for brightening up a really shitty day!

    I'm so pleased that I'll let you off the cost of the keyboard.

  3. Aron


    The "Independent" haha

    1. Mike Richards

      Don't knock the Indy

      After all they identified el Reg as a hotbed of lesbian Internetitude.

      1. LinkOfHyrule
        Paris Hilton

        I get all my...

        I get all my lesbian stories from el Reg (and to be fair, I also get all my transvestites having sex with dogs in ditches stories from here to!) and all my wanky balls stories from the independent!

        I wouldn't have it any other way I can tell you!

        Paris, naturally!

  4. Adam Salisbury

    I am fulminating so violently I cannot muster a title

    It's vexing to say the least, to see decades of repeating to users not to trust the interwebs ever is having absolutely no effect whatsoever!!

    The only thing more worrying point about this story is that it shows how the newspapers and the rest of mainstream media are just as unreliable as Wikipedia.

    Whom can one trust now half the media is owned by Murdoch and other half have been proven to be idiots, liars or both??


    1. PerfectBlue

      Two halves?

      "Whom can one trust now half the media is owned by Murdoch and other half have been proven to be idiots, liars or both??"

      Didn't you just describe the same "half" twice?

      Wikipedia is probably more reliable than most of Murdoch's rags. At least it occasionally cites its sources, which is one step beyond Murdoch's crew.

  5. Ol'Peculier
    Thumb Up


    Finally, one of my tip-offs makes it to ElReg

    1. LinkOfHyrule

      Well done!

      Congrats on your "red hot tip"

  6. Lottie

    but now

    it's in a newspaper, it can be rewritten on Wiki with the indie as a source.

    ctrl+c then ctrl+v That's Journalism!

  7. f1rest0rm

    Dean Macey

    One of my current favourites ...."Dean Macey has never married. He is fond of cats."

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge


      This is exactly what I was thinking. I thought that wiki's rules for sources basically amounted to "if it's in print, or it's on teh intarwebs somewhere then we can use at as a Wikipedia source." So in this case, someone defaces a Wikipedia page, which then makes it into a newspaper which can be used as an "accurate and reliable source" to keep the defamation on the Wikipedia page thus....


      I don't know, honestly. Inventing a "fact?" Is there even a word for that kind of information manipulation? This is why I honestly believe that trusting Wikipedia is as bad as reading a history book without keeping the axiom "history is written by the victors" in the back of your mind. Filtering bias from crowd sourced information is bloody near impossible.

      Primary sources, please. I'll make my judgements as to the reliability of the information I receive based on the reputations of the individuals and organisations that perform the original research. For the record, “The Independent” has proven itself to no longer be high on my list of reputable resources…

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge


        I should have phrased that differently. "For the record, “The Independent” has proven itself to no longer be high on my list of reputable resources…" is incorrect. It implied The Independent was at one point high on my list of reputable resources. I really hadn't heard of it until now, so that would be impossible. It's gone from "unknown resource" to "shite" in a short timeframe however.

      2. Gene Poole
        Thumb Up

        Is there even a word for that kind of information manipulation?

        Yes, it's called "Politics"

  8. Lee Thirteen
    Thumb Up

    I bet they sponsor it next year

    The Independent Wanky Balls Festival 2011.

    Has a nice ring to it :-D

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Independent Wanky Balls Festival 2011

      I am soooo there!

      <--Happy ball icon

      1. LinkOfHyrule

        woah "hang" about...

        woah "hang" about you forgot the other ball!

        <---- Don't worry, here it is!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It was called Wanky Balls - I was there.

    Did you check that there wasn't a Wanky Balls fest?

    Now that would be rather ironic if you have based the article based on someone's blog and it never even appeared in the newspaper

    1. Richard 81

      Nonsense feedback

      That would result in all heads at Castle El Reg. exploding in some kind of nonsense feedback loop.

  10. Richard C.

    Citable source?

    Can Wikipedia now include the Indy's article as a citable source and therefore reinclude the "Wanky Balls" mention, after all, a major newspaper did state it...

  11. MontyMole


    Now that it's in the Independent, it could be cited as a source and kept in Wikipeida forever.

  12. foo_bar_baz
    Jobs Horns

    Hand in geek cards, now

    17 posts and nobody has done a whois lookup on the now-banned IP from which the offending edit was made.

    <-- hint

  13. Someone Else Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Ahh, the pressure of deadlines...

    Good to see that it leads to the same sort of shortcuts in other "industries" as well.

  14. Pat 11

    I went

    It *was* a load of wanky balls.

  15. Xris M
    Big Brother


    Unfortunatley it seems that Dean Macey is no longer fond of cats.

    Seeing as it was corrected only half an hour after you pointed it out, I would be careful what you say in the future.

  16. John H Woods

    Don't think this is new ...

    ... in fact it's the Internet that helps us find out that these things are false.

    My ol' dad, who was a sociable type, knew people who had every different kind of expertise under the sun. He observed that anyone remotely knowledgeable about subject X would tell you that most of what was written about X in the press was completely false. As this seemed to be true for a very large set of X, he concluded that most of what was written in the press was completely false.

    In the old days when stupid stuff like this was printed, it was much less easy to challenge it.

  17. blackworx


    He (for how could it be otherwise) also made a few other illuminating edits, such as:

  18. Rob 9

    Kat Arney

    Kat is also one of the Naked Scientists ( and a very clever lady. I listen to their podcast every week (it comes out of Cambridge Uni) and it is always entertaining and informative. The most entertaining part is listening to them stumble around the pronunciation of the American Medical Journal P.N.A.S.

    1. Marvin the Martian


      PNAS is not a medical journal, is general science (which includes a fraction biomedical, of course). As the name says, "proceedings of the national academy of science"...

      1. Rob 9

        wanky balls to your title

        Well, ok - I was just going from my memory, which is famously bad. :)

  19. william henderson 1

    wanky balls

    wasn't he a government minister?

  20. Anonymous Coward

    But I thought...

    it was the Daily Wail which published all the Wanky Balls articles?

    1. mittfh

      Daily Wail

      Nah, the Daily Wail would just run a front page headline screaming that Wanky Balls cause cancer... does reading rival newspapers, using Facebook, using electric nights when you take a leak at night, eating any form of meat, using any household chemical, touching plastic bottles, going on HRT, or any other activity which humanity didn't do 10,000 years ago.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wiki Balls

    Has it occurred to anybody that journalism works on the principal that if you get information from a single source then it's OK to print it.

    Now of course we went to war on the same principal. A single source told the government that Iraq had WMD and we went to war on that basis. Now who was Tony's favourite advisor at the time and what was his previous profession? So did we have years of the country being run on the same principals as a Fleet Street paper?

    If his Tonyness was still in power would we now be living in a country run on the say so of "facts" found on Wikipedia.

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