Greenlighting hoax revealed August 1, 2005 10:03 AM   Subscribe

Silly Metafilter, you fell for the hoax! Thankfully, this guy figured it out.
posted by mullacc to MetaFilter-Related at 10:03 AM (63 comments total)

Not sure if this should've posted this here, but it made me laugh so I figured it should go somewhere (and obviously not as a MeFi FPP).
posted by mullacc at 10:05 AM on August 1, 2005

I'm pretty sure most people in that thread were leaning towards it being a hoax all along. MeFites are not renowned for their gullibility...
posted by benzo8 at 10:11 AM on August 1, 2005

This is exactly where it should be. But did we really "fall for it"?
posted by If I Had An Anus at 10:11 AM on August 1, 2005

Is it wrong that I was hoping this was another thread about Shouting?
posted by yhbc at 10:12 AM on August 1, 2005

(Yes, I added an entry on myself to Wikipedia. Why haven't you?)

*splorts coffee*

What benzo8 said. Would've been nice for Cyrus to mention that many MeFites quickly figured out it was a hoax. Of course, that might have interfered with all the self-aggrandizing he was doing, so perhaps it's understandable.
posted by mediareport at 10:13 AM on August 1, 2005

Ha! Ha! We Suck!
posted by Balisong at 10:14 AM on August 1, 2005

Of course we didn't fall for it. But a quick reading of the Slate article almost makes it sound like MetaFilter was buying it and Cyrus dug deep to find out that it was fake all along.
posted by mullacc at 10:15 AM on August 1, 2005

I dunno, I wore my green polo to the coffee shop the other day and the barista showed me naked photos of herself...
posted by sciurus at 10:20 AM on August 1, 2005

scuirus-That barista was me...and I'm not a woman...and I'm colorblind.
posted by OmieWise at 10:24 AM on August 1, 2005

We didn't fall for it. I thought the consensus from the thread was that the brand-new site had to be a self-link, to someone trying to make up another meme like "toothing".
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:25 AM on August 1, 2005

The thread in question. The site is called a hoax in the 2nd comment.
posted by mediareport at 10:31 AM on August 1, 2005

Suddenly it's meh o'clock.

If anyone here fell for it, they were probably the minority.
posted by loquacious at 10:34 AM on August 1, 2005

From the article: Yes, I added an entry on myself to Wikipedia. Why haven't you?

Because that would be a vanity page and is generally frowned on there?
posted by grouse at 10:35 AM on August 1, 2005

Somehow I'm not surprised that the sort of person who would add an entry about himself to Wikipedia is the same sort of person who would ignore any evidence that anyone was able to uncover a hoax before he was.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:43 AM on August 1, 2005

Metafilter is one person? Or does saying 'this is a hoax' mean 'I totally beleive this and so does everybody else here' in youngpersonspeak these days?

Yes, I added an entry on myself to Wikipedia. Why haven't you? Because I'm not quite a complete and utter wanker just yet...
posted by i_cola at 10:49 AM on August 1, 2005

It all started on the weekend of July 4, when I spotted a discussion on the Web site Metafilter about how a new fad called "greenlighting" was a hoax.

Wow, great detective work, dude, reading all the way to jonson's comment and all!
posted by soyjoy at 10:55 AM on August 1, 2005

Let the games begin. His Wiki page now starts "Cyurs Farviar is an assistant editor at Macworld magazine and is a heroin addict living in Oakland, CA."
posted by mediareport at 11:02 AM on August 1, 2005

Is this guy a MeFi member?
posted by bshort at 11:05 AM on August 1, 2005

[Um, just for the record, I didn't change his Wiki page, nor do I endorse silly edits to Wiki pages - even ones that are clearly inappropriate.]
posted by mediareport at 11:06 AM on August 1, 2005

A lot of it originated from my own Wikipedia entry. (Yes, I added an entry on myself to Wikipedia. Why haven't you?)

Really? Is this encouraged by the Wikipedia folks? Seems like it would be an awful mess if everyone did this.
posted by knave at 11:15 AM on August 1, 2005

he didn't even have to go any further than the MeTa Link about 50 posts down.

what a douche.
posted by Hat Maui at 11:16 AM on August 1, 2005

knave, read my first comment on this post.
posted by grouse at 11:18 AM on August 1, 2005

Better than vandalizing his Wikipedia page, why not leave a comment on his blog?
posted by mr_roboto at 11:29 AM on August 1, 2005

What I find interesting about this, after a moment of reflection, is that his Slate article is essentially about the thing that he is in fact doing...using the internet to have a bit of fun and promote yourself. Only when other people do it he doesn't like it, and he writes a narrative about it where he's some kind of big hero. But, essentially, this guy didn't do jack, I'm not sure if he's a member of MeFi, but he read the thread here (which no one was really taken in by), and then he parlayed that into a blog entry of his own, he inserted himself into the wikipedia entry (which might have been justified if he really believed in keeping Wikipedia pure for the masses, but it's clear from his vanity page that he doesn't), and he got some kind of paycheck from Slate. If the tone of the last had been different, say wistful or amused or detached but knowing, I might have felt better about the whole thing, but as it stands, I feel used. USED. And I didn't even contribute to the thread or the MeTa thread.
posted by OmieWise at 11:30 AM on August 1, 2005

In trying to undo the damage Cyrus might have caused by encouraging everyone to write their own Wikipedia pages, I went to the Fray, only to find that you can only participate by joining the MS Passport Network. How long have they been doing *that*? Ugh. Anyway, someone's already posted about the issue, but I'd encourage folks to email him (cfarivar @ and his Slate editors to try to minimize the spread of Cyrus' own little less-than-accurate Web meme. On preview, posting a comment at his site sounds good, too.
posted by mediareport at 11:48 AM on August 1, 2005

A new, untouched user account created a couple of weeks ago.

And I can't figure out why a search of user pages for "cyrus" comes up with this empty one.

posted by nobody at 11:55 AM on August 1, 2005

The main-paragraph on the wikipedia vanity page is currently very sly, perhaps not even vandalism:
Cyrus practices a form of celebratory journalism that has proved rather successful, embracing the personal narrative style of Sarah Vowell or even Thomas Friedman. However, it can appear to be a bit self-aggrandizing at times, and sometimes seems to trump actual journalism. For instance, this Slate article mis-states its fundamental premise - that a significant number of people (even at MetaFilter) were fooled by the Greenlighter hoax. The remainder of the story recounts the trouble that he got into by debunking said hoax. This sort of vanity journalism reaches its apex in the creation of this very page; that it originated as a Vanity Page is admitted in the very same article.
posted by nobody at 12:03 PM on August 1, 2005

Yeah, I emailed Slate. Drop in the bucket, but I felt dirty too. Weird.
posted by rainbaby at 12:20 PM on August 1, 2005

FYI, I relisted the page at Wikipedia for deletion, given the following beliefs of mine:

- While writing your own page isn't banned per se, writing it yourself is frowned upon without a doubt (see the Wikipedia page about vanity pages).
- Vanity pages have the single-editor problem -- that is to say, pages that are about little-known subjects necessarily don't have enough people to credibly edit them, something on which Wikipedia depends in order to remain useful and credible.
- As stated on the vanity pages entry, fame (or notability, even) doesn't guarantee the meaningfulness of a page, so regardless of how much someone's written or done, if there's nothing interesting or meaningful there, then the page should be deleted.

Feel free to weigh in as you wish. The Wikipedia is only as good as its users make it!
posted by delfuego at 12:28 PM on August 1, 2005

So... Cyrus is now pulling a hoax of his own, by claiming that he's the one who determined/decided that greenlighting was a prank?
posted by five fresh fish at 12:28 PM on August 1, 2005

I disavow all knowledge of this incident.
Thank You.

There's a reason I have this stupid surname tacked on to my handle...
posted by cyrusdogstar at 12:44 PM on August 1, 2005

Seemed like a load of crap from the git go. Though I've found if I walk around with a handfull of green paper, many women offer to make themselves available to spend time with me in exchange for some of the paper.

But why do they call if a "red light district"?
posted by fenriq at 12:48 PM on August 1, 2005

I just wanted to add that I am reading this thread at work, as I sort through clients' passport photos, and I just opened a set to find a picture of one client wearing... a green polo shirt. I laughed.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:50 PM on August 1, 2005

A while ago I read that Wikipedia has 600,000 entries while Encyclopaedia Britannica only has 65,000. Now I know why.
posted by Termite at 12:56 PM on August 1, 2005

I'm going to echo Hat Maui from above: What a douche.

For comparison, though, which is the worse article, the Slate article in question, or this Washington Post article in which loquacious is quoted?
posted by gramschmidt at 1:00 PM on August 1, 2005

I've never seen a wikipedia page change like this - what fun!
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:22 PM on August 1, 2005

MetaFilter: When you expose an Internet sex hoax, there are going to be consequences.
posted by voltairemodern at 1:28 PM on August 1, 2005


posted by voltairemodern at 1:30 PM on August 1, 2005

Pfft.... spoilsport.
posted by Gable Oak at 1:31 PM on August 1, 2005

I suspect that the existence of the current wiki paragraph
Farivar gained some small degree of Internet infamy in August 2005 from a piece in the online magazine Slate in which he details his own participation in debunking an Internet-based prank that attempted to fool the mass media into covering a ficticious [sic] practice called "greenlighting." In the article he also boasted about creating an entry about himself on Wikipedia ("Yes, I added an entry on myself to Wikipedia. Why haven't you?"), which led to a debate about the validity of this very page.
nullifies the "single-editor" problem and the "is this worth it" problem. This is interesting because if Cfarivar deletes the paragraph (as he earlier today deleted one of its more snide incarnations), then the page slips back into being deletion-worthy.
posted by nobody at 2:06 PM on August 1, 2005

We know.

And I suspect the author of the post knew when he posted it, too.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 2:25 PM on August 1, 2005

metafilter will tear your ass up.
posted by puke & cry at 2:28 PM on August 1, 2005

Ha! Ha! We Suck!

But I suck better.

...and am going wardrobe shopping. Again.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:32 PM on August 1, 2005

/confesses to writing nobody's snide sly version.
posted by metaculpa at 2:35 PM on August 1, 2005

In retrospect, I'm a little pissed at the audacity of that little turd. He wasn't the first to call it a hoax, and he was certainly not one of the few who recognized it as such and called for participation in the hoax so as to put one over on the mainstream media.

Too late to the party and a dollar short. What a wanker.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:58 PM on August 1, 2005

I was pleasantly surprised to find that there's a Kaycee Nicole page on Wikipedia, speaking of hoaxes.
posted by darukaru at 3:02 PM on August 1, 2005

metaculpa, you rogue you...
posted by hototogisu at 3:04 PM on August 1, 2005

Next he'll claim to be the first to recognize the Easter Bunny as a hoax.
posted by me3dia at 3:06 PM on August 1, 2005

me3dia : "Next he'll claim to be the first to recognize the Easter Bunny as a hoax."

No, that was me.
posted by Bugbread at 3:10 PM on August 1, 2005

How I stopped an Internet sex hoax.
By Cyrus Farivar

How can this guy fit through doorways with a head that big?
posted by puke & cry at 3:44 PM on August 1, 2005

shall i call out my lamplighters?
posted by clavdivs at 3:47 PM on August 1, 2005

So... anybody want to buy an unused polo?
posted by Wolfdog at 4:10 PM on August 1, 2005

Wolfdog - why do I get the feeling that your polo shirt is hardly "unused?" ; )
posted by ericb at 4:38 PM on August 1, 2005

I am protected.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:42 PM on August 1, 2005

Whatta douchebag. And mullacc, I'm guessing you wrote this post tongue-in-cheek, cause you were in on the sarcastic 'yeah right' style commenting going on.
posted by Edible Energy at 12:47 AM on August 2, 2005

... people who wear green polo shirts with the collars turned up

The site/story may be a hoax, but the shirts with the collars up is a sign of sexual interest (and this may be due to the questionable popularity of the story). After having visited a few bars in Northern Ontario this weekend I noticed a trend of overly loud, often drunk, 20-30 year-old guys wearing collared shirts with the collars flipped-up. I asked one guy why all of them were doing it and he had some kind of mailbox analogy about how the post-people know to visit a mailbox if the flag is up (I can't remember exactly, I just thought the whole things was idiotic).

I shit you not. I had not even heard of, or read this original link off of Metafilter. This thread is the first I've ever heard about this so-called hoax.
posted by purephase at 4:26 AM on August 2, 2005

purephase wrote about...overly loud, often drunk, 20-30 year-old guys ... in bars showing ...sign(s) of sexual interest...

I'm thinking the collar arrangement is redundant....
posted by Floydd at 7:16 AM on August 2, 2005

What a lucky sod. Apparently he doesn't get referral spam (or enough traffic) that makes his weblogs logs completely useless. So he can sift through the visitors and see that they come from that wookie-lurve site. aw. How quaint. ;)
posted by dabitch at 7:32 AM on August 2, 2005

Wow. This guy is so cool (uh, i mean "kewl")! Currently at his Wikipedia entry:
"He was one of the first journalists to cover the concept of Podcasting in the New York Times."
By all accounts, a true scoop!
posted by ericb at 8:21 AM on August 2, 2005

Darukaru, I had no idea that they had a Kaycee Nicole page. Interesting how it doesn't link to the investigation thread here on MetaFilter, no?
posted by delfuego at 1:38 PM on August 2, 2005

I wish the SA goons got wind of this. They didn't mind that meta figured out the hoax but they sure didn't like this guy taking credit at the time.
posted by andendau at 1:42 PM on August 2, 2005

We fell for the hoax? I guess that if pointing with our fingers and yelling "that's bullshit" means "falling for a hoax", then we did, but I'm pretty sure it means that we didn't fall for it...
posted by clevershark at 2:33 PM on August 2, 2005

I wish the SA goons got wind of this.

I posted it there and nobody cared.
posted by kjh at 6:49 PM on August 2, 2005

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