File:Webcomic xkcd - Wikipedian protester.png

References to Wikipedia in culture have increased as more people learn about and use the online encyclopedia project. Many parody Wikipedia's openness, with characters vandalising or modifying articles. Still others feature characters using the references as a source, or positively comparing a character's intelligence to Wikipedia. Also, the encyclopedia many times is not used as an encyclopedia at all, but instead serves more as a character trait or even as a game. Wikipedia has also become culturally significant with many individuals seeing the presence of a Wikipedia entry as a status symbol.[1]



Date Nature Country (of origin) Title
November 10, 2004 article Flag of the United States.svg United States "I Must Take Issue With The Wikipedia Entry For 'Weird Al' Yankovic",[2] the Onion.
2005 promotion 22x20px Australia Jericho ads
May 7, 2005 comic strip Flag of the United States.svg United States FoxTrot
2006 commercial Flag of the United States.svg United States Cisco Systems: Human Network Anthem
March 1, 2006 TV show (satirical) Flag of the United States.svg United States The Colbert Report, episode 58
August 12, 2006[3] music video Flag of the United States.svg United States "White & Nerdy" music video, by "Weird Al" Yankovic
January 18, 2007 sitcom Flag of the United States.svg United States 30 Rock: "The Head and the Hair"
March 17, 2007 TV show (satirical) 22x20px United Kingdom Bremner, Bird and Fortune
April 14, 2003 novel 22x20px United Kingdom The Righteous Men, Sam Bourne
April 22, 2007 TV show (sport) Flag of the United States.svg United States SportsCenter
May 31, 2007 Non-fiction Flag of the United States.svg United States It's Not News, It's FARK: How Mass Media Tries to Pass off Crap as News, Drew Curtis
June 11, 2007 commercial demo Flag of the United States.svg United States Apple iPhone, Apple Inc.
August 3, 2007 play Flag of the United States.svg United States The Wikipedia Plays
September 3, 2007 Magazine 22x20px United Kingdom Official Nintendo Magazine, Issue 21
July 23, 2009 Radio (satirical) 22x20px United Kingdom Bigipedia
Title Description Relevance
I Must Take Issue With The Wikipedia Entry For 'Weird Al' Yankovic In an article from The Onion, the character Larry Groznic writes an article about how he was banned from Wikipedia for starting an edit war on the "Weird Al" Yankovic page, and goes on to criticize the content on the said page. Having taken place well before the John Seigenthaler Sr. Wikipedia biography controversy, it was one of the first major parodies.
FoxTrot 400px First appearance of Wikipedia in a syndicated comic strip.
The Colbert Report, episode 58 Arianna Huffington challenges host Stephen Colbert on his claim that he had coined the word "truthiness". She cited Wikipedia, claiming that he had merely "popularized" the term. Regarding her source, Colbert, in character, responded: "Fuck them."[4] First nationally-broadcast television program to mention Wikipedia.
The Colbert Report, episode 93 Colbert refers to Wikipedia as his source of information for research on Sigmund Freud. With his normal sarcastic and deadpan delivery, Colbert's segment "The Wørd" mocked Wikipedia's sometimes-questionable information with the screen posting "Even the accurate parts."[5] Colbert's first scripted reference to Wikipedia, a lead into his "Wikiality" piece.
Global Language Monitor Global Language Monitor, which tracks trends in languages, named wikiality and truthiness the top T.V. buzzwords for 2006.[6][7]

Shortly after the episode aired, a fan-created Wikipedia parody site opened at, inspired by the term. On October 19, 2006, the term was mentioned again on the show, this time with given as the url for Wikipedia.

"White & Nerdy" 250px

The character who is implied to be the nerd says that editing Wikipedia is one of his nerdy activities.[8] In the video, Al is shown editing the article Atlantic Records by typing in large letters YOU SUCK. Thus Al takes revenge on the record company for refusing to let him include "You're Pitiful," a parody of James Blunt's song "You're Beautiful", on his new album. This has prompted copycat vandalism of the Atlantic Records page, which resulted in the page's being semi-protected. Yankovic has said "I don't officially approve of [the vandalism], but on a certain level it does amuse me."[9]

This may be the first time a music video showed the website, as well as the first time a song mentioned the website. The song was also Yankovic's first career Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. It reached #1 at the U.S. iTunes Store, and peaked at #1 on VH1's top 20 video countdown.
Barenaked Ladies Are Me The track "Home" gives a reference to Wikipedia in the line "I showed her my Wikipedia page". First appearance of Wikipedia in a Barenaked Ladies song.
Jericho ads Following Jericho episodes on Network 10 in Australia, a promotion would appear encouraging viewers to log onto Wikipedia and search for "Jericho (tv series)" for proof of the hype and theories surrounding the show. This is the first station advertisement to encourage people to search Wikipedia for their product.
Cisco Systems A TV advertisement for Cisco Systems shows a young child with a laptop, the Wikipedia logo clearly visible on the screen. Part of their "Human Network Anthem" ad campaign. First television advertisement showing Wikipedia as part of the plot line.
30 Rock While Tracy Jordan, James "Toofer" Spurlock and Frank Rossitano are working to complete Jordan's autobiography within a single day, Rossitano finds Jordan's Wikipedia article while using the Internet on his laptop. The article says Jordan was discovered after doing stand-up comedy at the Apollo Theater in 1984, and Jordan, though stating he has no recollection of this, tells the two to add it to the book. First sitcom series reference.
Bremner, Bird and Fortune A sketch about the 10 most popular, yet unread books,[10] featuring a voice over talking about the plots of the books, which seem to constantly refer to aliens. At the end of the sketch it says that the information came from Wikipedia. First mention in a British satirical comedy programme.
SportsCenter After citing a stat about Houston Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt, anchor Kenny Mayne jokingly gave credit to Wikipedia for providing the number. First recorded reference from a sports highlight show.
The Righteous Men In the 2006 Da Vinci Code-style novel The Righteous Men, Wikipedia features as an academic style encyclopedia. First known reference in fictional literature.
It's Not News, It's FARK: How Mass Media Tries to Pass off Crap as News This book, which examines media bias, mainly about stories which do not count as news, Curtis writes:
"Incidentally, one of the more surprising things I discovered while researching the articles for this book is that a number of them exactly mirrored a Wikipedia entry on the same subject. I didn't find any exact copies of Wikipedia in the articles in this book, but the structure often was the same and used the same citations in the same places. If I had to guess, I'd say that half of all the "original" articles covered in this book are Wikipedia entry rewrites. If not more. It certainly makes me wonder about the rest of the articles I didn't research. Wikipedia accuracy concerns aside, that's just not cool. Or perhaps that's how the Wikipedia articles were generated in the first place. Due to the obscurity of certain details in some of the articles, and the fact that none of those details showed up in a Google search on the same subject, I am more inclined to believe reporters borrow heavily from Wikipedia, and not the other way around."[11]
First known appearance in a book criticising the mass media, referencing Wikipedia.
Apple Inc. iPhone In the demonstration for the iPhone's internet capabilities, the Wikipedia page for the iPod is shown, along with a link in the user's bookmarks. First known reference in a multinational product demonstration by a Media Conglomerate.
The Wikipedia Plays Seventeen short plays, inspired by Wikipedia entries.[12] First play known to highlight Wikipedia.
The Colbert Report, episode 302 On August 21, 2007, Colbert attacked WikiScanner, a website that tracks down people who make anonymous edits on Wikipedia, claiming that it is an invasion of privacy, particularly for corporations, and that it attacks "Self-invention". He highlighted a case where Pepsi edited their entry by removing "Long-term health effects" from their article. This resulted in his "Wørd" being "Self-Determination", claiming that everyone on the internet should be anonymous and should not be forced to give away their true identity. Colbert later described Wikipedia as "Second Life for corporations," saying if a corporation wants to pretend to be someone else online, then that is their business.[13] First nationally-broadcast television program to mention WikiScanner.
Bigipedia Bigipedia is a BBC Radio 4 sketch show set on a website which is a parody of Wikipedia.[14] First nationally-broadcast radio program devoted to parodying Wikipedia.


In a July 2006 episode of the satirical comedy The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert announced the neologism wikiality, a portmanteau of the words Wiki and reality, for his segment "The Wørd". Colbert defined wikiality as "truth by consensus" (rather than fact), modeled after the approval-by-consensus format of Wikipedia. He ironically praised Wikipedia for following his philosophy of truthiness, in which intuition and consensus is a better reflection of reality than fact:

You see, any user can change any entry, and if enough other users agree with them, it becomes true. ... If only the entire body of human knowledge worked this way. And it can, thanks to tonight's word: Wikiality. Now, folks, I'm no fan of reality, and I'm no fan of encyclopedias. I've said it before. Who is Britannica to tell me that George Washington had slaves? If I want to say he didn't, that's my right. And now, thanks to Wikipedia, it's also a fact.

We should apply these principles to all information. All we need to do is convince a majority of people that some factoid is true. ... What we're doing is bringing democracy to knowledge.[15]

According to Stephen Colbert, together "we can all create a reality that we all can agree on; the reality that we just agreed on." During the segment, he joked: "I love Wikipedia... any site that's got a longer entry on truthiness than on Lutherans has its priorities straight." Colbert also used the segment to satirize the more general issue of whether the repetition of statements in the media leads people to believe they are true. The piece was introduced with the tagline "The Revolution Will Not Be Verified", referencing the lack of objective verification seen in some articles.

Colbert suggested that viewers change the elephant page to state that the number of African elephants has tripled in the last six months. The suggestion resulted in numerous incorrect changes to Wikipedia articles related to elephants and Africa.[1] Wikipedia administrators subsequently restricted edits to the pages by anonymous and newly created user accounts.

Colbert went on to type on a laptop facing away from the camera, claiming to be making the edits to the pages himself. In addition, initial edits to Wikipedia corresponding to these claimed "facts" were made by a user named Stephencolbert. Thus, many believe Colbert himself vandalized several Wikipedia pages at the time he was encouraging other users to do the same. The account, whether it was Stephen Colbert himself or someone posing as him, has been blocked from Wikipedia indefinitely.[16] The account was blocked for violating Wikipedia's username policies, not the vandalism as believed, which state that using the names of celebrities as login names without permission is inappropriate. The account will be reopened if and when Colbert or Comedy Central confirms its identity.[17]

Other instancesEdit

In comicsEdit

Date Title Notes
Template:Dts/hart Penny Arcade

Skeletor is vandalizing the Wikipedia article of his arch-enemy He-Man under the title of "I have the power".[18]

Template:Dts/hart 52, Week 15 Fictional "Ballostro" article. Clark Kent is told by his assistant that they can "wiki out the word rumoured" upon seeing it attack Metropolis.
Template:Dts/hart FoxTrot Thomas Edison article.
Template:Dts/hart Get Fuzzy

Bucky Katt looks at a vanity article about himself and his fictitious album, and shows the "evidence" to Satchel Pooch.

Template:Dts/hart Non Sequitur Danae introduces Lucy the horse to Wikipedia, by editing the site to note her fictitious win for "Most Brilliant and Beautious Girl". Lucy complains, but is satisfied when Danae adds a prize for "Most Beautious Horse".
Template:Dts/hart The Order #1
(Marvel Comics)
The lead character mentions the Wikipedia as describing him as a "one-time actor".
Template:Dts/hart The Amazing Spider-Girl #12 The title character mentions that she gained knowledge of Carnage and his weaknesses through Wikipedia.
Template:Dts/hart Thor #601 The well-known Marvel super-villain called Doctor Doom appears to have utilized Wikipedia, commenting to the assembled Asgardians during the feast in Latveria that even he had not even known what a "winkle" was until he looked it up in Wikipedia.
Template:Dts/hart The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee Edison Lee, the title character mentions that on Wikipedia US President Ronald Reagan was known as the Teflon President to his assistant Joules. (This term doesn't actually appear in the Ronald Reagan article, it appears in Teflon (nickname)).
Template:Dts/hart Ambush Bug: Year None #1 Ambush Bug says he used "Wokipedia" to look up Hugey Huge/Abdul Smith of the Green Team.
Template:Dts/hart Deadpool #900 While in the middle of an assassination mission, Deadpool has a fourth wall-breaking conversation with his inner voices in which he discusses his own fanbase, noting that as of that writing, his own Wikipedia entry was longer than that of Spider-Man.
Template:Dts/hart Pearls Before Swine Rat questions Stephan Pastis (the creator of the strip) about past events in Stephan's life. When Stephan refutes these claims, Rat says he got them from Stephan's Wikipedia article. These changes were later mirrored in real life before being reverted.

In television episodesEdit

Date Title Notes
Template:Dts/hart The Simpsons: "I Don't Wanna Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" Snake tells his girlfriend to kill the man who changed his biography on Wikipedia.
Template:Dts/hart The Simpsons: "Funeral for a Fiend" Sideshow Bob complains about loading time as he looks up a Shakespeare reference on Wikipedia.
Template:Dts/hart The Simpsons: "Apocalypse Cow" Bart argues with Homer using Wikipedia; Homer plans to edit the page (...and many more pages).
Template:Dts/hart Aqua Teen Hunger Force: "Reedickyoulus" Frylock curses Wikipedia after believing false information pertaining to killing zombies.
Template:Dts/hart Cavemen: "Pilot" In the premier episode of the commercial-turned-sitcom, Andy blames his inability to work on his dissertation on the fact that "Wikipedia is under construction."
Template:Dts/hart Psych: "And Down The Stretch Comes Murder" In the episode "And Down The Stretch Comes Murder", when Shawn is explaining his theory of the crime, Gus weighs in with a factoid about an obscure indigenous tribe. Shawn applauds Gus' knowledge of the subject with the line, "Gus shoots and scores! ...with an assist from Wikipedia."
Template:Dts/hart Grand Slam Michelle Kitt is asked the question, "The Hawaiian word for 'quick' is prominently featured in the name of which online encyclopedia?" She answers, "Wiki...Wikipedia" and is judged incorrect.
Template:Dts/hart Veronica Mars: "Show Me the Monkey" The television show references Wikipedia in the episode when Veronica looks up the origins of the color manila.
Template:Dts/hart iCarly: "iHatch Chicks Freddie goes to a site that is a pun off of Wikipedia, called Chickipedia, to find information on baby chicks
Template:Dts/hart The Office: "Ben Franklin" Jim, having heard Michael mention prima nocta, says that he used Wikipedia to confirm his suspicions over the term's meaning.
Template:Dts/hart American Dad!: "Black Mystery Month" After uncovering a plot involving peanut butter and the Civil War, Stan Smith says "If only there was a place where you could make outrageous claims, without any proof, and millions of people would accept it as fact...", and the episode cuts to his son Steve editing The Truth about Peanut Butter.
Template:Dts/hart The Office: "The Negotiation" For salary negotiations with Darryl, Michael gets negotiations help from Wikipedia. He then states in an interview that "Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject, so you know you are getting the best possible information." As a result of the episode, Wikipedia had to lock-down editing of The Negotiation article.
Template:Dts/hart The Colbert Report, episode 265 Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales appears as a guest on the show hosted by Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central. They discuss Colbert's vandalism of Wikipedia and his telling of his viewers to vandalize various pages. Several articles, such as oxygen, librarian and Stephen Colbert were locked to prevent vandalism shortly after the episode aired. On the show, Wales jokes that he may have to lock down the entire Spanish-language Wikipedia for a few days because of Colbert's comment that perhaps it should learn English.
Template:Dts/hart Real Time with Bill Maher Maher jokingly claims to have used Wikipedia in researching the misdeeds of past U.S. presidents to find examples that support Jimmy Carter's assertion that the George W. Bush administration is the worst in history.
Template:Dts/hart News Knight with Sir Trevor McDonald, episode 7 McDonald says that "Wikipedia is one of the most trusted websites in the world" and that, according to its entry on itself, Wikipedia was founded by Ken Dodd in 1673.
Template:Dts/hart The Daily Show with Jon Stewart The host Jon Stewart and the night's guest, Jeff Garlin, jokes about Wikipedia's volatility, and mentions that guest's article on Wikipedia are being hacked by his family and friends. Jeff Garlin finishes off by saying that Wikipedia should not be taken seriously.
Template:Dts/hart Dancing with the Stars (US season 5) On an episode which aired on September 26, 2007, a satirical mini-documentary was featured in the show exploring the history of dance. The fake history of dance was concluded with the phrase, "You can look it up - I just made an entry in Wikipedia."
Template:Dts/hart Frisky Dingo, episode 19 Xander Crews attempts to look up whether or not the Vice President of the United States is VP of both the United States and Canada, on Wikipedia.
Template:Dts/hart Damages, episode 10 Patty Hewes tells Ray Fiske she has a lot of questions for Arthur Frobisher to which Fiske replies "That's what Wikipedia's for."
Template:Dts/hart Have I Got News for You, episode 282 In the "Odd One Out" round, Ian Hislop mentions a case of vandalism involving the late Ronnie Hazelhurst. Hislop, who described Wikipedia sarcastically as, "That reliable tool for all of us," talked about how someone vandalised Hazelhurst's article so it claimed he wrote the S Club 7 song "Reach". When he died, journalists failed to check the fact, and it was reported as fact in The Times, The Guardian and by the BBC, which was made worse by the fact that the BBC had been in trouble for faking some TV programmes.
Template:Dts/hart Have I Got a bit More News for You, episode 283 Ian Hislop again attacks Wikipedia, in the extended repeat of the episode shown the night before, but was cut out of the original broadcast. When host Alexander Armstrong is trying to pronounce a Serbian name, Hislop says, "It's like Wikipedia, ain't it? You just wait for it to come up." He then pretended to download an essay on Serbia from Wikipedia and hand it in, commenting on how some students plagiarise using Wikipedia.
Template:Dts/hart Have I Got News for You, episode 285 When guest presenter Jo Brand is introducing comedy writer and performer Andy Hamilton, she says, "And with Paul Merton tonight is a full-time professional English darts player, whose nickname is "The Hammer" and who is currently ranked seventh in the world. I know, I was surprised as well, but I looked him up on Wikipedia."
Template:Dts/hart QI In an interview with The Times, QI's creator John Lloyd says, "'We don't deny using Wikipedia. It's a thing of complete genius and a tribute to the human spirit.'" However, the article goes on to say that, "they have a rule against cutting and pasting Wiki anything, and an old-fashioned minimum of at least two sources for anything that goes in a QI programme or book."[19]
Template:Dts/hart Scrubs: "My Number One Doctor" One of Dr.Cox's patients is scheduled for chemotherapy to treat his cancer, but wants to back out because he used his laptop to look up the condition on Wikipedia and the article said a raw vegetable diet can lead to remission. Cox confronts him on this, questioning the reliability of the claim, given that it was written by the same person who wrote the Battlestar Galaticia episode guide. He then takes away the patient's laptop and tells him he will proceed with the treatment.
Template:Dts/hart Through the Keyhole When the guest panelists were attempting to guess the identity of Angelica Bell and suggested (incorrectly) that she might be best known for her acting, Sir David Frost said "in Wikipedia, it wouldn't say acting"
Template:Dts/hart The Colbert Report Reacting to John McLaughlin's statement that "Warren G. Harding was a negro", Colbert suggested that the G. stood not for 'Gamaliel', but for 'Gangsta' (and showed a fake screenshot of Wikipedia appearing to say this).[20] The article was repeatedly vandalised to say 'Warren Gangsta Harding' before being locked.
Template:Dts/hart Chuck In the second season premiere, Vik Sahay's character Lester mentions a Wikipedia article about himself on his resume while being interviewed by Chuck for the assistant manager position at the Buy More.
Template:Dts/hart The Office: "Crime Aid" Michael indicates that it is unknown how much crime takes place in the office because there is no Wikipedia entry on Office robbery statistics. Since the episode aired, statistics were indeed added to the Wikipedia article "Office".
Template:Dts/hart Dexter: "About Last Night" After a discussion of sexual topics with vice unit detective Barbara Gianna, Masuka comments to Batista that Gianna is "like the Wikipedia of perv".
Template:Dts/hart Law & Order: A murder suspect is arrested based upon vandalistic edits made to a Wikipedia article on a (fictional) college sorority. The man has been killing family members of former sorority members and harrassing the members themselves, the person arrested is tracked by his IP address.
Template:Dts/hart 30 Rock: "Retreat to Move Forward" Frank Rossitano, as a prank on Jenna Maroney who is researching her upcoming role as Janis Joplin, makes numerous vandalistic edits to Joplin's page and recommends that Jenna use Wikipedia for her research.
Template:Dts/hart The Simpsons: "Gone Maggie Gone" Comic Book Guy mentions Wikipedia as a source for his legends.
Template:Dts/hart Mock The Week: Series 7, Episode 10 In the "Scenes we'd like to see" round, the panel have to suggest "Bad things to hear from a tour guide". Ed Byrne suggests: "And according to Wikipedia, the east wing was built in the year Dougie is a homo."
Template:Dts/hart Warehouse 13: Season 1, Episode 11 When mentioning Edgar Allan Poe, Artie pulls out what seems to be a Wikipedia article on the man.
Template:Dts/hart Would I Lie To You?: Series 3, Episode 7 In the introduction to the show, host Rob Brydon said: "When asked if lying is justified, a staggering 73% of university students simply copied their answer from Wikipedia."
Template:Dts/hart FlashForward: Season 1, Episode 8 The introduction of Sperm donation—as it appeared from July 8 – October 11, 2009—was referenced by a character considering the process. While the screen was altered slightly to say that it was from "", the style and content were unaltered.
Template:Dts/hart The Amazing Race: Season 15, Episode 9 One team in the race uses the English language version of Wikipedia to learn what a vintage Praga car was before having to search for it in Prague.
November 29, 2009 The Simpsons: "Rednecks and Broomsticks" After discovering a coven of witches, Lisa attempts to learn more about them by using "Wiccapedia".
December 22, 2009 Mock the Week: Series 7 Christmas Special In a round of "If This is the Answer, What is the Question?", the answer "One Fifth" resulting in regular panellist Hugh Dennis giving the question, "How much of Wikipedia is true?" This results in host Dara Ó Briain and another regular, Russell Howard, talking about inaccuraces on their own articles, and third regular Frankie Boyle to suggest that all Wikipedia articles should start with the words "I reckon".
January 5, 2010 Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: A contestant answered the $12,500 question "What Web site's logo depicts a spherical jigsaw puzzle featuring symbols from different languages?" correctly.
February 12, 2010 QI: "Gravity" Host Stephen Fry says that if you fire a bullet from a gun and drop a bullet from your hand at the same time, they will both hit the ground at exactly the same time, prompting panellist Barry Humphries to ask "Does this information come from Wikipedia?"
April 8, 2010 Have I Got News for You: series 39, episode 2 Introducing guest panellist Richard Herring, guest host Alexander Armstrong describes him as "a man described by Wikipedia as one of the leading hidden masters of British comedy. Proving how easy it is to write your own entry on Wikipedia."
April 11, 2010 The Cleveland Show: "Gone With the Wind" At Loretta Brown's funeral, the minister reads from Wikipedia that Loretta Brown was either a singer or a member of the Australian Parliament, then ends by saying "Ci-ta-tion neeed-ed" in a ritualized tone.


Date Title Notes Relevance
Template:Dts/hart Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! Jimmy Wales played the "Not My Job" game (renamed for the occasion "It must be true... I read it on Wikipedia"). He is asked three questions about Wikipedia trivia on the Banana Splits discography and Bob Marley, Constance of Sicily and Esera Tuaolo. Wales recalls the Banana Splits with fondness and then proceeds to get all three questions wrong.[21] First reference to Wikipedia in a radio series.
Template:Dts/hart The News Quiz - BBC Alan Coren referred to mistakes made on Wikipedia. He later said that he once saw a mistake on his article that stated he was a year younger than he was, but he liked the error as it made him look younger. As a result, he said that whenever someone corrects the article, he set the year wrong again to make him look younger again. As a result, the article was locked after the show was broadcast.
Template:Dts/hart The Wikipedia Story - BBC Clive Anderson asks whether Wikipedia is a valuable source of human knowledge or a symptom of the spread of mediocrity. This was also made into a podcast between 27 July and 3 August by the BBC.
Template:Dts/hart The News Quiz - BBC Carrie Quinlan gave out a lot of information which the other panellists did not understand. She later claimed that she got the information from Wikipedia. Jeremy Hardy and Andy Hamilton claimed that the word "Wikipedia" sounded rude, with Hamilton claiming that is was, "A sexual attraction to baskets."
Template:Dts/hart The Party Line: Series 3, Episode 1 - BBC In the episode, Duncan Stonebridge MP's laptop computer is stolen, which contains data relating to fishing quotas. Before he talks to an Icelandic fishing minister, Duncan's assistant Roger gives him some information copied from Wikipedia, which turns out to be wrong. The fishing minister comments that it sounds like Duncan just took the information from Wikipedia. First known reference to Wikipedia in a radio sitcom.
Template:Dts/hart The Now Show: Series 25, Episode 2 - BBC Jon Holmes talked about the lack of reliability of online surveys saying that not everything on the internet is true. He said that, "This is the same internet that hosts Wikipedia", and Holmes read some examples of vandalism that he discovered on the site. In the following two shows, fans emailed in other examples of Wikipedia vandalism.
Template:Dts/hart Heresy: Series 5, Episode 6 - BBC Radio 4 The show guest panel, Euan Ferguson, Clive James and David Mitchell tried to argue against the statement: "You can't trust what you read online." Wikipedia is covered by the panel and the host Victoria Coren reads out information from the guests Wikipedia pages to see if it is true.


Citations of Wikipedia in cultureEdit

In the Homestar Runner cartoon No Hands On Deck!, Homestar Runner mentions that "'Kipedia said vulcanized was the way to go" in reference to the type of nails used to build a deck.[22][23] At the time the cartoon was released, the Wikipedia article on decks made no reference to nails or vulcanization.[24]

The cartoon FoxTrot features Peter being criticized by his teacher for copying a homework assignment directly from Wikipedia. Peter replies, "Who's to say I didn't write the Wikipedia entry myself?"[citation needed]

During a debate on Quebec sovereignty in the Canadian House of Commons on November 27, 2006, Conservative Member of Parliament Scott Reid mentioned Wikipedia.[25]

In the July 2007 issue of National Geographic Magazine, an article on swarm intelligence, both in nature and as a method used by humans, mentions Wikipedia as an example.[26]

The British satirical magazine Private Eye has a section entitled "Wikipedia Whispers", which uncovers stories about how Wikipedia entries are altered. Stories include examples of how people have altered their own articles to make themselves look better, and vandalism on Wikipedia that becomes reported as fact.

Hip hop artist Pharoahe Monch mentions Wikipedia in the song "Welcome to the Terrordome" from his 2007 album, Desire. The lyrics are: "Take a walk through all this misplaced media / They got my name spelled wrong on Wikipedia."


Inaccuracies on Wikipedia in cultureEdit

File:Onion wikipedia.jpg

Wikipedia was satirized in The Onion with a front-page article ("Wikipedia Celebrates 750 Years of American Independence", July 2006), alluding to perceptions that the publicly editable site is an unreliable source of information.[27]

Various people including Jeremy Clarkson,[28] Sir Ian McKellen,[29] Patrick Stump, Mitch Albom and Marcus Brigstocke have criticized Wikipedia's articles about themselves.[30]

In the 2007 Lyttle Lytton Contest, in which the object is to come up with an opening sentence for a novel, a phrase from the article on Fukutsuru ("Fukutsuru died in 2005 but his frozen sperm lived on for people's benefit") won the prize in Found category.[31]

The CollegeHumor staff posted the video "Professor Wikipedia" as part of the CollegeHumor original videos on September 16, 2008; the video satirized many aspects of Wikipedia.[32][33]

Wikipedia as a character traitEdit

In 2006, commenting to The New York Times on the demands on Central Intelligence Agency analysts to produce instant information, John E. McLaughlin, former acting U.S. Director of Central Intelligence, stated, "intelligence analysts end up being the Wikipedia of Washington".[34]

An review of a new television series, Sleeper Cell, about terrorists noted that the characters routinely gave detailed background of events in the history of Islam and stated, "no one, and I assume even terrorists, talks like a walking Wikipedia."[35]


Wikipedia is parodied at several websites, including Uncyclopedia.[36][37]

In the July 2006 issue of Mad, in the Fundalini pages section there was a short joke with a mock picture of Wikipedia called "WonkyPedia". WonkyPedia featured its own logo, in which the letters on the puzzle globe were replaced with MAD characters and the letters M A D. The article shown was on Lincoln's assassination. The URL followed the appropriate pattern: "". The same parody returned in the next issue as "Wakipedia". The phrase it advertised was "The Free Encyclopedia (you get what you pay for!)".

Likewise,, the online publication affiliated with former Mad rival Cracked, has satirized Wikipedia's maintenance templates.[38]

In the American version of the video game Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga, Wikipedia is a selectable mantra, equippable by the game's characters to learn skills.[39][40] However, it appears it was only a mistranslation made by the translators since the name is not present in the Japanese version.

On the TV show The Loop, Wikipedia was mentioned on one episode.

On the June 5, 2006 episode of The Howard Stern Show, wack packer Eric the Midget called in and complained that his parents had read about a stunt that he did for the show, that involved him measuring his penis, on Wikipedia (which he called "Wackipedia"). Stern read the section of the article regarding penis measuring on the air. Also, Gary Dell'Abate commented on the air he and the Stern Show staff enjoy the picture of Lynch in this article.

In May 2006, British chat show host Paul O'Grady received an inquiry from a viewer regarding information given on his Wikipedia page, to which he responded, "Wikipedia? Sounds like a skin disease."

On the show X-Play, Morgan Webb looked at the Wikipedia article of Point Blank DS, and then looked at the article on their show. After reading it, the logo in the top left corner of the page spoke to Morgan in typical X-Play fashion. It also pointed out that since the show's inception, they have made 337 fart jokes. When asked why it could talk the logo stated that Wikipedia had become self aware in 2004 due to the massive amounts of information provided by the public.

On the E! network program The Soup, during the "Reality Show Clip Time!" segment a clip of Flavor of Love 2 was shown in which someone mentioned Google as a point of research on September 8, 2006, to make fun of this, host Joel McHale said "Well at least it's better than saying 'Wikipedia Wikipedia Wikipedia'" Another time he said he looked up something on Wikipedia and saw a dance.

Something Awful once featured Wikipedia's article on Knuckles the Echidna as an ALOD (Awful Link of the Day), satirizing the amount of detail that sometimes goes into seemingly irrelevant topics. The link description adds that the article at the time was longer than each of the articles about Echidnas, the Internet, the internal combustion engine, William Shakespeare and Western Culture.[41] The topic was also satirized in the front page, which featured a fake Wikipedia style article about Albert "Al" Calavicci from the TV series Quantum Leap written by Something Awful contributor David Thorpe.[42] Thorpe elsewhere linked the existence of such articles to Asperger syndrome, stating "Don't make fun of Aspergers. If it weren't for Aspergers, we wouldn't have 20-page Wikipedia articles about Knuckles the Echidna."[43] Wikipedia was also mocked in a December 4, 2006 update on Something Awful. The update detailed the life of a talk page on Wikipedia, and mocked the neutrality, copyright, naming, quality, and personal disputes that the pages are beholden to. The update also linked Wikipedia usage to Asperger syndrome once more, with one fictional editor claiming to have a case of the syndrome twice as powerful as that of another fictional editor.[44] In a 2007 Awful Link of the Day, a Wikipedia article was featured again, this time on the villains of Codename: Kids Next Door. Once again, it calls out the detail put onto seemingly irrelevant topics, citing a discussion in said article's talk page about the subjectiveness of the speed of certain characters. Something Awful founder Richard Kyanka then mockingly offered to write up a speed comparison of the KND characters Big Badolescent and Cheese Shogun Roquefort, citing a fake episode called "episode 35, 'I Am a 38-Year Old Man With Several Obese Cats and an Empty Life I Futilely Try to Fill With Childrens' Cartoons'".[45]

The comic strip Sally Forth has mentioned Wikipedia a few times.

Comedian Zach Galifianakis claimed to look himself up on Wikipedia in an interview with The Badger Herald,[46] stating about himself, "...I'm looking at Wikipedia right now. Half Greek, half redneck, around 6-foot-4. And that's about it... The 6-foot-4 thing may be a little bit off. Actually, it's 4-foot-6."

In his "pickoff" in which he makes predictions on the winners of NFL games, Peter King said of the Thanksgiving night game between Indianapolis and Atlanta in 2007 "The sleep-inducing qualities of turkey are overrated, as I learned this week on Wikipedia. There is more tryptophan in cheddar cheese than turkey."[47]

The December 3, 2007 episode of Jeopardy! had a category entitled "'ick'-ipedia", where all correct responses contained the letters "ick".

British comedian Eddie Izzard referenced Wikipedia in his 2008 show Stripped, remarking that nobody would join a library in order to find out how to make spoons.

In the film National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Riley uses an online source called Find On-Line, which appears to be a modified Wikipedia page.

In the Dan Brown novel The Lost Symbol, a character cites a fictional Wikipedia entry on the character Peter Solomon.

In the James Patterson novel The Dangerous Days of Daniel X, the eponymous character "the contents of Wikipedia" to his classmates

Wikipedia in web comics Edit


File:Penny Arcade comic-20051216h.jpg

On May 7, 2005, the comic strip FoxTrot showed one character appending his older sister to unflattering Wikipedia articles. In a similar joke, the web comic Penny Arcade also satirized Wikipedia with a comic strip depicting Skeletor vandalizing the He-Man article.[48][49] The web comic PvP featured a similar gag with the character Marcy adding embarrassing information about Francis, though she denies it's vandalism, claiming truth.[50][51]

On December 12, 2005 comic of UserFriendly, Greg, who is first defending Wikipedia against criticism, is seen about to vandalize Wikipedia after finding out he is listed under "hairy dork".

The November 8, 2006 installment of Dinosaur Comics features T-Rex presenting a solution to Wikipedia's vandalism problems; the article about chickens would be designated for vandalism, leaving all other articles intact.

A Bunny strip which features Wikipedia includes a tombstone which reads: "RIP Jeph Jacques" with the bottom caption: "The Moral of the story is you cannot always trust what you read on Wikipedia."

Questionable Content references Wikipedia several times. Hannelore, a character who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, cut most of her hair off after reading Wikipedia's article on head lice.[52] Wikipedia was also referenced when Penelope, a character who is bitter against romance, stated that her edits to the De Beers entry kept getting reverted (she attempted to add a conspiracy theory to the article suggesting that the company had subverted humanity's mating drive in order to sell more diamonds).[53] Wikipedia was also parodied, taking the form of a mock product similar to SpaghettiOs.[54]

The webcomic Applegeeks has jokingly referred to Wikipedia as a replacement for traditional education twice.[55][56]

On July 4, 2007, xkcd published a comic showing a protester holding up a sign during a political rally that says "[CITATION NEEDED]", a tag often used on Wikipedia to indicate unverified statements. The tooltip of the comic, often part of the joke, shows the additional comment "SEMI-PROTECT THE CONSTITUTION".

Another issue which showed Randall Munroe's Google search history following the AOL search data scandal revealed that Munroe searched the Wikipedia domain for "surviving a raptor attack".[57] xkcd comic #333, entitled "Getting Out of Hand," shows a couple in bed together, with one of the two stick figures reading the Wikipedia article on foreplay on a laptop.[58] Returning to the Wikipedia theme, xkcd #446 depicted a fictional "In popular culture" section in the Wood article, riffing on the tendency to include minor pop culture trivia in articles, with tooltip text theorizing that "the blogosphere will implode" if the tooltip text is mentioned in an "in popular culture" section for an article on the "In Popular Culture" sections.[59] xkcd comic #545 also references Wikipedia, by attempting to start an edit war over Wikipedia neutrality.[60]

The webcomic PartiallyClips criticised Wikipedia's supposed policy of deleting many articles on webcomics.[61]

Roadkill Bill has a comic mocking Wikipedia.

Ethan in Shortpacked! often describes edit wars he is involved in regarding the Transformers articles on Wikipedia.

George of Bob and George once used Wikipedia to research the The First Annual Robot Tournament (a plot element from Mega Man 6) after being told his brother, Bob, was killed during it, but found no information.[62] Later, however, Mega Man researches the subject and finds detailed information has been added.[63] This article is then used as a plot device in following comics as the characters read about the events being depicted.

Diesel Sweeties comic #1831 shows the Red Robot swearing "on the Wikipedia's entry for 'Honor'" to not kill anyone, and then later editing the page.

Claims of negative impact on cultureEdit

Wikipedia has also been criticized for encouraging what Andrew Keen called the "Cult of the Amateur", resulting in toleration and enjoyment of lowerbrow culture.[64]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^  "Loxodonta", "African Forest Elephant", "African Bush Elephant", "Pachydermata", "Babar the Elephant", "Elephant", "Oregon",
    "George Washington", "Latchkey kid", "Serial killer", "Hitler", "The Colbert Report" and "Stephen Colbert" are/were temporarily protected. "Mûmak" (formerly at "Oliphaunt") has also been vandalized.

References and footnotesEdit

  1. Jennifer Ablan (2007-07-08). "Wikipedia page the latest status symbol". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-11-22. 
  2. SSNGetName(); (2004-11-10). "I Must Take Issue With The Wikipedia Entry For 'Weird Al' Yankovic | The Onion - America's Finest News Source". The Onion. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  3. Note that the song was leaked on the Internet almost a month prior, on August 27, 2006.
  4. The Colbert Report, "Faith", Comedy Central, March 1, 2006.
  5. The Colbert Report, "Superegomaniac", Comedy Central, May 9, 2006.
  6. ""Truthiness," "Wikiality" named TV words of year". Reuters. August 27, 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-28. 
  7. "'Truthiness' and 'Wikiality' Named Top Television Buzzwords of 2006 Followed by 'Katrina', 'Katie,' and 'Dr. McDreamy'". Global Language Monitor. August 27, 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-28. 
  8. White & Nerdy lyrics:
    My ergonomic keyboard never leaves me bored
    Shopping online for deals on some writable media
    I edit Wikipedia
    I memorized Holy Grail really well
    I can recite it right now and have you ROTFLOL
  9. Adams, Cameron. "Weird Al Yankovic." Herald Sun, October 5, 2006.
  10. BBC News, Harry Potter book "often unread". Retrieved 1 April 2007.
  11. Curtis, Drew (2007-05-31). "It's Not News It's Fark: How Mass Media Tries to Pass Off Crap as News: Chapter 1". Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  12. "The Wikipedia Plays Will Be Seen at the Ars Nova in August", Playbill. A review of the piece is here: Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2007-08-06/Wikipedia Plays Review
  13. ""The Wørd" - Self-Determination". Comedy Central. 2007-08-21. Retrieved 2007-08-22. 
  14. "Bigipedia". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 22 July 2009. 
  15. The Colbert Report / Comedy Central recording of The WØRD "Wikiality", Comedy Central, July 31, 2006.
  16. "Colbert Causes Chaos on Wikipedia". Newsvine. August 1, 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-28. 
  17. "User talk:Stephencolbert". Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  18. I Have The Power. "I Have The Power". Penny Arcade!. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  19. Whittell, Giles (2007-11-03). "Thinking buddies". London: The Times. Retrieved 2007-11-03. 
  20. Colbert, Stephen (2008-06-09). "ThreatDown – Secret Negro Presidents". The Colbert Report. 
  21. Not My Job: Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales November 11, 2006
  22. "No Hands On Deck!". Homestar Runner Wiki. 2006. Retrieved October 15, 2006. 
  23. Chapman, Matt; Chapman, Mike (2006). "No Hands On Deck!". Homestar Runner. Retrieved October 15, 2006. 
  24. "Deck (building)". Wikipedia. 2006. Retrieved October 15, 2006. 
  25. Hansard, November 27, 2006.
  26. "Swarm Theory" by Peter Miller, National Geographic Magazine, July 2007
  27. "Wikipedia Celebrates 750 Years Of American Independence". The Onion. 2006. Retrieved October 15, 2006. 
  28. Clarkson, Jeremy (2006). "Lexus GS 450h SE-L Independence". Times Online. London.,,12529-2289849,00.html. Retrieved October 15, 2006. [dead link]
  29. Empire Magazine, May 2006.
  30. Marcus Brigstocke. (2007-11-26). Marcus Brigstocke - Planet Corduroy. [DVD]. The Shaw Theatre, London, England: Sony/BMG. 
  31. "The 2007 Lyttle Lytton Contest". Retrieved 2007-06-12. 
  32. "Professor Wikipedia." CollegeHumor. September 16, 2008.
  33. Template:YouTube CollegeHumor. September 16, 2008.
  34. Weiner, Tim (2006-05-14). "Langley, We Have a Problem". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-06-26. 
  35. Ali, Wajahat (2006-01-16). "Sleeping Cell". 
  36. "The brains behind Uncyclopedia". .net. 2007-05-03. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  37. "Online parody of Tucson not always funny, but interesting". Arizona Daily Star. 2006-08-18. Retrieved 2006-08-22. 
  38. Sack, Brian (2006). "More Accurate Wikipedia Warnings". Retrieved November 16, 2006. 
  39. Search: (2009-06-02). "Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga FAQs". Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  40. ""Digital Devil Saga Mantra Grid, Version 2.0 - 5/18/05" by Starion". 2005-05-18. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  41. Thorpe, David (September 19, 2006). "Wikipedia - Knuckles the Echidna". Awful Link of the Day. Something Awful. Retrieved December 4, 2008. 
  42. Thorpe, David (September 19, 2006). "Quantum Geek". Something Awful. Retrieved December 4, 2008. 
  43. Parsons, Zack; Thorpe, David (September 21, 2006). "Return to the Science Fair, page 12". Fashion SWAT. Something Awful. Retrieved December 4, 2008. 
  44. Parsons, Zack (December 4, 2006). "The Dark Side of Wikipedia". Something Awful. Retrieved December 18, 2006. 
  45. Kyanka, Richard (May 27, 2007). "List of Villians (sic) in Codename: Kids Next Door". Awful Link of the Day. Something Awful. Retrieved December 4, 2008. 
  46. "The Badger Herald". 2007. Retrieved March 22, 2007. 
  47. "The Peter King Challenge". Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  48. Krahulik, Mike; Holkins, Jerry (2005). "I Have The Power". Penny Arcade Comic. Retrieved October 15, 2006. 
  49. Krahulik, Mike (2005). "I Have The Power". Penny Arcade News. Retrieved October 15, 2006. 
  50. Kurtz, Scott R. (2006). "Strip for August 12, 2006". PVP Online. Retrieved October 15, 2006. 
  51. Kurtz, Scott R. (2006). "Strip for August 13, 2006". PVP Online. Retrieved October 15, 2006. 
  52. Jacques, Jeph (2006). "Number 663: At Least She Didn't Go All The Way". Questionable Content. Retrieved October 15, 2006. 
  53. Jacques, Jeph (2007). "Number 774: Also Certain Web Comics". Questionable Content. Retrieved January 29, 2007. 
  54. Jacques, Jeph (2007). "Number 1023: Part of a Balanced... Something". Questionable Content. Retrieved November 28, 2007. 
  55. Haque, Mohammed F.; Panagariya, Ananth (2004). "Issue 236: Noodliness". Applegeeks. Retrieved October 15, 2006. 
  56. Haque, Mohammed F.; Panagariya, Ananth (2006). "Issue 010". Applegeeks Lite. Retrieved October 15, 2004. 
  57. Munroe, Randall. "Search History". xkcd. Retrieved 2007-04-06. 
  58. Munroe, Randall. "Getting Out of Hand". xkcd. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  59. Munroe, Randall. "Neutrality Schmutrality". xkcd. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  60. Balder, Robert T.. "King and Jester". Partially Clips. Retrieved 2007-04-12.  Caption above the comic reads, "End the Wikipedia pogrom against webcomics."
  61. Anez, Dave. "The Bob and George Archives". Bob and George. Retrieved 2007-06-19. 
  62. Anez, Dave. "The Bob and George Archives". Bob and George. Retrieved 2007-06-19. 
  63. Michiko Kakutani (2008-07-27). "The Cult of the Amateur (book review)". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 

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