Submissions/Batuta's Army: From polish biggest hoax to polish biggest struggle for credibility

From Wikimania 2010 • Gdańsk, Poland • July 9-11, 2010


This is an open submission for Wikimania 2010.

Title of the submission
Batuta's Army: From polish biggest hoax to polish biggest struggle for credibility
Type of submission
Author of the submission
Bartosz Kosinski
E-mail address
User:jedi-kosa /
Country of origin
Jagiellonian University

The Henryk Batuta was a hoax perpetrated on the Polish Wikipedia, it lasted for 15 months, from November 2004 to February 2006. The fake biography said amongst others, that Batuta was born in Odessa in 1898 and participated in the Russian Civil War. The article was ten sentences long while it existed on Wikipedia.

Even after the article was exposed as a well organized hoax, and listed for deletion, its perpetrators (called themselves the “Batuta’s Army”) tried to convince others of its authenticity by providing false bibliographical information and even by uploading a doctored photograph of a street name "ulica Henryka Batuty" (Henryk Batuta Street)

It gained some prominence after stories about it appeared in prominent Polish newspapers (Gazeta Wyborcza) and magazines (Przekrój), as well as a British one (The Observer).

Four years have passed, and “Batuta’s Army” is back in play. This time the group was created by polish wikipedians themselves. They aim was to improve the credibility of Polish Wikipedia articles. They first “fight” lasted for one month. „Army” recruited 60 „soldiers” and they corrected more than 1000 articles. During my presentation I would like to answer the question about efficiency of this action. I will take a closer look at its goals, techniques and results.

I will also present the follow ups of “Batuta’s Army” project. How the action evolve. Are there any other ways to continue the topic?

Credibility of information always was a big topic for wikipedians and one of main arguments of people opposing the project. Do Wikipedians stand a chance against vandals, perpetrators and jesters? How the credibility can be claimed? Will the Truth survive during these struggles?

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  1. Psychology 19:53, 20 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Rdrozd 20:19, 20 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  3. a.wegrzyn 20:19, 20 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  4. MADe 19:32, 26 May 2010 (UTC) It would be nice to add this example in my proposed submission[reply]
  5. Rekrutacja 18:24, 30 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Kocio 13:12, 2 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Przykuta 20:41, 16 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Yarl 21:06, 16 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]