Talk:978: Citogenesis

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Bonus points if the editor citing the work is also the person who created the fake source!Davidy22[talk] 06:59, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

The title text is not addressed in the explanation. I've read some popular science books, but they do not seem to suffer the problem cited there. Maybe there's a particular brand of pop science that is very susceptible to that sort of problem? --Quicksilver (talk) 17:48, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

We probably never will know, but as the comic itself says: Google is your friend! I found a nice story at the xkcd forum belonging to the German minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. I have added this to the trivia section.--Dgbrt (talk) 12:00, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

On a more amusing note, it is impossible to actually verify half of the obscure references on Wikipedia, as they are often magazines or books unlikely to be kept by typical libraries. One could easily fake an obscure reference if you know of a book with a title that seemingly pertains to the subject matter, but you know that the book had a printing run of less then 10,000 copies. 18:09, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

It actually happens, too. There is a paragraph on Andrei Tarkovsky's Wikipedia page about an unfinished movie project called The First Day. The article cites an obscure book only available in Russian. According to people with access to the book, there is no such project mentioned in it. Also, the ISBN code given in the article matches a different book, which happens to be Tarkovsky's published diaries. There is no mention of such a project in his diaries, either, while he writes extensively about other projects he's planning at that time. (talk) 16:28, 27 August 2023 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Note however, that this would only work if the information is so obscure that there are no conflicting sources. Benjaminikuta (talk) 21:26, 10 February 2017 (UTC)

On a less amusing note it costs 30 dollars/pounds/euros to get a copy of a scientific article that may or may not be useful for journalists that may or may not have free access to said data. Or you could get a pirated copy of it from a suicidal source and have the FBI come after you instead. I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 13:24, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

This article doesn't actually explain the self-sustaining cycle that is the point of the article. It references citogenesis and where the word was derived, and references wikipedia. None of that explains the "fake article" -> "news writer references article" -> "wiki editor adds citation of news writer" -> "fake article referenced in other news". Cflare (talk) 18:56, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

Actually in the comic, citogenesis looks very similar to cyclogenesis. I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 13:24, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

What happened to the "portmanteau" in paragraph 2? SilverMagpie (talk) 22:41, 3 January 2017 (UTC)

Never mind, I fixed it. SilverMagpie (talk) 22:42, 3 January 2017 (UTC)

I'm curious if the doubled "was" in the first panel was an intentional "easter egg" of the kind of carelessness that may be typical of somebody vandalizing Wikipedia with fake information, or if it was unintentional on Randall's part. Perhaps we'll never know. 19:47, 12 October 2020 (UTC)

I had that exact same thought when I read it. I believe it's highly possile it was intended. -- The Cat Lady (talk) 21:56, 23 August 2021 (UTC)

An example I once encountered of a much sloppier attempt at citogenesis: the article for a small, unincorporated community, near where I grew up claimed that [place] "is home to the art of cheddar winking." It cited a book that did not exist, whose ISBN number was for the Book of Mormon. 13:40, 26 February 2021 (UTC)

Another, slightly more prominent example was that a German politician Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg who carries 10 given names. An unknown editor managed to slip an 11th given name into the list: Wilhelm. At first it was reverted, because there was no source. The unknown editor reverted it back. A slightly careful writer checked Wikipedia just in time to see the "Wilhelm" and took it at face value. Many other careless writers followed, some even claimed that Guttenberg would give his full name in interviews and include Wilhelm in the list (obviously those interviews never happened and were just fabricted). Which in turn then was used as a reference ("Google is your friend, people!") for the Wikipedia article. Took some time to get the false name out of the article. 10:11, 4 June 2021 (UTC)

Related and interesting... 14:04, 19 November 2022 (UTC)