A reader tipped us off to the appearance of racial epithets in searches for Barack Obama on Google. When performing a search for our current president, on the first screenful you’ll be greeted with the N-word. Yep, that one.
Apparently someone went into the Wikipedia entry for President Obama at about 11:44pm ET last night, deleting the entire entry to read the epithet three times over. The wording was in such a position that Google’s crawlers picked it up.
The edit was quickly reversed in two minutes. However it apparently was not fast enough for it not to be crawled by Google’s servers. Below is the screenshot. As this is a family site, the front page version has been edited. A uncensored version is posted after the fold.
If anything, this goes to strengthen the argument which seems to be brewing lately over whether Wikipedia should become more stringent over who it lets edit its postings.
Incidents like this are a perfect example of why it should happen. If Wikipedia wants to be a reliable resource, it may be time for the site to start vetting its writers. It’s good that people want to help, but there’s people out there who have nothing better to commit than stupid antics like this.
I have a request for comment out to Google and Wikipedia on the situation, but I’m not expecting much other than a canned response.