Law Schools, Media and Journalism, Old People, Technology, Wikipedia

Second Career Problems: Famous Author’s Wikipedia Page Hacked By Law School Classmates

‘OMG, you’re totally a fertile octogenarian!’

When surveying an average law school class, among every other stereotypical type of law student — from the gunners right down to the kids you didn’t know were in the class until they showed up for the final — you’ll typically see a nontraditional student, or, in less polite terms, an old fart. Almost every law school class has at least one of them, and they’re usually more than a bit annoying.

These mature law students tend to favor old-fashioned notebooks over laptops for note-taking during class, and they like to rub elbows with their professors, if only because they’re the same damn age. You may even hear a story or two about how one time, they had to walk uphill, both ways, IN THE SNOW, just to get to school. Ahh, memories — but in truth, most of their classmates would prefer that they just STFU about the good ol’ days.

So what happens when you’ve got an older law student in your midst who also happens to be a well-known author and technology journalist, complete with his very own Wikipedia page? Of course, the most logical course of action for budding lawyers would be to hack it….

Meet Julian Dibbell. Dibbell’s writing has been published by Wired, the New York Times, and the Village Voice, and he’s authored multiple books, including My Tiny Life: Crime and Passion in a Virtual World, Play Money: Or, How I Quit My Day Job and Made Millions Trading Virtual Loot, and Violation: Rape In Gaming (affiliate links). We should probably note that Dibbell is now a student at the University of Chicago Law School.

He’s almost 50 years old, but given his techno-centric works, he obviously knows how to use modern technology for the purposes of note-taking in class. But just because he knows how to work a computer does not mean he’s going to remember to email his classmates his notes. So, like any passive-aggressive law students would, they took out their rage on Dibbell’s Wikipedia page (gavel bang: Legal Cheek):

We can’t even imagine what would’ve happened if Dibbell had forgotten to attend their study group meeting. Perhaps the edits to his Wikipedia page would’ve been riddled with even more errant typos! To the gunner who hacked Dibbell’s Wikipedia page but didn’t “rememember” to use spell check: how embarrassing for you. This event will be labeled “The November 8th ATL Controversy” by the law student community at large.

Luckily, Dibbell took the attack on his Wikipedia page in stride. From his Twitter feed:

Second career problems, indeed. At least Dibbell can take heart in the fact that while he made law review, others in his study group can’t even spell.

UPDATE (3:45 PM): The fellow who edited Dibbell’s Wikipedia page just wrote in to us to clarify that he is not, in fact, as much of a d-bag as we had originally thought. Here’s what he had to say:

I’m the UChicago classmate of Julian’s who edited his Wikipedia article. I just wanted to clarify that it was done with his permission as a joke among the study group members. It was not carefully orchestrated or anything. There was a typo or two probably because I typed it in a few minutes while I had internet in one of my classes. I was on Facebook Chat with Julian as I did it. There wasn’t any passive aggression or ill-will towards him for forgetting something so trivial. The fact that the edit was about something trivial was part of what made it funny to us.

In short: this guy did it for the lulz, he’s not a jerk, and he knows how to spell real good!

Julian Dibbell [Wikipedia]
Julian Dibbell [Twitter]
The Cyberbullying Perils Of Having a Wikipedia Page When You’re a Law Student [Legal Cheek]

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