Pray for Todd Howard's Wikipedia Page, Under Siege from Tumblr Vandals

Pray for Todd Howard's Wikipedia Page, Under Siege from Tumblr Vandals

Wikipedia editors are in a desperate struggle.

The video game community is known for meme-ifying famous video game developers. Industry leaders like Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime and Japanese game designer Hideo Kojima are no strangers to the meme treatment. But when it comes to Bethesda's Todd Howard, internet pranksters might have met their match with a group who wants to put an end to their memes: Wikipedia editors.

Todd Howard has a couple well-known memes associated with him. The Bethesda director has been joked about as someone whose mission in life is to release The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim on every video game console until the end of time. And the meme-makers on Tumblr want so desperately to make this joke known on Wikipedia, the prominent fountain of knowledge on the internet. And the Wikipedia editors know this.

Since last year, after some mild Wikipedia vandalism on Howard's Wikipedia page, Wikipedia editors shut down editing on the page. They locked the page from edits until April 25, 2018. That was two days ago.

Meanwhile, news of the page's lockdown and the expiration of said lockdown traveled across Tumblr where users began eagerly anticipating the lifting of the Todd Howard Wikipedia edit sanctions.

A little before the locks on Howard's page were supposed to lift one Wikipedia editor brought up the Tumblr post in Wikipedia's Talk section. "A tumblr post made many months ago is circulating like crazy today. Not sure what the deal with this is but probably want to be aware that a bunch of people intend to come vandalize the page," they wrote. "Nothing new really, we're aware," said another Wikipedia editor, seemingly unfazed.

The locks lifted and Howard's page was immediately vandalized. The page is now protected by Wikipedia's "Extended confirmed protection," which limits edits on the page to users who have been registered on the site for more than 30 days and clock in at least 500 Wikipedia page edits.

In response, vandals are editing any page remotely related to Todd Howard, and several pages unrelated. NY Mag found that vandals had hit such Wikipedia pages for seemingly random subjects like the page for filmmaker Todd Haynes, which was edited to say, ""The first Todd H- to pop up when you type it into the wikipedia search bar, [surprisingly]."

It should be noted that Todd Howard isn't involved in the Wikipedia editors' steadfast dedication to protecting Howard's and other pages from vandalism. They're just that dedicated to the internet's free encyclopedia. Meanwhile, there's no doubt that there are Todd Howard vandals waiting in the wings for an opening to hit his Wikipedia page again.

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Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

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