Wikipedia Post Leads to Defamation Suit

Dennis Faas's picture

Be careful what you post on Wikipedia!

Although the online encyclopedia boasts that it's essentially an open source intellectual tool that uses publicly submitted articles, not everything is without consequence. While Wikipedia tends to monitor all of the posted articles with its own editors, a recent post on pro golfer Fuzzy Zoeller has the subject suing the article's writer for defamation.

Zoeller is outraged that a post on Wikipedia labeled him a drug user, alcoholic, and abuser of his family. Report suggest that the poster's IP address has been traced back to an education consulting firm in Miami, although executives there deny any partaking in the post. (Source:

This isn't the first case of questionable material posted on Wikipedia. Some examples include false accusations of participation in the Kennedy assassinations and various fanboy slinging episodes between console owners. In fact, Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii Wikipedia domains were shut down for a period as the fanboy storm calmed.

The comments against Zoeller, which have since been removed, were fairly aggressive in attacking the golfer. The original poster wrote that Zoeller, "viciously beat his wife Dianne and their four children while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol."

Other comments proclaiming that Zoeller "said in an interview with Golf Digest magazine that he hadn't beat his wife in nearly five years", are particularly crude and belligerent. (Source:

The subsequent lawsuit filed by Zoeller is proof that Wikipedia is not a free-for-all forum for unsubstantiated allegations.

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