Over at Slate, Macworld's Cyrus Farivar explains how he stopped a burgeoning Internet hoax dealing with (what else?) young people having anonymous sex. This time around, the supposed practice was "greenlighting," which involved signaling partners by flipping up the collar of your green polo shirt.
Farivar poured water on the hoaxers' plans by outing them at Wikipedia. Using the sites Something Awful and Wookieefetish as a staging ground, they hoped to see greenlighting discussed as a real trend in places like Time and Oprah. Then he suffered the consequences on his own site:
I saw that the greenlighters had replaced my boring "technology journalist living in Oakland" entry with a detailed sexual fantasy involving … a Wookiee. I read as far as "Chewie reached down with his jaw and grasped the jeans and knickers, tugging them down savagely" before taking the story down. They responded by adding a clumsy Photoshop job of me accepting a Pulitzer Prize from a Wookiee. I tried to undo it. Someone else added a British tabloid page marked up to depict me as a terrorist.
It's a fun story of cybersleuthing. And one that makes you wonder just how much crap passes for real when it comes to all sorts of trends.
(And on second thought, given the piece is published at Slate, which was the object of two big-league hoaxes in the past, it would actually be extremely clever if the piece by Farivar–sounds like a fake name, hmmm–was itself a fake about a fake.)
Slate piece here.
Farivar's site here.