The Unfortunate History of the “Kek” Article

I looked at the history because the 2016 election (and 4chan shenanigans) basically catapulted this obscure Egyptian god into internet fame. (Wikipedia version here)

Some interesting notes:

  • This article is very old – going all the way back to 2002 and not getting touched again until 2004. By good Wikipedia standards, it was not really up to snuff until May 2016. It didn’t have citations until 2010, albeit to an amateur Egyptologist.
  • The article originally used the alternate name “Kuk” for this Egyptian God. This led to a lot of vandalism edits from Scandinavians since apparently “kuk” is Swedish slang for penis. (I like the indignation of this Finn). This continued pretty non-stop from 2005 to 2009 to 2012
  • Jan. 2016 marks the start of 4chan edits to the page with pro-Trump / meme magic memes. This clearly hasn’t hit the mainstream yet since in May 2016, someone does a revert with the comment “Bizarre vandal“, although there is a discussion about what’s going on in Jan. 2016 on the talk page. The vandalism wars amplify as the election approaches with 100+ edits in September 2016 alone.
  • They finally add a “In popular culture” section as a result and actually revert other people trying to remove it. Some 4chan people are still not happy about it. In Dec. 2016, Wikipedia editors argue once more about the notability and decide in Feb. 2017 to keep the “In Popular culture section”
  • In a mildly amusing call back to the Swedish kuk penis edits, the similarity between “Kuk” and “cuck” is made in some edits.
  • Part of the vandalism is an attempt to change the title of the article from “Kuk” to “Kek”. A discussion starts on the talk page  and is finally approved on October 1. A big factor in getting it moved is the fact that “Kek” is indeed the most common spelling of the god’s name.

On March 2017, someone in the talk page states

I respect the relevance of pop culture and internet entries, but please don’t let it spill over into carefully researched pages on specific, unrelated fields of scholarship.

ignoring the fact that until the Internet trolls started vandalizing the page, nobody was really giving much thought (and definitely not “carefully researched” thought) into this page

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s