Google Fixes Gay Slur In St. Louis Cardinals’ Knowledge Graph Box

stl-cardinals-knowledge-graph-slurA gay slur from the Wikipedia page about the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team made its way into Google’s Knowledge Graph box for a short time this week. The slur has been making news with stories appearing in a number of press outlets.

The Cardinals’ Wikipedia page has been home to a great deal of abuse during the past few days (they’re currently playing in the World Series against the Boston Red Sox) and now can only be edited by Wikipedia administrators.

What I find most interesting is that the slur was live on Wikipedia for a very short amount of time, yet Google’s crawler captured it and changed the text in the Knowledge Graph box.

Timeline of The Incident

Our research, using the history portion of the Cardinals’ Wikipedia entry, shows the slur first appeared on October 24, 2013 at 13:02.

It was removed and the page was reverted back to the prior version one minute later.

The slur reappeared twice on October 28, 2013.

First, at 12:37. It was reverted immediately at 12:37.

Four minutes later, at 12:41, it reappeared and again, it was reverted back immediately.

What Does This Mean?

The gay slur was only showing on the Cardinals’ Wikipedia page for a minute or less each time someone edited the page. It seems hard to believe that Google happened to crawl the page on one of those extremely brief moments it was there.

A Google spokesperson would only tell us that “it was a technical issue on our end that let outdated information through.” When asked to clarify about the crawling of the Wikipedia page, the spokesperson said that Googlebot “missed the revert” from the defamed page back to the regular version.

(Screenshot thanks to Ben Cook.)

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: Knowledge Graph | Google: Web Search | Search Engines: Wikipedia | Top News


About The Author: is a librarian, author, and an online information analyst based in suburban Washington, DC. He is the co-founder and co-editor of INFOdocket and and prior to that was founder/editor of ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. He has worked for Blekko,, and at Search Engine Watch where he was news editor. In 2001, Price was the co-author (with Chris Sherman) of the best-selling book The Invisible Web.

Connect with the author via: Email


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  • maria

    I wish I could get Google to crawl my pages that fast.

  • klippers

    Too funny.

  • daveintheuk

    Further proof that Google’s “Knowledge” Graph is just another low quality scraper site with no added value… and certainly no knowledge!

    Garbage in, garbage out.

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