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Dutch Girl Fakes a Trip to South East Asia (gapyear.com)
242 points by theoutlander on Sept 13, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 90 comments

Another interesting take on this in my opinion is that no one recognized the places that she went to. Perhaps people don't realize that interesting destinations exist in their home towns.

This is the first thing I thought. Given a sufficiently large city and a sufficiently disinterested friend group I think it's possible to pull this off in many places. I have friends who have grown up in New York and never been to the Met. I'm fairly certain I could convince them I was at the Louvre.

I did a similar thing with a buddy. As a joke, he put his MS paint pictures of Shrek on Facebook, and said he had gotten a job as a concept artist on Facebook.

I used google image searches to search for LA locations. I got close to a dozen phone calls, texts, and fb messages asking me to hang out while I was in LA.

You don't even need selfies.

People could possibly pull that off with me even for museums I have been to a few years ago. I won't remember all the paintings, I won't really remember all the interior room styles (even when they are pretty unique, a few single photos usually don't capture that, unless you do it on purpose). Even if I saw a painting that I'm sure I've seen somewhere else, they do move/loan them to different expositions over time, I've seen that happen in reality too (I'd remark on that, hey I think I've seen that one at museum X--ok, maybe that's when I would start to get a clue).

Add to that the fact that you simply don't expect to be lied to in such a straightforward manner, I see no shame in being able to be fooled in this way.

What an amazing plot twist it would be if she actually had gone to Asia and ended up faking that she faked the trip.

She would loose the credit for the project if the school found out though.

But the project could actually be how easy it is to manipulate the media

She's actually attending the M. Night Shyamalan school of art.



Love this. Very cool project, even if, as pointed out already in this thread, it was emulated from the Leeds 13's own fake trip.

Also fascinating how hostile some of the commenters are here. The project explores the illusion social media sites create. I think it's pretty cool.

What "illusions" do social media sites create? I don't see what this has to do with social media. Other than it makes it a bit more difficult to pull off. Because you need to make posts over the time period.

I think it's more accurately "the illusions we create within social media sites" - if someone can do this, what subtle misrepresentations are we creating (with or without thinking about it)? Certainly, it is not unique to "social media sites", but an attribute of social interaction in general. Social sites just reify and persist that interaction in a form suitable for this kind of a project.

Me and a friend did this as a joke for a few days. I had never heard of the Leeds 13 trip.

It's not an unobvious thing to do.

I am actually surprised the travel industry isn't on facebook more. How many more travel pics do we see now then before fb?

The thought occurred during a recent vacation I took: if I tried to show my friends and family my vacation photos after the trip it would be a classic sitcom groan moment, but by posting during the trip I get past their defenses. Their need to compulsively 'like' things kicks in, and they unwittingly view the whole trip anyway.

The medium is the message - it's the context that changes the meaning.

Sitting everyone down for pictures is almost gloating; but when you remove the obligations, people's desires to be nice, helpful and curious kick in so they take a look and click like.

But yeah, I'm surprised that companies involved in travel aren't all over social media. My only guess is that it might be difficult to change the messaging from "travel is exciting" to "travel with Xyz travels pty ltd is exciting" because of the industry's commoditization.

Some travel-related companies are "all over social media". Tripadvisor had some success with their FB apps showing "cities I've visited" etc.

To be honest, it's just that social media already does most of the job for them, for free (travelers post pictures on their own, nowadays even tagging the location or establishment), so why push it?

Because you want people to link directly to the trip or vacation or hotel or airline that they used. People usually don't mention it, they mention the destination.

I've found that a lot of people are using Facebook to share airline deals with each other.

I actually think it has more to do with dosing the time out over a week. I'll happily commit a few minutes a few times a day to looking at some cool photos. Ask me to sit down for an hour? Sorry, I have to return some videotapes.

It's more than that. If I demand to show you my vacation slides, I'm taking your time on my schedule. If I put pictures up on facebook, you can browse them at your own leisure, and there's no demand on my part involved.

Sounds like its something they don't really want to see, and that you have to trick them (even innocently as here) about it.

So why even show it to them in the first place?

This could have done with a lot more explanation. The link is for a (already 180% funded) Kickstarter for "Stuff and Nonsense" which is a successor (remake? sequel? "This game has a similar story, but the rules are almost completely different.") to an older game called "Captain Park's Imaginary Polar Expedition" from Cheapass Games, in which the basic concept is that you and your friends are all faking expeditions with game mechanics around a) faking evidence and b) catching your friends faking evidence.

You can download "Captain Park's" from the Cheapass "Boulevard of Broken Games" at http://cheapass.com/node/115 which basically has downloads for games that haven't been updated in 10+ years.

"This could have done with a lot more explanation."

Doubtless - thanks for picking up the slack! :)

How does this relate to the topic?

The first paragraph:

You and your friends are globetrotting explorers. Or so you say. Actually, you are all liars and cowards, and despite your claims to the contrary, you've never left London.

The theme of the game is "pretending you've gone on adventures" (it's a remake of Captain Park's Imaginary Polar Expedition, by the same people).

Cool experiment, but not letting your family in on it? Not sure how this will affect future trust issues...

It was for research. If it were my daughter, I'd be both impressed and proud. Besides, most college students represent a different reality to their parents than the one they actually live.

I don't know, I'd be pretty worried about my daughter if she were in another continent. I'd want the hotel information, I'd send her extra money. I'd be reading up on news in that area.

I doubt I would be angry to find out it was a university project and she never went anywhere, but whatever I would feel probably wouldn't end up being pleasant. Maybe it wouldn't be bad, but the stress put on the parents doesn't seem right. I don't think children know how much parents care about them sometimes.

>I don't know, I'd be pretty worried about my daughter if she were in another continent. I'd want the hotel information, I'd send her extra money. I'd be reading up on news in that area.

She was in university, not 14 years old.

I am pretty sure he knows this. Being in college doesn't make parents stop from worrying or caring about their children.

You're right. Traveling alone in several foreign countries for more than a month as someone just out of high school is completely safe. There is no reason a parent would have to worry about their kid doing that.

>You're right. Traveling alone in several foreign countries for more than a month as someone just out of high school is completely safe.

First strawman. I never said it's "completely safe". Staying in your parents house is not "completely safe" either. You can fall of the stairs for example, or get an electric shock. Or they can bore you to death by overprotection.

However such travelling is perfectly common. Tons of young people go backpacking in several foreign countries (you say it as "foreign country" means danger. In actuallity going to places like e.g Paris, Denmark or Singapore is a heck of a lot safer than staying home in Baltimore, Atlanta or Los Angeles).

Besides "just out of high school" translates eighteen, so it's not a "kid" anymore (heck, in most countries, it also legally an adult). Heck, eighteen year olds were conscribed in most major wars, including Vietnam.

>There is no reason a parent would have to worry about their kid doing that.

Of course there's a reason: being over-protective. A little worrying is OK. The BS "I'll be reading the news for that part of the world" (for what? In case there was some avalance or earthquake or armed robbery and a news story mentions their child?) is not.

Safety depends on where you travel to. Traveling alone in several foreign countries for more than a month is pretty normal thing to to for college aged people with enough money to pay for it.

"Foreign country" is not necessary more dangerous then the country you live in.

I'd still worry if she were 34 or 44 or 64?She wouldn't stop being my daughter. Should I feel sorry for your kids or are you not a parent?

>I'd still worry if she were 34 or 44 or 64? She wouldn't stop being my daughter.

Not, but you should have stopped being the parent of a child when she grew up.

>Should I feel sorry for your kids or are you not a parent?

You should feel sorry for yourself, and the idea that your ideals of parenting are the only ones there are out there. Here's a small pointer to a larger universe for you: http://www.amazon.com/Bringing-Up-B%C3%A9b%C3%A9-Discovers-P...

First, she is an adult. It is very likely that she already did multiple foreign (most likely another EU) country trips without parents. If your adult child travelling Asia is so stressful to you, then you need to step back a bit.

Second, she was supposed to be travelling. It usually means changing towns and hotels every other day. The only reasonable way to send her money is to transfer them to her usual bank account. Moreover, hotels in Asia are often cheaper if you find them in place and negotiate. You do not know the address in advance.

That's why there are research ethics boards - I'd be surprised if this cleared one. I can say from very similar experiences that kind of activity can damage trust and destroy relationships with people.

My guess is that there was no formal research process involved at all. It was probably a project for an arts or design course, where a lot of times the more "disruptive" an idea looks, the more encouraged the student is to proceed with it.

That reminds me of a BBC documentary called "But is it art?", where a Goldsmiths, University of London art student, for her final project, went to several art exhibitions, stole objects on display, swallowed them, and then showed them as her art after defecating them.

Source: I'm a Goldsmiths alumnus.

IMO it depends if she asked for money, or missed an important family event (funeral/wedding/etc). Otherwise, what's the harm?

Maybe she didn't have them on Facebook. I refuse to add my parents as there is stuff on there I don't want them seeing easily.

Zilla even redecorated her own bedroom to make it look like an Oriental hotel room so that she could have Skype conversations with her family – at random times in the night, of course – without raising suspicion.

An "Oriental hotel room"? Hotel rooms look like hotel rooms.

You have not travelled on a budget in Asia. Some accommodation is very basic.

Well, unless you consider China "Asia". I might.

Like what? What could you be doing that you can't have a frank conversation with another adult about?

Of course, I suppose I'm weird. I go to bars and beer festivals with my parents. But I never got into binge drinking in college.

You can't choose your parents, but it's great that you can have fun at bars with yours. Some parents don't approve of all sorts of things (politics, sexual orientation, religion, biracial relationships, etc etc). It's not always about having a frank conversation.

That's great. But it's not the norm.

I wonder what measures she took to simulate network latency. That's one of the things, that's going to immediately rat you out, if you're not where you're supposed to be.

For what its worth, she mentioned in a television show that she got a 7 (out of 10) mark for the project, which was people thought was rather low. The fact is that she does a kind of art study and that the teacher was not all to impressed with the 'art' she created for the project.

Reminds me of this:


Some Leeds art students faked a trip to Malaga on student grant money. Caused great outrage. I was friends with one of the 13. He dined out on it for a while, had a whale of a time.

As seen on: Random people fakes a great weekend posting pictures of smiling people holding drinks on nightclubs.

Nope, sea water cannot mirror like this on a photo. It's obvious that it is in a [probably indoors] pool.

She'd have probably enjoyed the real South East Asia more

In the spirit of the increasing Facebook dependency, http://99daysoffreedom.com/

For those who'd like even more of a challenge, just delete your Facebook [1]. They'll instantly deactivate (not delete) your account, and then spend 7 days sending emails which are designed to make you change your mind, with various psychological tricks.

[1] https://www.facebook.com/help/delete_account

I am already off Facebook since a few months. The first 2 weeks I caught myself opening a new tab typing 'face' and then realizing I deactivated my account. I just moved to a new city which breaks my old ties even faster. But my really good friends call me now and that feels really good!

Next up: 99 days without hackernews :)

> Next up: 99 days without hackernews :)

I'll bet you that will be a lot harder to do than breaking with facebook. So far I haven't managed.

noprocrast would help ;)


She is so cool and smart.

I don't see the modernity of the project because she used traditional methods like setting up a complete scene and photographing herself. Perhaps a more modern variant is to make lots of posts from a south Asian chat room to convince people your are from South Asia?

LOVE the experience and HER for most TRAVEL is over-rated. LONG time New York City, NY, USA. Seen the tunnel doors under the Columbia University campus .... but then, i was a student.

Go to the factory parties in Brooklyn and ride my bicycle through the POLISH Greenpoint section with the Catholic statues and shrines in the house or apartment yard or garden.

SHAME ON YOU for only thinking the experiment or sociology review or comment on Facebook is ABOUT FOOLING YOUR FRIENDS.

In general, most of your FRIENDS are DUMBER than you are and even test lower on the IQ scale.

ITS ALL ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE. Can you get a real Chinatown street food - yummy bizarre food high? Without going to Bangkok? Without jet lag? without high amount of expense?

Sure scuba diving in the Caribbean is a high point of life. But I spent most time looking behind me for there were sharks / barracuda etc. So, experience and MILEAGE WILL VARY GREATLY.

CONCLUSION: no suprise, you ignoramousses. Read the book on globalization. In Florida you can hear the NATIVE INDIAN from Mexico who has NO PAPERS who is working construction IN FLORIDA.

Many friends have never been to the Metropolitan MUSEUM of NYC, NY, USA - post link. HUNGARIAN movies and cheap student films were shot at the Hungarian Coffee Shop right near St. John the Divine Church. Location is close to 116th street. Columbia University.

Here's proof. Simply come up with ONE HUNDRED QUESTIONS for a reality movie /documentary / March of the Penguins in Antartica etc.

MOST OF THE COLLEGE GRADUATES are clueless! Are they living in a Matrix? Are MOST OF THE PENGUINS EXACTLY the same and 95% or ninety five percent of all penguins seen are MALE?

Something is wrong, because "the illusion social media" or rather the DEPENDENCE UPON VIRTUAL or almost reality.

PS. look carefully at the MONK PICTURES. DO you see Waldo? that is a joke. Do YOU SEE FIVE THINGS WRONG? are the light spectrum color variation appropriate?

Does water swirl down the drain in a counter-clockwise direction?

SHAVING HEAD USING A MODERN DAY RAZOR? some teeth filled with gold by dentist while in the US they use verneers and coverings and 'silver amalgam'?

>The reasons behind her actions, however, are noble: it was all part of a university project, in which she wanted to show how Facebook activity is not necessarily reflective of real life.

I don't think doing academic research is a carte-blanch to lie to people. One girl might do this sort of thing for the ego boost of appearing cool. But what about the ego boost academics get from pulling this kind of trick on other people.

This isn't a research paper, it's an art project. If I saw these photographs exhibited as merely theoretical explorations of the idea of lying on Facebook, I would be underwhelmed. It's the fact that she actually convinced her friends and family that they were real that makes it great.

>I don't think doing academic research is a carte-blanch to lie to people.

No, living in a free country is a carte-blanch to lie to people. She isn't doing anything illegal, and she is best to know if it's ok with them or not.

I'm not actually much fussed by the story, but I am kind of sick of this ridiculous notion that anything not actually illegal is perfectly okay.

Well, how about the ridiculous notion that her relationship with her relatives is our business?

That's not the part people care about. People promoting a culture where it's okay to lie to others because "hey, it's not illegal" is everyone's business.

The ego-boost is speculative. I think she was genuinely interested in the question. And she's made the point very well.

Every time someone posts to Facebook, it's a lie. All of Facebook is a lie. No ones posts all of the details of their lives, especially the ugly details, or the uncomfortable details, or the embarrassing ones. This student set out to underscore that fact, and I am tickled that she did so quite effectively.

I am pleased to know that the breakups, affairs, deaths and births I have heard of over facebook did not actually happen.

No one ever gives people the full details of their lives, whether via speech, writing, text message or facebook post, so, perhaps, everyone is always lying.

On that note:

(...) An habitual truth-teller is simply an impossible creature; he does not exist; he never has existed. Of course there are people who _think_ they never lie, but it is not so--and this ignorance is one of the very things that shame our so-called civilization. Everybody lies--every day; every hour; awake; asleep; in his dreams; in his joy; in his mourning; if he keeps his tongue still, his hands, his feet, his eyes, his attitude, will convey deception--and purposely. Even in sermons--but that is a platitude. (...)

Excerpt of "On The Decay Of The Art Of Lying", by Mark Twain: http://www.online-literature.com/twain/1320/

And this is opposite to real life in what way? Do you tell everyone you know every problem you have? Do you tell all your friends everything about you all the time? Why would a digital medium of communication be any different?

Selectively providing information is not equivalent to lying.

That's the second time in a week that I come across that statement on HN. You'd be surprised how the rest of the world views lies of omission, hint: not kindly.

Lying by omission is not the same thing as not mentioning irrelevancies.

There are lies of commission and lies of omission.

You know the bit in a court, when they ask to hear "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth"?

Omission is not a lie, these details are left out because you are not supposed to post every detail of your life, especially not the ugly ones, to the mass public (which is what pasting to Facebook is).

That's kind of a ridiculous position. You think a liar is anyone who doesn't inform the public of their bowel movements?

People lying on the Internet? Inconceivable!

Amazing truth: people lie in real life too :)

What would you think of a similar experiment to probe deception in academic research?

I think we need to balance the need for deception in some cases, against the fact that tricking/pranking people is fun, and makes you look cool. There is an inherent ego boost from making other people look stupid and foolish, and that applies as much to the Sokal hoax as this.

That said, there are some reasons why I would be more in favor of using deception in your example:

- Facebook doesn't claim to have mechanisms that prevent deception. It is an extension of social life, and people are already equipped to understand that other people might lie to them. Academia claims to be robust against deception, because of the impact that a single faked academic result could have.

- The purpose of a probe into academic deception would probably be to prove that the safeguards were inadequate. This research, on the other hand, is used as evidence that people are always being dishonest when they use Facebook. It is very bad evidence for this claim. I would object to submitting a fake paper, and using it as evidence that all academics are biased.


Ethics panels are important, but not the final word on what is right or wrong. If someone isn't defined to be an experimental subject, then the rules regarding deception are pretty lax.

In fact, your post exhibits exactly the supercilious attitude that I was complaining about. The article implied that any academic research was sufficient reason to engage in deception that would otherwise be unethical. Now you are saying that I cannot comment on the ethics of research because the ethics panel has already decided the matter.

EDIT: I assumed some sarcasm in your (deleted) post, and if I was wrong in assuming that, I apologize.

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