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Standup comedy cultural hot button Wikipedia hack.
November 30, 2005 1:34 PM   Subscribe

Standup comedy cultural hot button Wikipedia hack. Standup comics! Need a cultural hot button topic for a joke? Check out Wikipedia articles with the most revisions. Comedy gold. Just pick a topic and start riffing.
posted by basilwhite (55 comments total)

 
Those 23,000 revisions of George W. Bush is 23,000 reasons why wikis are a cute fad, but the world needs editors.
posted by Yakuman at 1:40 PM on November 30, 2005


No way, man! Formal training is so 20th Century! Citizen-journalism is the wave of the future! You don't need to learn how to be a good reporter! Anyone who has a journalism degree is a tool of the man!
posted by keswick at 1:45 PM on November 30, 2005


"List of ethnic slurs (4246 revisions)"

My stand-up act has definitely been improved by this FPP.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:50 PM on November 30, 2005


My new favourite ethnic slur (sourced from the list) is calling a French person a 'baguette'. I shall endavour to use it at every possible opportunity.
posted by RokkitNite at 1:55 PM on November 30, 2005


Yakuman: "Those 23,000 revisions of George W. Bush is 23,000 reasons why wikis are a cute fad, but the world needs editors."

And the 80 million people who watch the superbowl are 80 million reasons it needs to be stopped. Big numbers clearly are bad.
posted by Plutor at 1:55 PM on November 30, 2005


For profit ivory tower editor driven encylopedias drive like this, open source user driven encyclopedias drive like this.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:58 PM on November 30, 2005


Keswick: You realize citizen-journalism has almost nothing to do with Wikipedia, right? And Yakuman: that GW article - have you actually looked at it? It's pretty fair and balanced, and covers a lot. I'm not a Wikipedia guy at all, but I have been really impressed with where it's gone in the last year or so. I know find it a very useful resource as opposed to a cool idea.

For a more thoughtful view of the strengths and weaknesses of the wikipedia than the hyperbole above, this screencast by Udell showing the evolution of a single Wikipedia entry (on the heavy metal umlaut, no less) is really interesting on many levels.
posted by freebird at 1:59 PM on November 30, 2005


Numbers 25-28:

Canada (4091 revisions)
Jew (3962 revisions)
Homosexuality (3834 revisions)
India (3823 revisions)

This isn't so much standup comedy as bad improv. Picture this set on "Whose like is it anyway?" Frightening.
posted by GuyZero at 2:00 PM on November 30, 2005


The only thing stinker then a canadian jew is a canadian indian. Heh. Gey.

ROFL.
posted by delmoi at 2:09 PM on November 30, 2005


Seriously this post sucks.
posted by delmoi at 2:10 PM on November 30, 2005


I think the point isn't so much about comedy as that this is a handy list of topics that are foremost on people's minds.
posted by dreish at 2:16 PM on November 30, 2005


It's pretty fair and balanced, and covers a lot.

Is it still possible to use the phrase "fair and balanced" in a complimentary fashion?

But, yeah, Wikipedia good.
posted by gurple at 2:17 PM on November 30, 2005


Canada is the 25th most popular thing on people's minds?

Even in Canada I doubt this. And Terri Schiavo at #10? I doubt you're going anywhere in comedy with Terri Schiavo jokes these days.
posted by GuyZero at 2:19 PM on November 30, 2005


freebird, thanks for the link. It seems that Wikipedia's accuracy on a certain topic is inversely proportional to how easily you can find that topic above the fold of most major newspapers. Since this covers a few dozen topics at most, I think the benefit greatly outweighs the detriment.
posted by Maxson at 2:19 PM on November 30, 2005


Is it still possible to use the phrase "fair and balanced" in a complimentary fashion?

It's not just possible, it's important! Don't let the bastards win! Seriously - I hate the way viral soundbites are rendering chunks of language useless. Remember that there is no bad publicity - even if you only use "Fair and Balanced" as referring to Fox in an entirely sarcastic way, you're still doing their branding work for them.
posted by freebird at 2:28 PM on November 30, 2005


RuneScape?
posted by TwelveTwo at 2:29 PM on November 30, 2005


I disagree, freebird. I think that, if people use the term "fair and balanced" unconsciously, and in a complimentary fashion, THEY are doing Fox's branding work for them, because the term evokes Fox for most people.

Using the term derisively reinforces the association between the term and the brand, it's true, but at least the association is negative.
posted by gurple at 2:31 PM on November 30, 2005


Wikipedia started in January 2001 and there wasn't an article on George W. Bush until December? Is there some kind of cutoff in the database at that point?
posted by gubo at 2:31 PM on November 30, 2005


Anarchism (4800 revisions). The inherent recursion is dizzying. Good, rich content, too.
posted by cleardawn at 2:40 PM on November 30, 2005


Everyone donate to Wikipedia by the way, they need moneys even on the internets.
posted by parallax7d at 2:51 PM on November 30, 2005


October 2003 is the 14th foremost thing on my mind.
posted by mullacc at 2:55 PM on November 30, 2005


Wikipedia is an encyclopedia like a "moving picture" (slang: movie) is a photograph. It just uses the name to draw an analogy for somthing that people can understand. It's an entirely new media format. Taking the analogy literarly is where most critics fail.
posted by stbalbach at 3:13 PM on November 30, 2005


My new favourite ethnic slur (sourced from the list) is calling a French person a 'baguette'. I shall endavour to use it at every possible opportunity.

"Cheese-eating surrender monkey" is still a perfectly usable term.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:14 PM on November 30, 2005


"Cheese-eating surrender monkey" is still a perfectly usable term.

You mean "cromulent."
posted by keswick at 4:20 PM on November 30, 2005


Kent Brockman: Now, over the years, a newsman learns a number of things that for one reason or another, he just cannot report. It doesn't seem to matter now, so... The following people are gay.
posted by iron chef morimoto at 5:05 PM on November 30, 2005


Cool Wikipedia hack, iron chef.
posted by cillit bang at 6:16 PM on November 30, 2005


List of gay, lesbian or bisexual people (3346 revisions)

I can picture the revisions on this one all too clearly. (sigh)
posted by piratebowling at 6:19 PM on November 30, 2005


It has been suggested that List of gay, lesbian or bisexual composers be merged into this article or section. (Discuss)

Comedy gold.
posted by smackfu at 6:44 PM on November 30, 2005


Who has the "power" to revise? Who reviews it? Can I just go to the George Bush page and say his middle name is Thaddeus?

FAQ, you say? What the feck is a FAQ?!

What a frikkin nightmare it must be to be an administrator on that site. See this recent Metafilter example.

And Australia is at 46. Bloody Australia, mate!!!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:58 PM on November 30, 2005


Tom Cruise is nowhere to be found on that page.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:59 PM on November 30, 2005


That list is better than the FPP!

I like the ...

"Persons no longer identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual

The following list includes people who at one point identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual but no longer do.

* David Bowie, English musician artist and stage/film performer, said he was bisexual but in 2001 said he was a "closeted heterosexual," Aldrich, Robert and Wotherspoon, Gary (Eds.) (2001).
* Richard Cohen, "ex-gay" reparative therapist
* Anne Heche, American actress, married cameraman Coley Laffoon in 2001 [15]
* Florence King, Southern American essayist and humourist, bisexual
* Jon Moss, British drummer, former member of Culture Club
* Little Richard, American singer and musician, "former bisexual", denounced homosexuality and bisexuality after becoming a Christian minister
* Lou Reed, American musician, came out as bisexual, later denied - see Victor Bockris' "Transformer"
* t.A.T.u., Russian pop duo [16]
* Peregrine Worsthorne, Conservative journalist[17]
"

Why is it that I can pick out more people that I've heard of from this list, than the full list?
posted by Balisong at 7:17 PM on November 30, 2005


I doubt you're going anywhere in comedy with Terri Schiavo jokes these days.

Ahem.


posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:40 PM on November 30, 2005


reasons why wikis are a cute fad, but the world needs editors.

This comment is a great example of how people miss the point. Editors are good at certain things. But like we say in the business, they are "very expensive" and "do not scale."

I'd like to see how many editors it would take to compile the same amount of information that's on the Wikipedia, in the same amount of time - even if you only count the absolutely excellent stuff.

Besides, on a subject like George Bush, reducing the number of editorial voices to one is more of a resolution than a solution.
posted by scarabic at 7:47 PM on November 30, 2005


frikkin

There it is again! Is this a word imported from Hindi? I'm curious. What does it mean?

Also, how do I clean blood off of a garotte wire?
posted by gramschmidt at 8:02 PM on November 30, 2005


As far as I understand it, it's basically equivalent to "freaking," just more informal. I've heard it pronounced the way it's typed, too. Not really sure what the etymology is, but I've always assumed it's just another word that drifts pronunciation as a way for people to sound different. It seems like there should be a fancy linguistic term for this, but I don't know it.
posted by heresiarch at 8:15 PM on November 30, 2005


Note that in many cases these edits are part of back-&-forth "editing wars", so in some articles listing say 1200 changes that'd mean two teams of six people "skirmishing" 100 times. See the history page of the 'Islam' article for an example.

And one cleans blood off a garrote wire with facial tissue or toilet paper, then disposes of the bloody paper by flushing. That is if one is too damn cheap to have more than one piece of wire or so damn silly that you're using engraved spun platinum or something. Keep in mind too that one's murder implements should be as untraceable as you hope to be and as disposable as the lives you take. Real garrotistes strip the insulation from those 25-foot long telephone wires one finds at chain drug stores for $2.99; the last time I cut one open I found four perfectly serviceable wires in there, which figuring 4' per victim boils down to 12 cents each (not including tax). Note I'm speaking of an old-style garrote formerly used by gentleman, not one of those carpentered gadgets favored by the vulgarians of Castille.
posted by davy at 9:10 PM on November 30, 2005


It's a lot more interesting when you take a look through the history of an article to find out why it's been edited a lot. The ones that attract vandalism from passersby aren't that interesting -- it doesn't take anything to call Bush names on Wikipedia.

Canada, on the other hand -- I've had that article in my watchlist for a year or two there, and a remarkable chunk of those edits came from two factions (and the people who undo what they do): people who go through Wikipedia adding Dominion of in front of Canada, and people who go through changing references to Canada's head of state from the Queen to the Prime Minister.

Especially in the latter case it's almost as though people are expecting some sort of sympathetic magic -- or that they can write their Member of Parliament and say "Look, Wikipedia says it, now you have to make it law."
posted by mendel at 9:33 PM on November 30, 2005


So, how about that Wikipedia and September 2005, huh? Funny stuff, right?

tough crowd...
posted by afroblanca at 9:53 PM on November 30, 2005


frikkin

There it is again! Is this a word imported from Hindi? I'm curious. What does it mean?


gramschmidt, although I'm not a massive fan of the series and I'm willing to stand corrected, I do believe I stole it off Dr Evil of Austin Powers fame.

The spelling is my own interpretation!

And I'm also guessing it is a bastardisation of freakin' which in turn is a bastardisation of...

/hijack
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:10 PM on November 30, 2005


Alas, gram, the forensics team on CSI will trace that stained wire back to you. They seem to find blood despite bleach; maybe metal polish would do a better job and, while it might not provide a defense for you, it might at least give them a new plot line.
posted by Cranberry at 10:16 PM on November 30, 2005


Tom Cruise is nowhere to be found on that page.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:59 PM PST on November 30 [!]


I love the History page:

# 00:56, 1 December 2005 TomC m (→O - rmvd Tom Cruise ref - I mean it this time!!!)
# 00:43, 1 December 2005 NikkiK m (→C - added Tom Cruise ref.)
# 00:33, 1 December 2005 TomC m (→O - rmvd Tom Cruise ref)
# 00:21, 1 December 2005 PeneC m (→C - added Tom Cruise)
# 00:17, 1 December 2005 TomC m (→O - rmvd Tom Cruise photos and ref)
# 00:05, 1 December 2005 RadChad m (→C - added Tom Cruise photos)


I kid; don't sue me, Tom.

My favorite-
# 12:06, 30 November 2005 IP (→D - -doherty: no evidence in article; close friendship is not homosexuality, and kate moss is not a man)
posted by NorthernSky at 11:32 PM on November 30, 2005


Thanks for the help everybody. The wire in question is, indeed, engraved spun platinum, davy, and under different circumstances I would have used a much more disposable garotte. However, I felt to obliged to use this one in this particular case because it was a gift from the person to whom the blood in question used to belong. Alas, I am a slave to Agatha Christie-style irony, I suppose. I will try both bleach and metal polish, Cran, and I might also try to fashion it into a bracelet, add some convincing baubles, and attach it to the person-in-question's wrist before the authorities arrive.

As for "frikkin", though, I am tempted to suggest that my original comment was made in the spirit of observing that MetaFilter is not a PG-13 movie, but, after a couple of earnest answers, that would be rather rude, so I'll simply not say a fucking thing.
posted by gramschmidt at 11:34 PM on November 30, 2005


or you could borrow some already-composed jokes from the uncyclopedia popular pages
posted by foraneagle2 at 3:16 AM on December 1, 2005


uncanny hengeman: "Who has the "power" to revise? Who reviews it? Can I just go to the George Bush page and say his middle name is Thaddeus?"

I'm not sure if you're trying to be facetious, but here goes:

1) Anybody can revise.
2) Anybody can review. There's a (non-trivial) number of serious editors and administrators who watch the recent changes page.
3) Yes, you could. But it would be considered vandalism and would be removed pretty quickly (look at the history on the GWB page, and you'll see that this happens very frequently). If you vandalize repetitively, you will be blocked. IMHO, it's not worth doing, since there's such a huge number of people watching the pages and reverting.

#1 and #2 are simultaneously the great strengths and the great weaknesses of wiki. In the end, Wikipedia works on a single principle: that there are more good, smart, well-intentioned people willing to work hard to make Wikipedia awesome than there are idiots, jerks, and vandals willing to work hard to mess it up.
posted by Plutor at 4:08 AM on December 1, 2005


But it would be considered vandalism and would be removed pretty quickly (look at the history on the GWB page, and you'll see that this happens very frequently). If you vandalize repetitively, you will be blocked. IMHO, it's not worth doing, since there's such a huge number of people watching the pages and reverting.

That's only true of the GWB article though. There are literally millions of other articles you could add all sorts of nonsense to, and no one would care.

(I know this from experience)
posted by cillit bang at 4:13 AM on December 1, 2005


The flaw in the plan seems to me the presumption that there is one truth for any given entity.

Why can't they just have (for example) two entries on GW, first GW_badman then GW_goodman. That way all the lovers and haters could write whatever facts they consider valid, and those of us with a brain can read both and draw our own conclusions.

At the least they need to figure a better mechanism to incorporate opposing views. Some sort of 'politics and opinion' section for all disputed subjects would be handy.

At the moment they seem to be simply ignoring the possibility of disagreement, much like a traditional encyclopedia. They should play to their strengths and incorporate this business rather than trying to moderate it into nothingness.
posted by MetaMonkey at 6:49 AM on December 1, 2005


MetaMonkey, I would imagine that they just don't want value judgments. If you avoid incorporating them into the article people can come by and make their own damn value judgments. Isn't that better than having a bunch of blog-like entries?

Also, evaluative judgments are not true in the same way that propositions about facts are unless you are a realist about evaluative properties. That is, if you think that there is a badness property that works pretty much the same way squareness works. Why force your controversial metaphysics onto Wikipedia? (To clarify the first point just a bit, evaluative statements like "she is pretty" may not even be true at all.)

Derail? What derail? Wasn't the whole point of the FPP to give us a free discussion sandbox?
posted by oddman at 7:34 AM on December 1, 2005


Someone who's not a fan of Wikipedia.
posted by trey at 7:42 AM on December 1, 2005


Great, now I have no reason to read metafilter now.

"Okay, so Jesus and the 9/11 bombers walk into a German bar run by the Pope during WWII. They walk past a table where Harry Potter and Saddam Hussein are sitting and say..."
posted by skallas at 8:04 AM on December 1, 2005


The wikipedia model works great for science stuff, where there is right and wrong and there are clearly demonstrable facts. This is part of why tech subjects tend to have the best entries.

However, when dealing with the wacky world of human-kind, value-judgements are unavoidable. Currently wikipedia aims for the rather lofty ideal of neutrality, effectively trying to avoid or ignore value judgements or subjectivity. I think I am arguing that they would to better to recognise many stories have more than one side, rather than attempting to be above such argument. Instead of a sticker saying the factual accuracy is disputed or whatnot, there must be some way to incorporate differing opinions. That would be a real achievement in my eyes, and improve wikipedia enormously.

When I buy a newspaper I know a bit about the bias of the publisher, and read accordingly. But when I read wikipedia I know nothing about the author, and have to work to find out which side is winning the subjective tug-of-war on each article. This could and should be easily resolved, with a bit of thought and experimentation. I would be amazed if wikipedia does not make allowances for this stuff and adapt within the next few years.

Put simply, wikipedia is intended to inform the world. Ignoring differing opinions of fact and truth is ignoring useful information.
posted by MetaMonkey at 10:07 AM on December 1, 2005


Similar to John Byrne example mentioned above, there is another situation brewing on Wikipedia with reporter John Seigenthaler Sr., who says he was smeared by a false biography posted on wikipedia. via the Chronicle's Wired Campus Blog.
posted by pithy comment at 12:14 PM on December 1, 2005


Yeah I didn't click trey's link until it was too late.
posted by pithy comment at 12:32 PM on December 1, 2005


they seem to be simply ignoring the possibility of disagreement

Ignoring differing opinions of fact and truth is ignoring useful information.

You folks must not use Wikipedia much, just about every article has multiple POV's on points of disagreement. It's part of the Wikipedia "Constitution".
posted by stbalbach at 4:56 PM on December 1, 2005


Thanks, Plutor. Wasn't tryin' to be funny.

cillit bang, now that you mention it, I remember reading a blog entry where some fella dicked around with a page to see if anyone noticed (changed some dates and other small facts, I think).

And when no one changed it back (the point he was trying to make) he changed it back to the way it was. Not wanting to be a vandal.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:19 PM on December 1, 2005


"You folks must not use Wikipedia much, just about every article has multiple POV's on points of disagreement. It's part of the Wikipedia "Constitution"."

I was suggesting that this is poorly executed due to an unworkable obsession with neutrality. Entries marked 'controversial' tend to epitomize the problem.
posted by MetaMonkey at 1:16 PM on December 3, 2005


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