when wikipedia... goes bad
September 6, 2006 7:18 AM   Subscribe

I should add an entry about Autechre, but it'll probably get deleted or reworded. Thanks for not using the caret, btw.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:24 AM on September 6, 2006

Don't stuff beans up your nose
posted by Plutor at 7:25 AM on September 6, 2006

An editor who self-admittedly knows little of mathematics disputes the status of e as an "important number", preferring the term "special number". When a number of mathematically inclined people disagree, he argues that e is not in fact a number.

That's a pretty good summary of Wikipedia right there.
posted by danb at 7:26 AM on September 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

Friends of gays should not be allowed to edit articles

Need I go on? Do we need single-link FPPs to every single marginally-humorous Wikipedia article?
posted by Plutor at 7:28 AM on September 6, 2006

This is something you need to live in your mother's basement to understand, right?
posted by orthogonality at 7:29 AM on September 6, 2006

This article is NPOV and not notable. Propose for deletion.
posted by notmydesk at 7:37 AM on September 6, 2006

I think it's funny. I don't know if it follows the "blue page" rules, but I could easily spend an hour or more on this page. (Though I won't because my mom's gotta come down here and do the laundry.)
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 7:39 AM on September 6, 2006

Is this article about the Wii or the Nintendo Wii? Should it be Nintendo's Wii? Does it rhyme with "We" or "Wee"? Should "Wee" link to urine? Is "Wee" slang or a euphemism for urine? Is it a British or International word for urine? Should urine be mentioned in the article at all? Just some of the hard hitting issues that provoked in excess of 1500 edits in the space of two weeks.

posted by JHarris at 7:40 AM on September 6, 2006

Is it lamer still to dedicate a Wikipedia page to it?

Is it even lamer still to participate in a blog thread about the Wikipedia page?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:47 AM on September 6, 2006

How about you write about this Metafilter thread in your blog, and then I'll send it to Digg?
posted by danb at 7:49 AM on September 6, 2006 [2 favorites]

JHaris, I picture chubby tech writers frantically hitting refresh on the edit page muttering "Out, out damn spot!" as they try to get everything perrrrrfect.
posted by dobie at 7:50 AM on September 6, 2006

I eagerly away the eBay - Wikipedia merger.

posted by GuyZero at 7:51 AM on September 6, 2006

Was Cranky Kong the original Donkey Kong? Could it be the character in Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 games is actually his son? Or perhaps his grandson? Should we trust offhand comments made by a video-game character? Does being licensed by Nintendo make Rareware publications "official"? How official is the "Nintendo Seal of Quality"?

Wow. I....I had no idea. Who posts an article and argues about a side character in a Donkey Kong game?
posted by graventy at 8:03 AM on September 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

I think it's funny too.

It was Constantinople, but is it now Istanbul or İstanbul? A few editors make nuclear war over a small speck above the I, bringing new meaning to the word iota.

Heh. Thanks for the post!
posted by languagehat at 8:04 AM on September 6, 2006

Avril Lavigne
Was her radio hit from her debut album, Let Go, spelled "I'm With You", or was it spelled "I'm with You"? Intense edit warring ensued, and continues, over this contentious matter. Many personal attacks and a request for page protection were also included.

I was just arguing about this with my friends last night.
posted by yeti at 8:12 AM on September 6, 2006

Wikipedia is the physical manifestation of scientific theory, experiencing constant evolution through revision, and thus is far superior to those Brittanica creationists who just want to freeze frame everything once a year.
posted by Operation Afterglow at 8:23 AM on September 6, 2006

Delete: Not notable -- Google only has 66 hits for Wikipedia's lamest edit wars.
posted by boo_radley at 8:24 AM on September 6, 2006

I laughed chuckled
posted by matteo at 8:30 AM on September 6, 2006

Man, I am tempted to start a lame edit war on this talk page just for shits and giggles.
posted by frecklefaerie at 8:37 AM on September 6, 2006

I think it's funny.
Yep. I note that the UK (and the rest of us) -v- USA spelling war is even: gasoline over petrol but aluminium over aluminum. Heh.
posted by peacay at 8:39 AM on September 6, 2006

Heh - best of the web? Not sure.
Most representative of the retardedness of a number of web users, most certainly!
posted by Chunder at 8:47 AM on September 6, 2006

There was a bit of a war over the use of the word "whilst" on Steve Irwin's page yesterday. I chuckled.
posted by Lucinda at 8:48 AM on September 6, 2006

Is the phrase "the blast blasted blubber beyond all believable bounds" worthy of inclusion?

How could anyone question the inclusion of such a wonderful phrase?
posted by octothorpe at 8:54 AM on September 6, 2006

There was an artist once who had well known thing for children and the Wikipedia article talked about it as if it were a benign. I think he put on parties for children and it talked about his love for the children in a very "children are the source of his inspiration" sort of way and not a "he wacks off to children kind of way." I changed it and within a few days had a huge thing in the talk back lambasting me for sladering the artists name, etc. So I kindly pointed to the New Yorker article which didn't beat around the bush and blantly called him a pedophile. I changed it but it was reverted with no response. I gave up. That was my first and last wikipedia edit. Truth is subservient to the strangely obsessed. Stephen Colbert said it best.
posted by geoff. at 9:18 AM on September 6, 2006

Geoff: Any reason you didn't want to mention the actual artist? Are you talking about Micheal Jackson?
posted by delmoi at 9:25 AM on September 6, 2006

Meta Lameness
Wikipedia:Lamest edit wars ever
Edit wars over which edit wars are allowed to be on this page, or over how specific entries on this page should be worded (oh, the irony).

*Head explodes*
posted by pmurray63 at 9:26 AM on September 6, 2006

Oh wow the e as an "important number" debate is really funny. What's funnier is a self-important, dorky high school kid is the Matt Yeager. See, on Wikipedia everyone is an expert.
posted by geoff. at 9:26 AM on September 6, 2006

Oh no, it wasn't Michael Jackson ... I forgot the artist's name ... after some searching I realized it was in response to the Joseph Cornell article that was previously on Metafilter.
posted by geoff. at 9:28 AM on September 6, 2006

And because I believe in producing as many comments as possible it looks like I did not revert back after I found the article to support my statement. Oh well my recollection of the incident was a lot more dramatic then the incident itself.
posted by geoff. at 9:31 AM on September 6, 2006

I'm kinda enjoying the multiracial list argument, especially the Asians claiming that each East Asian nationality is a race & that there are in fact two races of Japanese. Fortunately, they are evenhanded and do also say that someone who is British/French is also mixed.
posted by dame at 9:31 AM on September 6, 2006

Who posts an article and argues about a side character in a Donkey Kong game?

Sometimes the depths of Wikipedia are astounding. For instance, Lemmiwinks has an extensive page, and there are perhaps hundreds of other pages on South Park alone.
posted by smackfu at 9:56 AM on September 6, 2006

F off, snarkers. This is ace.
posted by nthdegx at 9:57 AM on September 6, 2006

My weird edit-war story:

A couple years ago I started getting messages from an editor whenever I landed on Wikipedia. (I had been registered as a Wikipedian for some time, but I'd never actually made any edits). The messages, which read as somewhat strained and became more and more frantic over time, demanded that I stop altering the entry for the movie Mary Poppins.

"Please cease creating separate entries for 'Admiral Boom,'" a typical message would say. "There is already a clearly marked section on the main Mary Poppins entry for minor characters: the 'minor characters' section. There is an ordered and established pattern of organization that some people have worked very hard on, and you are deviating from that system. Thank you."

I sent back a message or two back protesting my innocence, but the fellow apparently didn't believe me. Eventually, my account was banninated, which I can't say bothered me too much. I can only assume that the whole business was a mistake, as the alternative is pretty damn weird--someone stealing my online identity for no other reason than to make malicious Mary Poppins edits.
posted by Iridic at 10:05 AM on September 6, 2006

Worth including is the debate on the Goatse entry [SFW] over whether to run the original pic inline or as a link.
posted by camcgee at 10:06 AM on September 6, 2006

Missionary position
A revert war between two versions of the line drawn illustration, one incorporating a teddy bear and one without. Some people claimed the bear was distracting, or believed it implied the woman to be under age. Other people found the bear adding atmosphere since the couple is ignoring it.

posted by smackfu at 10:11 AM on September 6, 2006

God damn, Wikipedia is lame.
posted by keswick at 10:20 AM on September 6, 2006

It's the best page on Wikipedia, in my opinion.
posted by zsazsa at 10:22 AM on September 6, 2006

As Advertised. lame
posted by CynicalKnight at 10:41 AM on September 6, 2006

God damn, Wikipedia is lame.

Is it as abysmally deficient as Metafilter, in your view?
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:48 AM on September 6, 2006


I loled a lot. Thanks.
posted by callmejay at 10:59 AM on September 6, 2006

My favourite little personal Wikipedia experience was arguing the largely pointless semantics of power on the page for Emperor Norton. The relevant discussion was here, it's really ... something.

As always, the ridiculously obsessed triumphed.
posted by blacklite at 11:03 AM on September 6, 2006

After years of belonging to an anti-fraud site, I got it into my head to have some of my members create a red-herring counterpoint site that would allow the targets of my ire to open up to compatriots, when in fact they were divulging yet more humorous quips in a roundabout way to their own vilest enemies.

When Wiki covered the site, years later, they mentioned the red-herring site as if it were a legitimate counterpoint site. I attempted to edit the article and revise it to specify the truth, but the edit was reversed, as, in the words of the people that reversed the edit: "You obviously don't know what you're talking about."

I gave up on editing any Wiki page from that point on.
posted by thanotopsis at 11:04 AM on September 6, 2006

sonofsamiam: MeFi isn't lame, except for AgendaFilter and NewsFilter and creepy Internet detectives and stupid taglines and groupthink and trendwhoring and the loss of the marquee tag and people who can read this
posted by keswick at 11:12 AM on September 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

What's left?!
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:13 AM on September 6, 2006

I enjoy reading wikipedia, but I haven't enjoyed trying to contribute to it. In fact, I think I've stopped.

These edit wars are not much different from playing DrawBall. I mean I was trying to help some people create a vertical black line up the center, cuz I thought what they were doing looked cool and I wanted to support that. After a few days, a LOT of people went out of their way to keep that from happening, as if a black line up the center was offensive to them or something. It was fun.

Wikiphiles take their work way too seriously, but on more than one occasion I've needed to get the cliff notes equivalent of a group mind take on some topic. Not necessarily "the truth" cuz there is no truth. I just wanted to know the general consensus among people who actually gave a shit about said topic. Wikipedia's one of the first places on the Web I go if that's what I'm looking for.

So I can't get behind this 'wikipedia is lame' bullshit. It serves its purpose. You should be thankful there's anal retentive bozos fighting over the third paragraph on that Martinsburg West Virginia article. Someday it might be there for you when you need it. If you like, got stuck in Martinsburg West Virginia or something.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:14 AM on September 6, 2006

I was very happy to find the Exploding whale entry.
posted by brundlefly at 11:16 AM on September 6, 2006

This is a great behind-the-scenes look at Wikipedia.
posted by oraknabo at 11:33 AM on September 6, 2006

Want some real fun? Argue over the definition of "Web 2.0".
posted by Artw at 12:16 PM on September 6, 2006

Two self-proclaimed leaders of micronations in a lengthy revert war in this and other articles about the comparative value and notability of their made-up countries.

When I was maybe 13 or 14 I got involved for kicks with one of the Internet-based micronations. (Why am I admitting this in public?) I subsequently, and quite at random, came across a lengthy discussion of myself on the forums of the late, lamented Kingdom of Talossa focusing largely on myself and my crimes in my official capacity in the course of which several people called for my speedy and violent demise. All caps were frequently employed, apparently without irony. An early epiphany, on my part, of a fact which would become increasingly undeniable as the years wore on: Internet people are weird.

And here I see those fuckers at the Principality of Zugesbucht have gone and elided my honorary barony from the records of state. You'll be the first against the wall, count my words!
posted by IshmaelGraves at 9:33 PM on September 6, 2006

It was Constantinople, but is it now Istanbul or İstanbul?

That's obviously nobody's business but the turks.
posted by darkripper at 3:33 AM on September 7, 2006

There are lots of things to dislike about Wikipedia, but one thing that gets at least two or three of my goats is how arbitrary (and overdone) the hyperlinking is.

To take one of the contentious articles as an example, look at the Copernicus article. There are hyperlinks for the words skeptical, dogma, copper, medicine, law, diplomat, mathematics, year, day, etc. OK, fine, link away, linky boys. But if you're going to link everything, then link everything. Why no links for sun and earth and universe in an article about an astronomer who had a few things to say about these things?

But I'll be damned if I'll join those embarrassing edit wars.
posted by pracowity at 6:58 AM on September 7, 2006

Clearly, the juiciest edit war ever is the recent one involving Publicgirluk, an editor who posted photographs, allegedly her own, to illustrate some insexuality topics.

There are contentious edits, and there are edit wars. I generally prefer to retire to the sideles when there's more than one person in a clusterfuck, but I'm also ready to stand on principle. There are usually better ways to handle something than just revert wars. I'm an eventualist -- meaning I firmly believe that eventually any given Wikipedia article will be as good as it needs to be or better, so I don't worry too much about perfection. And there's always the wait-for-'em-to-go-away approach, because 90% of editors eventually will (conversely, those same casual and uncommitted editors are responsible for most content edits).

It was Constantinople, but is it now Istanbul or İstanbul? A few editors make nuclear war over a small speck above the I, bringing new meaning to the word iota.

Wikipedia's Use English policy is quite clear here, but the influx of non-Anglosphere editors means there's often a claque in favor of using local diacritics. (The Poles, especially, are adamant about this.)

gasoline over petrol ... whilst

The generally-accepted convention is that an article about a topic should use that topic's brand of English. In cases where this rule doesn't help, the original author's brand of English is supposed to prevail.

The messages, which read as somewhat strained and became more and more frantic over time, demanded that I stop altering the entry for the movie Mary Poppins.

Some of those edits (e.g.) were made by an AOL user. If you were using AOL at the time, and weren't logged in, you would get those Talk messages.

blacklite: I'm with you, the most common name for the guy is Emperor Norton. By using it we are not conferring any legal status on the man, anymore than the article on King Crimson ....

Zachsmind: I keep saying this, not that it helps most people, but I've learned more from editing Wikipedia than from reading it. That is, by participating in the process I've learned more about myself and my responses to challenges and more about other people's thought processes than possibly anything else I've ever done. No, it ain't always fun, and I can't say a month goes by I don't think about quitting. But I was astonished to realize that.
posted by dhartung at 4:21 PM on September 7, 2006

Dhartung? Hi.

I keep saying this, not that it helps most people, but I've learned more about myself since I started on the Internet then I care to know about myself, and the upshot of it is, Wikipedia really doesn't need my help. Most of the Internet doesn't really need my help. They're doing fine without me, and a lot of the people there apparently are more happy with their activity on Wikipedia when I'm not trying to help.

It's not that I don't reserve the right to edit in the future if I ever again feel I can actually help? But the truth is, sometimes the best way to help is to just get out of their way.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:21 PM on September 8, 2006

That Wikipedia is best, which man edits least?
posted by dhartung at 1:21 PM on September 9, 2006

« Older Begone Dull Care   |   Babies! Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments