On Wikipedia And Wankers

Posted by admin - 12/07/13 at 05:07 am

I’m really fascinated by the affect the internet has on social interaction.

Okay, that’s probably a pretty boring way to start off a blog. I should probably start off by saying “Jenna Jameson naked pictures” or “Sarah Palin Girls Gone Wild video” or something.

Anyway, I’m sure you’ve all heard of Wikipedia. It’s an website billed as “the on-line encyclopedia that anyone can edit.”

And that’s the problem, but more on that later.

I discovered Wikipedia a few years ago, corrected some wrong information on some article, and soon became a regular contributor. By “contributor,” I didn’t do a whole lot that was constructive on Wikipedia, I just kind of hung out and watched what other people did. I helped write some articles on things I knew a lot about and I did a lot of “vandal fighting.”

That “vandal fighting” is something that’s rampant on wikipedia. Since anyone can edit it, anyone can mess with it, which means when some junior high kid added “Poop!” to an article, I took it out. If I saw somebody on a high school’s page adding alumni like “Big Rod Johnson” to the list of names, I deleted it. I wasn’t exactly defending the castle, if you know what I’m saying. As David Lee Roth says, it ain’t rocket surgery. It happens pretty constantly, and they don’t really do anything about it.

It’s not the article pages that are worth watching, it’s the shouting matches and edit wars that go on over trivial details that become unintentionally hilarious “Springer” moments. As you learn more about the social aspects of it, you realize that Wikipedia is really like a neighborhood bar. Except no one has a date, everyone is trying to get their way, and whenever you try and get them to help you, you realize everyone has high-level Aspergers.

Wikipedia quickly becomes a big timesink, with so much effort put into keeping the word “poop” off of pages that actual information kind of falls by the wayside. I’ve probably flushed enough time down there to finish two novels and a short story, and all I have to show for it is an epitaph that’ll read “Here Lies Reid…He Kept ‘Poop’ Off of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s Internet Biography’.”

It’s the encyclopedia anyone can edit. A quick glance at your Facebook feed will indicate why that’s a pretty foolish idea.

However, there’s something even weirder. Wikipedia is such a mess, there are other sites dedicated to criticizing it. And by “criticizing,” I mean “screaming gibberish on the internet at other people.” There was a called Wikipedia Review, which appears to be composed of current and former Wikipedia editors who spend all day making fun of other Wikipedia editors. That one wasn’t enough, so now there’s one called Wikipediocracy. There, current and former editors can rip not only Wikipedia editors, but also people who are over at Wikipedia Review.

People who donate their time to an online encyclopedia are accused of having no lives by people who contribute their time to an online forum dedicated to cataloging the wasted time spent on the encyclopedia.

I wonder if somewhere there’s a Wikipediocracy Review, which makes fun of the people making fun of Wikipedia.

— Reid Kerr wants to know if there’s a ReidAboutItReview.com.

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