Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Whacked by Wikipedia

My oh my oh my oh my oh my. I really had no idea Wikipedia was such a battlefield. Sure, I had heard rumors to that effect, but now that I've experienced my own personal Waterloo, I can safely say they are NOT rumors. Anyone who tells you anything to the contrary is flat out lying or involved in the Wikipedia conspiracy.

In the first place, the site is not designed to be navigated by wee ordinary folk. Forget about locating a meaningful start tutorial. That place is set up like a house of mirrors. Click here, go there, read this, think about that, get fed up, have lunch, try all over again, and by the way, ha ha ha, we're smarter than you.

Is it too much ask for a relatively simple way for newbies to post articles? The sandbox? Puh-leeze. What am I, a house cat?

Then there's the problem of determining whether your material is wikiworthy. You'd think a simple reference search would provide a simple answer, but not so. Even the search process is turned inside out, probably to send sniveling wannabes waddling out the URL.

They weren't getting this wannabe packing so fast. My tenacious side took control, plowing me straight ahead, rules thrown to the wind, bull in a china shop, and all that good kind of stuff. I'm just gonna do it, I thought. Honestly, in my mind "have channel" or "got channel" are catch phrases worth fighting for. Boy, was I ever wrong. For the record, here is my first carefully constructed paragraph preserved for prosperity:

“Have channel,” “got channel," and grammatically correct derivatives combined with “channel” are catch phrases connoting inexplicable appeal, noteworthy capabilities, and favorable perception of staying power of a person or format engaged, utilized, or employed in the media industry.

The rest of the article was basically commentary designed to arouse interest in phrase usage and origination. All in all, a good hour or so pathetically spent navigating ill-conceived linkage and buffering the rough edges of my little two paragraph gem.

Now for the piece de resistance about Wikipedia: they have bot patrols and volunteer editors on standby with nothing better to do than hex questionable articles, most of the time just as quickly as they're posted. If contributors can navigate their way to the right page -- and that's a very big IF -- they can protest inevitable removable, but the hex acts like the kiss of death. Once an article tastes its slimy pucker, chances of a reprieve are generally slim and none.

As I attempt to make sense of being whackipediaed, my article hangs in limbo awaiting the final blow. What really creeps me out is the way this stepford community functions. It's kind of like grade school, but with geeks in charge who are out for blood. Lording over those who dare enter without the secret codex (thereby destined to suffer gory acts of ultimate destruction), they lurk and linger, poised to pounce at the mere click of a mouse.

In the opinion of my personal henchman, my article got hexed for good reason. Let the following verbatim explanation stand as a warning to those delusional enough to think they possess original wikiworthy material:

"The point is that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. We try to be as inclusive as possible with regard to who can do what, but this site is not merely a repository of random information. Subjects of articles need to already have a degree of notability that can be verified from reliable sources--this is not the place to go to help something become notable. If the phrase does achieve notability, then there will likely a place for it here, but not now."

Noble project. Whacky execution. But who am I to judge?

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