Wikigroaning

The Art of Wikigroaning
The premise is quite simple. First, find a useful Wikipedia article that normal people might read. For example, the article called "Knight." Then, find a somehow similar article that is longer, but at the same time, useless to a very large fraction of the population. In this case, we'll go with "Jedi Knight." Open both of the links and compare the lengths of the two articles. Compare not only that, but how well concepts are explored, and the greater professionalism with which the longer article was likely created. Are you looking yet? Get a good, long look. Yeah. Yeeaaah, we know, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. (We're calling it Wikigroaning for a reason.) The next step is to find your own article pair and share it with your friends, who will usually look for their own pairs and you end up spending a good hour or two in a groaning arms race. The game ends after that, usually without any clear winners... but hey, it beats doing work.

Modern warfare     Lightsaber combat
LizardsDragons
Prime numberOptimus Prime
Civil warCivil War (comic book)
Gray's AnatomyGrey's Anatomy
Raphael (archangel)Raphael (ninja turtle)
Citizen KaneClerks 2
Vulcan (mythology)Pon Farr
John LockeJohn Locke (Lost)
Category:American philosphers List of big-bust models and performers
Women's suffrage List of fictional gynoids and female cyborgs

<LJ-CUT text=" --More--(17%) ">


Modern warfare     Lightsaber combat
LizardsDragons
ShapesShapeshifting
Prime numberOptimus Prime
Asperger'sSelf-confidence
GirlfriendVideo games
Civil warCivil War (comic book)
MarriageMarried... With Children
Family (biology)Family Guy
Half-lifeHalf-Life 2
ArmageddonArmageddon (film)
ApocalypseResident Evil: Apocalypse
Gray's AnatomyGrey's Anatomy
Debate Comparison of Battlestar Galactica (1978) and (2003)
Raphael (archangel)Raphael (ninja turtle)
Receptionist
Telephone
Pam Beesly
Paper
Company
The Office (US)
Citizen KaneClerks 2
Henry VIII (play)Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
GodKevin Smith
Anger managementLimit break
NirvanaNirvana (band)
LoveMasturbation
Japanese mythologyJapanese toilet
BathingAcne
UniverseTransformers: Universe
Vulcan (mythology)Pon Farr
St. Francis XavierProfessor X
John LockeJohn Locke (Lost)
Real lifeSecond Life
DatingInternet dating
Jet Propulsion LabratoryBlack Mesa research facility
HammurabiEmperor Palpatine
IRCProm
Outer spaceStar Wars
Eau de CologneCologne (anime character)
ShampooShampoo (Ranma 1/2)
KnuckleKnuckles the Echidna
SportsChronic fatigue syndrome
Category:American philosphers List of big-bust models and performers
Civil warDominion War
SteamSteampunk
Marine (military)Imperial stormtrooper
Normality (behavior)Furry fandom
Buzz AldrinJean-Luc Picard
AristotleOprah
LatinKlingon language
Ash WednesdayAsh Ketchum
Battle of OkinawaInuYasha (character)
CosmosSailor Cosmos
Trail of TearsTears for Fears
Medical doctorDoctor Doom
ArchaeologyIndiana Jones
AdultAdult Swim
ProtozoicProtoss
DwarfismSmall Soldiers
U.S. Dept. of Homeland SecurityHomestar Runner
RealityThe Matrix
ThunderstormStorm (Marvel comics)
Wall Street crash of 1929Video game crash of 1983
CultureNeon Genesis Evangelion
VegetableVegeta
CobraCobra_Commander
Rosetta stoneRose Tyler
Magic (paranormal)Magic: The Gathering
ArachnidsSpider-man
List of animal namesList of Pokemon
Astronomy List of changes in Star Wars re-releases
FictionFan fiction
Fan fiction terminology
List of conflicts in the Middle EastList of furry role-playing games
NightmareNightmare (Kirby)
Bachelor partyLAN party
Bachelor Party (Angel episode)
Diamond cuttingDiamond Cutter
Mars (mythology)
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
Mars
Veronica Mars
Women's suffrage List of fictional gynoids and female cyborgs
Cave paintingsLolicon
Military tacticsFinal Fantasy Tactics
DoughD'oh
HealthIn-N-Out
Home improvementHome Improvement
List of people who have disappearedCharacters of Lost
Apollo 11Johnny_5
Base (mathematics)
Base (topology)
Base (group theory)
Base (chemistry)
Base pair
Military base
All your
base are
belong
to us
Tags: , ,

64 Responses:

  1. luvcraft says:

    groan this!

  2. taiganaut says:

    That's what happens when you have an online encyclopedia run by a cabal of teenage nerds and fakeademics.

    A guy removed all the cleanup boxes from an article I monitor the other day because "that many boxes is ridiculous." Found out he's an admin, and most of his edits are to Star Trek crap.

    • fizzyboot says:

      It's not called "the encyclopedia Slashdot built" for nothing

      • strspn says:

        In all fairness, the articles on the left column are often written in WP:SUMMARY style which is intended to keep important articles short, and thus invites this kind of Wikigroaning. For example, see Aristotle / Oprah. The former has literally dozens of sub-articles.

        • kadeshaderow says:

          In all fairness, you're an apologist. You can't seriously be telling me that the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is written in WP:SUMMARY intentionally.

          • strspn says:

            eh {{sofixit}} -- JPL has a navbox full of articles on the boundary between sub- and related.

            • kadeshaderow says:

              What if I'm not interested in JPL "missions"? What if I just want info on the JPL? You're missing the point.

              No, I won't "go fix it", That idiotic mantra is the redoubt of all Wikiwhores who enjoy passing the buck. Sorry, but the content of Wikipedia is not my responsibility any more than it's the responsibility of random passerby to clean up a train wreck.

              Or, more eloquently, I'll quote somebody else:

              Reponses to criticism of Wikipedia go something like this: the first is usually a paean to that pure democracy which is the project's noble fundament. If I don't like it, why don't I go edit it myself? To which I reply: because I don't have time to babysit the Internet. Hardly anyone does. If they do, it isn't exactly a compliment.

            • kadeshaderow says:

              It's completely misleading to say to people "Don't like it, fix it", since when they do come in and "fix it" there's a >50% chance that some random asshole will come by and revise your works.

              There are mindless auto-scripted bots that do not discriminate based on content but rather scrutinize your registration date or whether you're a nameless IP when deciding whether to revert your work to the prior version under the name of "vandalism patrol".

              Let's not forget that anybody who actually works at JPL is forbidden from editing the JPL document itself, since of course that constitutes orignial research. So there goes the people who are in a perfect position to fix the "problem".

              And of course there's simply the cocks who like to play turf wars over articles they've invested a large amount of time into (much like you're trying to entice poor, innocent schmucks into doing) that get annoyed when you revise things not to their liking.

              So if I don't like it, I can either
              A. Fix it, with a high probability that my fixing will get run over by the 18-wheeler semi of Wikipedia's current bureaucracy and junior woodchuck club of vandalism patrols. (which can take from 5 minutes to 2 months, depending upon how long I feel like arguing about such inane shit on a Wikipedia talk page)
              or
              B. Go shoot some pool and then post on livejournal about how badly Wikipedia blows (an hour for the pool, five minutes for the post)

              Not a tough choice.

              • misterfister666 says:

                You're right, of course. Plus you could mention the most obvious counterargument: The reason you were looking at the crappy article in the first place was because you didn't have a clue about the subject and were looking for information. It's beyond insane for someone to suggest that if you didn't find what you needed, that you would then be somehow qualified to add something.

              • grendelkhan says:

                There are mindless auto-scripted bots that do not discriminate based on content but rather scrutinize your registration date or whether you're a nameless IP when deciding whether to revert your work to the prior version under the name of "vandalism patrol".

                The mindless auto-scripted bots to which you refer discriminate based on whether the edit blanked a significant portion of the page, contained strings very likely to be vandalism (e.g., "!!!"), or a number of other factors, none of which "scrutinize your registration date" or "whether you're a nameless IP". You can see the sorts of edits it reverts by looking at its last 25 reverts list.

                Also, there is no "vandalism patrol"; you're thinking of the "recent changes patrol".

                Let's not forget that anybody who actually works at JPL is forbidden from editing the JPL document itself, since of course that constitutes orignial research.

                JPL employees aren't prohibited from editing the page under the "original research" policy; the conflict of interest policy doesn't forbid them from editing the page; it forbids them from sourcing facts to "I know because I was there", which has the problem of not being in any way verifiable.

                • kadeshaderow says:

                  There is no discrimination based on recent changes/etc, actually they use even more arbitrary standards

                  So you're saying I was incorrect and their basis for reverts are even less justifiable than I originally thought? How nice.

                  Also, there is no "vandalism patrol"; you're thinking of the "recent changes patrol".

                  Semantics. We all know what their purpose is.

                  ..it forbids them from sourcing facts to "I know because I was there", which has the problem of not being in any way verifiable.

                  No, it takes a bit of work (unlike linking to a webpage, which is all you shit-for-brains Wikizombies know how to do), sort of like opening a book and looking at the page somebody references when they cite a book as a source.

                  I know that "work" thing isn't what you thought you were signing on for when you became a Wikizealot, though.

                  • grendelkhan says:

                    So you're saying I was incorrect and their basis for reverts are even less justifiable than I originally thought? How nice.

                    If you think "this edit came from an anonymous IP" is a better reason to revert an edit than "the page was replaced with fifty copies of the word 'WANG'", I suppose you're entitled to your opinion.

                    Semantics. We all know what their purpose is.

                    Usually Wikitruth has something substantive to say, other than calling people names and mentioning the Nazis. I'm surprised that they haven't unearthed any actual RC patrol scandals.

                    No, it takes a bit of work (unlike linking to a webpage, which is all you shit-for-brains Wikizombies know how to do), sort of like opening a book and looking at the page somebody references when they cite a book as a source.

                    Huh? The verifiability guidelines require that another editor be capable of double-checking someone else's work. If the JPL employee wrote about somewhere else, that's verifiable. Books are verifiable, and there are plenty of examples of articles citing books as references. What exactly is your complaint?

                    I know that "work" thing isn't what you thought you were signing on for when you became a Wikizealot, though.

                    I know you're bitter, but could you actually respond to my points in between attaching "Wiki" to what would otherwise be uninspired insults?

                  • kadeshaderow says:

                    I banged your mom and I vandalized your wiki.

  3. spoonyfork says:

    I'm at work explaining how I solved a minor issue with our group's mailing list on an old listserv box to a younger team member. He asked how I knew about all this weird mailing list stuff. I said I used to run some lists on majordomo.
    Him: "Majordomo? Why would they name mailing list software after a boss in WoW [World of Warcraft]?"
    Me: "No dude, it comes from the word for the head of a household staff. Wiki-up majordomo for a history lesson. No Warcraft is involved."
    (Main screen, turn on.)


    * Majordomo (domestic staff), a head of a household staff
    * Majordomo (software), a proprietary mailing list software project
    * Majordomo Executus, a boss in the World Of Warcraft computer game

    Him: "See?"
    Me: "Oh. My. God."
    I voiced my displeasure with the results to the wikigods.

    More displeasure.

  4. mark242 says:

    The only hope that I can see is that American_Civil_War appears to be longer than Civil_War_(comic_book).

  5. nationelectric says:

    So, let me see if I get this: popular culture is... popular?

    • jwz says:

      This wouldn't be funny if Wikipedia presented itself as an encyclopedia of pop culture. But they don't, and so it is!

      • nationelectric says:

        Ah, I see now: marketing presents an image that is at odds with reality!

      • ciphergoth says:

        As a matter of fact they present themselves as "the online encyclopaedia that anyone can edit", which isn't at odds with what we see here. The huge and detailed fancruft in Wikipedia is one of the regrettable consequences of the way it's created, but it's not a big problem: the length of the article on Lost's John Locke doesn't make the article on the philosopher shorter. So long as the namespace continues to give the real world primacy over fiction in the normal case, the fancruft will by and large not affect my viewing pleasure.

        • mister_borogove says:

          Right, so if the length of the article on Lost's John Locke doesn't make the article on the philosopher shorter, why is fancruft a "regrettable" consequence? Sometimes I want to know about something academic and 'important'; sometimes I want to nerd out about random details of Tv shows. Wikipedia is a great go-to resource for both. What's to regret?

  6. pete23 says:

    damn. the entry for 1984 is bigger than that for the Big Brother TV show. i thought i was on to a dead cert there...

  7. nothings says:

    Some of the somethingawful article's list are in groups of three, which you incorrectly grouped in your post, thus also incorrectly grouping any interests until the next set of three. So 'pam beesly' vs 'paper, is incorrect, as is the run from 'fan fiction terminology' vs 'list of conflicts in the middle east' to 'nightmare (kirby)' vs 'bachelor party'.

    Of course if people just read the list on SA it doesn't matter, but I assume you are providing the complete list here with good reason.

    • jwz says:

      Yeah, I reformatted it because... I hated their formatting and giant fuckin' fonts. guess I missed some.

  8. inhumandecency says:

    On the other hand, consider that without wikipedia (or something like it), the serious articles probably wouldn't exist at all. Whereas the groan-inducing ones would be just as extensive, but probably more redundant.

  9. baconmonkey says:

    There's a little bit of Borkage at:

    Fiction Fan fiction
    Fan fiction terminology List of conflicts in the Middle East
    List of furry role-playing games Nightmare
    Nightmare (Kirby) Bachelor party
    LAN party Bachelor Party (Angelepisode)

    Though this juxtaposition is pretty accurate:

    "List of furry role-playing games / Nightmare"

    Also, I think the term "wikigroaning" is particularly apt, considering that there is probably a pretty strong relationship between the length of an article, and the number of people how spank it to that topic. How many groans of pleasure do you think Optimus Prime is responsible for in parental basements across the world?

  10. dachte says:

    I find it especially amusing how people who suggest that the second list is less worthy than the first are labeled fascist and "non-postmodern". Apparently failing to be nihilist went out of fashion at some point.

  11. bonniegrrl says:

    poor john locke....

  12. johnsmith45678 says:

    JWZ Jay Z

  13. zapevaj says:

    Along the same lines: I was trying to explain Esperanto to someone yesterday, and as an example of how unused it is, someone said, "It's like Klingon." And I had to stop them and say that no, sadly, there are definitely more speakers of Klingon than Esperanto.

    • kehoea says:

      You don't care, but Esperanto has Klingon beat, in terms of numbers of speakers, and always will, since anyone who speaks a Romance language and can pay attention can learn it in a month. (Intentionally) not so true for Klingon.

      • zapevaj says:

        Yes, a Romance-language speaker -can- learn Esperanto easily; however, this is not the definition of "speaker". A "speaker" of a language is one who currently speaks it, not someone who could possibly conceivably learn to speak it sometime in the undefined future. This would seem to be pretty obvious.

    • zompist says:

      I'm afraid not. Estimates for Esperanto speakers vary-- Ethnologue says 2 million, which is probably way exaggerated; (gulp) Wikipedia has a more reasonable estimate of 100,000.

      • zapevaj says:

        I would bet that there are easily more than 100,000 speakers of Klingon.

        • pne says:

          Who are able to say much more than "Kwaplah"?

          I'd be surprised if there were more than even 1000 moderately fluent speakers of Klingon.

          • zapevaj says:

            Say much more than...what?

            Ew. you're one of "them", aren't you.

            • jwz says:

              Yes, what we're seeing here is someone giving attitude towards people who don't speak Klingon very well. Truly, a modern marvel.

  14. jkonrath says:

    I think my breaking point with Wikipedia was reached when I found that the article on the Yugo car did not acknowledge that the car was a total piece of shit and a joke in general because a small group of frentic Yugo enthusiasts kept reverting any edits that tried to mention this.

  15. deadpanwalking says:

    Oh, yeah, I'm working on a report about this. There's actually a very obvious (a head-slapper, if you will) reason this happens.

  16. belgand says:

    At the same time the topics on the left, being much deeper, will never be fully covered by Wikipedia (or any other such site) whereas the more popular subjects on the right can have more or less all available knowledge cataloged.

    In this regard each serves the functional purposes. The serious topics are introduced, briefly explained, and the reader is free to explore any of the aspects of them in greater depth in another medium. The less serious topics, however, are exhaustively covered as they are often lacking in other commonly available resources.

    I wonder how well this would work on Everything2.

    • relaxing says:

      On everything2 the serious topic is auto-noded from a project gutenberg source, and the reader is free to explore any of the aspects of them in hallucinogenic-influenced creative writing exercises, in-jokes, and personal memoir. The less serious topics, however, are exhaustively debated in the catbox.

      • belgand says:

        Maybe a few years ago, but not anymore. Now it's a lengthy factual write-up that was written primarily to supercede a shorter, but more often read write-up. Nobody will really read the new one, but they'll upvote it because it's long and looks like you spent a lot of time on it. Most of the information, while at least attributed, will remain out-of-date because the noder fled at least a year ago and while nobody else is able to fix the errors they don't want to go to the trouble of redoing it. They know that if they just add a new write-up with the relevant information they'll be downvoted.

        People will complain about the lack of in-jokes. The losers who see it as a place to put their crappy poems and uninteresting and high-school pretentious creative writing will still bitch that they have just as a much of a right to node it as anyone else, but nobody outside of their cabal will give a shit and downvote them anyway.

    • grendelkhan says:

      The serious topics are introduced, briefly explained, and the reader is free to explore any of the aspects of them in greater depth in another medium.

      Absolutely false; this is a poor excuse. Deep and complex topics like World War II, New York City, American Civil War, Physics or Isaac Newton are covered by articles in summary form, true, where most sections or concepts noted have their own relatively in-depth treatment, but the articles themselves are quite large and in-depth.

      The articles for the "serious" topics listed are rightly noted as incomplete (they're noted as 'Start'-class on the talk pages, usually), and much work needs to be done on them. While one is free to dispute the point that the length of various Pokèmon articles has a bearing on the quality of the non-Pokèmon articles, one can't realistically dispute that the difference isn't meaningful.

  17. bonniegrrl says:

    ha.. yeah one of my pals blogged something similar awhile ago here:

    The Geek Shall Inherit

    I love wiki. Just goes to show that there's only one John Locke worth caring about. ;-)

  18. tornadoslims says:

    Check out this site that does the calcs for you - its hilarious!

    http://www.wikigroaning.com