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Gruff the Magic Redirect

with 11 comments

Every once in a while I think of a word, or see it printed somewhere, and I wonder, “what does Wikipedia have on this word?” And “just how messed up is their entry on it?” Today’s word was “Gruff,” and sure enough, there was once a page on it, but it’s now a redirect to an article about characters in the Nintendo game “Animal Crossing.” Prior to its becoming a redirect, the Gruff article read sort of like this:

Gruff the goat is an anthropomorphic goat in Animal Crossing. He is quite grumpy and always talks in a deep grumbling voice. His catch phrase is “Bleh eh eh!” which is a possible reference to a goat. Gruff prefers to be arrogant and prefers to be left alone and sometimes distances himself from the other animals of the group. He will participate in the events in town… His favorite song playing on the radio in his house is “Only Me” a song sung by K.K. Slider which needs to be requested in order to hear.

It’s difficult to say whether this piece of fabulously useful content was written by someone under the age of, let’s say, 13, or someone merely pandering to people of that age. That’s not a bad thing in itself, of course, but often kids (not to mention panderers) have a distorted sense of what’s important, or as they say on Wikipedia, “notable.”

Apparently, the more mature WP types decided ol’ Gruff didn’t make the grade, character-importance-wise, and removed him from the Animal Crossing article completely! (Ouch!) But they didn’t delete the redirect, so now, if you type the word “Gruff” into Wikipedia’s search box, you’re taken to an article that doesn’t contain the word “Gruff” at all. (I’m sure they’ll have fixed that by the time you read this, of course.)

So… how many of these “orphaned redirects” are there? Hundreds? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Who knows. Presumably they’re not doing much harm, other than perhaps preventing more worthy things from “using” the words or phrases in question. For “Gruff,” there’s DJ Gruff, an Italian rapper who, apparently, successfully got the Italian Wikipedia to delete its article about him. (Who ever said the Italians weren’t reasonable, well-meaning people?)

In addition to that, there’s The Gruff, an all-female indie folk trio from Victoria, BC, Canada, who have released three albums but (like so many female indie folk trios these days) don’t have a Wikipedia article about them - not “notable” enough, apparently, at least compared to an obscure anthropomorphic goat in a Nintendo game. And of course, there’s Gruff Graphs for Ruby on Rails, a fairly simple open-source code library for making graphs via the popular web application framework which may or may not owe its name to the infamous Wikipedia vandal, Willy on Wheels. Finally, there’s Gruff Rhys, lead singer of the Super Furry Animals, a Welsh indie rock band (who currently have no female members, though it’s hard to tell with some of these Welsh first names).

It suppose it might be interesting to see what happens to the redirect after the posting of this blog entry, but I’m betting they’ll spare us all the fuss and “speedy-delete” it. (That way there’s no visible evidence.)

Recently, the bogus redirect (like the uncalled-for category and the WikiProject-grab tactics before it) has become a means of POV-pushing. Using this tactic, a word, phrase, or worst of all, a name, is redirected to an article that’s antithetical to the thing being redirected, or even offensive to it - articles such as “Bigotry,” “Psychosis,” “Racism,” or “Stupidity,” for example. It’s a new trend, and there are signs that it won’t last long, but it’s always amusing to see what they’ll come up with once their previous tactics are twigged to and brought mostly under control.

Meanwhile, I suppose it’s always nice to see a bogus redirect that came into existence the proper way - that is, merely as a result of simple human error, compounded by MediaWiki’s inadequate toolsets for Wikipedia-scale topic management.


Written by Somey

July 26th, 2007 at 6:03 am

Posted in Articles, Editors, Software

11 Responses to 'Gruff the Magic Redirect'

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  1. How do you get it to “read more”? Can you do that for my last 2 entries please?


    26 Jul 07 at 6:07 am

  2. Also for some reason all of the old posts are italicized. I think (this is a guess) that it is because yours was italicized before the “read more” section. Can this be fixed?


    26 Jul 07 at 6:08 am

  3. I feel sorry for Gruff though. I mean there’s 31 different characters in the entry but no room for Gruff. Poor old Gruff. Not important enough.

    But as you say, poor old Gruff could mean lots of other things that they couldn’t think to have a disambiguous page for.

    I think we should all feel a bit “Gruff” about this.


    26 Jul 07 at 6:11 am

  4. For super awesome redirects just take a look at this anon’s contribs:

    4.156 has a special place in my heart.


    26 Jul 07 at 4:16 pm

  5. And yet, still your blog’s registration does not work.

    I wanted to warn Feysah that Wikipedia Review censors suggestions that Jayjg is anything other than a fine, upstanding, unbiased editor of Wikipedia. Want to pass that message on to him for me?

    Thanks so much in advance.


    27 Jul 07 at 2:58 pm

  6. Feysah can work things out for himself, I suspect, but you’re referring to an incident that happened well over a year ago, if I’m not mistaken. Things have changed somewhat since then… These days, we’re not *quite* as convinced that Jayjg is a fine, upstanding, unbiased editor - I’ll admit it took us a while, along with tens of thousands of blatantly agenda-pushing Jayjg edits, but we’re definitely getting there, I think.

    However, we’re still a little sensitive about the Israeli-Palestine situation in general, so we do try to avoid taking sides on that issue, or letting things get seriously out of hand, you know, with the name-calling, accusations of racism, things like that.

    Also, we don’t let just anybody register, do we? I’ll have to check…


    27 Jul 07 at 5:45 pm

  7. I’ve yet to receive a single request from a suspended account to be “unblocked.” I’m sorry, but that’s the sad truth of it.

    The accounts you’re referring to were *completely deleted,* not suspended. At the time, ban filters were put in place to prevent the accounts from being recreated, but nearly all of those filters were removed months ago, by yours truly. The ones that remain are, I can assure you, far more justifiable than the ones I believe you’re referring to.

    This has actually caused some additional problems, in that many of the posts made by the deleted accounts have been assigned to “Lir,” making it look as though Lir is some sort of freakish multiple personality. In many cases you can tell who the real poster was by scrolling forward in the threads and looking for quoted text with the original poster’s name, but that’s not something the average person is going to know to do.

    So… is there a specific member account you wanted to have restored/recreated?

    Sorry I didn’t respond to this sooner - I’ve been on vacation!


    31 Jul 07 at 9:10 pm

  8. I’d need Selina to be sacked as the ultimate authority on this forum (and perhaps a stint in an asylum would do her good as well) before I’d want to request that any account be unblocked, thanks.


    1 Aug 07 at 12:07 am

  9. You’re welcome!


    1 Aug 07 at 7:16 pm

  10. Gesundheit.


    1 Aug 07 at 9:01 pm

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