Roundup of some of the activities going on at The Wikipedia Review for the festive month of December 2008.
It’s all about the Drama. For serious contestants, Wikipedia is WP:NOT an encyclopedia, but a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG.) We here at the Review are doing our part by polling members of our own Academy to determine which contestants should be recognized for a truly stellar performance. Each year, when Awards Season rolls around (the Oscars, the Screen Actors Guild, the Golden Globes, etc.) we host the ceremony that is claiming an increasing share of the public’s attention(citation needed), the Wikipedia Review WP:DICK of Distinction Awards Pageant.
The first polling took place in 2006. That year, the coveted award for “Most Abusive Admin” went to SlimVirgin, providing an important boost to her career and helping to propel her to notability.
In 2007, the members of the Academy adopted the name “WP:DICK of Distinction” for the award to be given to the most abusive performance by an admin, along with a virtual statuette called the “Jimbo.” Other new categories were adopted for recognition of outstanding contestants. Here are the results:
The final results are in for the 2007 WP:DICK of Distinction polling. In an amazing eleventh-hour upset victory, Cyde (17 points) takes the honors, with SlimVirgin (16 points) making a strong showing in the runner-up position. Third place goes to Will Beback (5 points,) with Zoe in the fourth position and Jayjg in fifth.
Despite her narrow loss to Cyde, SlimVirgin has continued to be a real juggernaut in the WP:DICK competition, with a unique style and an aggressive, take-no-prisoners sportsmanship that has inspired numerous Fan Sites like this one.
The buzz around tinseltown is that next year Jayjg may be up for a Best Supporting Admin, due to his acclaimed work with SlimVirgin in the tag-team POV Pushing events. Critics are comparing their interplay to some of the all-time great “buddy movies” like “Lethal Weapon.” Hey, look! Wikipedia actually has an article on buddy cop movies!
SlimVirgin also swept the Miss Incongeniality Pageant, after Kelly Martin was disqualified for not being a current admin, in a move that brought inevitable comparisons to East German olympic athletes. The competition for second place was intense, ending in a three-way tie between Will Beback, Radiant and Fred Bauder.
The Straight Shooter Award, for admins that actually try to play a constructive role, this year was awarded jointly to Ashibaka and Tawker, who received equal votes in the polling. Mailer Diablo came in second, with Honorable Mention for Antadrus, FCYTravis, Firsfron, and Rama’s Arrow.
The following year, in 2008, interest in the awards pageant swelled, and new categories were added:
…and, the top award in the 3rd Annual WP:DICK of Distinction awards pageant goes to:
JzG! (cue theme music)
JzG is a perennial favorite, here at the Review. He has plenty of colorful idiosyncracies, such as his celebrated Big Boob edits, and has also taken a strong interest in our work. So, it gives me great pleasure to present this year’s Jimbo® statuette to JzG.
In a dramatic eleventh-hour rally, the ever-popular SlimVirgin edged out Jayjg for the silver medal in the WP:DICK competition, winning by a scant 2 points. SlimVirgin and Jayjg, both fierce competitors, will nonetheless go back to regular collaboration on Wikipedia projects of mutual interest, demonstrating to a whole new generation of young Wikipediots the true meaning of sportsmanship.
In the other categories, the competition for the Miss Incongeniality award was tremendously close, but in the end, JzG came from behind and emerged from the pack to claim the honors. This is clearly the year of JzG!
In the Tag-Team Event, the competition was dominated from the start by the power-team of SlimVirgin and Crum375, known to their legions of fans as Slum.
Finally, in the much-talked-about Straight Shooter event, we have encountered a bit of a SNAFU in this year’s pageant, undoubtedly due in some way to the recent writers’ strike which is now over, thank god. Due to improper vetting of nominees by the sole member of our Program and Catering Committee, nominees were accepted who were not Wikipedia admins, and by definition, the Straight Shooter Award goes to the most honest admin. So, the P and C Committee pulled an all-nighter and came up with the following solution:
* This year’s Straight Shooter award goes to Alison, who was far and away the top vote-getter among admins. The runner-up honors go to Viridae, who as it turns out is still indeed an admin.
* For the two nominees who got a tremendous response from the Academy despite the fact that they are not admins, we institute the Cojones de latón award, which we proudly present to Giano, with the runner-up award going to Cla68. These gentlemen have distinguished themselves by a valiant opposition to the cabal, conducted with élan and razor-sharp argumentation.
So, in conclusion, hearty congratulations to all our nominees. You all looked great on the red carpet (especially you, David Gerard,) and may the next year be equally productive for everyone!
The 2009 awards were a sensation, in part because the budget of the Program and Catering Committee was doubled, and we got much better graphics. Here are the results:
This year’s winner is renowned for his keen fashion sense, as well as his incandescent charm and sterling sense of fairness and justice. We proudly present this year’s Jimbo® statuette to:
In a real cliff-hanger of a match, David squeaked ahead of the runner-up in this year’s competition, FT2, who put up a spirited fight. We expect great things of FT2 in future competitions.
Deep in the catacombs beneath the Wikipedia Review, there is a vast chamber, from which may be heard the eerie cackling of Somey as he labors over his image editor/avatar generator. It is said to be like a cross between Vulcan’s Forge and one of Dr. Seuss’s contraptions. It is here, they say, that Somey produced the new, 2009 model Jimbo® statuette.
And now, before proceeding the the winners in the other categories, we’d like to present this...
Lifetime Achievement Award
PoetGuy delighted Wikipedia fans, and in particular, those of us at the Review, with his outstanding performance in innumerable sockpuppet roles, literally, a cast of thousands (known to the cognoscenti as “PoetHorde.”) As the pert coquette “Poetlister,” he became for a time Wikipedia’s most celebrated martyr, believed to have been unjustly banned for socking. When the truth of his culpability came out, PoetGuy was disgraced. His old nemesis SlimVirgin wrote a self-righteous tome in which she made PoetGuy the center of a vast conspiracy against herself, and attempted to make his disgrace into her vindication. However, among members of the Academy, PoetGuy’s performances in such a wide array of roles deserve to be recognized as the pinnacle of his craft, right up there with The Three Faces of Eve.
Let’s take a minute now to remember PoetGuy’s contributions to the Review. (roll clip) As Poetlister, he was named by Lir to be an admin at this site. The Poetlister character enchanted us with her endearing fantasies, including a fake wedding and honeymoon on a romantic isle, embellished with images from From Here to Eternity. Then there was Guy, the stuffy, proper Englishman with a heart of gold and an obsession with Christian Zionism. Guy became a moderator here. He had a faithful, putatively Jewish companion, Yehudi. And finally, there was the flip side of the stuffy, proper Englishman, in the form of the ever-popular Taxwoman, who was raunchy, babelicious, and an expert on the London Fetish Scene.
So, for having generated unforgettable drama at Wikipedia and across the wide, wide interwebs, the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award goes to PoetGuy!
…and now, back to our regular awards presentation: the Straight Shooter award for most ethical admin goes to Thatcher, who made a very strong showing, thanks in part to a ringing endorsement from this year’s runner-up, Cool Hand Luke (who is actually now an Arb.) Cool Hand’s nom de Review, of course, is One.
The Cojones de latón, for the non-admin who has distinguished himself in combat with the cabal, goes to Cla68, who was last year’s runner-up. This year’s runner-up is The Fat Man Who Never Came Back, who was particularly recognized for his lethal use of humor on the battlefield.
In the Miss Incongeniality department, Elonka and JzG wound up in a dead heat, so they will be sharing the honors. This marks the second year in a row where JzG has made it to the top — his incivility is legend! And Elonka makes her debut sharing the number one spot.
Finally, in the Tag Team Event, the award goes to Odd nature, Salmon of Doubt, KillerChihuahua, Jim62sch, Mu301 and FeloniousMonk, also known as the ID (Intelligent Design) Cabal.
Congratulations all around, and we’ll see you next year on the red carpet!
Now, let’s take a look at the 2010 results:
Tonight’s the night!
Another year has gone by, and it’s time to honor those Wikipedia admins and peons who made 2009 a year to remember.
But first a note from the Program and Catering Committee: in this moment of almost certainly temporary, slightly embarrassing but no-big-whoop economic depression recession, we have been inconvenienced by budget cuts, and consequently have found it necessary to re-use some of last year’s images. As luck would have it, many of the same people won this time around. The buzz-word for 2010 is “sustainable” — we are making the WP:DICK of Distinction Awards Pageant a “sustainable” event. Also, in deference to SlimVirgin, we would like it to be known that no animals were harmed in the course of making this year’s WP:DICK of Distinction Awards Pageant. Staff and moderators of the Wikipedia Review are not eligible to compete in the WP:DICK of Distinction Awards Pageant, like they’re not all banned from Wikipedia anyway.
So… let’s get started, shall we? We’ll proceed straight to the main event, the WP:DICK of Distinction, for the most appallingly corrupt performance as an Admin. And the winner, for an unprecedented two years running, is…
David epitomizes the style, the glamor, the elegance, the class, the je ne sais quoi that marks a true winner in the WP:DICK competition, and to David goes the Jimbo® for the second year in a row.
The honors for Runner-Up DICK go to a contestant who has been an important player on the WP circuit for some years, the ever-popular William Connolley.
But wait, there’s more…
In the competition for Miss Incongeniality, for the most colorful and persistent violations of WP:CIVIL, the winner is…
… with Honorable mentions going to William Connelley and to Chillum AKA “H” AKA “HighInBC” AKA “Until(1==2)”, who both gave Dave a run for his money.
Now, in the Tag-Team event: this year, this event was swept by two veteran competitors who came out of retirement to take the honors: SlimVirgin and Will Beback!
The Straight Shooter award, for honest admins, goes to Alison, who also won this category in the 2008 competition.
And finally, the Cojones de latón, for non-admins who have displayed wit and valor in combat with the Cabal, goes, for the second year in a row, to Cla68.
Congratulations all around, and we’ll see you next year on the red carpet!
1. INSTANT EDITING OF ARTICLES. I believe that this one feature of WP is the single greatest factor causing WP’s decline and will largely cause its eventual destruction. This feature ensures that both the improvement and the marring of articles are impermanent, and that the battles against internet trolls, polemicists (in wikispeak, “POV pushers”), spammers, vandals, and ignorant interlopers will be everlasting (at least while WP still exists). It is this single feature of WP, more than any other, that gives rise to the MMORPG character of WP and makes ridiculous its claim of being an “encyclopedia”. Read the rest of this entry »
This post was submitted to the forum by The Review’s resident Gadfly, Dan Tobias.
The Wikipedia hierarchy (at least on en-wp), from lowest to highest:
- Bogeymen / Arch-Enemies / The Antichrist
- Very Banned Users
- Normal Banned Users
- Blocked Users (supposedly distinct from Banned Users, even if nobody can actually put their finger solidly on the definition of the distinction)
- Users under some limited sanction
- Users with some real or imagined connection to an Evil Attack Site but who are inexplicably not banned or blocked or sanctioned anyway
- Anon IPs
- Recently created accounts
- Established accounts that haven’t done anything, positive or negative, attracting the attention of the inside clique
- Editors with a high edit count, featured article creation, and other achievements, if they’re not too politically incorrect
- Bureaucrats, Checkusers, and other users with superpowers
- Ruling Clique Outer Circle (hangers-on with some friendship with the top cliqueistas)
- Ruling Clique Inner Circle (leaders of the sooper sekrit lists)
- Jimbo (though his influence seems to be waning, so he might fall off the top of the pyramid ultimately)
(However, the composition of those Ruling Clique Inner and Outer Circles is greatly in flux these days.)
Several months ago, a number of Wikipedia Review members joined me in a project to methodically enumerate one calendar quarter’s worth (4Q 2007) of edit data underlying the 100 Wikipedia articles about the (then) current United States Senators.
What we found was alarming at times. While most vandalized edits were brief in duration and clearly juvenile in content, a substantial portion of edits were plainly intended to be hurtful and defamatory against the Senators — and they lasted for not just minutes, but hours, days, even weeks at a time.
Using the Wikipedia page traffic tool, we attempted to interpolate the number of “page views” that each Senator’s article likely witnessed during the damaged edit. The damaged edit that saw the greatest number of page views before correction regarded Senator John McCain: “McCain was born in Florida in the then American-controlled Panama Canal Zone“, which lasted for over 3 days, under about 93,000 views where nobody noticed or bothered to correct this obvious error.
Just for fun, I took a look at how many Google hits there are for the phrase “I love Wikipedia” (54,000) versus those for “I hate Wikipedia” (542). Are you serious? At first glance, this might suggest there are perhaps 1,000 Wikipedia lovers for every hater! That’s disturbing.
But, fear not. As we look at the Top 10 sites that Google returns for “I love Wikipedia”, we see the following:
- A mis-ranked page from Wikipedia about the country music album, “Everything I Love”, which has nothing to do with loving Wikipedia.
- A Flickr page depicting a clearly deranged cultist breeding another likely Wikipedian.
- A “Bestuff.com” voting page, which includes a Google-friendly quote from 2 years ago, by someone named Adrian who said (incoherently), “I love Wikipedia, funnily i’m using these days for also tech specs on standards. It’s just sooo good.”
- Next is a blog, “Journeys of Jack Tripper” who only loves Wikipedia because there was at one time an article about a EuroLeague basketball player which stated, “He was the 6th pick in the 2008 NBA draft by the New York Knicks. He was promptly traded for 4 pounds of fresh mozzarella cheese.” Yeah, we love Wikipedia in that way, too. Read the rest of this entry »
And we’re just supposed to take his word for it
Every once in a while, Jimbo Wales will mistakenly schedule an interview with a reporter or talk-show host who is actually willing to broach the subject of how Wikipedia might cause problems for society overall, or have negative effects on individuals or social institutions. In most such situations, his response is to point out that Wikipedia is “benign,” as if this is somehow self-evident, and that he fails to understand how or why anyone could possibly think otherwise.
Unfortunately, many highly successful technological innovations, no matter how seemingly “benign” they might be when considered at face value, can actually have devastating unintended consequences. One example of this is the modern toilet. Like Wikipedia, the toilet is a receptacle for human effluvia and other waste products. Unlike Wikipedia, it’s a fairly simple mechanical device that provides a seemingly clean and efficient means of disposing of that waste, minimizing its unpleasant stench and effectively eliminating the equally-unpleasant task of manual removing it from people’s homes. Nearly 200 years after its invention, it is difficult to imagine a modern, “civilized” society without toilets. But when they were first introduced, the story was rather different - indeed, a case study of disastrous unintended consequences.
Read the rest of this entry »
In case you haven’t been keeping track, The Wikipedia Review blog was deleted on June 3rd after it was targeted by a nasty “zero-hour” SQL-injection attack, apparently emanating from China (though there’s no way to know for sure, of course - this is the internet, after all). The attack took advantage of a security vulnerability here in WordPress, so because we’re very cautious and paranoid about that sort of thing, we decided to wait until a newer, safer version was released before restoring it. WordPress 2.6 was released on July 15, but of course we had to wait an additional two weeks in case any new bug reports appeared, which would hopefully be accompanied by patches or other updates.
Oh, come on, who am I fooling? I was just lazy. I’m ridiculously lazy - always have been. The fact is, I hate dealing with web applications. Debugging and tweaking takes waaaay longer on the web than it does on the desktop, even if you’re using a local development server. And these PHP-scripted systems are invariably a mess, no matter how you slice it… Sure, WordPress is better than most, but it’s still a crap shoot as to whether you’re going to get any of it working in a reasonable amount of time. When I upgraded this installation we lost all of our categories, for example. Turns out the database now calls them “Terms,” and they’re organized into a “Taxonomy.” Great! Read the rest of this entry »
Between December 2007 and March 2008, journalist Cade Metz penned a series of articles for The Register, the British technology focused online newspaper. These articles exposed the dark side of Wikipedia that we Reviewers see on a daily basis. Some of the pieces are vital exposés of Wikipedia’s cultish internal activities, others raise important questions concerning the disturbing contradictions that lie at the root of Wikipedia culture. Below are summaries of ten of the articles, with appropriate links to the stories themselves.
4 Dec 2007
“Controversy has erupted among the encyclopedia’s core contributors, after a rogue editor revealed that the site’s top administrators are using a secret insider mailing list to crackdown on perceived threats to their power.”
Choice Quote: “If you take Wikipedia as seriously as it takes itself, this is a huge problem. The site is ostensibly devoted to democratic consensus and the free exchange of ideas. But whether or not you believe in the holy law of Web 2.0, Wikipedia is tearing at the seams.”
6 Dec 2007
“In early September, the Wikipedia inner circle banned edits from 1,000 homes and one massive online retailer in an attempt to suppress the voice of one man.”
Choice Quote: “I thought this whole thing was vastly overblown and unfair,” he [Dan Tobias] adds, “especially on a site that’s devoted to the free exchange of information and neutral point of view and considering all view points. It just made no sense.” Read the rest of this entry »
Another accomplished academic fell afoul of Jimbo Wales’s ‘Cultural Revolution’ this week. This latest calumny involved the usual Star Chamber trial and subsequent banishment imposed by anonymous figures lacking published credentials. This week’s victim was a well-known mathematical physicist, a Director of a major research group and Professor at a major University.
His efforts to clarify the origins of a set of dubious physics equations, given undue prominence by Wikipedia, led to an attack by a mob of editors during a heated debate. Many of the professor’s adversaries openly admitted that they had no knowledge of the subject matter, but weighed in on the dispute nonetheless. The episode is discussed in this Wikipedia Review forum thread.