Monday, July 09, 2007


My simultaneous fascination with and revulsion to the Wikipedia should be no surprise to longtime readers. I love the idea of so much information being collected in one place, and the site makes for some top-notch procrastination. (Example: I look up Katharine Hepburn to find out whether she's related to Audrey, jump from there to a page on venereal disease, and then from there to Venus (mythology) to the category page for sexuality in Ancient Rome to Priapus to a page for a low budget movie I've never heard of called Scarecrow Gone Wild.) However, I can't help but become frustrated that a page exists for something called Scarecrow Gone Wild in an encyclopedic work and that if I chose to edit the page, my work would likely be undone by some low-functioning, home-schooled twelve-year-old in Kansas who watches the page and started the page and filled it with his unique take on punctuation. ("Scare Crow gone Wild is good movie, it was released in 2005.")


What I'm getting at is that I still use the Wikipedia, but I don't contribute anymore. Recently, I've come across a wonderful new term that helps express one of my two frustrations with the site: Wikigroaning. Coined by Something Awful in a June 5 article, the word refers to the act of exposing the Wikipedia's lameness by contrasting one article with a similarly themed article that is longer despite being completely more frivolous. For example, Something Awful offers this as the first comparison:

I don't care how many Star Wars fans exist, it's laughable that this social construction that figured so importantly into hundreds of years of western history would merit less of an explanation than a fictional class of warriors from a movie series that has existed only since 1977. I'm not surprised that the Jedi Knight page is longer. I just think it sucks.

While the original article on Wikigroaning and its sequel, Wikigroaning II: The New Batch, cite a great many showdowns in the article length-versus-inherent frivolity battle, I decided to try a few of my own.

And now let's all let out a collective guttural noise expressing our frustration with the Wikipedia. And, following that, let's all go there and see what other articles jump out at us as being excessively long.

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