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Wikipedia's Lamest Edit Wars 219

Posted by samzenpus
from the from-the-depths-of-my-mother's-basement-I-stab-at-thee dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Who says Wikipedians don't have a sense of humor? While perusing Wikipedia I recently came across an article documenting the lamest examples of wikipedia edit wars over the most trivial things. As one wikipedian says: 'Some discussions are born lame; some achieve lameness; some have lameness thrust upon them.' A few of the most amusing examples include: Was Chopin Polish, French, Polish–French, or French–Polish? Can you emigrate from a country of which you are not a citizen? Can you receive citizenship if you already have it? The possibilities for intensive study are endless. Next up, Are U2 an 'Irish band' or simply a band that happen to be from Ireland, since two of their members were born in the UK? A heated discussion took place for over two-and-a-half weeks that resulted in at least one editor getting blocked and many more getting warnings. Next, should members of the Beatles be listed in the 'traditional' order or in alphabetical order? Another edit war which flares up continuously in The Beatles involves whether to identify the band as 'The Beatles' with a capital T or 'the Beatles' with a lower case t. The issue became so contentious it merited an article in the Wall Street Journal. One such installment of this saga was brought before the arbitration committee (by an administrator, no less) where it was quickly declared 'silly.' Next, Is J. K. Rowling's name pronounced like 'rolling' or to rhyme with 'howling'? Rowling is on record claiming she pronounces her name like 'rolling'. An irate editor argues that this is a 'British' pronunciation and the 'American" pronunciation of her name should also be noted. 'This is slightly ridiculous as she is English, and therefore of course will pronounce it in an English manner. Perhaps it rhymes with "Trolling"?' Finally did Jimmy Wales found Wikipedia or co-found it? 'Not surprisingly, those who actually were around at the time and know the answer stayed far away from this one. The casualty list has yet to be compiled, but no doubt editor egos will be among the worst hit.'"
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Wikipedia's Lamest Edit Wars

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  • by Huntr (951770) on Friday December 13, 2013 @09:17AM (#45679243)
    Or do we really not have that kind of time?
  • by DigitalReverend (901909) on Friday December 13, 2013 @09:23AM (#45679263)

    Sometimes people don't think too far past the end of their noses. I mean they don't pronounce bowling like howling in the U.S. so it shouldn't be much of a stretch to pronounce Rowling like bowling instead of howling. sheesh.

  • by Mr Foobar (11230) on Friday December 13, 2013 @09:45AM (#45679367) Homepage

    I gave up on being a Wikipedia editor a long time ago, what a waste of time trying to be helpful and make the articles better. Even doing a simple edit like "its" for an incorrect "it's" got nasty emails sent to be almost immediately about it, and the edits reverted in no time. All I ever wanted to do was correct minor grammatical and typographical errors, which never would have gotten past an editor in a "real" encyclopedia, and make for better looking articles. The grief I got for it..., well, it wasn't much fun. They want editors, they get them, the editors give up in disgust. It's also why I haven't given them a dime.

    Everything2 was what Wikipedia should have been. Much better class of people there.

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Friday December 13, 2013 @09:53AM (#45679417)

    Sometimes people don't think too far past the end of their noses. I mean they don't pronounce bowling like howling in the U.S. so it shouldn't be much of a stretch to pronounce Rowling like bowling instead of howling. sheesh.

    Actually this one interests me a bit. Not that I care about JK's name (and BTW the end of the last HP novel sucked big time), but the way that the pronunciation/spelling of words are changed by "the media" to suit their audience.

    One of the biggest examples of this is the terrorist group formally known as Al Qa'ida. If you listen to news reports from 10 years ago the name was given as Qa'ida and pronounced with 3 syllables, but over time it slowly morphed into Qaeda*, with only 2 syllables. I don't know if this is because the news media thinks their audience can't handle funny sounding words, or if there is some conspiracy to subtly change the name as a way of giving the middle finger to the members of the group.

    * I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I think that the pronunciation change is more noticeable in US media.

  • Owning articles (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jones_supa (887896) on Friday December 13, 2013 @09:58AM (#45679453)
    One of the big underlying problems seems to be that when someone is a big contributor of some article, he ends up guarding it and the article just "feels wrong" to him when someone else modifies it, even if the contributions would objectively make sense. Let the information evolve and the words be shuffled around, it's not your precious snowflake thesis...
  • Remember UseNet? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by minstrelmike (1602771) on Friday December 13, 2013 @10:09AM (#45679553)
    It's got nothing to do with Wikipedia and everything to do with
    1. How people how argue and more specifically
    2. What pedants argue about.
    You want to argue about who's going to win the Super Bowl or be purged next in North Korea? Lots of good arguments and at the end, there is an actual measurable outcome.
    Want to argue about which is the best operating system? Lots of arguing there but no measurable outcome. You can measure which is the most popular but that's like saying the most popular music is the best music. We argue about music and art.

    But the arguments over word use and definitions of fact are the most vociferous because they are the most picky. And only picky, anal retentive types will argue so the arguments get more and more precise each time. When done well, we call it science.
    But it's hard to use words and syntax well when arguing about word definitions and syntax. If you see no difference between French-Polish and Polish-French, well then there's no difference between African-American and American-African. It actually is debatable. Uninteresting to most but debatable to many.
  • U2 is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fuzzums (250400) on Friday December 13, 2013 @10:31AM (#45679765) Homepage

    They evade their taxes in the Netherlands, so it's a Dutch band.

  • by TWX (665546) on Friday December 13, 2013 @10:41AM (#45679843)

    Hopefully, someone will now come along to yell at me for placing the final period in the above sentence outside the closing quote. Only way to save this thread I'm afraid.

    My guess is that many Slashdotters, myself included, feel that the current convention for the use of punctuation vis-à-vis quotation isn't technically accurate enough anyway.

    So, sorry that I couldn't save the thread.

  • Re:The problem is (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wootery (1087023) on Friday December 13, 2013 @10:44AM (#45679871)

    Just try editing a Wikipedia article introduce a deliberate mistake and see what happens :)

    Worth mentioning that, in seriousness, you should never do this. It's Wikipedia vandalism [], and waste's everyone's time.

    Instead you could just find a Wikipedia edit which corrected an error, and backtrack to see for how long that error was present on Wikipedia. No vandalism necessary.

  • Re:Slow news day? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TWX (665546) on Friday December 13, 2013 @10:45AM (#45679889)
    It's definitely news for nerds though. Only someone truly nerdy enough would actually give a damn.

    I stopped giving a damn and I stopped contributing to Wikipedia. The few times I tried to add information, sources and all, my changes got reverted by some wikidiot that didn't like how I changed things.

    They're complaining about not having money and begging for it with their own banner ads at the top; stop running the site like an unmoderated debating web forum and perhaps people will be more inclined to participate and to give money. That may mean having *gasp* an actual editorial staff, and cutting the wikidiots from edit privileges when they nitpick things that don't mean anything.
  • by foobar bazbot (3352433) on Friday December 13, 2013 @11:29AM (#45680363)

    My guess is that many Slashdotters, myself included, feel that the current U.S. convention for the use of punctuation vis-Ã-vis quotation isn't technically accurate enough anyway.

    FTFY. It's my understanding that the Brits currently use logical punctuation placement.

    (The thread's still doomed.)

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