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Wikipedia Is Not Amused By Entry For xkcd-Coined Word 553

ObsessiveMathsFreak writes "Today's xkcd comic introduced an unusual word — malamanteau — by giving its supposed definition on Wikipedia. The only trouble is that the word (as well as its supposed wiki page) did not in fact exist. Naturally, much ado ensued at the supposed wiki page, which was swiftly created in response to the comic. This article has more on how the comic and the confusion it caused have put the Net in a tizzy. It turns out that a malamanteau is a portmanteau of portmanteau and malapropism, but also a malapropism of portmanteau. All this puts Wikipedia in the confusing position of not allowing a page for an undefined word whose meaning is defined via the Wikipedia page for that word — and now I have to lie down for a moment."
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Wikipedia Is Not Amused By Entry For xkcd-Coined Word

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  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <(eldavojohn) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday May 13, 2010 @03:06PM (#32197862) Journal
    Add it to the list in the xkcd article under Inspired Activities [wikipedia.org] and redirect the malamanteau page to that subsection and be done with it. And now for some humor directed back at Munroe:

    *puts blanket over his head and grabs a webcam* How fucking dare anyone out there make fun of Wikipedia after all it has been through! It lost its father, it went through a fundraiser. It had two fuckin libel suits filed against it. Larry Sanger turned out to be a user, a liar, and now he's accusing it of hosting childporn. All you people care about is ... xkcd readers and making money off of it. IT'S A WEBSITE! Wahhhh. Ooooh. What you don’t realize is that Wikipedia is making you all this money and all you do is draw a bunch of crappy web comics about it. It hasn’t been featured in the news in years. Its slogan is “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit” for a reason because all you people want is to EDIT! EDIT EDIT EDIT EDIT! LEAVE IT ALONE! You are lucky it even is hosted for you BASTARDS! LEAVE WIKIPEDIA ALONE! Please. Randall Munroe talked about a fancy neologism and said if Wikipedia was a professional it wouldn't delete malamanteau no matter what. Speaking of professionalism, when is it professional to publicly bash something that is going through a hard time? Leave Wikipedia Alone Please ... Leave Wikipedia.org alone! ... right now! ... I mean it! Anyone that has a problem with Wikipedia you deal with me, because it is not well right now.

  • by 2obvious4u ( 871996 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @03:08PM (#32197884)
    If by today's you mean yesterday's... How about xkcd number 739 published on Wednesday 5/13 introduced ...
    • by 2obvious4u ( 871996 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @03:13PM (#32197984)
      From the TFA - This is what I was looking for yesterday when I checked the wikipage:

      Malapropism means to use a word in place of another word that makes the same sound, but doesn’t deliver an appropriate meaning, for example, odorous for odious, comprehended for apprehended and auspicious for suspicious and benefactors for malefactors. All these are Malapropos of each other. Now the second word portmanteau means to merge two words with each other in such a way that the sounds of the two words become merged as well as their meanings. In this case malamanteau is a portmanteau of portmanteau and Malapropism, whereas malamanteau is also a Malapropos of portmanteau. The meaning of the new word is still to be created properly.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 13, 2010 @03:21PM (#32198132)

        That's a very hirsute observation.

      • by SpeedyDX ( 1014595 ) <speedyphoenix@ g m a i l.com> on Thursday May 13, 2010 @03:35PM (#32198418)

        Some readers at the XKCD forums pointed out that the term may have originated from this MetaFilter thread [metafilter.com] back in 2007:

        [blockquote]It's not spoonerism. More like a portmanteau combined with a malapropism. So I'd go with malamanteau or a portmanpropism.
        posted by ludwig_van at 3:31 PM on July 17, 2007[/blockquote]

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by catmistake ( 814204 )

        for example, odorous for odious, comprehended for apprehended and auspicious for suspicious and benefactors for malefactors.

        I have a young cousin that loves to talk... and he does this all the time, nearly every other sentence he is using the wrong word for what he's talking about, yet it isn't difficult to understand what he's saying. I've noticed this more often on the reality shows (when I catch glimpses on talk soup), the reality stars are constantly doing that, replacing the wrong word for the word they mean.

        What is a person that suffers from this linguistical malady called? There must be a more clinical and less pejorativ

        • by kent_eh ( 543303 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @03:44PM (#32198594)

          I've noticed this more often on the reality shows (when I catch glimpses on talk soup), the reality stars are constantly doing that, replacing the wrong word for the word they mean.

          What is a person that suffers from this linguistical malady called? There must be a more clinical and less pejorative term than 'idiot.'

          In the case of "reality" shows and daytime talk TV, I expect there is no more accurate word than idiot.
          Who cares about pejorative? The truth hurts.

  • Best. Joke. Ever. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @03:08PM (#32197904) Homepage

    This is the best example of why XKCD is an awesome web comic - a modern "funny" - I've seen in some time. In fact, I'd argue the societal commentary is often better - more cutting and intelligent - than you'll find most anywhere else (WSJ included). It's not always just "geeky" stuff, though Little Johny Normalization is a great example in that department, too.

  • Jorge Luis Borges (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @03:10PM (#32197932)
    Salute your spiritual heir, xkcd.

    The library is witness to both truth and falsehood
    I'd check the quotation properly in my translation, but currently it's hiding somewhere in L-space, probably afraid to come out.

  • I still think that the most scary(And interesting) part is that google now have 152,000 hits for the word. So a: Google is fast at picking up new words. It really generated a lot of interest and there are quite some spammers with some effective automatic page generation systems.

  • Real Power (Score:5, Funny)

    by thepike ( 1781582 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @03:15PM (#32198028)

    And people say kids these days put too much stock in wikipedia. Come on, they won't even let an undefined word be added even after it clearly becomes defined by xkcd.

    Now the power to change google search results [xkcd.com], make new words [xkcd.com], and cause spontaneous gatherings at random locations [xkcd.com]. That's power that only stick figures can be trusted with.

  • by Sir.Cracked ( 140212 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @03:19PM (#32198114) Homepage

    It serves them right for deleting all that porn. Karma's a bitch!

  • NOT BBC NEWS! (Score:5, Informative)

    by molo ( 94384 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @03:20PM (#32198120) Journal

    The link in TFA: http://www.bbcnewsamerica.com/malamanteau-wikipedia.html [bbcnewsamerica.com]

    This site does not appear to be related to BBC News, it is actually registered to a guy in Pakistan:


            Shahbaz Ali (info@digghost.net)
            DHA Lahore
            Tel. +092.3218830642

    Creation Date: 16-Feb-2010

    For reference, BBC World News America has this website:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/world_news_america/default.stm [bbc.co.uk]


    • Unfortunately, I only realised this mistake after I posted the submission. This particular story has in fact been copied around an endless list of such spam sites, but I was totally unable to find the original source, so I couldn't make a proper submission update in time. It'd probably be best if the link was taken out of the story altogether as the site linked to is essentially plagarising whoever initially wrote it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by RabbitWho ( 1805112 )
      I was just thinking that, I mean BBC would never be so unprofessional (I hope). The "article" was even copied and pasted from somewhere else. Loads of poor quality little websites made articles about Malamanteau yesterday to try and cash in on the fact it was the 4th most searched topic in Google trends in the hours following the posting of the comic.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Chardish ( 529780 )

      I thought this was blindingly obvious based on the fact that the author of TFA is clearly a pseudonym, there's a very low hit counter at the bottom, and the web design looks like it's from six years ago. Slashdot editors must be out to lunch on this one.

  • this is not new (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pilgrim23 ( 716938 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @03:22PM (#32198168)
    There is a possibly apocryphal tale of two gentlemen in England int he 18th century who made a bet that in 48 hours a new word could be entered into the English Language. One found every ragged street urchin in London, handed him some chalk and showed him how to write "quiz". Soon Graffiti adorned every wall and park bench and by the next day it was on every lip.
  • QFTD. (Score:4, Funny)

    by bmo ( 77928 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @03:22PM (#32198178)

    "Your obscure Pokemon obsession is no more valid than my XKCD fetish" - Anonymous


  • screw wikipedia (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bsDaemon ( 87307 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @03:24PM (#32198208)

    So, I use Wikipedia on a daily basis for quick reference and as a jumping point to the sources. However, as a community/culture, I think its really just sort of gotten out of hand. Arguing for pages and pages about something which is really sort of inconsequential? Who do they think they are, Slashdot? (but seriously...). I first realized a few years ago that there was no point in trying to actually participate when I watched a revision war/flame fest between some random Swedish guy and an exchange student friend of mine who was from Georgia (the country), over stuff in the Georgia article. J. Random Swede decided that being born in a country, growing up there, and having had 20+ years of first-hand experience wasn't good enough to contribue some relatively minor points to the article, iirc. It turned into quite the little bru-ha-ha between Soso (my friend) and that guy, who wasn't exactly a Slavic languages and culture scholar himself, either. There is some value in wikipedia, but not enough to justify a bunch of bored, pissed-off nerds thumping around like some stiff-collar Britannica editors at the East India Club.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Renevith ( 1556657 )

      First-hand experience is not appropriate for Wikipedia at all, regardless of how good it is. That's because there's no way for anyone later to verify your friend's level of experience. All information on Wikipedia is supposed to be cited (or common knowledge). Do you really think it would be a good idea to just trust all contributors who claim to have knowledge of some subject?

      The official name of this policy is No Original Research [wikipedia.org]. "The term 'original research' refers to material--such as facts, allegatio

  • Apparently the malamanteau page may (or may not) be the place to pre-order battletoads [wikipedia.org]. I was wondering what happened to the other battletoads pre-order site [battletoadspreorder.com], now I know!
  • by fondacio ( 835785 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @03:44PM (#32198586)

    Cool. It's like a new and improved version of the prank involving the lengthy name of the new German Foreign Minister [slashdot.org] last year.

  • The XKCD threat has officially been upgraded from "Unfunny But Harmless" to "Somewhat Annoying".

    Luckily for them, the Internet doesn't scramble its bombers until DEFCON 2 ("Almost As Problematic As 4chan").

  • Way to kill the joke (Score:3, Informative)

    by zill ( 1690130 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @03:57PM (#32198830)
    The entire joke rests on the fact that there's no such wikipedia article. Even Randall admits [wikipedia.org] there shouldn't be article on the word.
  • Simpsons did it! (Score:3, Informative)

    by SoundGuyNoise ( 864550 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @03:59PM (#32198866) Homepage
    It's perfectly cromulent.
  • by owlnation ( 858981 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @04:02PM (#32198906)
    Every time I think of Wikipedia, I am reminded of this quote:

    "It was true that there was no such person as Comrade Ogilvy, but a few lines of print and a couple of faked photographs would soon bring him into existence. [...]

    Comrade Ogilvy, unimagined an hour ago, was now a fact. [...] Comrade Ogilvy, who had never existed in the present, now existed in the past, and when once the act of forgery was forgotten, he would exist just as authentically, and upon the same evidence, as Charlemagne or Julius Caesar."

    George Orwell: 1984, pp 46-48.

    It's really odd the wikiadmins should be complaining about someone else making up things to put on their site. All things considered, it seems somewhat hypocritical.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by swillden ( 191260 )

      It's really odd the wikiadmins should be complaining about someone else making up things to put on their site. All things considered, it seems somewhat hypocritical.

      I don't think that word means what you think it means.

      It's precisely because it's so easy for random people to document made-up stuff on Wikipedia that the wikiadmins take such a hard line about removing it. Without a serious focus on removing such articles, the encyclopedia would be flooded with them.

  • Correct response (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday May 13, 2010 @04:05PM (#32198948) Homepage Journal

    The correct response is "Good one. That was very funny! We are a project that lives and dies on the contributions of our users. You just demonstrated how quickly people on the internet can be motivated and organized to a single goal. We're hoping some of that energy can be directed towards making Wikipedia a better place. Thanks. -- The Management"

  • "Wikipedia sucks! Ya man, they're not COOL enough to let my favorite webcomic make shit up on its website!"

    I think XKCD has the right to make whatever jokes it wants to. I also am more of the opinion that Wikipedia should allow the article to be published. For the sake of avoiding confrontation, Wikipedia should probably chill and let it through. In reality, though, all the thousands of people who vandalize Wikipedia every day who think they're SOOO funny just mess things up for everyone else.

    Wikipedia has done more for humanity's accessibility to knowledge than most of us will individually in our lifetimes. So quit being so damned rough on a website with such a huge task at hand: creating an accurate, universal encyclopedia while fighting ignorance, stupidity, and malice.

  • by professorguy ( 1108737 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @04:09PM (#32199014)
    That this discussion is even possible shows how far into the future we've traveled:

    An internet forum is debating the proper formalism for creating neologisms on a user-edited encyclopedia.

    Would I even be able to give my grandmother the slightest glimmer of what this is about?

  • by LaminatorX ( 410794 ) <sabotage.praecantator@com> on Thursday May 13, 2010 @04:13PM (#32199090) Homepage

    "Wikador" --A malmanteau combining "Wikipedia" and "Matador," the latter standing in semantically for "Editor."

  • by jonnat ( 1168035 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @05:01PM (#32199966)

    Without getting into the argument about the notability of the term (I think it's quite notable, but I'm biased), "Malamanteau" should not have a Wikipedia entry because Wikipedia is not a dictionary, as Wikipedia will gladly point out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:NOTDICT [wikipedia.org]

  • Not BBC! (Score:3, Informative)

    by hrimhari ( 1241292 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @05:08PM (#32200066) Journal

    The link in the article is a blog. It has no ties with the "real" BBC. This is the real one... [bbcamerica.com].

    Poor Wikipedia...

  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @05:08PM (#32200078) Homepage Journal
    that word becomes mainstream. people make languages, and internet is people.
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:16PM (#32202284) Homepage Journal
    Perhaps you can blag angrily about it on your blag.

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."