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EXCELSIOR, YOU FATHEAD! - First they came for Cat Town and I did not speak up, for Wikipedia frowns on self-defense

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March 10th, 2014


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08:24 am - First they came for Cat Town and I did not speak up, for Wikipedia frowns on self-defense
This week, it appears, the Wikipedians have decided that the entry for my lil' ol IF adventure, Pick Up The Phone Booth and Die, just ain't notable enough anymore for their tastes after nine years of happily languishing about on the site and occasionally vandalized with huge pictures of cows.

I can do nothing and frankly, I don't see why I would. Authors are not supposed to speak up in defense of articles about their work; if the practice isn't expressly forbidden, it's at least incredibly gauche in the eyes of the Almighty Wiki Editors and my arguments, of which I have little to none, would hold as much water as a gnat's navel by sheer virtue of simply being the guy who came up with the thing. I'm not urging anybody to do anything on my behalf, either, because I don't dig the whole "GO FORTH MY PRIVATE ARMY AND LAY WASTE TO THOSE WHO HAVE OFFENDED YOUR LIEGE" thing and honestly, if the article sufficiently offends the Wikipedians' tender, obsessive sensibilities, let 'em take it out of their playground. The game is still listed in the archives and repositories which count for Interactive Fiction, such as the IF Archive and the IF Wiki, and there it will happily reside.

The only thing that upsets me is that it's a pointed reminder that fame eventually fades and popular culture moves on. This is no surprise and it's certainly no new lesson for me, but it still, well, stings, y'know? Notoriety, however, can flourish in the right circles. And I have to say PUTPBAD is doing all right, circle-flourishing-wise, for a one-joke game written eighteen years ago, and that's fine by me.

I wonder what to do next.

(13 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:tansu
Date:March 10th, 2014 12:38 pm (UTC)
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What with the 30th anniversary of the HHGTTG text adventure meaning that All Things Text Adventure are On The Table, the time for ol' PUTPBAD is surely now.
[User Picture]
From:tyopsqueene
Date:March 10th, 2014 02:23 pm (UTC)
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I'm...a bit alarmed at the idea that fading popularity allows deletion of once-notable pages. I mean, what sort of historical archive would we have if we just deleted items the minute they weren't trendy any more?
"What was a rotary phone?"
"I dunno, I'll look it up on wiki...huh, no entry".
[User Picture]
From:sovay
Date:March 10th, 2014 04:43 pm (UTC)
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I mean, what sort of historical archive would we have if we just deleted items the minute they weren't trendy any more?

Yeah, that. Isn't that the entire point of an archive—there's a copy whether anyone reads it or not?
[User Picture]
From:xiphias
Date:March 10th, 2014 03:45 pm (UTC)
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PUTPB&D is yours? I LOVE that intfic. I hadn't realized you'd written it.

Edited at 2014-03-10 03:45 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:ruthling
Date:March 10th, 2014 05:32 pm (UTC)
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same here.
[User Picture]
From:lnhammer
Date:March 11th, 2014 04:49 am (UTC)
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Me three.
[User Picture]
From:xiphias
Date:March 10th, 2014 03:50 pm (UTC)
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Is there any way to point out to people that, unless they're running out of server space, there's NO FUCKING REASON to delete things for "non-notability"? I mean, in the REAL world, people find obscure things that nobody cares about that are non-notable, like 12 Years a Slave in dusty libraries, then research them, find out a lot about them, and, eighty years after the original historian was a ten year old girl who found a copy in a dusty cupboard in a plantation near where she lived, it wins an Oscar.

Because someone FOUND the stupid non-notable thing.

ACTUAL repositories of knowledge do things like that.
[User Picture]
From:radiotelescope
Date:March 11th, 2014 08:15 pm (UTC)
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You can point it out, but Wikipedia has long since decided that it is not an archive and doesn't give a crap.

I lost my faith when they decided to delete the entry for Kosho. (The martial art from _The Prisoner_.) I still use Wikipedia but it's transient and there's nothing that you or I can do.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:March 11th, 2014 08:49 pm (UTC)
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I lost my faith in Wikipedia when someone edited my user info page and removed a picture of me that a friend took, claiming that the picture hadn't been released under the editor's favorite flavor of the GNU GPL.

The Cat Town page removal and subsequent crowing about it (the editor who removed the page was on a crusade to Clean Up Webcomics He Didn't Know About and even got a barnstar for removing the Cat Town page) wasn't as offensive to me as editing a user's personal profile page in the name of copyleft pedantry. It was a complete "Forget it, Spatch, it's Wikipedia" moment for me.[citation needed]


[User Picture]
From:sovay
Date:March 10th, 2014 04:42 pm (UTC)
(Link)
" Text adventures were already an obscure hobby by the mid 90's following FTL's release of Dungeon Master in 1989."

Huh. Guess what's more obscure than that? Everything I learned in graduate school, that's what. What's next, Wikipedia—are you going to delete the Romans? No, wait, I've got it. The Hurrians are totally passé.
[User Picture]
From:28bytes
Date:March 11th, 2014 02:08 pm (UTC)
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Get someone on Boing Boing to write something about it, stat! Then it's reliably sourced, and thus "notable." It saved Old Man Murray from the bit bucket.
[User Picture]
From:28bytes
Date:March 15th, 2014 10:10 pm (UTC)
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FWIW, I un-deleted it and put it here. If I can ever scare up some third-party sources for it, I'll put those in and restore it to its rightful place.
[User Picture]
From:pseydtonne
Date:March 12th, 2014 07:24 pm (UTC)
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Our mutual friend originally from Scotia will sympathize. Have you ever tried to read the entry Venemous Pede has for him?

The shortest way to put it is that Wikipedia's importance has outlasted its validity. Back when having a decent wiki server tied to a public web server was radical, WP gave a lot of us our first exposure to their power and utility. Now it's very simple and common to run one -- the hard part is verifying and maintaining, thinning and validating.

However it can no longer remain the only game in town. It is responsible to its cadre (staff and their monocle polishers) rather than its customers. It hits people up for money for using it, but it won't actually use the money to fund research or even pretend to develop research-quality standards. It could just as easily provide false or irrelevant data and ask that we pay them. It's almost the Labor Theory of Value.

People love to compare WP to the Encyclopedia Brittanica. However the EB does have a sense of responsibility to the past, to research, to civilization. We have asked WP to do too much, so it's time for MLS folks to create real wikis for specialties.

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