Sunday, October 04, 2009

Wikipedia: Smackdown

Well Company, I know that you know that I am kind of a dillhole most of the time, and that's fine. But you also know that I am not above shameless self promotion. And you know that I am not above starting sentence after sentence with conjunctions. Sorry, that's not on you. Anyway, back to the shameless self promotion: I am definitely not above it. I throw around the name BigDaveAndCompany.com like I am Drew Brees and it's a football. I mean, you've gotta get the word out, and you've gotta get noticed somehow, right? I mean, we started with the nearly award winning blog, moved on to Twitter, and then we expanded, with the help of Mike-a-licious, into the world of podcasting. Great, that's all well and good. Now, I know that it seems like one could never get any higher, but I started thinking about what comes next; what is the next thing to do to get ourselves out there. Since I am anti-Facebook and mySpace, which I am also against, is basically dead in the proverbial water, I set my sights on the new most powerful site on the Internet. That of course is Wikipedia.
Not expecting to have everything handed to me, and being willing to get what I want, I went to Wikipedia in an attempt to get myself turned into a Wikipedia article. Well, not exactly me, but this blog. I thought it would be a great idea. I mean, I use Wikipedia to look up just about everything, and I don't think I have written an article for this blog in the last year or so on which I haven't consulted "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit." The problem is that I am not really that technologically advanced - I rarely have any idea as to what I am doing - and I am also a firm believer that if you don't know what you are doing, you have to act like you know what's going on. So what I did was I went and sort of rooted around for how to create an article on Wikipedia before I just went to town. Seems like a good plan, doesn't it?
The truth may be that Wikipedia is "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit", but it's really hard to get an article to be originally written. Yeah, turns out that once you get to the 3.05 million article mark, and all the articles for things like Plattsburgh, New York, Liberated Syndication, the Conservative Party of Canada, and the color orange are already created, you can get a little picky about what you allow as a new article. Hmmm...I am not sure I like that.
First of all, one has to create an account to create an article, OR one can ask Wikipedia to create one for you. If they are going to do the creating, however, they need things like credible sources and a fair amount of content ahead of time, before they will even consider creating your article for you. Wait, hold on a minute. Let me get this straight. I have to write a bunch of content and then list sources to back them up for you, Wikipedia? Hmmm...seems to me last time I checked that was called writing a research paper. I should look that up on Wikipedia and see what that has to say about it. Strange how that works. Turns out that if they are going to create things for you they want them to be real and credible.
Well, that is going to be a problem, because while Big Dave and Company and the Big Dave and Company Podcast are very real, they are certainly anything but credible, and I have no sources. As far as I am aware, no one has ever written a published or scholarly work about this blog, and it doesn't seem that there is any website devoted to this business, so I am pretty much at a loss. I mean, I think that I have a pretty credible source - me, the creator, only writer, and brains behind Big Dave and Company - but for some reason I have serious doubts that will fly with the folks at Wikipedia. I guess it's time for option Number 2.
Option Number 2 for getting my article, or wiki, or whatever created, is to create my own account. Then I can just go to town. Sounds good, I am all down for that. I have about a hundred million accounts at about a hundred million websites, and so what is one more, right? Yeah, tell that to the camel whose back was broken by the straw. Anyway, I signed up for an account, and that went well. I have a Wikipedia account now, so I guess that I am in like Flynn. Great. I still had no idea where to go. So I start looking at tutorials, and they tell me all this stuff. First I end up in a place called the "sandbox" where I can practice editing articles. Great. I seemed pretty easy but I didn't exactly get the results I desired. So I left there, because it was frustrating me. I tooled around their free help articles for a while, and ended up on a list of bad article ideas. Here are some excerpts from that list:

1.) Yourself or your organization.
7.) Anything about which you are not going to write at least one complete sentence.
8.) Extremely specific details which only a dedicated few care about.
9.) Subjects that cannot be studied.
12.) Any subject that can be documented only by reference to the original.
13.) The new great thing you made up in school today.

Yeah, that's not good. Those are just the ones that I though pertained to me and Big Dave and Company, and that is an alarmingly high percentage of the items on the list. I was discouraged, highly discouraged at that, and so I decided that I would move on. I am not going to get into any more detail because I am sure that you don't necessarily care to hear it, but I will be happy to go ahead and summarize it for you. Basically what I learned as I tried to learn how to create my own article is that basically I am not good enough to create my own article until I edit like at least 150 other articles, and that even when I do create my own article it will probably be an AFD in like 17.4 seconds.
So needless to say, I am pretty disheartened, a term that can't even begin to describe the litany of feelings coursing through me. First of all, I am pretty sure that Wikipedia has grown large enough to have lost the spirit in which it was created and grew, which I suppose is bound to happen with anything. Second is that I am a little insulted that I apparently am not good enough to be included in their little dictionary. I mean, that hurts, Wikipedia.
I guess that at this point I don't know what to do. I am thinking that the best chance of getting an article to stick would be to write something very neutral and objective, which is how it should be anyway, and hoping that nobody notices until it has been there for some time and maybe has a reference or two attached to it. And truthfully, it would be better if one of you would submit it, Company, that would give it another leg to stand on. But I am pretty sure that it would be brought up for deletion eventually, which sucks. I just don't know what to do. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would get smacked down by Wikipedia.

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