Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Irrelevant comments

If you checked my WP user page, you may have noticed the house newspaper, The Wikipedia Signpost. This paper is really better than Wikipedia deserves. Oh, you won't find any tough criticism of Jimbo Wales or other WP bigwigs. This is a house newspaper, after all. But the paper doesn't shy from covering Wikipedia controversies in a mostly unbiased manner.

I admit that a couple features mostly suck. The WikiWorld cartoon is an embarrassment. Instead of satirizing WP, it merely recycles some of the encyclopedia's more boring passages into equally boring cartoons. The cartoonist also shares the political biases common in the mainstream media - Ann Coulter was drawn dragging her knuckles, while mousy National Public Radio types were treated with gentle respect. The technical report, named for uber-techie Brion Vibber, is a dry-as-Sahara-sand summary of obscure glitches and even more obscure fixes.

But by and large, the paper makes for reasonably interesting reading. I copy the newspaper into my user page each week and attach "irrelevant comments" below each item. These are usually as unfunny as WikiWorld, but at least they don't take as long to read. My favorite Signpost item for my lame remarks is the weekly account of ArbCom activities, The Report on Lengthy Litigation (TROLL, ha-ha). ArbCom is WP's Supreme Court, where various miscreants are dragged for their just or unjust deserts. Their cases sometimes make unintentionally hilarious reading, as the latest BADSITES hoohah attests.

I was once asked by the then-editor of the Signpost if I would be interested in contributing. I answered that I would be too wise-ass for the job. God knows, I might get the paper closed down if they ever let me inside the place.

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