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07 January 2011 @ 10:33 am
In Which Your Obedient Serpent is declared UNMUTUAL  
It was a trivial thing, really. I discovered that "second breakfast" wasn't merely an invention of Professor Tolkien, but an actual meal in some cultures. This amused me enough that I went to the Wikipedia page for Hobbit to turn the reference to that meal into an internal link.

While I was there, I shrugged, and turned the references to all the meals into links.

This was, in retrospect, an error. As another wiki reminds us, A road composed entirely of Pot Holes is difficult to travel.

After saving my changes, I decided to make one more tweak, but to my surprise, my changes had been reverted in the brief span of time it took me to hit "edit" again.

And I had a Message, sent to the Talkpage for my IP address:

Hello, and welcome to Wikipedia! Thank you for your contributions. I hope you like the place and decide to stay. Here are a few good links for newcomers:

Here are some other hints and tips:

  • I recommend that you get a username. You don't have to log in to read or edit articles on Wikipedia, but creating an account is quick, free and non-intrusive, requires no personal information, and there are many benefits of having a username. (If you edit without a username, your IP address is used to identify you instead.)
  • When using talk pages, please sign your name at the end of your messages by typing four tildes (~~~~). This will automatically produce your username (or IP address) and the date.

    If you have any questions, check out Wikipedia:Where to ask a question, ask me on my talk page, or type {{helpme}} on this talk page and a user will help you as soon as possible. I will try to answer your questions as best as I can. Again, welcome, and I hope you enjoy editing here and being a Wikipedian. [NAME REDACTED] (talk) 15:52, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

Fairly polite and informative, but it also screamed "Form Letter", with overtones of "LOL N00B".

Mildly piqued, I responded ... perhaps less than diplomatically:

I've been editing Wikipedia for years now without an account. Nine-tenths of what I do is simple grammatical corrections, and the occasional internal link. Have things finally gotten so stuffy here that I can't make simple changes to a page without them being instantaneously reverted?

Only to be informed in turn (emphasis mine):

Don't take offence, your ip address had made 6 changes, and what you did went against consensus. Perhaps you should realise my nice message was a sign of welcome and not take it personally; if you can't then maybe wikipedia isn't the place for you. Thanks [NAME REDACTED] (talk) 16:29, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

"Went against consensus"? "Not the place for you"?

This left me ... giggling, to be honest. I confess my own response was a bit cranky, but this ... this reinforced all the worst stereotypes of stuffy cliquishness I've heard leveled at Wikipedia!

OH NOES, as the vernacular would have it. I've violated Consensus, and thus earned Paradox! I am not of the Body! I am Unmutual!

Given that much of yesterday's conversation revolved around Glorious Godfrey and his Justifiers, the irony was palpable.

The only possible response, of course ... was to be unflaggingly polite, whilst reserving my own amusement for other venues:

Subject: Mea Culpa!

My apologies; I shouldn't snap off responses like that before my morning coffee has kicked in. Your initial response was most polite indeed; it was, however, so well-composed that my early-morning pre-caffeinated sensibilities assumed that it was a form letter. My immediate reaction was that my changes had been automatically reverted by a bot, and this in turn suggested changes in the culture of Wikipedia that I found unpalatable. Hence, my terse response.

To clarify: I made my edits when I happened to stumble on the "Second breakfast" page and discovered that it was an actual meal in some cultures; I had assumed that it was an invention of Professor Tolkien's. this amused me enough to make the edit; since I was there, as a matter of consistency, I opted to turn the other meal-references into links, as well.

This was, in retrospect, an error. As another wiki reminds us, A road composed entirely of Pot Holes is difficult to travel.

The anomaly of "Second Breakfast" is sufficiently interesting that I think it worthy of being added as a link to that passage, even if the other meals remain unaltered. I leave that option to your consideration.

Thank you, and have a good day!

(The four tildes of a Proper Wikipedia Signature)

(Appropriately enough, the CAPTCHA to post this obsequious addendum was entrydoubt.)

I do believe that niktopolion is rubbing off on me.

For the record: as recently as 01 January 2011, I made smaller factual corrections and edits on other pages without comment or reversion. Evidently, the Wiki user in question is a member of "WikiProject Middle-earth"; the unwanted attention is almost certainly due to me disturbing his personal sandbox, rather than some sweeping sea-change in Wikipedia culture in general.

I am tempted to finally give in and get a Wikipedia account ... with a username of "Unmutual", or something similar.

If there are any further volleys in this pie-fight, I'll update accordingly.

I feel: amusedamused
Moral Explorernotthebuddha on January 7th, 2011 07:29 pm (UTC)
I am not of the Body!

I am almost brave enough to ask people like this if they are open allowing a new member into the Body. If only I could fine tune it to make sure that the f-you meaning came to mind more easily than the f-me connotation.
Drakedrakegrey on January 7th, 2011 07:39 pm (UTC)
Over at TVTropes - 'we're very informal here', it says - I added an entry to the page for the Lemmon/Curtis film "The Great Race". I noted that Natalie Woods' costume in the last half of the film - corset, black stockings and stiletto heels - could be Fetish Fuel, to some.

The entry was removed before I could get up and come back with a cup of tea.

My observation being twofold - one, we need a new Internet axiom, to be added to New Media at TVTropes, for this. To wit: All Informal Congregations/Fun Projects/Hangouts Become Hide Bound, Formalized, Rules Bound, Intolerant And Static Over Time.

And two, what's the word for - not an Internet Tough Guy, but a guy who gets off WAY too much on being a persnickety administrative clerk for a site like Wikipedia? Kind of like the guy who ends up on the Homeowner's Association and spends all his time sending out harsh emails about garden gnomes, that threaten legal action - what's the word for that? :P
Your Obedient Serpentathelind on January 7th, 2011 08:05 pm (UTC)
The entry was removed before I could get up and come back with a cup of tea.

Yes, but did you get a condescending form letter?

And two, what's the word for - not an Internet Tough Guy, but a guy who gets off WAY too much on being a persnickety administrative clerk for a site like Wikipedia?

Big Fish in a Small Pond?

(Why isn't that a page on TV Tropes yet? Do I have to do EVERYTHING around here?)
ebony14 on January 7th, 2011 10:59 pm (UTC)

Or, given your reference earlier: a tin-plated dictator with delusions of godhood?
Hafochafoc on January 8th, 2011 05:11 am (UTC)
To quote Martin Mull, speaking of the kind of roles for which he was cast:

"It's a seven-letter word that starts with an A. And it's not Astronaut because that has nine."
Your Obedient Serpent: tropesathelind on January 8th, 2011 08:59 am (UTC)
Drakedrakegrey on January 8th, 2011 09:15 pm (UTC)
Yeah, you should get crackin' on that Big Fish/Small Ponf page. :) TVTropes does neede it...

And so far as getting a nastygram back well, no, but I will admit it was the human element that failed us, here. :)
The Red Alchemist: Jack Chickjirris_midvale on January 8th, 2011 05:53 am (UTC)
I tend to refer to those people as 'fucking assholes' and proceed to elaborate on their mothers' previous possible professions ( as recent as last night via a torrid anecdote about my interactions with her), the possibility of abnormally underdeveloped genitals possessed by said 'fucking asshole', and other sundry sordid and insulting topics.

Then again, I'm kind of a prick.
Drakedrakegrey on January 8th, 2011 09:17 pm (UTC)
Nah, I think you are being quite reasonable here. :)

I knew trouble was brewing at TVTropes when people started arguing about the use of "this troper". OH NOES we aren't being the professional about this!
Araquan Skytracer: Computer stupidityaraquan on January 8th, 2011 12:19 am (UTC)
I left Wikipedia a long time ago. If I hadn't blabbed about it to you recently, I have in another guy's journal earlier today.
Moral Explorernotthebuddha on January 9th, 2011 12:34 pm (UTC)
At least on WP, there's a record of the buttheadedness; I usually check under the hood to see what's been contentious, and I always keep an eye on how recently the article was fiddled with.