Wednesday, December 16, 2009

676: A cry for help

Maru the Cat

"XKCD #676 mentions Maru the cat in its title text."

I want you to soak that in for a little while. Someone thought that a reference in the title text was notable enough to put a link into the wiki article. Or, more likely, the editor knew that it wasn't notable, but figured he could sneak one by on a minor article. We've got our eyes on you.

The reverter: "Every time your favorite comic mentions something you don't need to add it to wikipedia."

Friday, December 11, 2009

Recursive self-reference

In popular culture

Alert reader Mike Rosoft has drawn my attention to the above revision. In his words, "following the advice of xkcd, people started creating an article 'In popular culture.' With an 'in popular culture' section, of course." This is, of course, in reference to 446: Wood.

The article was so popular with xkcd fans that it eventually had to become fully protected (courtesy of Mike himself). It now redirects to "Popular culture," which is also a target of xkcd-related vandalism.

Mike is a member of the Counter-Vandalism Unit, which only sounds like the Counter-Terrorism Unit.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

xkcd in popular culture

No one has vandalized the Facebook page in the name of xkcd. Let's enjoy the brief respite with a look at Wikipedia's official stance on xkcd-related vandalism:

Wikipedia:xkcd in popular culture

From the page:

The popular webcomic xkcd is famed for its Internet-savvy plots and references to obscure science and cult fiction. As a result, people often take subjects which xkcd has covered, run off to Wikipedia and add "xkcd covered this" to a section called "In popular culture" or the like.

Most of the time, this isn't actually helpful. Popular webcomics do impact popular culture, but not every time they mention a random subject. The best way to treat "in popular culture" sections of articles is to use them to cover examples which have actually influenced the way that the public looks at the subject. Just adding in any random time that a subject is mentioned in your favourite TV show or comic leads to these sections quickly becoming unmanageable cruft which would be far better placed on TV Tropes or the like.

How to tell when you've hit the big time: your fanbase vandalizes Wikipedia enough that you get your own page for it.

Friday, December 4, 2009

671: Volvo

Volvo [2]

See, guys? It's so funny, we did it twice!

Oh, wait, vandalism isn't funny at all.

670: Up to eleven

Up to eleven

Did you know this had its own Wikipedia page? I didn't! But apparently xkcd fans did, and they decided to vandalize it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

667: Ski Free

Ski Free

This is another prime candidate for vandalism: a subject many people have heard of, but few people care about. Just sneak it in the article; nobody will notice, right?

That said, I love the reverter's simple comment: "the usual"

Monday, November 16, 2009

663: You are not funny

Carl Sagan

Because I have been so lazy busy lately, I have been less than vigilant here at xkcd Wiki Watch. But here is a piece of vandalism that will not go unnoticed. An xkcd fanboy vandalizes the Carl Sagan page to write a fictional backstory for Monday's xkcd.

You are not funny.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Off-comic: Geocities


So I've been away for the past however long. Apologies for the lack of updates; was busy having a kid.

GeoCities shut down recently, and xkcd redesigned its front page to look like something Randall probably actually designed fifteen years ago. (I know I did.) Fans retaliate by vandalizing the GeoCities article. Multiple times.

Your frustration is understandable, xkcd fans, but this is not the way to express it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

588: Pep Rally

Pep Rally

This is a perfect example of an xkcd that will immediately be converted into Wiki vandalism. If you look at the history, you'll notice multiple attempts to shoehorn the xkcd comic into the article. The edit linked above is particularly great because one user corrects someone's "rally's" with a wonderful "ralliess."

Probably unrelated to xkcd, but I found this edit amusing as well.

(Side note: The final line of the comic still has the extra comma: "Why are we doing this, rally, again?")

Monday, October 5, 2009

645: RPS

Reverse Polish notation

Just when I thought xkcd readers had been cured of their vandalistic tendencies forever, a reverse Polish notation joke comes along, a target too tempting to be ignored.

By the way, why in the world would you put the link in the "See Also" section? There's an "External Links" section just below. The difference between the two is that "See Also" is a list of related Wikipedia articles, while "External Links" contains, you know, external links. Come on, you're not even trying to get it right.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

446: Wood

There is a rich history of xkcd-related Wikipedia vandalism... just not very much this week. Sometimes the world is not just.

Anyway, let's dig back into the archives. You might remember Wood, the xkcd comic about an "In Popular Culture" section on Wikipedia's "Wood" article. Well, guess what happened after that comic was posted...

"This has nothing to do with xkcd."
"XKCD rules!" You are a terrible person!
The page becomes protected
"XKCD is great; trying to make real life like xkcd isn't necessarily the greatest (" Great quote, appropriate comic.

There are of course pages of awful xkcd-related edits to this page.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Wikipedia on xkcd

It figures that the launch of this blog coincides with a slow week for wiki vandalism.

Let's take a look at xkcd's own entry for a bit. Ten bucks if you can tell me why the section on the xkcd book is titled "Derivatives." (No, not really.)

The section was originally given the appropriate title "Upcoming Book." Later, someone thought that "Derivatives" was a better title. It stuck, somehow.

I also find it oddly interesting that "Men's romance" is listed as one of xkcd's two genres, the other being "Geek humor." Being that xkcd deals primarily with heterosexual relationships, how is it more of a "Men's romance" comic than a general romance comic?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wiki creep, part 1

List of references to the xkcd article

It's a slow week for wiki-referencing xkcds (or maybe I'm just not astute enough to track them all down), so let's take a look at a few instances of xkcd references that have found a home on Wikipedia's many articles.

Wikipedia. Really? Apparently the "Wikipedia Protester" comic (285) is a sufficiently notable parody of Wikipedia's policies to make it onto Wikipedia's self-documenting article. Never mind that xkcd already has the largest section on Wikipedia in culture's "Wikipedia in web comics" section and the highest representation on Wikipedia:Wikipedia in webcomics. xkcd has a love affair with Wikipedia, and Wikipedia loves it right back.

You know what I'd love to see? I'd love to see a meta-xkcd where one character decides to edit an xkcd reference into an article and another character shows up to tell the first what a jerk he is. The strip practically writes itself, Munroe-style.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

639: Lincoln-Douglas

Stephen A. Douglas

The interesting thing about this particular piece of vandalism is that it's patently false. Randall makes no claims to historical accuracy (see the original comic's alt text), so it's puzzling that anyone would bother writing this. Probably the vandal thought it would be funny. It wasn't, because there is no context for the joke outside of the comic.

Older stuff

Vandalism of Wikipedia in the name of xkcd probably hearkens back to xkcd's earliest comics. This is a non-comprehensive list of edits that predate the blog. Feel free to point out any others in the comments.

637: Scribblenauts
636: Apatosaurus
632: Oregon Trail
633: Harriet the Spy
613: Three-Body Problem
609: TV Tropes
607: Year 2038 problem
603: Idiocracy
593: Voynich manuscript
590: Papyrus

Unrelated to any particular comic:
Pleiades (star cluster), referenced here