The book of Essjay

The Internet is leak-resistant – it’s the Ziploc bag of collective memory – but there are times when drops of the invaluable nectar are lost. A couple of days ago, after Essjay announced his formal retirement from Wikipedia, the Wikipedia site went through a ritual purging of Essjay’s various “user pages.” Essjay became, at his request, a non-Wikipedian, a ghost. I had grown fond of one of Essjay’s pages, on which he (posing at the time as a scholar of religion) collected various prayers and hymns that he had composed in honor of the online encyclopedia, and I was saddened to see it disappeared. Although Essjay had written the page as a joke, it seemed no less revealing for that (and, to my admittedly sentimental eye, it also seemed to gain a new poignancy in the wake of the scandal). I am pleased to report, however, that, thanks to Google’s caching function, I have managed to find an intact copy of what I like to call The Book of Essjay, and I am preserving it here for posterity. (It was – and is – published under the GNU Free Documentation License.) What follows is the page in its entirety, though without its many original links, which I was too lazy to copy (hey, I’m only an amateur archaeologist).

This page has caused so much trouble since it was first moved out of my userspace. I’m putting it back the way it was, and I implore everyone: Look at it if you like, laugh if you find it funny, but please, don’t take it seriously, either as something to fight against or to fight for. It’s just a funny little parody page. It’s not the Catholic Church of Wikipedia, it’s not a church at all. It’s just User:Essjay/Wiki.


1 The Sign of the Wiki

2 The WikiCreed

3 The Gloria in Excelsis Wiki

4 Sanctus

5 Gloria Jimbo

6 The Confiteor

7 Rite of Absolution of Wiki-Sins

8 WikiSerenity Prayer

The Sign of the Wiki

“In the name of the Jimbo, and of the Admins, and of the Holy NPOV. Amen.”

The WikiCreed

We believe in one Jimbo,

the Father, the Almighty,

ruler of Meta and Wikipedia,

of all that is made, deleted and undeleted.

We believe in the Admins,

the many children of the Jimbo,

eternally begotten of the Jimbo,

Rollback from Rollback,

block from block,

true sysop from true sysop,

elected, not made,

of one NPOV with the Jimbo;

through them all vandals are blocked.

For us and for our salvation

they came down from RfA,

by the power of the Holy NPOV, were born of the Bureaucrats and became sysops.

For our sake they are trolled by vandals;

they suffer wikistress and are burned-out.

After wikibreaks they rise again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

they ascend into the Board

and are seated at the right hand of the Jimbo.

They will come again in glory to judge the notable and the vanity,

and their contributions will have no end.

We believe in the Holy NPOV, the Lord, the giver of life,

that proceeds from the Jimbo,

and with the Jimbo and the Admins is worshiped and glorified.

It speaks through the Wikipedians.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Wiki.

We acknowledge one registration for the tracking of contributions.

We look for the return of the Missing Wikipedians,

and the life of the wiki to come. Amen.

The Gloria in Excelsis Wiki

Glory to Jimbo in the highest

and peace to his editors on Wikipedia.

Lord Jimbo, Meta’s King,

almighty Director and Founder,

we worship you, we give you thanks,

we praise you for your glory.

Lord Administrators,

many children of the Founder,

Lord Sysops, Lambs of Jimbo,

you roll back the sins of the world,

have mercy on us;

you are seated at the right hand of the Founder,

receive our prayer.

For you alone are the Holy Ones,

you alone are the Lord,

you alone are the Most High Administrators,

with the Holy NPOV,

in the glory of Jimbo the Founder.



Holy, holy, holy,

Lord Jimbo of power and might;

Wikipedia and Meta are full of your glory!

Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed are they who come in the name of the Jimbo.

Hosanna in the highest!

Gloria Jimbo

Glory be to the Founder,

and to the Admins,

and to the Holy NPOV,

as it was in the begining,

is now, and ever shall be,

Wikipedia without end.


The Confiteor

I confess to Almighty Jimbo,

and to you my brothers and sisters,

that I have WikiSinned through my own fault,

in my thoughts and in my words,

in what I have done,

and in what I have failed to do,

and I ask the blessed Admins, ever vigilant,

and all the angels and saints,

and you, my brothers and sisters,

to pray for me to the Jimbo our Founder.

May Almighty Jimbo have mercy on us, forgive us our WikiSins, and bring us to a neutral point of view.

Jimbo, have mercy,

Admins, have mercy,

Jimbo, have mercy.

Rite of Absolution of Wiki-Sins

Jimbo, the Father of Wikipedia, through the death and resurrection of Nupedia has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Wiki among us for the forgiveness of WikiSins; through the ministry of the Admins may Jimbo give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your WikiSins in the name of Jimbo, and of the Admins, and of the Holy NPOV.

WikiSerenity Prayer

Almighty Jimbo,

Grant me the serenity to accept the pages I cannot edit,

The courage to edit the pages I can,

And the wisdom to whack the hell out of any troll who gets in my way.


6 thoughts on “The book of Essjay

  1. JasonCalacanis

    I think these loving prayers explain in many ways why Jimbo was duped by Essjay, and why Jimbo supported and forgave Essjay after finding out he was a fraud.

    This level of flattery probably clouded Jimbo’s thinking on the subject, and frankly this kind of reverence for Jimbo is part of the challenge Wikipedia faces going forward.

    That being said, Jimbo is a Christ-like figure and deserves the praise.

  2. Mark Bourrie

    What’s reall funny to me about the essjay mess? In at least two of his vehement demands for respect of his credentials, he miss-used the word “it’s” and no one called him on it. Is that because, these days, people expect scholars with doctorates to have the grammatical skills of a grade-school C-student?

  3. SallyF

    I went to a very geeky university in New York and I rarely found geeky humor and in-jokes funny. This was often because the geeks overdid it and did not mix real humor with in-jokes but just went through a long series of puns or superpositions and for me, it never worked and I never found them to clever. I recently ran across this “humor” on Wikipedia’s Meta server and I asked that some of the worst stuff be deleted but, of course, request denied. I mean with titled like “Jimbo’s prayer”, “Really Reformed Church of Wikipedia” (and its variants), “The Ten Commandments of Wikipedia”, you know already that it is going to be dull, dull, dull. God, it is dull! But can this attic of junk be cleaned out? Never! It is especially frustrating to find this kind of junk when you are blocked and trying to find the real policy in this pile of trash. And it is obvious that these intrusive admins, when challenged by the user they have blocked, try to change the subject and show what “great guys” they are by cracking jokes at you. Or else they communicate a mixed message of I-am-a-cuddly-pokemon but I-can-destroy-all-your-writings. Here is Essjay’s idea of a fun-time vandal whacking stick. The Church really used to use those things during Inquisition. The results are occasionally diagrammed in manuscripts with no details omitted. Fun! Humor!

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