I am bereft. My smiley face emoticon has turned into a frowny face emoticon. Why this sudden bout of melancholy? I’ll tell you why: I have just realized that the Wikipedia Deletionists have taken their machetes to my all-time favorite Wikipedia article. Yes, Montahue Jetson, the grandfather of George Jetson, has lost his place in The Free Encyclopedia That Anyone Can Edit Except You. The link that once led to Montahue’s homely little spot in The Sum of All Human Knowledge now dumps you unceremoniously into the general entry for the Jetsons.
Gone. Without a trace. Forever. (OK, not quite without a trace.)
I was at a conference yesterday, and during lunch the conversation turned, as it is wont to do in these darkening days, to the Mighty Wik. What was interesting is that people seemed most enthusiastic about the more esoteric, arcane, and, yes, trivial of Wikipedia’s entries. Here, at last, was a place where they could dig up information about some half-remembered local landmark in their hometown, some obscure fiddle player that they once saw at a nightclub in Dubuque, some minor character in a silly cartoon. Sure, it’s nice to have a free source of paraphrased, moderately accurate information on notable subjects, but what was unique about Wikipedia was the detritus, all the little bits of informational chaff that the long-tail-hating Deletionist cabal is now so intent on sweeping out of existence.
Here’s an idea. You know that great old TV version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – the one with the Bumble and the skinny Santa? Remember how Rudolph and that dentist-wannabe elf ended up on the Island of Misfit Toys? Why not have an Island of Misfit Wikipedia Articles? Every time an article is deleted it would automatically be moved over to the IoMWA site rather than just being disappeared. I’m sure there must be smart people out there who could hack together such a thing pretty quickly.
Join the cause! The Wikipedia article you save could be your own.