The Dangers of Wikipedia

There are quite a few people in the world that I do not care for.

Brett Favre.

Lady Gaga.

Anyone who has ever had the last name Kardashian.

My hatred for these people, though, pales in comparison to the abhorrence I feel for two men.

I loathe Larry Sanger and Jimmy Wales.

“Who are these people?” you are might ask. Well, quite simply they have invented the worst thing since sliced bread. (I only eat my bread in whole loaves. If it was good enough for Jesus’ last supper, than it is definitely good enough for me.) Sanger and Wales are the masterminds of my biggest foil, the Frankenstein’s monster to my village.

They are the creators of Wikipedia.

For those who, for whatever reason, have never heard of Wikipedia, it’s a very good concept. Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that internet users can edit and update, making it equal parts Encyclopedia Britannica and the incoherent ramblings of insane people.

Literally anything you can think of is on Wikipedia. You want to know about the history of crème brule? It is there. You want to find out about the fourth album that hip hop artist Biz Markey put out? It is there. You want to find out about Wikipedia? You can find it on Wikipedia, though I’m sure there is a danger of this creating a crack in the time/space continuum.

This can be a very bad website for people like me. As a movie nerd, I enjoy looking up the movie I am currently watching. (Most likely, it is Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel. I can’t get enough of those tiny rodents.) It will tell you the budget for the movie, the production schedule, why Christian Bale yelled at a crew member on set, where the filming took place, and how much Roger Ebert hated it, information that I find very valuable.

Sometimes, it can have very valuable information that gets you in trouble.

One Saturday, we were watching a documentary about a man who was murdered and the process of trying to charge his baby mama with the crime. Then, before anyone can say spoiler alert, Wikipedia tells me that the lady jumped into the ocean, baby in hand, to avoid trial.

That’s something you really don’t want to know ahead of time. I was forced to sit there the rest of the movie, knowing full well that the ending would be as far from a happy ending as possible. There was no glimmer of hope in my eyes. Thanks to Wikipedia, my innocence had been ripped away from me and viciously crushed under foot.

Thanks a lot Wikipedia.

As if that weren’t enough, I have a tendency to end up in a Wikipedia loop. Inside each article there are links to other articles. What starts out as innocently as an attempt to gain slightly more insight on a subject turns into me sitting on Wikipedia for hours, reading page after page.

This is what a typical Wikipedia loop could look like:

I start out reading about Alvin and the Chipmunks (Seriously! They sing! Isn’t it great?!) when, all of a sudden, I see that David Cross is in the movie. I enjoy David Cross, so I click on his page, only to find out that Sam Kinison is one of his influences. That leads me to his debut film, Back to School, which forces me to click on composer Danny Elfman. Elfman wrote the music for Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. A new Pee-Wee Herman movie is being made by Judd Apatow who created a show for Fox. 20th Century Fox distributed Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Boom! Wikipedia loop!

I seriously might have a problem. In fact, this took me hours to type because I kept looking things up on Wikipedia, only to find myself lost and confused, reading about the Nabisco Corporation. How I got there, I still do not know.

Maybe someone will create a Wikipedia patch for me to wear. It will give me less and less information until, finally, I am weaned off of the Wikipedia completely. It may even be more serious than that. I may need a Wikipedia detox center.

Yes, Larry Sanger and Jimmy Wales created a great website. I applaud them for their creation. Someday, I might meet them face to face so I can tell them how much I am addicted to Wikipedia.

Then, I will punch their faces until they promise to take Wikipedia down. It’s the only way I will ever get anything done in my life.

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10 thoughts on “The Dangers of Wikipedia

  1. Like I tell my kids when they start a bad habit, wear a rubber-band around your wrist and whenever you are tempted to look up useless trivia (or some other vice), snap yourself. It might sting a little, but it is a lot cheaper than rehab. If you are curious about this practice, feel free to look it up on wikipedia…or try Snopes…totally not addictive.

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  2. Wikipedia is plain evil, designed to distract forever with the maze of links and loops. People seriously try and remember who was in that movie on your own instead of checking Wikipedia for everything.

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  3. What’s worse? Urban Dictionary. I mistakenly looked up a word I’d never heard on that site. I was inappropriately throwing around the phrase “bidness” for weeks. But then again, is there ever really a good time for the word bidness?

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  4. I’m a Wikipedia inter”looper”, too! I always get stuck in the downward spiral that leads to stuff on science that leads to more science that I’ve long since forgotten the math in the formulae. I’ve found a workaround for the Wikipedia movie trap… imdb.com. That’s a whole different whirlpool.

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  5. Pingback: State of Wikipedia [Infographic] « SandmaxPrime Unleashed

  6. I’m not only a wiki-looper… but I’m a netflix tornado!
    Netflix plays word games with me (I love word games). I’ll pick a movie and they have other movies like it either title or actors or some such similarity… THEN they also throw in the links like wiki!!! Sneaky Bastards!

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